Change Choices Leadership Mindset Vision

Causing pain

Sometimes pain is the answer and we can’t avoid making hard choices to deliver on our ambitions

Sometimes you must create deliberate pain to get something you want to do in motion.

I remember vividly a conversation with my mentor Joyce who often talked about CEOs having to create organizational pain once in a while to shake things up.

When things are becoming complacent, and they often do, you need to create pain.

Remember, we’re only at 40% of our maximum capacity when we feel we’re done.

Great leaders intervene before a team, or entire organization can become complacent.

They see it happening before it happens.

And the only way to do that is to zoom in and out, or as Joyce would say it, to have the ability to alternate between the dance floor and the balcony.

Most managers never leave the dance floor.

Some leaders never leave the balcony.

Great leaders know their way around in both places.

Those are the same leaders who know when pain is the solution.

They realize they’re going to hurt people, but they also recognize that if they don’t, more people might get hurt, or the organization even may die.

Sometimes pain is the answer.

This sentence has been running through my head for a while.

With a while, I mean a few months now, on or off.

Here’s a little peak inside my head.

2022 is a good year business-wise. And I have reason to believe 2023 will be similar. 

I’m doing fun projects, working with great people, having the freedom to go where I want, getting paid for what I do, and learning daily.

I’m in my sweet spot (more about sweet spots soon).




This little voice in the back of my head keeps reminding me of my ambitions.

Go online with your business.

Finish your book.

That’s the voice that shows up when I don’t expect it. During a meditation, while driving somewhere, while putting for a rare birdie on the golf course.

The big question?

What pain do I have to create to go online and finish that book?

The truth is, I’m happy at the moment. 

The sweet spot feels good.

It doesn’t feel complacent at all. 

But if I chastise managers for not seeing complacency, I should also look in the mirror.

I know I would regret in five years (I first typed ten here) not having gone online with my business or written my book.

Regret is pain.

So, I know it will happen.

The question is when and how.

Finishing the book is a matter of making time and excepting there won’t be income for two months.

No income is pain.

Going online is a matter of priorities and discipline, and accepting that you will spend time on building something that’s not your absolute strength.

Accepting and showing discipline is pain.

Or deciding to outsource to somebody with the skills does help me do it faster than ever.

But I still need to invest time, edit, correct and participate in video and audio. And pay the expert on top.

Outsourcing is pain.

Regret. Income. Discipline. Outsource.


It’s a matter of making choices.

Just like life.

Your turn: What’s your pain?

Do more of what makes you happy!


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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