The doctor said the original problem was bone spurs. The pain caused by the spurs caused me to limit my movement. The limited movement caused scar tissue to form which increased the pain; which further limited movement, which eventually led to surgery to remove the bone spurs and scar tissue.
So part of the problem is pain. Old Doc Campbell from television’s Hee Haw fame, when approached by a patient who was making a motion with his arm and said, “It hurts when I do this,” responded, “Well, don’t do that!”
My first response to pain is to stop whatever I’m doing that is causing the pain.
But now, after shoulder surgery, I’m in physical therapy. I’ve been given five exercised to do three times a day. They are to stretch the muscles and to keep the scar tissue from reforming. Basically the instructions are to stretch the muscle until it hurts, then hold that to a count of ten, then relax for a ten count. And then to repeat nine more time.
My reaction to pain has always been to stop. But the instructions are to hold in the painful position for a 10 count, relax for ten and the repeat. 10 times each for 5 different stretching exercise. They reassure me that the pain I’m experiencing now will prevent pain and mobility problems in the future. It is the scare of future problems that causes me to endure the pain of therapy.
Great leaders understand that stretching is painful. Great leaders are able to communicate that the future victory is worth the present suffering. Sometimes it is necessary to endure short-term pain for a long-term solution. This doesn’t mean that all pain is good, or that leaders can inflict painful situations at will; but rather there are times when stretching the team, providing for growth, some long-term visions, mean painful stretching in the present. Great leaders are able to communicate the value of the process to make the pain worthwhile.
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