As a child I struggled to breathe.
For days I would lie in bed and fight for every inch of breath. I almost thought of it as normal. Waking up and trying to drag air into my lungs for hours.
Nights were long with no end in sight.
Asthma wasn’t considered such a big deal back then and drugs were minimal and for the most part ineffective. Going to hospital wasn’t a consideration. For years the doctors were not much help. One suggestion was burning an oily lamp with some strange concoction next to my bed.
Only stained bed clothes and sheets when the device was struck by flailing arms in the middle of the night.
Finally… at a doctor’s appointment, I was told that maybe exercise was one way of possible relief. Some new research had shown some promise
By then I was old enough to take some initiative.
I was tired and fed up with the pain. The next day I struggled out of bed in the gloom of the early morning. The fresh smell of dew promised a new day. The sound of the gravel driveway under my feet was deafening in the silence of the dawn as I walked past my parents bedroom and opened our creaking gate.
The orange street lamps beckoned.
I started pounding around the park next to the family home. The first event was 4 laps and I was done. The next day I thought it would be good to have my younger brothers join in. So I coaxed them to put on their running shoes and share my pain of struggling out of bed at the crack of dawn. The next day they just groaned…rolled over and went back to sleep.
No encouragement there.
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I was on my own.
But I had something they didn’t have. I was seeking a solution to escape pain. It’s a big stick.
The days became weeks and that turned into months and my persistence didn’t diminish but increased. I exchanged the pain of fighting for breath from asthma to fighting for breath as I exercised. My determination to escape pain drove me to such frenzied activity that sometimes I threw up from the sheer exertion.
I had also discovered a new natural high. It was a drug called endorphins. As my fitness grew, I felt I could run forever. Maybe I was the original Forest Gump.
Within a year, I could run for hours. I disappeared into the surrounding hills. I loved my freedom, enjoyed my own company and I learned that sizeable, insurmountable obstacles can be overcome. If you’re willing to push through the pain and take the next step.
This motivated escape had become a passion and my asthma had now become just a small sideshow.
I joined the high school long distance running team and discovered that persistence and practice had a reward. I qualified for regional and state championships and started winning races.
That was my first lesson on the power of pain.
One step at a time
Stephen King was asked ‘how do you write these 120,000 word novels and he said ‘one word at a time…’
The path to success is just one step at a time.
Going for a run every now and then is good. But the only way to achieve peak fitness requires persistence. Succeeding in this digital world…whether it’s blogging, content marketing, digital marketing or re-inventing your company or re-inventing yourself is sometimes not apparent.
It requires shedding comfort for growth inducing discomfort.
Your attitude to pain is key
You’re going to feel a lot of pain in life…because the reality is the world has changed and will never stop changing. So you can bravely embrace the digital opportunities and understand that you have the power to build your own brand online without seeking permission or paying for it.
Then the riches of the world are yours…you can go from local to global in the click of button.
The new reality
You can build your own global audience one word…one tweet at a time…without having to pay for it.
Are you going to embrace your pain and reinvent, or are you just going to wallow. Settling for comfort is never going to lead anywhere. Feeling some pain means you are pushing your boundaries. And that is the event horizon where growth happens.
You have the choice.