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Thanks to Kirk Weisler with his post Growth can look like Destruction… for the inspiration behind this post. Here is the quote that stirred me.


Sometimes I have found the concept of ‘change requires growth and it’s tough’ can be presented as, well, a bit of a platitude. I’m pleased Kirk’s isn’t and I wanted to push harder, drawing on the wealth of experience I have in the times I have failed to change and grow myself! I know many times I’ve commented on being willing to change “Yes, I believe in learning and self development and I can cope with the discomfort of that. Yeah yeah yeah, ‘let’s change and grow!'”

Yet when the real discomfort, sometimes immense pain hits, my willingness appeared to evaporate. I think this is most often because the true opportunities to change don’t prop their heads up and nicely say to you, “Hi there, I’m an opportunity for change and this situation is presenting you with that chance, so let’s work through this.”

No, it comes disguised, most often as a tough, even brutal situation, an awful challenge, a lost client, a damaged or struggling relationship at work, with my children, and rather than look inwardly at myself and what I need to do to be ‘completely undone, my shell cracked and my insides coming out’…

I run and hide, or respond emotionally inappropriately, or I simply numb it down with pleasures that make me feel better, while the true core of those issues remain.

Of course pleasure used in that sense never helps the situation, or me to get through it, it’s more like putting a band aid over a 8 inch cut, it’s ineffective.

I find the visceral reality of change in Cynthia Occelli’s quote and my possibly more brutal embellishment of it is so helpful.

I find it helps because naming the events that are change opportunities with clarity, helps us identify and respond, instead of running, numbing and pain killing.

Then we can truly do what the great minds, incredibly effective and great leaders do, which is to embrace the opportunities, think outside what is happening and still feel pain but know that the ultimate best outcome for growth lies only in what a wonderful speaker, Richard Rohr, often says…

“Don’t get rid of the pain until you’ve learned its lessons”

… for if we don’t, the pain is wasted and growth impossible.

Growth is painful, but worth it.


We only become the person we have to,

based on what we have said we would do

or as a result of those challenges that are a natural part of life which we have to face.

We fail to become what we need to

due to the things we give up on

or by not choosing a direction at all

let alone one that challenges us more than our current circumstances.

This explains why so many who experience massive natural challenge in their life,

through tragedy out of their control,

if they manage to get through it well,

tend to be people who others look to and praise,

saying “What an amazing person of great strength.”

To be like them and become great people too,

without the ‘blessing’ of tragedy,

we must seek the tougher paths and strong directions,

or else we will waste our life,

never asking of ourselves to ‘become someone’.

Mark Wellman, paralysed from the waist down, atop El Capitan

Mark Wellman conquers El Capitan

Mark Wellman conquers El Capitan

Let’s do the world a favour and become someone. Let’s

Lead Anyway