If you want to be successful in business, pain comes with the territory. Be thankful.
My big client and I had talked. He wasn’t happy, I wasn’t excited, and we both knew that I was under-performing.
Those are the gut-wrenching conversations. Unfortunately–or fortunately–everyone with a client relationship will have a conversation like this. Handling an unhappy client is rarely fun, but it’s necessary. I was sure that he was going to fire me from this project. So I leaned back and prepared for the punch in the gut.
But that punch never came my way.
Instead, he asked me to take a smaller role on the project. “Listen in on our next team call,” he said, “and some back to me with some ideas on how you can best help.”
The subtle signs.
He showed me mercy, but just enough to show me he didn’t need me.
“I knew I was taking a chance on you,” he had said during our conversation. “The payoff would’ve been big for both of us, but sometimes things just don’t work out like we want them to.”
The next day was not easy.
I sat and stared at the Send button on my screen, but I wasn’t ready to click it.
Hitting send on that email felt like I was tossing in the towel. Giving up. Bowing out. It felt that way because I actually was bowing out of the project. It was obvious that he was going to take the project in a different direction. It was also apparent that he wouldn’t need me for the journey.
After a deep breath, I hit Send.
“Smart move,” he replied.
Quitting at the right time is a smart move.
I knew I wasn’t valuable to him and his team at that point. It was time for me to move on, but not without making a commitment to him: to fix the broken systems that caused me to lose him.
Losing and quitting hurts, regardless of how smart the decision proves to be.
But pain can be worth feeling when it comes to business.
The role of pain in business.
Pain leads to breakthroughs and self-awareness.
It’s not meant to stop us completely or to kill our ambition. Instead, pain is something that forces us to discover what needs to be fixed.
Pain sits at the center of business. In fact, business exists because of pain. Your customer feels some sort of pain–no matter how small–and you make money by soothing that pain.
Be thankful for the pain you feel in business.
Feel it, recognize it, and profit from it.
Photo: Flickr/Nicholas Canup