May 21, 2014
Cycle Breaker Leadership Principle #3 is “Lean into your discomfort!”
A major problem with this generation is that we believe life should be easy. We have a sense of entitlement and a belief that we should not be uncomfortable. In fact, these three attitudes are often the root cause leading to decisions to participate in criminal activity. Let’s take a look at each of these attitudes: “Life Should Be Easy” – This attitude causes people to lie on their taxes, over mortgage their homes and do other shady types of activity to make sure they have the easy life. “The Sense of Entitlement” – This attitude is displayed as the underlying reason for many crimes, especially crimes involving drug dealing. Thinking that you are entitled to the good life and refusing to earn it legally will cause you to cross moral lines with justification for your actions. “My Children and I Should Not Be Uncomfortable” or “My Children Must Have it Better Than I Did - They Can’t be Uncomfortable” – This attitude causes store clerks, who are barely making enough money to keep a roof over their head, to buy the latest edition of the $150 Michael Jordan tennis shoes (being willing to stand in line to make sure they get a pair before they sell out).
Until we learn to “Lean Into Our Discomfort,” we will fail to reach our true potential for success or leadership. Leaning into your discomfort really means coming to grips with the areas in your life where you are not satisfied, the areas where you know that you could be doing better. Once you recognize and acknowledge these areas you can make the adjustments necessary to change. Understand that, with growth, there is pain; especially in the beginning. I have a 10 month old son and every now and then, or more, he starts to cry. I understand that he is growing his teeth, a process that can be uncomfortable and even painful, but that’s what happens with growth. Even as adults, when you decide to exercise on the regular basis, the first few times will be painful. You will be sore, but eventually the pain goes away. Well, the same principles apply to growth toward our leadership potential. It’s uncomfortable to do the hard things to be successful but, when we do the hard things, the rewards will be great.
A few examples of the discomfort you must lean into: 1. Separation. When you are growing to new levels, you will have to leave people behind who are not going in the same direction. Elevation is hard enough and it gets almost impossible while carrying dead weight. 2. Education. We have to keep learning. In fact, I believe that we should continue to expand and stretch our minds until the day we die. I had a discouraging casual conversation with an employee who stated that “at my age, there is nothing anyone can teach me that I’m willing to pay for.” I was discouraged because I know that person is stuck. However, I shouldn't be surprised. I can see the “stuck” position as it is evidenced in their walk, talk and work ethic. That person refuses to grow because growth would be too uncomfortable.
In order to be the best we can be. In order to live our best lives we have to be leaders. Leaders in school, on the job and at home. Cycle Breaker Leadership Principle #3 Lean into your discomfort. Get cozy with it and then defeat it.
For more discussion on this subject or others, join Judge Dawson’s Cycle Breaker/Finish First program on Monday nights at 5:30 p.m. at the East Cleveland Municipal Court. East Cleveland Municipal Court’s Judge William L. Dawson is on a mission to help people to Finish First, live their best lives and be Cycle Breakers!
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