Wednesday, June 29, 2011

If You Wait Until It’s Really Painful ….

…. it may be too late.

I had the privilege last night to speak to Steve Nicander.  Steve is an amazing man, having reduced his weight from around 650 pounds to 270 pounds and he is not done yet.  The story of his courageous journey can be found here.

As I listened to the story of his incredible journey, I had to ask him, “What motivated you to change?”.

His answer was blunt and authentic.  “I was in so much excruciating pain that I didn’t know how much longer I could continue”.

When I asked him what would have happened if he had pushed through the pain without making changes in his life, his reply was equally authentic, “I would have been dead in less than a year”.

Many times when organizations come to me for help, they are in a similar position.  They have deferred or avoided important decisions, each decision seemingly insignificant at the moment but each one contributing a little more towards an inevitable, painful future.

The reasons for avoiding the decisions are common across many situations but the end-results are also … sadly … very similar.

They eventually find themselves in a very painful position, where decisions need to be made quickly, where the actions that must be taken may be extremely difficult or expensive, where the ego that says “I still have it under control” must be set aside and yet, if they delay much longer, they won’t have anything to fight for.

The life of their project or organization hangs in the balance.

Just as Steve’s life hung in the balance.

Unfortunately, many organizations and human beings don’t realize that every choice they make or fail to make takes them closer to or further away from a future  filled with unlimited potential or painful disaster.

When we don’t appreciate the importance of every choice, we have a better chance of creating a future of reduced potential then we do of creating an empowered future.  Unfortunately, the little bit of pain that we add with each poor choice is not noticeable until often it is too late.

While we think the choices that we have to make today are difficult, it is better to face them today then face life-or-death choices tomorrow.

Steve waited until he was forced to make a choice.  Fortunately for Steve and for the many who will be inspired by his journey, it still wasn’t too late to make the right choice.

Not every person or organization will be so lucky when they reach the point where they are blinded by “pain” and don’t know whether to stop and get help or push through the pain.

They may be closer to finality then they realize.

When decision points are placed before us, we must always choose to step up and make the best choice we can.

We must choose to make them as if our Life depends on them.

Because it does.

In service and servanthood,


My Musings-in-a-Minute version of “If You Wait Until It’s Really Painful ….” is the same as this one and can be found here.

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