May 16, 2014

My Pain Points

“It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.” ― Chuck Palahniuk

(via weheartit)

In the past couple of weeks I have found myself more easily overwhelmed and essentially burnt out. It seems to happen at least once a year and serves a stark reminder that there is only so many hours of a day, and so much energy (physical and mental) that I can commit to people and projects.

Usually how I respond to burn out is by minimizing my interactions, specifically saying 'no' to social outings, extra-curricular commitments and extra responsibilities outside of work. I try to use that as an opportunity to re-charge, however the time I take to "rest" and "take breaks" doesn't actually alleviate any stress whatsoever. Instead I find myself ruminating, or worrying about how "worried" I'm getting in. It's a vicious cycle that doesn't hit "reset" until I go to sleep.

Pain Points

Pain points are opportunities for growth. My good friend Reza reminded me of this in a heart to heart conversation we had recently. Pain points can refer to physical pain, emotional pain, inner conflict and turmoil that result from external circumstances. If things went well, all the time, I know that I would fall into complacency. Being comfortable doesn't move me to change, to think creatively, to problem solve or set goals.

My strategy of minimizing interactions was my way of avoiding pain, avoiding confronting whatever was making me uncomfortable. This put me into a "scarcity" mentality and I becoming very protective of my time and energy. This actually did nothing to alleviate my stress, and in some ways left me paralyzed - I wasn't getting any worse but my situation was not getting any better. I wasn't taking any affirmative action to change my circumstances.

Reaching our goals

Who we are is a result of the journey we took, the roads we travelled, not the destination we arrived to. There are different goals I have - to be well-rounded, to have grounded relationships, to be financially secure, to be reliable, a person of my word, to be a leader in my career field, to be an amazing future wife, sister, etc - but keeping those goals in mind I also have to think about what I have to do in order to become that successful person in the future.


Prioritizing means saying "yes" only to activities and people that will help us reach our goals - both personally and professionally. I mean making the time and investing your energy into endeavors that are meaningful. I would spend 10+ hours per week working at a part time job that was very mindless and monopolized a lot of my free time. When complaining to a friend, they helped me realize that although I get to pocket a little bit of extra money - it wasn't that significant to even make a dent in my income. I could instead be spending that time on self-development or a hobby that is personally meaningful and fulfilling to me.

Realizing this completely blew my mind - I spend a lot of time trying to make everyone happy, and it takes a tremendous amount of mental energy to try to be everything to everyone (as us people pleasers often try do all the time). Even just attempting to do so erodes the quality of work and commitment that I can deliver on one project or dedicate to one person. I want to be able to focus on doing one or two things at once, and doing very well on it.

I recently gave in my notice to discontinue the part time job and am ready to use that time to focus and do things that are more fun or meaningful to me; not have something else that only adds stress instead of value to my life. Admittedly, it wasn't something that was very easy to do but I'm really looking forward to the extra free time that it will add. I'll be one step closer to that ever elusive work/life balance.

What are your pain points that move you towards growth?

Thanks for reading :)

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