No pain, no gain?

No pain, no gain? Think again!

Sometime in the 1500s, an English poet named Robert Herrick used the phrase “no pain, no gain” in his writings. He was conveying the idea that if you don’t work really hard at something, you won’t benefit from it. A good, noble phrase from a well-respected poet of his day.

But does it still apply today? Some times we are so use of thinking one way that we forget to challenge what we “know,” and miss what is right in front of our eyes.

I have been coaching a leader who I’ll call Mark. New in a challenging leadership position he wanted to be more effective and better able to improve his team's performance. After working successfully together for almost a year, I was surprised by this comment:

“Everyone in my team is so dedicated to the job and willing to cooperate, that it almost feels like it’s going too smooth or that I make it too easy for people. What am I doing wrong?

After asking him questions and ascertaining that their productivity was up, clients were happier, projects were done on time, and conflicts had diminished considerably (all goals we had worked on), I was still puzzled as to why he was uneasy.

Then it hit me! He was still thinking that work should be, well, “painful.” Regardless of all the positive outcomes he was experiencing, he had the nagging feeling that people would think him “soft” and be less productive if they were not all stressed out and fearful.

By now there is enough evidence, based on research and experience, that shows that companies where people feel positive, less stressed out, and can work together well, have a competitive advantage and come up with more innovation. Therefor, maybe it’s time we abandon the “no pain, no gain” mentality and embrace a “no gain with pain” one. Try it for size: 


Remember. . .

A positive work environment will enable people to be more creative, innovative, and collaborative. It will also attract more clients that will be more satisfied and will bring others in. Leaders that can enable such positive synergy will be in high demand and go far.

Ada GonzalezComment