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From Burden to Benefit

Having recently turned 50, I’ve set a goal of running at least one 10k during my 50th year – which ends on November 6, 2020.

Although I’m in generally good health (or at least I think so), my wife and I followed wise advice and found a training program that progresses from not running at all to finishing a 10k. Following additional wise counsel, we each purchased a good pair of running shoes. So far, so good.

But having a training program and a pair of running shoes does not make you a runner. Running makes you a runner.

Although I was excited to start training for a 10k, I’ll also admit to not enjoying the first few training sessions. My knees would agree – they didn’t find it too enjoyable either.

But after a few weeks of sticking with it, something interesting happened: I found myself looking forward to running. Not so much for the moment of running, but for how I felt afterwards. By sticking with it, I was able to move from burden to benefit.

At first, much of what is required for personal growth or transformation feels like a burden. For many people, this is where the potential growth and transformation ends. It’s too hard. It’s not fun. It might even hurt a little (just ask my knees).

Exercising feels like a burden long before you start feeling the benefits.

Working a side hustle job takes extra time and energy and may feel like a burden before you start enjoying the benefits.

Developing an intimate relationship requires trust, vulnerability, and transparency – all things that can feel burdensome. The benefit? A healthy, thriving relationship.

What separates people who can turn burdens into benefits from those who don’t? While there may be many different reasons and factors, let me offer one. It’s what I’ve found to be true in my own life as well as when working with others. It often boils down to expectations.

When a person enters a season of change and expects everything to be simple and easy, that person will often quit when the hard times arrive. Marketers and persuaders play on the ease and convenience desire within each of us. They promise that building wealth or getting healthy won’t be hard to do if you follow their easy-to-use program.

These folks want the benefits without the burdens.

However, if you approach an area of transformation knowing that you will face difficulties but still holding on to the future benefits, you will be much more likely to stick with it. Rather than grow discouraged, these folks use the future benefits as motivators and sources of encouragement. “I’m getting closer every day.”

Good communicators recognize that often the best advice is hard to follow. Rather than try to paint a disingenuous picture (“It won’t be that bad”), they describe reality but connect the hard work involved to the benefits to be achieved. Here are just a few examples …

  • Quitting smoking won’t be easy, but the extra time with your kids and grandkids will be worth it.
  • Getting a master’s degree while working a full-time job will mean early mornings and late nights filled with school projects. But the doors opened by your new degree will be worth it.
  • Starting a new business will be stressful and financially challenging, but the benefits of working for yourself and building a business will be worth it.

You can’t just focus on the benefits without having a realistic expectation of the burdens involved.

You also can’t only focus on the burdens or else you’ll get discouraged and quit.

Transformation and change are made possible when we can face the burdens knowing the benefits will come.

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Experience and Background

  • Professor at Warner University
  • masters in business administration (mba)
  • presenter at the WFX National Conference
  • former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
  • helped start 2 for-profit tech companies

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