Leaders: Where does it hurt?

Over the last year, I have been pretty committed to working out, but a few weeks ago I noticed my knees and hips were hurting. I’ve had knee and hip surgery so it isn’t uncommon for me to have some pain but it was odd that both knees and both hips were hurting. I began to think about my warm-up and cool-down. I questioned my recovery days and I wondered if I was pushing myself too hard.

Then one evening while I was sitting down doing some ab work and I noticed the problem. Since I only wear my running shoes when I am at the gym they look brand new, but when I saw the bottom of my shoes I knew I had pushed them too far and that was likely the cause of my knee and hip pain. I grabbed my phone, got online and ordered a new pair of running shoes.

Once they arrived I quickly put them to use. My suspicions were correct; my knee and hip pain disappeared. However, my feet were killing me! I was waking up in the middle of the night trying to rub out the pain in my feet. My shoes would break-in at some point, but until then I decided a foot massage was in order.

I arrived for my appointment knowing that my feet hurt and that my shoes were the cause of the pain. However, it didn’t take long before the massage therapist found painful spots on my feet that I didn’t know existed! He was able to find places that hurt which I couldn’t have found on my own. No matter how hard I tried I would never have found the spot between my 4th and 5th toes on my right foot or that one specific spot on my left heel!

But isn’t that life? We need other people to help us find the places that hurt. 

As leaders, we have a responsibility to serve others by asking the question, “where does it hurt?” Our people may have a general answer and they may even know the cause of the pain. Sometimes, we need to not only ask the question but to also walk with them as they try to pinpoint the specific places of pain. We need to help people figure out where it hurts.

But leaders aren’t exempt from this concept, we too need people to help us wrestle with the question, “where does it hurt?” Far too often leaders try to do it alone, but in doing so we ignore those hard to reach places in our own lives. When places that hurt go unattended to we do a grave disservice to our people because there is less of us to offer to those around us.

As leaders, we need to ask others, “where does it hurt?” AND we need to surround ourselves with people who can ask the same question to us. Trying to do it on your own simply won’t work. Trust me, I’ve tried.

Great leaders will surround themselves with people who will walk with them as they wrestle with the question, “where does it hurt?”

So who’s walking with you? Who’s asking you, “where does it hurt?” And who’s helping you to pinpoint those painful hard to reach places? Don’t try and do it alone.