About six years ago I had this sharp tightness of pain under my ribs at the top of my oblique muscle. I assumed it was an odd muscle cramp or knot and that I needed to work thought it.
For a week I heavily stretched and even more heavily trained assuming at some point the tightness would loosen and the pain would subside.
And I had good reason to attempt this approach. Consider all the platitudes we hear.
No pain, no gain.
Pain nourishes your courage.
The pain of discipline.
Take your pain and play with it.
Pain is only temporary.
We see slogans printed on posters, tank tops and even movies and song titles encouraging us all to put up with and push through our pain if we want to be stronger, better and more successful.
What happened to me? I tore my oblique, which led me to months of doctor visits followed by significant physical therapy to rehab and regain strength. I was told that my range of motion would never get back to 100% again. In fact, it was not until last year that I felt confident in the core strength to lift heavy again – a full five years after the injury.
Instead of trying to work through this pain, it was my body telling me to slow down and rest.
This translates to how we operate and manage ourselves professionally. Granted, I am a huge proponent of facing resistance to get stronger. The entrepreneur who pushes through difficult or scary situations is the entrepreneur who scales faster.
However, just like with our bodies, our minds will tell us when we need to slow down. Without that balance we face a mental crash. A creative burnout that could sideline us from moving our brands forward.
Thus, sometimes the best way to move forward is to step back and take a moment to breath and reflect. Even in training our body we need time to recoop.