Pain Is Part Of It

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

“And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  Anaïs Nin

I love this quote, so much. And I’ve always thought of it only as the inspirational push that it is—reminding us to take a chance, to risk the unknown.

But I haven’t spent as much time in this other really important part—yes, staying put was more painful than evolving…but that doesn’t mean that the evolving part wasn’t painful too!  Staying put was just MORE painful.

Brad Montague via Kid President summed it up pretty well in his viral video entitled “Pep Talk”, when he said “A poem: ‘Two roads diverged in the woods, and I took the road less traveled.’ And it hurt, man! Really bad! Rocks! Thorns! and Glass! My pants broke! Not cool, Robert Frost!”

I genuinely believe, and have experienced time and time again, that taking risks and jumping into the unknown is the better way to live.

I just want us to remember that a better/more fulfilling/surprising/unexpected/delightful/wonder-full life does NOT equal a pain-free one. We don’t get rewarded for taking risks by getting a pass on pain.

It’s really quite a relief to think about it this way.

Because if somehow in my mind I’ve equated the only successful conclusion to summoning the courage to take a big risk to be accolades and rainbows and academy awards and chocolate fountains… well, then I’m setting myself up for disappointment and also increasing the likelihood that I’ll pass on taking any future risks, thank you very much.  

But if I embrace the idea that pain is a part of life no matter which path I choose, the “risky” one or the “safe” one…. Well.  I just might be more likely to say ‘what the hell’ and see what happens if I go ahead with marching into the unknown.

Kid President continues “…But what if there really were two paths? I want to be in the one that leads to awesome. It's like that dude Journey said, ‘Don't stop believing’… unless your dream is stupid, then you should get a better dream. I think that's how it goes.”

(that makes me laugh out loud, every time)

Listen, life is hard. But life is also short. So go ahead and blossom.

It’s not going to be easy. But oh, will it be worth it.

Which path will you take today?

Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.