Every single week, I work with smart women that are trying a variety of techniques to reduce their pain but they find themselves stuck.
Despite all their efforts – taking pain medications, resting, drinking water, doing stretches – they just aren’t getting results. They are managing to get through each day, but they aren’t feeling better and they aren’t sure why.
Which leads to frustration and feeling isolated and hopeless…
…or taking part in options that feel good at the moment, but only makes things worse in the end like eating junk food or binge-watching shows on Netflix.
…or shutting down and doing nothing to resolve the flare and just “waiting it out”
If you’ve been stuck in the pain “quicksand trap”, the first step towards clarity is actually pretty simple. Ready for it?
Decide your role in your relationship to pain
If you’re serious about shifting your experience of pain, nothing can do that more than getting into the right mindset and taking on the role of CEO of your pain.
If you were to put a label on your role to pain in your life as if it were a job description what would it be? Just for fun, I want you to choose between being the Intern (the wannabe CEO) or the CEO.
Who’s running the show? You or your pain?
Are you the Intern (the Wanna Be CEO) or the CEO?
I’ve worked as a clinical intern and it’s not a job I’d want to take on long term! There was always something grabbing for my attention and it seemed like there was a lot coming at me. I usually felt pretty overwhelmed. I did what I could to get through, but wasn’t necessarily at my best. I was tired and stressed and in survival mode.
When I first realized I had a connective tissue disorder, I was in Intern mode. I wasn’t really prioritizing the right things to prevent pain. Once my joints were flared up, I wasn’t being strategic to resolve pain either.
Does that sound a little familiar to how you’re handling your pain too?
Other things I see in women living in Intern mode is that they stop taking action. It’s like they’ve lost hope so they become really inconsistent with the things that actually help them get out of pain. They allow symptoms to go on without responding to them…until they are so severe that they have no choice but to stop and do something about it. We all know that forced rest is never fun.
Over the past decade, I’ve become the CEO of my pain. I know what I need to do and I prioritize those things in my life. That’s because I’ve experienced that when I step up to fulfill the CEO role my life is more enjoyable and I can do more. That’s more playing with my children, more energy for my clients, and more time spent doing the hobbies I love most, which are currently yoga and hiking.
If you envision the qualities of a successful CEO of a company, you might think of concepts like leadership, decisiveness, and long-term visioning ability. You think of someone with authority and confidence. Really good CEOs are adaptive. They are willing to shift directions if something isn’t working and try new things to get back on track. They are also good at prioritizing the actions that lead to the most impact. Staying on course toward the end goal is the #1 focus for any CEO.
Which role is your default? Intern mode or CEO mode?
Which one do you think lends to greater and more lasting pain relief?
If you guessed CEO then you are 100% correct.
You are the CEO of your pain!
What I have found in working with people in pain for the past decade is that when someone is in Intern Mode they want out. They want to experience the result that being the CEO of their pain brings, but they either don’t know how to make the shift or don’t have the support they need to make it happen.
So whether you identify as the Intern or the CEO, consider these points to help you up your game and get or stay in CEO mode… Because your vision of being freer from the confines of your pain is achievable and so worth it!
Have a Vision
Just as the CEO of a company would have a vision for what goals they are striving for and why you need a vision of your health. Your vision acts as a compass guiding you to where to focus your limited available energy.
Ask yourself, “What is optimal health in my situation?” What aspects of my vision are most important to me and WHY? How will my life be better if I move toward reaching my vision? Be specific.
See Yourself as the Authority
No one knows your body better than you – even your doctor. You work with doctors and specialists that guide you to understand what is going on and give you options, but in the end, you must be the one to choose what course of action is best for your body at this season of your life. Follow your instincts with confidence.
You also need to speak up to share your vision with your loved ones and healing team. Remember that they are working for you!
Look your doctors in the eye and tell them what goals you want them to help you work toward and WHY. Sharing why making improvements to your health and daily pain may feel vulnerable, but I assure you that it will make a difference in the level of care you receive.
How you talk to your provider matters too. When the doctor walks into the room, stand up (if you’re able) so you are at eye level. Your body language and positioning will communicate that you are an equal partner in making the plan. They will know you are invested in the outcome.
Play the Part
If you were the CEO of a business you would dress accordingly, be on time, and sit at the head of the table. How can you embody those qualities as a medical patient and woman deciding what actions to take to improve her health?
Design a Plan
You’re probably not going to be very successful at growing a company (or improving your pain) if you’re being passive or just randomly trying different things. You need a solid strategy that you can rely on to lead to results.
Have you ever thought of sitting down and writing all the things you know truly help impact your pain and considering how to keep them going in your daily lifestyle? No matter how tired and restricted you are, there are still things you can do to improve your suffering…this I know for sure. <3
Choose 2-3 specific actions (i.e. drinking 60 oz water, practicing mindful breathing, getting gentle movement, writing in gratitude journal) that you are going to focus on for each week.
Once you have a plan, stick to it!
Set up reminders in your calendar, on post-it notes around the house, ask friends to support you and cheer you on. Set small goals that you can focus on each and every week. Before long, you will notice small and steady improvements.
A successful CEO is consistent to double-down on what works and stop doing what doesn’t lead to results. An intern dabbles between just keeping their head above water and thinking ahead. Believe me, that to reach your goals and feel better, you want to be the CEO and stick to the plan. It’s so much easier than the on again off again pattern.
Hopefully, you’re feeling fired up and feeling excited about your role as CEO of your pain and of your health. There is more you can do to ease your pain and in this case, it’s about changing your mindset.
If you are feeling a little lost when it comes to making the plan, don’t worry. That’s my expertise. I’m a Pain Relief Strategist with over a decade of experience helping women design achievable plans that lead to sustainable improvement in their pain.
If you are raising your hand saying, “Crystal, share the plan with me!” then I invite you to check out the upcoming Mindful Pain Relief Program that starts September 25th! It’s an online learning experience where you’ll have 8 weekly classes and a private session with me so I can help personalize the tools to your situation or help you work through any challenges.
It’s at the lowest price it will ever be offered right now because I’m hoping for lots of feedback. When I run it again next spring (that’s 2019!) it will be almost twice the cost. There are only 10 spots available since I’m devoting so much personal attention to each client.
Don’t wait! Click HERE to learn more and register.