Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

No Pain No Gain

Written by: on March 7, 2018



When ever you work hard toward a goal, there will be pain. If you are building body muscles, there is pain. If you are losing weight, there is pain. If you give birth, there is pain. Can we say, anything worth while its worth to go through the pain?

Leadership in Pain

Author Samuel Chand is a leadership consultant. At the beginning of the first chapter, he says that “leadership that doesn’t produce pain is either in a short season of unusual blessing or it isn’t really making a difference.” (5) In an interview with, Joseph LaLonde, Chand stated that “we must recognize the pain, embrace the pain, and then review the lessons we learned through the pain.” [1] There were three principles he identified in his book in hopes to provide courage:

  • See pain as your greatest teacher
  • Let the vision drive you
  • Have a rigorous personal development plan (20)

How we react or embrace our pain defines our future. Many people develop unforgiveness in their heart as a result of their experienced pain which can create a barricade in one’s relationship with God and others. God promotes forgiveness. Matthew 6:14 states “for if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” We, Christians, many times believe God forgives us unconditionally but we have trouble forgiving others unconditionally. The pain from that hurt haunts us until we release its power over us. We, Christians, many times quote to ourselves and to others, 1Corinthians 10:13 that “he won’t give us more than we can bear.”  But we must also remember Romans 8:34, that “we are more than conquerors.” This is the purpose of Chand’s book, trying to help leaders process the pain.

To further explain his theory on Leadership in Pain, he made several references to author Philip Yancey’s books, as well as Gary McIntosh and Samuel Rima book, Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership. He cited from their book “pain that causes perfectionism, the thirst for approval, and the insatiable drive to succeed actually propel a leader to excel. Thus pain can catapult a leader toward success.” (79-80) In our course reading, another author Vries wrote: “Pain in the system can be seen as the main lever that sets the change process in motion.” [2] If one gets mad enough, they may make a change which could produce a positive motion. Pain could be viewed as an antibiotic to an infection where the individual is paralyzed in an unhealthy situation. In other words, God is working in us to develop us and move us to a better experience or high position but we can’t let go of what we currently have or experienced. Pain comes in and forces us to let go.

Chand states that we need a pain partner to successfully make it through. He states that “leaders in business, nonprofits, and churches desperately need to find someone who has no agenda except to listen without judging and love without any strings attached.” The partners should provide you emotional support and also be your accountability partner.

Chand wrote this book through his observance of leaders working through their pain in leadership.  At the beginning of each chapter, he shares their stories. One of those stories included one of my favorite people, Pastor Sheryl Brady. During her time of pain, a suffering church they birth, “she read 1 Corinthians 10:13. She compared the dwindling of the church to God allowing Elijah’s brook to dry up forcing them to move to another assignment. She made a few points: (a) It was a training session – God was building a successful leader; (b) Forgive the process, then God works it for our good, and (c) Thank God for the training session.” (227-33)

After each chapter, Chand provides an action plan to assist the reader through the process of pain. First, he provides a quote under the subtitle, “Know This.” He then gives an action plan to the reader to begin their thought process. He provides several questions for the reader to, as he calls it, “Think About This.”  Lastly, he ends each chapter with the same statement, “And remember: you’ll grow only to the threshold of your pain.”

I must have a high threshold!

[1] Joseph LaLonde, Embracing the Leadership Pain, Empowering the Young Leaders with the Tools to Thrive in a Hectic World,  accessed 03/07/2018,  http://www.jmlalonde.com/embrace-the-leadership-pain-sam-chand-interview/.

[2] Manfred Kets De Vries, The Leadership Mystique, London: Pearson Education Limited, 2001, 146.

About the Author

Lynda Gittens

8 responses to “No Pain No Gain”

  1. Mary Walker says:

    Lynda, many great points you have here –
    1. forgiveness is so important
    2. we need a pain partner who loves us but holds us accountable
    3. pain can actually be a good challenge
    The book was encouraging and did fit in well with the other books we read this semester. Good for you that you have a high threshold!

  2. Katy Drage Lines says:

    Lynda, I got “stuck” on your very first observation:
    “When ever you work hard toward a goal, there will be pain… If you give birth, there is pain. Can we say, anything worth while its worth to go through the pain?”
    It brought to mind what a friend of mine posted on social media this week–
    “What if all the pain of this world is labour pain?”
    Which reminds me of Paul writing in Galatians 4.19– My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.

  3. Jim Sabella says:

    Lynda, you make an excellent point: God wants to move us along in growth and so, “Pain comes in and forces us to let go.” I don’t like the thought of it but I do think it is true. Sometimes the very thing we try to control or hold on to is the very thing that’s keeping us from becoming the person he wants us to be. Thanks for your post, Lynda.

  4. Stu Cocanougher says:

    “How we react or embrace our pain defines our future.”

    I know that this is really geeky, but this reminded of a scene from the movie Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.


    In this scene, an alien, who has the power to take away painful memories approaches Captain Kirk. He refuses, noting that our pain makes us who we are and exclaims

    ” I don’t want my pain taken way, I need my pain.”

    A very astute observation for a Science Fiction movie.

    • Kristin Hamilton says:

      I love this, Stu! I can hear Captain Kirk pausing between each word. 🙂
      This idea reminds me of the movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” If you remove the pain, you also remove the essence of who you are.

  5. Christal Jenkins Tanks says:

    Lynda community is essential to our lives especially as believers. Having to experience pain in the safety of a partnership or community makes a huge difference in the outcomes. While I do believe that isolation has its place when going through painful processes. There is nothing like having a confidant who understands and can show compassion and grace during the transformation. 🙂

  6. Kristin Hamilton says:

    “I must have a high threshold!”
    I thought about this when reading, Lynda. I told my husband, our cohort must be some of the greatest leaders in the world if the tolerance to pain is any indication!
    Thank you for highlighting forgiveness. It may not lessen the pain, but it does allow us to move forward in different ways. That’s why I loved Lisa Bevere’s statement about forgiving the process. This process of pain and growth sucks, but clinging to bitterness about it can lead to regression.

  7. Jennifer Dean-Hill says:

    Lynda, I think this is the most profound and concise sentence to the topic of pain I’ve heard: “How we react or embrace our pain defines our future.” I don’t even know what to add to this, for it says it all. Thank you for this.

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