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Pain: A Warning Sign Not to be Ignored

By Byron Middendorf
June 3, 2014

While vacationing out of state this spring, I jumped on a four wheeler in a frozen cornfield in Iowa. Fifteen minutes later, the four wheeler was on its side, and the idiot driver (me) was lying on his back, staring at the sky, unable to breathe or move. Nothing seemed to work, except for my brain. And it quickly deduced that I was either dying or already dead and looking over the frozen Iowa cornfield from beyond the grave.

Fortunately, I was able to get a breath within a minute or two. However, I still could not move. As someone removed my helmet, I breathlessly mouthed “That was fun!” Several X-rays and MRIs later, I found myself in a strange hospital with a shattered clavicle, three broken ribs, and a broken scapula. Every breath and even the slightest movement hurt. So I was thrilled to receive some pain medicine. Best of all, I had a button I could push to administer additional pain medication, anytime I wanted or needed. What a wonderful concept—all I wanted to do was mask the pain, and I had a magic button to do just that!

After a couple nights in the Iowa hospital and a 16-hour drive back home, I had a titanium plate implanted to shore up the damaged collarbone. The surgeons assured me that some of the pain would be relieved once the bone was stabilized. I think I will have to agree to disagree on the definition of “some” when it comes to the pain relief. Nonetheless, I survived and started healing. Slowly.

So, here is what I learned from this ordeal...when I masked the pain with pain medication of any kind, I tended to ignore the doctor’s order to immobilize my right arm. When I used the arm (numbed from pain medication), it caused more pain and delayed my recovery. What a vicious cycle! And, isn’t this an apt analogy for what many of us face in life and in business?

In life, we all face painful experiences. Ignoring or masking them does not make the issue disappear. My experience has taught me that masking injuries, whether physical or emotional, does not make them go away. In fact, it can actually make the injury worse! Similarly, in business, we also face situations that must be addressed head on. Don’t be fooled into thinking that ignoring or hiding weaknesses in products, policies, or services goes unnoticed. Even if you get away without addressing a known problem in the short-term, there can be long-term ramifications, which are often much more costly and painful than the original issue. Equinox has been around for almost three decades now. In that time, experience (the most brutal of all teachers) has taught us that problems not addressed head-on can return at the very worst time. Therefore, I sincerely thank all of our customers, whose comments and feedback we not only take very seriously, but also use as the basis for continual improvement in our products and services. I extend a heartfelt thanks to Equinox employees, whose input ensures that we remain a great place to work.

If you have pain in your personal or professional life, I encourage you to face it, rather than mask it. I think you will emerge stronger, and the path ahead will be more successful.

About the Author: Byron Middendorf is the CEO, owner, and founder of Equinox Information Systems, where he oversees the company’s sales, marketing, implementation, and support initiatives. With over 30 years’ experience in the telecommunications industry, Byron provides vision and long-term strategic development for the company and its complete suite of software solutions. Although he enjoys those tasks, he is most passionate about his mission to ensure that Equinox is a great place to work. To learn more, visit www.equinoxis.com or call (615) 612-1200.