Every pure-hearted leader wants to make a difference and bring societal change. When your leadership is courageously sourced by a higher purpose to make a difference, your central core finds an unparalleled expression. When you’re an eyewitness to positive change, small or large, you become aware that your life example and daily investments make an honest difference.

Though inevitable, no one wants to be hurt! Our humanity subconsciously tries to protect us from emotional pain. The dichotomy of our self-protective mechanisms is that the same walls we build to protect ourselves keep others out, which ultimately sabotages our ability to make a difference. I had to choose years ago where I was going to place my leadership attention. I had a choice to protect my heart from pain or take the gutsy leap to change my world for good. I chose the latter.

I’d love to say that my courageous and noble decision protected my heart from hurt pounding at its door. It did not. Hurts have come and gone, but they have not stopped me from making a difference.  That decision didn’t have the power to legislate another’s heart or externally control their decisions, but it did have the capacity to solidify my internal response in spite of the pain.


“If I am not close enough to be hurt I am not close enough to make a difference.”


Let’s look at some powerful benefits of managing pain’s internal responses.

Protection from being controlled by fear-based strategies: Our initial innate response to disappointment, rejection, betrayal or devaluation is fear. Fear will act in response by emotionally spewing as a piece of our mind is regurgitated creating a huge mess to clean up. Or, in another potential fear-reaction, we may hide in internal avoidance devising embittered plans. Both are destructive!


“Action and speech conceived from fear-based emotion will result in actions and speech that you’ll undoubtedly regret.”


Our internal compass persistently points “true north:” True north describes our life’s direction. Hurts are like arrows hurled at the core of our ability to make a difference. As we understand healthy internal responses to pain we can choose to hold steady the course; we can disallow the pain to re-route us away from our true north. We will not relegate the control of our life’s helm to the temporary storm of heartache.

Necessary emotional energies are protected for proper distribution: We are containers of unique contributions that will make the difference. As we employ an internal guard to conserve our emotional energies, we will recognize that wasting our energy on what we are powerless to control uses up the fuel that is needed to advance our journey.


“Courage is manifested when compelled by a higher cause and yet not absent of fear or void of personal sacrifice.”


Allow your internal courage to take you from a place of powerlessness and pain to a place of making a difference. Yes, you’ll face unforeseen challenges. At times fear will scream, “you’re not good enough!” The price you pay will be substantial, but when you see the difference you are making—small or great—it will be worth it all and you will be doing the happy dance!


Dr. Melodye Hilton


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