“Pain pushes until vision pulls.” Michael Bernard Beckwith

I have experienced that there is fuel for change in pain, often long before a new vision becomes clear. In the midst of any current pain, I can choose to allow space for vision to emerge. The more I can surrender and allow rather than contract and protect myself, the more I open up as a channel for vision to emerge through me.

Pain and vision are inherent parts of The Change Formula. In this year’s Leadership Detroit class XLI, Daniel PiepszowskiMark Ostach and I have been sharing The Change Formula with the class as a lens to leading change:

(V x D) + FS > R = C

(Vision x Dissatisfaction) + First Steps > Resistance = Change

This particular version of The Change Formula is part of Commitment #15 (Being the Resolution) in “The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership” by Dethmer, Chapman, and Klemp.

What I love about The Change Formula is that it acknowledges that both Vision and Dissatisfaction (aka PAIN) are multiplied as fuel for change. First Steps are important too, but not sufficient. In order to overcome Resistance to change, it takes the whole left side of the equation (V x D) + FS.

Is your pain pushing or your vision pulling? What if you could allow both pain and vision to propel you past any resistance that is currently holding you back?

Is your organization ready for a change?

Stephanie Blackburn Freeth is the creator of The Strategy Tango.


The Strategy Tango is designed to move through seven tried and true planning steps while also accommodating the unique needs of your organization in each moment.


The Strategy Tango process is built upon a foundation of collaboration, candor, and focus.

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