This question concerns all the domains of our lives.
We have pain in relationships, one to one and one to many.
Pain in our financial affairs.
Pain in our physical and mental health.
Pain in our longings and discontents about our lifestyle.
Of course, sometimes it’s only minor, but other times it’s a real ‘pain in the neck’!
It can manifest in different ways, physical pain, anxiety, anguish, frustration, even boredom.
But it’s an odd thing, pain.
The symptoms of pain you and I feel are usually not in the ‘right place’.
If you cut yourself then the pain appears at the site of the cut, but if you have a pain in your leg and there is no clear injury such as a bruise, then the pain is really coming from another source – it just manifests as a symptom in your leg.
I’ve recently had sciatica which appeared as a severe pain in my left leg. But it had nothing to do with my leg – the pain was caused by a scoliosis near the base of the spine – but I felt no pain whatsoever in my back or at the site where the MRI scan revealed the problem.
Now this is important.
It’s important because we develop symptoms – or pains – physical, or mental, quite a lot of the time. We feel a pain of some sort and assume that where and how we feel the pain is actually where the problem is located.
We take that pain to a ‘doctor’ and describe the symptoms and what we feel might be the cause.
But it’s only ever the immediate – or superficial – cause.
We often mistake symptoms for problems when they are not, because the real problem is elsewhere in our mind or body.
We ask the ‘doctor’ for something to take away the pain.
Now the ‘doctor’ is not always a medical practitioner.
The doctor may be a coach, a holistic therapist, a hypnotherapist or some other person dealing with the woes of the mind or body.
But what about financial pain, or business pain, or career pain, or anxiety about an examination or inspection of some kind?
We take steps to remedy that pain directly usually with some sort of financial ‘sticking plaster’ that papers over the cracks by injecting more money such as a loan into our personal or business account or taking special measures to deal with what we might think about an upcoming exam or inspection.
More often than not we treat the symptoms rather than the cause.
When we don’t even know what the cause is.
You and I have discontents we wish to get away from and longings we wish to move towards.
Both are an expression of pain.
We do things and buy things in the first instance to help relieve some sort of pain – at whatever level.
Sometimes we think, ‘I just need to get away for a bit’, and book a holiday, sometimes we think ‘I’m feeling a bit down’ so we have ‘nice cup of tea’.
Notice what you are doing during the day. Notice the feelings that come upon you, the longings and discontents, however minor or trivial, and notice your response.
Notice what you are noticing and find a ‘good doctor’.
A good doctor will not give you paracetamol or sticking plaster.
A good doctor will not just give you something to make your pain go away temporarily
A good doctor will find the underlying cause, the root cause, and treat that.
How do you and I recognise a ‘good doctor’?
There’s a reason why senior, experienced doctors are called ‘consultants’ – because that’s what they do.
They talk to you and start to discover, with you, the cause of your pain, they diagnose the problem and suggest a treatment.
As should a good therapist, a good counsellor, a good lawyer, a good business consultant and a good marketer (or if you must, salesperson).
And unlike the conventional medicine system where you go through a triage process if several separate steps to get to the medical consultant, you can find your ‘good doctor’ directly.
- You don’t need a doctor or a treatment you need a solution
- You don’t need a therapy or a therapist you need a result
- You don’t need a product, brand or feature or even a service, you need a benefit
- You don’t need to know the questions, you need the answers
- You don’t need to be controlled, you need to be in control
Look for people, organisations and companies who are offering what you want (or in other words what you don’t have).
The answers, the solutions, the results, the benefits and the control you don’t have – the lack of which is causing you discontent, longing and pain
The people who offer any of these five things will always first offer you a consultation, a clarity call, an evaluation, a diagnosis, or provide some other way of helping you to find the root cause of your pain.
Sometimes they will expect a remuneration for it and sometimes they won’t. Either way what they are offering, identification of the case of your pain, must have a value for you.
But there’s something else.
Just like the GP in the medical profession the people or providers you are looking for will have two characteristics.
They will also be ‘general practitioners’ in their field.
They will not know all the answers (anyone who says they do is to be avoided) but they will have a wide enough knowledge and be experienced enough to identify the potential cause of your pain and identify the best provider of the solution to resolve your particular issue.
Which may not be them or something that they themselves can provide.
They will identify the best possible benefit for you regardless of whether or not you become their client or customer.
Why would they do that?
Because they know, if they do that, if they demonstrate their integrity, you will come back to them when something else crops up and refer other people to them.
Whatever it is you think you need to fix your immediate pain, longing or discontent, don’t go to someone who is offering some sort of universal panacea – ‘this method fixes everything’ – but find s ‘general’ practitioner in the appropriate field who will help you identify the real problem and find the right person to help you with the solution.
That, I know, is easier said than done, but you really don’t want to go to a specialist in your symptoms, you need a specialist in whatever is causing them.
And if you don’t know the root cause, find someone who can help you find someone who can find it.