I Had to be Hurt into Becoming Better…

Submitted by Al Etmanski on January 28, 2016 - 5:26pm

I’m lucky that the fractures, failures and cracks of my life have been good for me. Good for my character, good for my relationships, good for my change-making.

However, I had to be hurt into becoming a better person and in turn, a better change-maker.

By better I simply mean less righteous, less certain, less hard.

All of the hurts are of course deeply felt as they are for you.

Some are private and should remain so.

Many of those that aren’t, show up in my latest book, Impact. In it I describe the toll my warrior mentality took and how I became the very dragon I had set out to slay. The result was a trail of busted relationships with government, colleagues and friends. And a realization that my ‘chip on shoulder’ style may remove one set of obstacles or challenges but wasn’t sufficient to address the next set and the ones after that. This was primarily because I now had fewer allies and had accumulated more people who didn’t trust me.

These fault lines have led to my observation that tending to ‘who’ we are is integral to ‘what’ we do and ‘how’ we do it. That means nurturing the source of what Quebec philosopher Jacques Dufresne calls, our ‘moral oxygen’ and paying attention to our blind spots and limitations. It also means reconciling our outer activist self with our inner spiritual life.

Turns out that chips on shoulders make good compost!


1.     If you would like to dive deeper into this topic join me next Tuesday (Feb 2) at noon eastern for my webinar chat with the wise and wonderful Darcy Riddell. We will be discussing, “Who is as Important as How”.  Free registration here. Access all my podcasts here.

2.     Enter my musical contest Impact Swings and win BIG.


“I think the older we get the more we have to say. I could not have written this book back when I was twenty, or even when I was 30 … I had to be hurt into writing books.”

     — Louise Penny, bestselling author, mystery writer

The musical accompaniment for this post is, Where Will I Be? by Hull, Québec native, Daniel Lanois. Isn’t he marvelous?

The streets are cracked 
And there’s glass everywhere 
And a baby stares out 
With motherless eyes 
Under long gone beauty 
On fields of war 
Trapped in lament 
To the poet’s core 

Oh where oh where will I be 
Oh where oh when that trumpets sounds.