Acceptance makes an incredible fertile soil for the seeds of change.
– Steve Maraboli

Pain x Resistance

suffering equals pain times resistanceIn Buddhist philosophy, suffering equals pain times resistance. When we learn to accept the pain, be it an experience, our reality or certain relationships, this can actually cause less suffering than struggling against whatever was causing our pain.

Something I have learnt over the years is that acceptance doesn’t have to mean we have to like, want, choose or even support whatever it is we are accepting. We all have unfortunate and challenging situations that we face and people around us that we have to deal with, and this is a certainty in life.


Acceptance is an active process after all the word “acceptance” is a verb. Every time we practise acceptance, we create and strengthen neural pathways in our brain that would you believe, pave the way for ease in the future.

Hard to digest and believe this at times and I reckon adopting what I call a “Gift Mindset™” can help.

Only when we become deeply aware can we accept whatever the situation is to then learn and action the lesson.

This three-step process is HOW you can adopt a Gift Mindset™ and remember gifts can come through challenging people and situations and also through happy and memorable situations and people.

It’s all about taking the time to step back and reflect so we don’t miss the opportunities to become even more.

Developing a Gift Mindset

The Gift Mindset ModelI believe to adopt this mindset; we need to focus on these 3 areas:


By being deeply self-aware of the event you are looking within and taking the time to reflect on the situation, people involved and the actual event and how it made you feel, not just logically by how you felt in your heart and your body.

Leaders I have worked with using this 3-step process find it helpful to journal as much as they remember and find that externalising their thoughts and memories of the event helps with the process.

  • What happened?
  • When did it happen?
  • How did I feel?
  • The facts, evidence and details


This is where you need to reframe the event as an experience. As I mentioned, it doesn't mean you have to like, support or even choose the situation. We need to think about whether this acceptance will help or hinder us and what I mean by this is….can you move on or does the situation need addressing. An example could be being stuck in a job you absolutely detest. Accepting this will only hinder you whereas if you accept that it's the wrong job, you will you look for a new one…hence helpful acceptance.

In December last year, my husband and I call finally called it quits after 5 years of trying to conceive a baby through IVF. Both of us being eternal optimists really thought the process would be successful, which it was at times but never eventuated to a baby in our arms.

What I learnt during this process was that sometimes certain things aren’t meant to be. I reframed the “event” of not falling pregnant, as hard as it was, to the “experience” of accepting it wasn’t meant to be, here and now. This was obviously devastating for both of us, but looking at the situation differently and from a higher level made me feel lighter and not as attached to the outcome. Other people can also have an influence on the level of acceptance that takes place.

My beautiful 16-year-old niece said to me when she found out we had given up on IVF…

“Aunty Nee, the world needs you too much, that's maybe why it hasn’t happened.”

This deeply heart provoking comment stopped me in my tracks, literally.

I've always been the rock amongst friends, my family and also in my work. Naturally, I am a giver and have always thought this to be my purpose on this planet, in this lifetime.

The awareness of these thoughts, realisations and how they made me feel, helped me accept the experience and gave me the space and opportunity to learn from this, deal with it, and  be able to move forward


We can’t move forward and truly adopt a Gift Mindset ™ until we learn the lesson and believe what it means to us personally. As a leader, I think the value and power of learning the lesson from challenging or insightful situations is underrated.  Organisations taking risks and making mistakes should be turning the event into an experience to learn and accept and share the lesson, not burying it under the rug like many do.

The lesson for me in the past when dealing with a very average line manager, I think I called him the gift, was how not to be moving forward as a leader and ironically has led me to spend my life working with and teaching and mentoring leaders to be their best.

A few thought provokers:

  • If there was one key lesson, what would that be?
  • Who else could benefit from this?
  • How will I share it?
  • What will I do to bring this lesson to other areas of my life?

As always I’d love to hear your ideas, thoughts and process on accepting the good and the bad and how you may utilise adopting a Gift Mindset™

Lead to be limitless




Renee Giarrussso Director RG Dynamics Pty Limited Limited Leadership

If this article has resonated with you in any way – I’d love to hear your thoughts – get in touch.  Being in service to my clients is why I do what I do, and your feedback, insight and any suggestions are always embraced.

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Renée is a mentor, coach, expert facilitator and keynote speaker. She is the author of ‘Limitless Leadership’ and co-author of ‘Leaders of Influence’.

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