Pain-points, Entrepreneurs, And The Inimitable Ms Franklin

News of the death of Aretha Franklin touched hearts across the globe yesterday.

She was a woman filled to the brim with talent; a glorious voice that could bring listeners to tears, happy or sad, and leave them feeling emotions on a scale that perhaps few could achieve, and an ability to write songs that reached in and soothed our pain. 

She had experienced great suffering too, abused by those who should have looked after and out for her; using alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with rejection as she was pushed aside by her record label in favour of artists who were younger, and thought of as 'better'. 

She was a fighter. A woman who overcame hurdles that others wouldn't even attempt and, in the process, gave her pain a voice.

A voice that soared through stadiums, speakers, earphones, and straight into souls.

Aretha Franklin learned how to use her pain to achieve. It may not have been her prime motivator, much more likely to be a by-product, but she took it anyway, and she used it as salve that went some way towards healing her wounds - and helping those who were listening and struggling too.

It's the same process that entrepreneurs, especially social entrepreneurs, use. We take a problem, a pain point, and we find a solution.

The process may sometimes be painful, but the end result is worth it. Helping others, as well as yourself, can be seen as a price worth paying.

It's not always easy (but then entrepreneurs are hard-wired to love a challenge) and it will certainly test you to your limits. And the painful bits are often forgotten, or perhaps glossed over, as the solution draws closer and we reach our goal of helping others - in whatever form that may take.

The outpouring of love for Ms Franklin since the announcement of her death is testament to her courage, her tenacity, and her unique and beautiful voice.

Her ability to take her pain, channel it, and produce a legacy that has given, and will continue to give, invaluable respite from life and its tribulations for others for years to come, is a tribute to her both as an artist and as a woman.


The next time you're struggling with your own challenges, business or otherwise, and the pain part starts to become a little overwhelming it's worth remembering that growth, and change, are painful - but eminently worth it in the end.