You are valuable.

You are a leader, and you can learn to lead better.

Healing is possible.

Your life isn’t over, actually its about to be great!

Pain is: a teacher, an escalator, and an ingredient for greatness.

Your best days are ahead.

Everything begins with you; You are the solution and remedy to someone’s problem.

Pain in people has a purpose when we let it teach us.

Pain in systems, organizations, cities, and governments can be leveraged for justice and excellence.

Broken things make the best wins.

Difference is an ingredient for success.

Transformation is a choice; It’s contagious.

Spirit, soul and body; The spiritual life is the foundation for success.

Scripture is the foundation for life; The place where truth springs from.

| My Foundation |

And He will delight in the fear of the Lord,

And He will not judge by what His eyes see,

Nor make decisions by what His ears hear;

But with righteousness and justice He will judge the poor,

And decide with fairness for the downtrodden of the earth;

And He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,

And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.  Isaiah 11:3-5

And the rest, some on boards, and some on [broken pieces] of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land. Acts 27:44

To grant consolation and joy to those who mourn in Zion, to give them an ornament a garland or diadem of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment expressive of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit, that they may be called oaks of righteousness lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. Isaiah 61:3

| How I Got Here |

I was blessed to have a 22 year career in the state corrections system. I learned about pain and how it shows up in people, places and things. I began as a correction officer and moved through the ranks to counselor, counselor supervisor and then promoted to parole manager.

I completed a BA in Sociology, and MSW, D.Min in Biblical Counseling and formal training in criminal justice leadership, management, substance abuse counseling and clinical supervision.

In organizational systems and communities, pain looks like abuse of power and control, addiction, crime, broken families and organizational dysfunction like sexual harassment and racial bias.

Pain in individuals shows up as soul sickness, grief, food and drug addiction, sexual abuse and divorce to name a few.

Pain is pain, no matter the number of people who feel it. Pain is transferrable.

Ministry Life taught me about people and pain. Ministry with my husband gave us the opportunity to be with people in joy and sorrow, in provision and in loss. Working in teams as a member and a leader in music, counseling, teaching, poetry, and developing new programs and systems, and as a community volunteer with non profit organizations and youth sports are all about the needs of people. Ministry can be a place of pain too.

We can give so much of ourselves until we become empty and forget the need for refilling and repairing our broken places.

Lesson: Give to yourself so you can give to others. If we fail to honor ourselves the same way we honor those we serve, we risk becoming bruised, empty and broken with nothing left to give.

Helpers and people who serve others often suffer from burnout and compassion fatigue. A friend used the term “rust out”; People who don’t address their burn out will eventually rust out. I was there.  Family Pain is a type of soul pain that we carry. It will confine you and try to kill you if you don’t confront it.

Family pain is like a roadblock or a hurdle in your life from your family system. The junk in you that remains after you grow up then it shows up. I had a lot of it.

Instead of confronting my pain, I learned to help other people instead. Working and doing is a way to avoid the reality of effects of childhood trauma, abuse, and parental conflicts. Like lots of people, I learned to turn to food and church. It worked until swallowing my pain down started to erupt into numbness and silence.

It was time to deal.

The sister of pain is fear; Immobilizing and paralyzing fear. Called many things, FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. Instead of swallowing and stalling, I had to come face to face with my pain and find a process to grow.

I found power when I picked up my pen again. Through writing I began to heal in the crevices of my soul.

My Lessons:

1. Pain can be transformed.

2. Pain can be recycled into peace.

3. Pain can give you power.

I learned what used to harm you will bless you.

| Unplug and Reset |

We unplugged careers, left family and friends, moved states, and started the journey.

I started to write. Journaling everything and healing.

A  model emerged on how to move past stuck: The Reset Life Journal.

Everybody deserves to heal and be well. Moms, dads, counselors, ministers, teachers and leaders needs to exhale. Helpers need to heal so they can be effective.

On my journey, I discovered clarity when I walked away. I was able to see myself clearly and understand why I was still here.

The fire of process produces change. Instead of being the old paralyzed person we were, we emerge through discovery. Clarity, resolve, deeper connection, purpose, motivation, acceptance, and forgiveness are doorways to the new you and the new me.

My adventure uncovered what I couldn’t see clearly about myself: That I survived to thrive, and I break boxes and build bridges. I pioneer with words.

Lesson: You must break your own boxes before you can help people break theirs.

I learned to play soccer when I attended private high school. They taught me to play the sport and I did well. Eventually, I transferred to public school. When soccer season started I was told I couldn’t play because there was no women’s team. I petitioned the school and was denied. I was determined to play, so I decided to go on the mens team. That didn’t go over well, because the varsity mens soccer team was sacred and I did not fit.

That same year,  Title 9 in high school sports was being litigated in courtrooms across the nation on behalf of female athletes who wanted equal access to participate in male dominated sports. I just wanted to play. I was respectful and followed the protocol, but no was an answer I would not accept.

So I played. I was the only girl on the varsity mens soccer team. I think my school administrators were shocked. The next season, the women soccer team was created. With an assigned coach, together we recruited and trained the members of the women varsity soccer team. That year we lost every game, but to me we were all winners.


If you value acceptance more than your passion, you will choke the pioneer in you.

If you focus and breathe, the pressure of your assignment will push the pioneer out of you.

| Innovate. Integrate. Include. |

Pain is a catalyst. It will push you to create solutions instead of settling and agreeing to live with problems.

I was confronted with a painful and pervasive community problem. Gun violence, young people releasing from prison and school enrollment challenges faced my office. These were pain points for me personally and professionally. As a team we decided to create a solution. We developed an engagement inclusion and achievement model. Clients, families, schools and the jails were part of the solution. As a result, we saw less victims and more graduates. We saw kids start college and remain active in the project. Hybrid models work.

Lesson: Solutions are wrapped inside the pain of problems.

|  Retire. Rewire. Fresh Fire. |

Recycling is key when you grow from pain into passion and progress. I had to realize that I had something valuable to say. When our environment changes so does the audience. It can feel as if your influence and significance is altered because your familiar people, places and things aren’t there.

Your feel goods are missing! This is an amazing gift! When we lose our props we have to stand up and speak up.

Lesson: I realized that one of my gifts is I help people take out the trash. You can recycle what broke you and make it bless and build you.

| What Now? |

My life’s work has been to extinguish pain and empower people. At the smallest level person to person, and within teams, organizations, and communities. I will coach, train, write, speak, counsel and consult.

Leadership is a transformational journey; The leader is transformed so that they can be a more effective leader.

Where is the pain?

Let’s work together to stop the bleeding, create success and find your happy place!

Leigh Karen Ware || Extinguish Pain. Empower People

Leigh Ware

Author Leigh Ware

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