I lie to myself…a lot
Inspiration strikes at strange times, take now for example. I was given a book of 365 puzzles for Christmas, the design shows that the intention behind it is to do 1 puzzle per day. It’s brain training but in bitesize chunks which, if you’ve ever read any of my posts, is exactly how I like to do just about everything.
Whilst I was working on a puzzle I started to think about the day before – a visit to the hospital and what I should take from it and I hit myself smack bang in the face with some home truths that I’d been pushing to the back of my mind for months.
It all started with Friday when I went to my weekly physio appointment in Cambridge, the hospital is about 45 minutes away from where I live and leaving my front door and sitting in the waiting room takes around an hour ‘door – to – bum on seat’.
Yep, thinking about it threw up some uncomfortable truths about my personality type, my behaviour patterns and my general ‘I want instant gratification’ trait that I am not always happy with.
Friday was a process from start to finish and it reminded me of a few very basic things that I’m going to make a supreme effort to bear in mind over the next few months.
I hope it makes you think about your personal goals, habits and lessons learned in such a way that you actually make some changes this year. Not for 2020 but for you, forever.
Lesson 1 – counter balance is a real thing:
First issue I have is that when I feel particularly stressed or anxious on a personal level I search for excuses and not solutions for my own problems.
So yeah, I almost cancelled the appointment because I found a hell of a lot of excuses.
You see, Ryan had eye surgery 4 days before and was still required to posture which basically meant that for 55 minutes of every hour he had to lay on his right hand side.
I was worried about leaving him for what was likely to be a 2.5 hour round trip. I was also worried about driving for more than 30 minutes in case I wasn’t ready for it, after all it had barely been 4 weeks since I had hand surgery.
My head was swimming with excuses to cancel
- I should be here because someone might knock at the door and he would have to stop posturing and try to corral the dog who would go nuts.
- What if I overran and it spanned the time I needed to make sure he had taken his medication and eye drops?
- What if I couldn’t manage a whole hour behind the wheel?
What if…what if…what if.
I was certain I was going to cancel it. I had worried about it all Thursday night and really struggled in the morning too; girlfriend guilt was strong because I felt like I was putting myself first. I’m sure I’m not the only one that struggles with this kind of guilt?
I tried to take a step back and I asked myself how could I allay some of my worries? Was there a way that I could make any adjustments or contingencies?
I was reminded of that phrase that someone once so eloquently said ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’.
So instead of cancelling I…
- Wrote a note for our front door that asked people not to knock unless it was an emergency as someone was recovering from surgery and it wasn’t currently safe for them to move.
- I made sure Ryan had taken his medication in the moments just before I left which would give me 4 hours grace. I also made sure that I’d left it for him to easily use in case I wasn’t back in time.
- I left 20 minutes earlier than I normally would and planned a rest break for 15 minutes in the middle of the journey in case I needed it.
Of course it all went fine, I was there and back in 3 hours on the nose. Ryan was fine when I got back (still asleep on the sofa in fact) and I remembered and I’m here to remind you:
^ Click to tweet!
I addressed some of my concerns, I put things in place to counter balance them and made some contingency plans for the ‘what if’s’
Lesson 2 – do the bloody work:
During my physio session I was reminded of how improved my hand is. For 2 years I had 0 movement in my finger tip. Not that much of an issue? It was for me. It had meant that my tendons on both sides of my hand were tightening because they couldn’t move freely.
Think of the tendons like a pulley (see image), both sides work synergistically to make the whole process work. Now imagine that the very top of the pulley has been glued so that it can’t move. As you can imagine that means that the other elements of the pulley can’t do their job either.
That was my right hand and as it worked less, more of it was becoming ‘glued’ / stuck which meant I was getting more and more reduced movements and lots more daily pain.
The physio I see has seen me through since day one and is fantastic. We were talking and I was gushing about how happy I was with the outcome of the surgery and how the surgeon was so great – even though I only have 10% movement it has moved the needle enough to enable me to use my hand in my day to day life (like typing, washing my hair, pushing myself out of the bath safely, using a knife and fork properly and supporting myself using bannisters etc.)
Jemma paused and looked at me whilst I basically just threw up all the words I knew (I was insanely chatty) and said to me “don’t forget you’re doing the work, surgery wouldn’t have worked without you tirelessly doing your physio when there’s no-one there to cheer you on.”
And I do. Every hour I do around 35 exercises. I wear a splint 3-5 times a day which is super uncomfortable to help lengthen my tendons (which have shortened with multiple repairs) and I wear a thing at night that supports my hand, reduces swelling and reduces the production of collagen. I still have to take mild painkillers every 4 hours or it hurts too much to manage the physio. I also go to my appointments, get ultrasound therapy, put through my paces with additional exercises and do what I’m told.
The surgery gave me the tools but it was my job to use them.
The needle wouldn’t have moved if I had not committed to the work. Even though I hate it, even though it’s painful and frustrating and there doesn’t always seem to be an end in sight.
Do the work. Results take time but they do come! < Click to tweet!
This isn’t just a life lesson, it’s a key business strategy for any entrepreneur. In business as in life It’s normal to be struggling with where to start with it all. There is help out there if you find yourself unsure.
If you are interested in doing a 1 hour workshop with me to get some clarity then I would love to hear from you – click this link to sign up to my FREE email breakdown on ‘DOING THE WORK’ and find out more about the workshop.
Lesson 3 – taking care of yourself is NON NEGOTIABLE:
Ok so I touched on this already.
I gave every excuse as to why Ryans health was more important than mine. But by finding a way to go to that appointment I reminded myself that without my taking care of myself there wouldn’t be a me capable of doing the things we all needed me to do.
He needed me to be able to drive and help support his recovery, as a small business owner my business needed me to be able to function and create and do my work, my son needs me for the school run, homework help, study support and love and I need me to be able to live my life well.
I so often think of other people as being more important than me and it’s a bad habit to be in simply that the other person is currently in need of more of my help than usual and that absolutely means I needed to look after myself as a priority.
Reminding myself that taking care of my health is a personal goal for me and not at all selfish but in fact allows me to be generous in physical and emotional support to my loves is important.
Your health should be the very top of your daily non negotiables list. I’m trying to do that more myself.
I know it’s all human behaviour but genuinely sometimes I wonder at the psychology of everyday living and how we often struggle with our own mental health (as well as physical) because we are simply not taking better care of ourselves in the situations where we have the ability if only we could bring ourselves to.
Social media can make that seem tougher but I for one am trying to be more authentic in my social media strategy. I would love to connect with you there – why don’t you head over to my Instagram – I share more of the behind the scenes and day to day stuff over there.