We take a lot of things for granted in this life … like walking.
Last winter I had some pretty extensive foot surgery. Sure, I expected some recovery time, but it was longer and involved more rehabilitation than I had counted on – I essentially needed to learn to walk again after being in a cast, and then a boot for three months.
Although this isn’t the heroic story of someone who learns to walk again after losing a limb or being in a severe accident, it certainly was humbling for me. This setback made me reflect on how, in life, sometimes you need to stop, assess, and start again from the beginning. When you can’t walk, it is certainly a wake-up call – and you put yourself in the hands of experts.
At some point in our lives, we all need to reach out for help and lean on other people (sometimes literally!). Taking those “baby steps” again as I re-learned the basics of balance, stability, and moving my body in the correct way made me think of the parallels to coaching. The physical shifts and the mental shifts involved mirror each other.
In my energy coaching practice, I am the one telling others to start at the beginning, work from the ground up, and lean on me for support. Just like my physical therapists, I am trying to help people get from one place to another. It’s not always easy, and often, it takes a lot of hard work over a period of time to get there.
I am now through the worst of it and walking several miles each day. I’ve realized the surgery and all the physical therapy were worth the end result. Here are the lessons I’ll try to hold on to and embed in my coaching practice:
- Don’t take things for granted. Easy to say … hard to do. Be grateful for what you have and try not to be resentful when you no longer have those things.
- It’s OK to start all over again. We are all starting from different places, and sometimes you need to regroup and go back to square one.
- You will get discouraged. And angry. And furious. It’s natural to get discouraged but remember you are learning and perfecting the process.
- Reach out for help. What resources do you have? Although it might not be in your nature, take stock of the people or organizations that are there to help and lean on them. When you lose hope, those folks can help lift you to the next milestone.
- Take baby steps. It’s natural to want to hurry up and do all the things necessary to get better. But sometimes slow is good. If you can trust your guide (therapist/coach/mentor), learning each new step can end in a better result.
- Be realistic. Be realistic with yourself that change is going to take time. Also be realistic about the milestones that will get you there.
- Gain new perspectives. Sitting on the sidelines gives you a new appreciation, and also time to look at things with fresh eyes. Shifting your perspective may help you understand situations better
- Be aware of your blind spots. Sometimes you don’t see the bumps in the road that may trip you up. When reassessing your goals, try to be consciously aware of your blind spots. Believe me, I have a new appreciation of physical accessibility issues, something that I had not considered much in the past.
- Keep your skills current. This is always a good practice, but my forced slow-down gave me a chance to do some research and work on some new skills as I was recuperating.
- Just keep swimming. As Dory tells Nemo, in Finding Nemo, “just keep swimming” or walking! Try to make forward progress each day. . Keep moving and you will regain strength, whether it is physical or mental.
Life may throw us curveballs, but we need to gain wisdom and knowledge from those experiences in order to forge ahead.