REFLECTION: A couple of months ago, I headed off to the physiotherapist with a complaint about a sore hip that was causing me to walk with a peg leg motion. To ace my pirate impersonation, all I needed was a black patch over my eye and a parrot on my shoulder.
By the time I finished describing my symptoms to my very talented physio, she had zeroed in directly on the problem. Turns out the source of the pain wasn’t the hip at all – but a tightening of the deep muscles and ligaments than run under the glutes referring the pain down the leg.
The treatment? Twenty minutes of serious assault using the heel of her hand and point of her elbow – followed up over the next two weeks by regular self torture treatments with a tennis ball (very hi tech!) – and intermittent relief from an ice pack carried in the back pocket of my jeans. Ipso facto! Cured … at least for the time being.
I know! I know! That’s probably more than you wanted to hear! So, why am I telling you this?
Because I’ve noted in many situations – physical and otherwise – that sometimes what we think is going on is not really what’s happening at all. We weave and leave some pretty tangled webs as we live, breathe and work!
For example, sometimes the overload we experience in our lives isn’t really a function of too much work, rather it’s a result of how we look at the tasks at hand. Having blown them out of proportion, we rehash our burdens with anyone who will listen, and in the process give them far more weight than they deserve.
Sometimes a remark that appears to be an intentional slur or slight, was really only a thoughtless offhand comment by someone who was feeling particularly nervous and ill at ease who tried to crack a funny that wasn’t.
ACTION: Each one of us holds a particular point of view. But we shouldn’t be too quick to draw conclusions about any given situation.
Pay attention to what you’ve chosen to notice and how you’ve chosen to think about it. Before getting too bent out of shape, based solely on your take on a situation, triangulate. Check in with one or two other people who have a knowledge of the situation or a deeper understanding of the issues – people who can and will look at events from a different angle.
Someone else just might be able to give you a fresh way of looking at things – one that eases the pressure, minimizes the problem, or finds a way to turn an Oh! Oh! into an Aha!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Just because you feel something, it doesn’t mean it’s true.” – Amy Jenkins
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: For a challenging read, dip into ‘Mental Traps’ by Andre Kukla (Random House, 2006). Kukla defines mental traps as the habitual ways of thinking that disturb our ease, waste enormous amounts of time, and sap our energy without accomplishing anything of value.
READERS WRITE: In reference to last week’s Pause message, Snowed Under, TT writes: Thank you for this column and its appropriateness for me. I am having a holiday party next week with my planning team. You know…the party that didn’t get done in December because there was too much “other” stuff to do!
I was going to use some slides I came across that show how far we’ve come over the last 8 years. For my team, I need to show that we have still made impressive progress despite what we were up against. We need to show that and understand that each of us can still make a difference with what we do day-to-day.
Your piece is going to be read as the opening to my slides. It is exactly what I wanted to say and you said it so much better than I could have.