Monthly Archives: August 2011

The blessing of slowth…….

In my last blog I rattled on a bit about my bad knee and how I had been brought sharply up by experiencing disability and severe pain first hand. It shifted my view of things, gave me an opportunity to experience what it actually means. It was genuinely humbling and annoying in equal parts, and still is. I am still in pain, sadly, and have gone from the “when this gets better I will start cycling again” to ” I had better buy a couple of decent designer walking sticks that match my clothes……” and I have, in short, begun to suck it up.

Since reaching that conclusion I have noticed that, in fact, things have become easier. The pain is the same and don’t get me started about that. The first ten minutes of a car journey are spent groaning aloud until the pain settles – yes, I am a baby. So the disability remains, unchanged. What has changed is me. I am beginning to genuinely value the opportunity to look around me, take in the sights and smells and enjoy them (most of them)  and interact a little differently. It has made a difference not being able to leap up from my desk and trot down to the next department for a chat and the chance to rattle cages – I now walk a little slower, which gives me time to chat on the way as well as when I get there. As a super-focussed active achieving ambitious driven revved-up dynamic boss with buckets of energy (pauses for a round of applause….) it has been hard to adapt, to realise that I can still achieve, can still express my drive and focus, can retain my energy, but I have to use different tools. I have noticed that, because I am almost forced to talk at more length,  I am learning more about people; I am looking at people more closely; I am hearing different answers and asking different questions; I am using my energy to absorb as much as to reflect. The drive  and energy I have is spreading over a denser area and is actually achieving more because it has time to sink in. I have re-evaluated what matters to me during the day as well – the walking stick factor means I have fewer hands so need to rationalise what I carry around. Now when I travel around I know I have the things that matter with me, no more and no less. I have discovered, by accident, a new fresh way of managing and leading and it is fun! Accustomed to achieving and leading it has been a revelation to follow a different path towards success and find that it is even more satisfying than it was before.  This has both astonished and delighted me.

I believe the people I lead are also happier – there are more opportunities to be heard, more avenues to understanding. Before The Knee I believe there were those opportunities – after all, I had created and embedded them, recognising the need for those interactive oases and hot-spots, a bit of directed interaction. Since The Knee I can see that those oases were drying upa little  and needed to be refreshed. So Thank You Knee

My designer walking sticks are fab, by the way………and I have discovered the Walking Stick Club. I had not realised the covert winks and nods that go on between walking stick owners – the exchanged looks that say “nice stick, I know how you must feel. It’s ok”. I have had countless absorbing conversations with fellow walking-stickers and have even taken instruction from a perfect stranger, who was perfectly charming, who described to me how he had made the rather fabulous stick he was using when we met in the orthopaedics waiting room. Fascinating! It’s opened up a whole new universe for me! And this website sells some really gorgeous walking sticks:

So I say Thank You Knee. I wish you didn’t hurt, I will be glad when we have sorted you out, but Thank You for pointing me towards fresh conversations, new insights and better communication.

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