When you fly, you probably don’t pay a lot of attention to the safety briefings . . . If you were to really listen, there’s some very sound advice that applies across the board personally and professionally.
It goes something along the lines of “If the airplane loses cabin pressure, the oxygen mask in the ceiling above you will drop down. Grab the mask and give it a tug and strap it over your nose and mouth. If you are travelling with others or children, put YOUR mask on before helping others”
Of course, this violates the natural parental instinct and the tendencies of people who live in service to others. This group likely encompasses a large portion of the human population because I believe most people are generous of heart and may help others first and think of themselves later.
The truth is . . . If you don’t think of yourself first . . . and stuff happens beyond your control . . . You might find yourself taken out of the game and unable to help others when you’re needed most.
Case in point . . . I had what I believe to have been the flu beginning last Thursday. I had made many promises to many people of things that would get done that week and this week, so I chose to ignore the ailment and continue to press forward. This Thursday, I learned my lesson (again) and literally got knocked of my feet by a raging sinus infection resulting in 2 bed-ridden days. I’m mending now but am also reflecting back on the week and realizing that in the past week, I was running at @ 50% of my performance potential and not really serving anyone well (especially myself) . . .
The human body is unforgiving about things like this and will always win in the end . . . High fever and intense physical discomfort will always get my attention. I went to the Doctor and got the right medication and should be in the flow by Monday or Tuesday.
Pushing through pain and discomfort may sound and feel heroic, but for optimal performance, I believe we need to throttle it.
There’s a difference in pushing through discomfort to excel – that is – CHANGING our way . . . and being “stupid” by continuing forward when the discomfort is from a malady.
That’s always going to be the recipe for “crash & burn”.
Tangentially, this context crosses every facet of our lives because we KNOW when a situation is unhealthy and debilitating almost always LONG before we do anything about it . . . Yet we continue to plod forward just hoping it’ll work itself out.
In our relationships,
In our Client work.
In our businesses.
In everything we do.
The best salve for this sore is a constant reminder to self to FIRST take care of self . . . and this is going to require (perhaps) a little less bravado in the beginning such that you can still be standing and effective when the real challenges surface.
In Open Space Technology, we call this “the Dead Moose under the table”. Organizations and people all have dead Meese under their tables – Un-named, unrecognized, but obviously present because they smell bad and attract flies . . . and the only way to deal with them is to drag them out from under the table and deal with them.
Had I taken it easier on myself last week, I likely would’ve only been “down” for a couple of days and probably would have avoided the prolonged illness and nasty ensuing infection.
How does this apply in your life?
Go ahead and pull that moose out from under the table before it gets too smelly 🙂