On our trip to Scotland, I broke my foot. In several places it would seem. This happened on the second day of our bike trip. We had just summitted a peak in the beautiful Highlands and we stopped at the side of the road for a celebratory piece of chocolate, a rest and a picture. The roads in this part of the country are narrow at best; they reminded me of the bike paths we enjoy here at home.
While we stood at the side of the road, we noticed the approach of a largish truck. I thought it would be best if I took one more step away from the road to make sure I was well out of harms way. As I stepped with my right foot, the earth gave way beneath it and I completely lost my balance. Realizing I was going to fall I did one of those Rolodex spins of all the possibilities at my disposal. Since I was facing away from the road, and momentum was winning, the two options seemed to be falling forward into a large thorn bush across the ditch, risking using my wrists to break the fall, or trying to use my left leg to jump over the ditch. I chose Option B.
Alas, I am not the gazelle I pictured in my mind. While I did jump, I clearly underestimated both the width and depth of the ditch. The ditch was deep and though it was wide at the top it was narrow at the bottom. My left foot struck firmly near the bottom of it. Sadly, the ditch wasn’t as wide as my foot is long and so I thoughtfully allowed my foot to bend upward to compensate. Clearly, Option B was not the ideal choice. I knew right away that I had a ‘big hurt’. I thought if I sat and held my foot for a bit, that the pain would subside and I might walk it off.
The initial lightning bolt pain did ease, but the lingering pain let me know that I might be in a bit of trouble. Sometimes though, a girl just has to do what a girl has to do. And so, I got back on my bike, placing the edge of my heel on the pedal and made my way to the closest town, about eighteen kilometres away where there was a medical clinic. Lest you think this was worse than it was, thankfully, much of the trip to town was downhill or relatively flat.
I was seen fairly quickly at the clinic and the doctor in charge thought it was likely severe soft tissue damage. I asked her what she thought about my continuing to cycle over the next four days. Her opinion was that if it was soft tissue damage, it would hurt, but I wouldn’t likely do more damage. As she said, if we want to X-ray it, we’d have to send you to the next town. And so, I received the following: a compression tube sock to relieve the swelling, and advice to take Advil and a ‘couple of shots of whiskey’.
Believe it or not, even thought I didn’t really believe her, I was relieved.
I did not want to be the reason the trip was cancelled or altered. I was, after all, supposed to be on this trip to bear witness, (see last week’s blog here) not to be the centre of attention. I felt like I had just been given license to continue as planned. So I did.
Upon arriving back in Calgary eleven days later, after completing the cycling trip, and then sightseeing in both Edinburgh and Dublin, often using the Hop On, Hop Off (with less emphasis on the hopping and more on the ‘On’ part) I realized I might need to make a return trip to my own doctor. While she did not criticize my earlier diagnosis and prescription, she did order X-rays. Two broken bones were quickly revealed, with a third ‘highly suspicious area’ also highlighted. An air boot cast was fitted along with a prescription for 4-6 weeks of no weight bearing. I was smart enough not to ask if I could run or cycle but I did have to check if that included dancing? Yes. Yoga? Yes.
I was cleared for unrestricted knitting.
This is how I have come to realize that my patience wears thin for being a patient.
I know I am a coach. I know I have all sorts of tools at my disposal for seeing this with a new perspective. I know the only thing I have control of is my attitude. I know ‘it could be worse’. I know, ‘I’m lucky I got to finish the trip’. I even know (because this too really was said to me) ‘It’s good it wasn’t Jim’.
And yet, I’m still impatient.
I’ve been thinking and thinking about what has me so out of sorts. I am coming to the conclusion that I have been trying to convince myself that since I only have control over my attitude, I simply need to make a choice about how I will ‘be’ throughout this process. This is not working for me. I’ve been so frustrated and so disappointed in myself for not being able to summon up the grit to ‘be’ who I want to be.
As I’ve gone over and over this in my mind, I recognize I have been focused on only one of the basic principles of coaching. I have been focused on ‘being’. Co-active coaching, the type in which I am trained, is all about three key things; being, doing and the relationship between these two. In other words, how we are being as we are doing. And what we are doing, as we are being.
Even with the prescription for no weight bearing, it is time for me to get ‘doing’. I cannot do my regular things. However, there is plenty I can do and I have a feeling that once I get started in this direction, the part of me that has been disappointed in myself might disappear. As my first step (no pun intended) I have heard about a former colleague of mine who is temporarily in a care facility as she recovers from an unsuccessful surgery and as she awaits the new surgery to fix her issue. I have a feeling she would be happy to see me. In person. I also have a feeling that I will be just fine, sitting with her, ‘doing’ nothing.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘Being while doing? Or doing while being?’
Elizabeth creates and facilitates custom workshops for corporate, public and private groups. She provides leadership and personal coaching for individuals and groups. Contact Elizabeth to learn how to focus on both being and doing.