CRASH!**#?!! BOOM!*#♫@?!! BANG!#*?*@!! Sorry for the loud intrusion, but those were the sounds interjected into the end of my two-week speaker tour in late fall. After a very enjoyable convention-opening keynote of “The Art of Masterful Networking” in Orlando, followed by a fun poolside barbecue dance party with the dedicated healthcare attendees, I was heading for the shower before flying home to Colorado. But . . . not so fast! Suffice it to say that the half-open design of the high-end shower door was literally my downfall. It sneakily lightly sprayed water off of the shower wall onto the floor, and before even entering, I turned to get shampoo from my room, slipped and was catapulted upward, crashing down hard and strong. An ambulance ride confirmed a compression fracture to my L1 vertebrae and a five-day stay in one of Orlando’s finest hospitals (and without even having a reservation!).
Returning home, I was sequestered to my hospital bed on the main floor with doctor’s orders to spend the first three weeks flat on my back. Lest you’re not familiar with this “flat-on-your-back concept,” this does mean 100% undeniably flat. This does not mean propping up to watch TV or to read all of the tantalizing novels that have been waiting on your bookshelves. This requirement calls for creativity and makes one stop and reflect on many things that our usual hustle-bustle schedules don’t always provide the opportunity to think about. Now that I’m healing and mostly vertical again, I am pleased to share with you my:
TOP 6 REFLECTIONS FROM REPOSE:
1. Get your Michelangelo On. As many of you know, in in my signature keynote, “The Art of Mastery,” I talk about Michelangelo and his challenges in painting the Sistine Ceiling. Now I know first-hand exactly what it requires when you’re looking up at the ceiling day in and day out; I gained an even deeper empathy and respect for Mr. Buonarroti for getting past his obstacles and going on to create one of the greatest masterpieces in history.
2. Accept the Help of Others. This is often a tough thing for many of us self-reliant folks, but when you’re down flat, the best approach is to gracefully accept assistance, be it food, calls, visits, cards or even help with putting your socks on. And be darned grateful for your family and friends who are at your side through the whole thing.
3. Tap into your Creativity. It might seem like the last thing you’d need, but after all, creativity comes down to finding new and better ways to think about or to do something. My arms quickly tired after holding my book above my head (try this for about 20 min. straight and let me know how you fared!). A creativity aha: audible.com to the rescue! My recorded book with earphones took me through many hours of stimulating distraction (even though I’d usually fall asleep and have to back up a chapter or two!) and gave my arms a much-needed reprieve.
4. Be Grateful that your Injury/Hard Thing in Life/Mishap wasn’t Worse. A good nurse friend brought dinner over one evening and said I was lucky it wasn’t a spinal “C” (cervical) fracture––the kind Christopher Reeve had. Amen to that.
5. Decide to be Happy and Focus on the Course of Recovery. Put your attention on the positives instead of dwelling on the what-ifs and the woe-is-me’s. This mind frame also speeds the healing, which allows re-entry into life all the sooner. And look for the side benefits of your situation: my nails, usually on the short side, grew like crazy since I was not using my hands. And once the hard drugs wore off, I was able to give myself a never-seen-before manicure. Wonders never cease.
6. Appreciate the Opportunity to Catch up on your Rest Big Time. Think about how often you might wish you could stop the merry-go-round of life and just rest. Well, here’s your chance, so enjoy it! And know that the world won’t stop spinning if you have to change engagements or put some things on the back burner. Truly . . . it won’t.