Getting sick: just what the doctor ordered

2015 did not start well for me. On the very night we took down the Christmas tree I was struck down with a very nasty virus and confined to bed and then the fireside chair for 10 days. Very reluctantly I had to postpone meetings, banish any notions of blogging and writing new copy for my website. For the first five days I tortured myself with self-recrimination: I am letting people down …. People will feel they can’t rely on me ….. I’ll completely disappear off the face of planet ‘social media’, lose my momentum and sacrifice all my credibility.

Was there any truth in any of these assertions? Of course not. I had only sympathy from clients and colleagues and was able to rearrange easily. I continue to be contacted on Twitter and LinkedIn. I am resuming my blogging as of now and can’t see that it will be difficult to write this post.

But for a while I believed I was dealing with a catastrophe and that it would be difficult to get back on track. I tossed and turned, exasperated by all the opportunities I thought were passing me by. I worried about all the emails stacking up unanswered. I kept myself awake trying to work out how I would put all this right when I was better. In effect I didn’t relax and I prolonged my illness.

fox-48391_640Easy to say in hindsight, but what I should have done was taken some of my own medicine and worked to outsmart my inner fox:

  • I forgot that success rarely follows a straight-line path and that usually there are obstacles to negotiate, in this case my poor health. For a while anyway my track record in bouncing back was erased from memory.
  • I overlooked that frustration can be a clue to finding out which of my needs are not being met. I was pumping to much of the stress hormone cortisol around my body and I didn’t pause to reflect on what I was feeling and what I was needing.
  • I used the power of imagination in the wrong way, visualising all the problems that were going to come my way as a result of this unplanned break in my schedule. My inner fox temporarily had the upper hand, convincing me of how difficult it would be to recover. This is what’s called negative goal setting – very powerful at taking you in the wrong direction if you let it.

Now, just 10 days after my husband called the paramedics in, I am raring to go. At some point mid way through the ordeal I began to feel that perhaps this nasty virus was actually the best thing that could have happened to me at that moment. While being ill is not to be recommended, in this case it was my body telling me to stop and cut out the white noise of ‘busyness’. In fact I was given no choice but to let go and listen to what was really needed. To discover what I must to stop doing as much as what I should do differently.

IMG_2060I didn’t achieve this alone. Without my husband and sons waiting on me hand and foot I wouldn’t have had the energy to recover and to think straight. Nor would I have done without my dear friend Francine Brooks ordering me (in the nicest possible way) to postpone my meetings and sit and watch films instead. Kate Gerry‘s work with me before Christmas on systems coaching meant that my emails virtually managed themselves. Anja Serfontein reprimanded me for replying to her emails and firmly sent me to bed. Jayne Warrilow‘s inspiring blogs about resonance and energy alignment reminded me to trust my instinct.

And of course the flowers and the chocolates. It felt like I had a blanket of support keeping me cosy until I had the wherewithal to create my own warmth. For all of this I am truly grateful. Together we outsmarted my inner fox and I can now usher 2015 in with confidence and excitement.

On Friday I was able to share with my leadership client a renewed sense of clarity. The session resulted in him finding a business development solution which was right under his nose all the time. He too had been overwhelmed by a fog of minutiae and needed to step back. Sometimes life is simpler than we think!

How does this story resonate with you? What messages are you ignoring? What conversations do you need to have with your inner fox to prevent you from straying from the path you have set yourself?

Click here for more information on the work Clare McNamara does with leaders and their teams. We’d love to hear from you.

© Move Ahead Global 2015


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