If you read any of my articles over the past 10 years you are probably aware that the “Quarter Turns” I’ve published often come from unlikely sources, or more often common occurrences that for some reason interest me. Often times they are the result of a conversation with a friend, colleague or random traveler I meet on my journeys.
This week’s Quarter Turn is the result of one of those conversations and is written by my training partner and Master Facilitator for the Simmons Group- Karyn DeRosa. Recently Karyn shared this story with me and I was so moved that I told her if she didn’t write this one… I would! So please enjoy this week’s Quarter Turn and if you feel like responding to Karyn directly she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take it away Mrs. DeRosa
What Story Do You Tell Yourself?
At numerous times in my life an opportunity presented itself, which caused me to become self-aware. Each time I became more aware, I was forced to step out of my comfort zone and make a change for the better. The exciting thing about awareness is, knowing I can change! The scary thing about awareness is…knowing I can change. See what I did there? When I do something different or do more of what I’ve become aware of, I create positive change in my life and that’s an amazing feeling. Responsibility lies in realizing that once this new awareness has been created …change gets to happen. With awareness comes the notion of different possibilities and different outcomes, and, it becomes much harder to go back to what you’ve always done.
Recently, I had a very “in your face” moment to become aware. It starts like this:
A girl takes up running…
A few years ago I discovered I had a passion for running. Yes, I am actually one of those unicorn runners that truly, genuinely enjoys running. It is my favorite form of exercise. In fact, I love it so much I ran 13 half-marathons in two years! My personal best was running the Las Vegas Rock-n-Roll half marathon in just under two hours, 1:59:48 to be exact!
Keep in mind, I only said I loved running. Forget all the other things I was supposed to be doing along with it: strength training, stretching, taking days off, listening to my body, resting. Fast forward another two years, and I started having serious pains in my left heel. Like a trooper, I ran through the pain. Looking back, I wish I had the awareness in that moment to stop and listen to what my body was telling me. Sadly, I did not pay attention and ended up having surgery on my planter fascia six months ago.
The doctor said give it 30 days and you will be up and running again. Ahh – there was hope! I was counting down the days. When I saw the 31st day on my calendar, I realized I was nowhere near being able to run. Every time I stood up, my foot was sore, achy, tender and I had to ease into walking. Limping became my new thing.
With all the travel I do, I was pre-boarding flights because it would take me an eternity to get down the jet bridge. I also developed a new anchor, a new motto: “Stupid foot.” On repeat. I muttered these words under my breath each time I stood up, walked any distance, sat down, got up in the morning – you name it! It got to the point that my husband and son were saying it for me. “I know, Mom…stupid foot.”
Finally- I can run again! 90 days post-surgery and I am back on the pavement with a happy heart and a renewed energy. Then…BAM – I tore my left meniscus. Are you kidding me? Seems I traded one problem for another.
I found myself scheduled for a second surgery on my left leg in six months’ time. The recovery for my meniscectomy was going to be more intense and take much longer than the foot surgery. The surgeon even said to plan on never running again. Really? Never? That was harsh. I figured I would attack this challenge like I attack everything – be ALL in, defy the odds, work twice as hard, be the “unicorn”.
Easier said than done. It was one week, then two weeks, then four weeks post-op and I was hobbling everywhere. I thought if they removed my meniscus the pain would instantly go away as well. I know…it doesn’t work that way.
It was then, in the middle of my recovery, that life handed me one of those powerful self-awareness moments. After sitting on a plane for several hours, I stood up, felt the pain in my knee and muttered “stupid knee” under my breath. It was like the lights came on. Suddenly I became excruciatingly aware of my negative thought patterns around my foot, my knee, and my health in general. I had simply swapped knee for foot and the same negative awareness (thought pattern) pushed itself to the forefront of my mind.
I have trained thousands of people on the art of reframing and yet, here I was, stuck in my own negative self-talk. In that moment I like to refer to as the “choice point”, I had a decision to make: continue to beat myself up and grumble about something I could not change, or make a decision in that moment to change my internal chatter to something positive and supportive. That was the moment “stupid knee” transformed into “I am doing the best I can right now.” In that instant I felt a weight being lifted. I felt my energy surge and I may have even heard my knee say “thank you” silently to me.
Awareness is essential for growth and does not mean making grand changes or feeling like you have to do a 180 turn from where you are. Sometimes, as in my case, it’s a simple choice of words. Making this Quarter Turn to switch up my negative self-talk to positive action-oriented language has made a big impact.
We’ve all heard we are our own worst critics. How about if we were our own biggest supporters? I’d like to think I am capable of talking to myself like I would a best friend when it comes to giving supportive advice and encouraging change. What is your “stupid knee”, and what will be your Quarter Turn to make a shift in awareness?
P.S. I will let you know how yoga goes…
Ask yourself this week:
What story am I telling myself over and over again? What is the impact on myself and those around me?
Is this story helping me move closer to my goals and intended outcomes or pushing me further from them?
What is the new story I will tell myself to re-frame the situation?
What will be the impact?
Thoughts for the week:
Tell the negative committee that meets in your head to sit down and shut up. –Ann Bradford
The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. –William
I AM- two of the most powerful words. For what you put after them shapes your reality. – Unknown
Never say anything about yourself you don’t want to come true. –Unknown
The conversation we have with ourselves everyday is the most important conversation- because it’s the only one that can really make a difference. –Tim Furlong
Looking forward to our next connection