Bounce Back to Move Forward in Business and at Work
February was a challenging month this year: unfortunately, both my son Noah and I were involved in accidents. Fortunately, our injuries, while annoying, have been manageable. Mine was first: I was on my way back from a client meeting early in the evening, and I was stopped (with my blinker and brake lights on), waiting to make a left turn onto our street. The person who hit me didn’t appear to see me, and rear-ended me at 40 miles per hour without even tapping their brakes. As the police spoke with the other driver and I wrapped up my call to my doctor’s office regarding next steps for my sore neck, Noah and my husband Joel walked over from our house a block away from the accident to keep me company in my scrunched-but-still-road-worthy car. Noah, who lately has been growling his way through the beginning of adolescence, was concerned and a bit emotional that Mom had been in an accident. On my part, I was preoccupied with my irritation at the other driver for inflicting what later amounted to be damage at roughly half the value of my 11-month-old car – I am a careful driver, and I had never been involved in a car accident before.
Fortunately for everyone, their insurance company assumed 100% liability for the damage the very next morning. I slept sitting up the night of the accident, dosed with ibuprofen on the advice of my doctor (at that time, my injury did not appear to rise to the level of the emergency room or urgent care), because I was scheduled for a client presentation the next day, and I wanted to maximize my chances for keeping that commitment by ensuring I would be able to physically get up the next morning.
Fortunately, I was well enough to keep that commitment, with the ever-present support of Joel and Noah’s love and concern, as well as more ibuprofen doses. An extra bonus from my injury is that my neck hurts a bit more when I’m tense or irritated.
Because he will always be my baby even when he becomes a parent, Noah’s accident was much harder to take. A few weeks after I was rear-ended, I heard Joel pull back into the driveway after driving Noah to school: I could hear him talking to somebody. I opened the front door, and it was Joel and Noah, with Joel supporting Noah as he walked, as Noah was unable to walk on his own – he had slipped and fallen on the icy sidewalk just outside of his school. Joel and I thought perhaps Noah had torn a ligament (we’re not doctors and we don’t play doctors on TV); however, the orthopedist confirmed later that day that Noah had in fact accomplished a hairline fracture just above his right leg, requiring him to use crutches for several weeks, and to miss both gym and karate for 8 weeks. Noah could not navigate the stairs that first night (and at this writing) to his bedroom, so he camped out on the living room couch, dosed with ibuprofen, too – a foreign exercise, as Noah has had a fever about 5 times in his nearly 13 years on earth, knock wood.
Armed with his doctor’s note, Noah returned to school the next morning. His friends helped carry his books, and his chorus teacher was surprised to see him in school. It continues to hurt as Noah navigates with his crutches, however it has not slowed him down in school or elsewhere – he even performed in a skit for the Religious Education program today, crutches and all.
Now, I don’t advocate or condone that people who are too sick or injured to drag themselves to work – it doesn’t do anyone any good, particularly the injured or ill person. And, when the ill person is contagious, I certainly don’t want to be exposed to their illness and the risk of catching the illness myself. What I do advocate is shaking it off when you can, when the danger of further injury (or contagion) has passed. I did not learn this distinction until I was in college, where I was essentially paying my own way through school – lost class time was essentially lost money, from my perspective. Prior to college, I allowed myself to be babied at every opportunity to miss school, and instead snuggle at home in my bed with a good book and the TV buzzing in the background.
In contrast, during this past February, I was lucky enough to not let my clients down and keep up with my workload; and Noah was lucky enough to go back to school the next day, and score an A on his science test later that week.
How will you bounce back to move forward this week, in business and at work?
Tags: acceptance, accountability, business, career, coaching, customer, customer service, employee, employer, engagement, entrepreneur, gratitude, leadership, mentoring, parenting, reputation, resiliency, responsibility, strategy, success, teaching