Friday, July 10, 2009

My Aching Back

I’ve been out of work this week due to a back injury I sustained last weekend. My doctor recommended applying heat, taking muscle relaxants, and going for several short, slow walks each day. The good news is that my back is slowly healing. The bad news is that I have earned no income this week because I am paid as a contractor and when I can’t show up to do the coaching, training, and consulting that is my profession, then I don’t get paid. As one might imagine, my anxiety has risen throughout the week.

I tell this story for two reasons. First of all, anxiety is part of everyone’s work life these days and though it’s not in our power to eliminate or even control it, we can use our anxiety as a spur for taking steps toward the future. So, even though I had to postpone my coaching and training sessions, I used the time to get to projects that I had been wanting to work on, as well as getting caught up on some things that I had gotten behind on. So, even though I had zero cash flow this week, I did get many things accomplished that I would not normally have gotten to.

The second reason for relating this story is that my rising anxiety pushed me into making some marketing and networking calls that didn’t feel quite so urgent just one week before. So, even though I was somewhat immobile, I made a several calls to set up informational interviews, made lunch dates with two people who I’ve wanted to meet with, and even found time to re-connect with a colleague from more than 20 years ago. He and I will be meeting in the next month to talk about possible collaboration on a new project.

I cold easily have let my anxiety get the better of me, either preventing me from doing things or making me feel sorry for myself. Admittedly, I’ve had several moments of each during this week, but rather than wallowing in it or berating myself, I’ve simply allowed myself to feel the anxiety, take a few deep breaths, and then get back to work. And that’s how it goes. Most of us are experiencing our own high anxiety and we always have choice about how to respond to it. I choose to take the active path—how about you?
Best wishes.

Mark Guterman