In my continuing effort to document what it’s like to go from comfortably employed to suddenly unemployed to launching a business in very short order, Episode 10 will cover the week of October 4. You can read all of my previous Episodes on my website.
Mood: Anticipatory, like being in the hospital waiting room for the grandchild birth announcement. It’s the calm before the storm of next week.
Accomplishments: Beyond my opening keynote for the Illinois Self-Insurers’ Association on Wed, it was a relatively quiet week. My primary focus was on prep for the Comp Conference in Las Vegas next week and my business venture. But I also started my conference boot camp because next week will be my first in-person conference since February 2020. My regimen includes:
- Walk a 5k each day in my dress shoes (actually, my tennis shoes – I’m not crazy)
- Drink something other than water & unsweet iced tea
- Set my alarm clock
- Shake 100 hands each day (mostly my own)
- Sharpen my eye for noticing electrical outlets so my phone won’t die
- Eat meals at irregular times (and sometimes on my lap)
- Remind myself how to iron a dress shirt
What I Learned: Saturday was World Mental Health Awareness Day. I know – it seems like every day is a “day” for at least one thing. But this particular issue has come to the forefront during COVID-19 and isn’t something that should be restricted to a single day. For many, it’s a moment-by-moment awareness. For those with sudden changes in their life, mental health can go quickly from a perceived strength to a very real weakness. While I was watching ESPN’s College Game Day on Saturday, I was drawn to a special feature on the coach of Ohio State, Ryan Day, whose father committed suicide when Ryan was eight years old. Although I suggest you watch the entire inspirational video about changing the narrative, the exchange at the six minute mark is telling. Reporter: “Has talking about it helped Ryan?” Christina Ryan: “Yes.”
Anxiety Level (1-10): 6
Three Good Things: I crossed paths with each of these inspirational thoughts at pertinent times so they will be my “good things” for this week.
- “Time is the wisest counselor of all” — Pericles
- “The proper function of man is to live, not to exist” — Jack London (eulogy for James Bond)
- “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” — King Solomon, The Byrds
Word for the Week: Expectant
This Week’s Lesson: Don’t force it. I often try too hard. For example, I ran into the racquetball walls so often (because no ball was unreachable) that for a time both of my wrists were in splints. Another time, while playing soccer with friends and family, I had a perfect pass to me in front of the goal and rather than just tapping it in I swung my leg hard – and missed. When I was leading the development of software in the early 2000’s we were literally working 100+ hours per week and often sleeping at the office – even though it was only 10 minutes away from home. The “everything at 200 mph” comes from my competitive spirit, my desire to achieve, an impatience, being a control freak perfectionist, an inability to balance work and life (or, as my wife calls it, being a workaholic), having a binary attitude (I’m either “on” or “off”), and a whole host of other positive and/or negative character traits. Strangely enough, sometimes the harder I try the longer it takes to achieve. Like trying to wedge the square peg into the round hole, the more I try to force it the less likely it is to happen. That has often been true throughout my life, but never moreso than during these ten episodes (I mean weeks). With age and experience comes wisdom (hopefully). I have to constantly be reminded that sometimes my best effort is a sufficient down payment towards the patience of letting things happen. That doesn’t let me off the hook for my own personal excellence or the deadlines I set. But it does let me off the hook for results that aren’t solely based on my efforts. If you want something, go after it with gusto. But also go after it knowing that your role may be one of many that creates the results.
About Mark Pew
Mark Pew is a passionate educating and agitating thought leader in workers’ compensation and award-winning international speaker, blogger, author and jurisdictional advisor. He has focused on the intersection of chronic pain and appropriate treatment since 2003. He is the driving force and co-founder of The Transitions and just recently launched The RxProfessor consulting practice at https://therxprofessor.com.