Take Care of Yourself and Your Team

It’s been a while since I’ve written a leadership blog and I am excited to get back to it, which is fitting as the theme for today is exactly that — getting back in there.  I came across this quote recently that spoke loudly and clearly to me, so I wanted to share it with you.

Ben Franklin quote

It got me thinking about myself and how seemingly little things in our lives can easily derail us and throw us off balance. That’s what happened to me for the last couple of months. I had been lifting weights and working out 3-4 times/week for the past several months, and I was getting much stronger and more flexible. Then I hurt my back and it threw me off my game. I was initially frustrated, but as the days turned into weeks, I got a bit depressed, and it started to show in all aspects of my life. The physical pain and debilitation were wearing on me and affecting me emotionally.

In the grand scheme of things, I know a sore back is minor. I continue to be reminded that pain and discomfort in our lives is an opportunity for us to learn something and grow. Many of us are pretty good at talking about the bigger things and helping each other through these tough times, but I don’t think we are great at working through the small things. It’s not that I didn’t have anyone to talk with, but I felt embarrassed that I was allowing something this small impact me for weeks on end.

My wife, Sandy, was very emotionally available and supportive during this time.  She offered Advil, Aleve, a back massage, and an ear to listen if I wanted to talk about it.  One suggestion she had was for me to journal about my feelings.  It took that a while to sink in (or more honestly, it took my stubborn butt a while to take action), but I finally did it.  I started to journal about what I was feeling.  I started out thinking I was feeling embarrassed, but it turns out that fear was underneath all of that.  For me, fear isn’t often very rational, and it kind of snowballs.  I stuff it down and soon, I don’t even recognize it as fear anymore.  The journaling helped free these feelings from my mind and allowed me to release them. You might not believe this, but it’s true: within two days, my back was almost 100% better.

We all get hit with things in life.  If you are feeling stuck, embarrassed, small, or afraid, journaling might help you discover a lesson in the discomfort.  

As leaders and family members, think about how many of your crew might be battling something themselves.  If you sense it, be an uplifter, let them know you care and are there to listen and support them.  Encourage them to journal, take a walk, get out in nature, take a bath, listen to the birds, breathe deeply, eat a healthy meal, read an inspirational quote, or do a random act of kindness for someone else.  Encourage them to do some self-discovery and take some small, positive steps to help break the cycle.  

And, if you need some encouraging words, an ear to listen, or if I can do anything to help you personally or professionally, please always feel free to reach out. I’m here for you.

With that, I will leave you with a couple of inspirational thoughts:

“If you get tired, LEARN TO REST, not to quit! – Bansky

“Take chances, make mistakes.  That’s how you grow.  Pain nourishes your courage.  You have to fail in order to practice being brave.” – Mary Tyler Moore

“The most satisfying journey is the journey you take inward with yourself.” – Nitin Namdeo

Until next time, remember to breathe and take that next first step,

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Tim June 9, 2022, 6:34 am

    Thanks Jeff! I like your emails I get and todays encouragement on a personal thing you dealt with. I met you at an IT event on the Ohio State Campus a few years ago. I needed a bit of encouragement today and thanks for sharing what you did.

  • Mark Adams June 9, 2022, 11:21 am

    It takes courage to look in the mirror and admit when you need help. Been there done that and still working on it. Thanks Jeff for sharing!

  • David Rippe June 9, 2022, 11:33 am

    Nice Blog Jeff! Sorry you went through the back pain, but as always, you found the value and upside to it. Thanks for the ongoing inspiration.

  • Neil Arthur June 14, 2022, 5:48 pm

    Great message Jeff, and a good reminder of the power of focus, negative and positive. Thanks for the reminder.

Leave a Comment

PMIASQIEEESoftware Engineering InstituteInternational Software Testing Qualifications Board