A long time ago I got an infection in a small cut on my right wrist. I was busy – too busy, in retrospect – so I ignored it. I had a research post at a university, I was running a training company and I was directing an opera. I had no time to mess about going to get something as trivial as “just an infected cut” looked it!
The inevitable happened and it developed into an abscess (quite a bit one!) and sepsis. I was in hospital for a little while and things were, well… messy. Once I was into the health care system (I love the NHS!) I wasn’t really at any significant risk as it’s easily treated, but if I’d left it longer it would have been very, very serious indeed. (Theoretically fatal, in fact. That counts as serious, right?)
Lesson one: look after your health, even if it means sacrificing productivity in the short term!
Now-a-days, all I’m left with is a scar on the inside of my right wrist and some gory stories that I can tell from the stage as a professional speaker. (I’ve also got a wife and a member of my team who regularly cite this as “the time Simon thought he was indestructible and ignored us“. 🙂 )
But what I’ve learned from it is this – pay attention to that scar! No matter how recovered I am, that scar will always be a little weak spot and it’ll start to react to stress far sooner than my conscious mind can recognise the threat. What that means is lesson two…
Lesson two: as soon as I notice that my scar is aching or itching, it’s time to stop and take a long hard look at what I’m doing
In short, the scar works as an early warning system for when I’m over-doing it. You’ll be different, of course (and hopefully wiser!) and not have The Scar. But what you will have, I’m betting, is something that works the same way: all you have to do is
- identify it
- act on it when it warns you.
Simple! Acting on it is best done by using one of the tools you’ve identified and prepared as part of your Restore frame.
I have a friend whose eczema starts to get worse long before his conscious brain realises he needs a break. Another finds she needs to wash her hair more often. A third tells me they have noticed they need more cups of tea and coffee in a day than the days before.
Action point: it’s a two parter…
- take some time to read about how to prepare a few Restore things-to-do
- take a few minutes to think hard about what your equivalent of when my scar itches.
Over to you
Care to confess? What signs are there for you that you’re long-term over doing it and how you get yourself quickly back in the game?