Down But Not Out!
Most likely, we’ve all experienced personal or business ups and downs already. If you haven’t been through the downs yet, rest assured you will one day have to deal with a valley of some sort. Does that sound positive and optimistic? No way, but it’s realistic. Life has been defined as “what happens when you least expect it,” and this couldn’t be more true. Whether it’s as minor as a truck breakdown or loss of a customer or as serious as surgery or a death in the family, you will face downs along your life journey. The most important thing about this is how you react to these daunting circumstances and situations.
Recently, I began to feel pain and numbness in my arms and shoulders. The first diagnosis was bursitis of the shoulder, but further testing revealed that I instead had stenosis; a type of bone spurs that press on the spinal cord. In my case, it was rather severe, as my C-5 and C-6 had morphed into an hourglass shape. The remedy was surgery, which would involve a surgical incision into the front of my neck (anterior cervical laminectomy) so the doctor could then do a sweep over my throat and vocal cords and clean things up. Then, once the bones were fused back, I’d be as good as new—or that was the plan anyway.
After a few weeks of recovery, I was assaulted by excruciating pain in my right shoulder and back. It got so bad that my wife took me to the emergency room. Unfortunately, the surgery didn’t do what it was supposed to do, so I had to go under the knife again. This time, the emergency surgeon had to go in through the back of my neck and back via a five-inch cut through muscle and bone in three places (triple posterior cervical laminectomy). Then, everything would be fused back together with rods and screws placed in my neck. While many of you have yourselves been through worse or know someone who has, to me, being out of commission and a prisoner of painkillers for over a month certainly shook my little world.
Like many of you, other than for family vacations—which I admit I didn’t take enough of during the early years of my business—I don’t miss work. Having systems and a smoothly functioning, trustworthy leadership team in place allowed me to rest and recover more quickly. Did I ever call in and get in the way? Yes! I must confess that things ran so efficiently without me that I began to question if I was even still needed in my own company.
I am very grateful for my team and the hard, smart work they do. During my down time, I relied on God to get me through by praying often. In time, I healed, and it was a great relief to know that things could carry on even while I was temporarily out of commission. The key was to never give up hope that I could and would get back up and back to business. Don’t forget that the downs are inevitable. You will take a tumble to the mat now and then, because life has a way of throwing blows at us, but you don’t have to let it knock you out.
My questions to you are these:
- How do you respond when things go wrong and you get down?
- How long do you stay down?
- In case you experience a similar situation, do you have processes and a team in place, people who know what to do in your absence?
- Whom do you rely on when you are down?
HVAC Business Consultant