YES…You Can! A Little Determination Goes a Long Way

My source of (re)learning as I entered the new year was not from a client this time. A family member tore both Achilles tendons in late December. Not a single medical professional we’ve encountered has seen a double tear. His initial post-operative recovery involved a few weeks of no weight on either foot as we approached the winter holiday. This was uncharted territory for all of us.

I have been repeatedly surprised and impressed by his response.* He is intensely determined to be on the most effective, rapid recovery path possible to return to his very active lifestyle and job. His unquestioned determination is serving him well (and rubbed off on me, as his lead helper during the initial weeks).  

At every turn, he -- and I -- have willed some unusual things to be doable, and even enjoyable, with just enough creativity, optimism, and resilience. No over-thinking, pity, or blaming allowed. His and our family’s improvised “recipe” for resilience (and an enjoyable holiday week) involved:

  •   Asking the most important questions of the medical experts up front
  •   Seeking and appreciating help from unfamiliar and unlikely sources
  •   Expecting discomfort without emotionally amplifying it
  •   In-the-moment experiments (accepting what didn’t work and could not be controlled)
  •   Being a beginner with new “tools” (wheelchair, knee pads, makeshift mobility aides)
  •   Using his strengths (an engineer’s mind and athlete’s upper body strength)
  •   Celebrating small wins with humility (like boarding a plane without use of legs)
  •   Continuous, agile teamwork – crafting and swapping new family member “roles”  
  •   Injecting playful creativity in the mix (like inventing games with his grabber rod)

Those bolded ingredients happen to match the enduring principles that my clients and I employ to find a path forward from any personal or team challenge. As I said at the start… I re-learned these lessons in December and early January. No one can employ them all concurrently. But collectively, these resilience principles will help me holistically serve my clients and be as valuable to others as I can be in 2024.  

When has the power of necessity (or a very strong personal goal) sparked you to employ numerous ingredients at once, without hesitating to question what might be (im)possible? And, importantly, where in your life in 2024 do you want to bring this recipe for resilience?... Start cooking!

*I now have a much greater appreciation both for how people with diverse disabilities who deserve full, rich lives must navigate a world that is not built for them and also for how helpful available accommodations and supportive people in service industries can be.