Well, something very strange and surreal has happened this month. Being the swimmer I am, I have always declared that I do not run. I love exercise and always have but, regardless of which sport I am involved in, I only run if it is necessary. Four years of county hockey and I would run around the pitch as much as was needed during a game but get me to warm up by running round the pitch and I would moan and grumble and always be the last one round.
However, on my return from two weeks away I found that most of my team had signed up to do the Simplyhealth Great South Run. A member of my team is one of the champions in the office for the series, so they had decided that this was a good thing to do.
My colleagues suggested that I had probably swum enough and should divert my energy to running and set myself a new challenge. Not succumbing to pressure I just laughed and quoted the ‘I don’t run’ line again. But that evening I began to wonder about the event. Strangely, my thoughts were not about training or concerns that I would not be able to complete the run, but instead about the practicalities of equipment and what to do on race day with your car keys and phone. Since someone could easily answer those questions I decided that if other reasons had not come instinctively, then I had no reason not to join my team. So I signed up the next morning. Procrastination was not going to make the 10 miles any easier!
I am beginning to realise that if you are delaying on doing something or even struggling to make a decision, breaking your thoughts down can be enlightening. When you are considering something you are keen to do, it is very easy to focus on the positives and move forwards, sometimes recklessly by not considering the downside. But when you don’t want to do something the positives do not tumble in to your thought process and only the negatives appear. Just writing down the positives and negatives becomes a farce due to the disparity in the lengths of the lists.
To be quite honest, at the point of decision making, if I considered the positives for me to do the Simplyhealth Great South Run I would be struggling to write down more than team morale and leading by example.
However looking at what was stopping me, it was easy to see what could be solved easily and there were therefore, no barriers to doing it. My team could provide me with all the answers and support for those issues…how often can this be the case in our professional lives and yet we don’t break it down enough to realise?
In most things in life, and especially professionally, we should not be doing them alone. That leads to professional isolation and a possible loss of bearings from the rest of the profession. I know I am terrible for guarding my emotions and feeling I should do everything myself personally and professionally. Yet a huge part of my role is supporting other professionals and I love it, so why would people not want to help me? Somehow this isn’t a natural thought process for many of us. We are healthcare professionals - it’s not rocket science to work out we might care about other people, be they patients or colleagues.
But if refusing to allow others to help us stops us from doing things, then our so called self-contained strength becomes a weakness. We stop ourselves from reaching new goals and potentially finding further fulfillment. How often have you finally got round to doing something and then said, ‘I wish I had done it earlier’?
Please remind me of the above in October when I actually have to do this run…. two weeks into very baby steps training I actually have to admit I am really enjoying it. I am an early morning person and being out when hardly anyone else is around and the sun is coming up - although not as good as when you are in an open air pool - is definitely growing on me. The things I do for my team…
About the Author:
Catherine Rutland works as Head of Professional Services at Simplyhealth Professionals, and writes a monthly column for Dentistry.