Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pinched Nerves

In December, I began experiencing the pain of a pinched nerve in my back for the first time. When it was intense, it consumed my attention. Now that I'm feeling better, I have been thinking about lessons learned from the experience...

First, someone can be in pain and others around them may not notice. It can be good to be tough, but pain makes one edgy and if people don't see the problem they may think that your edginess is because of them and not realize that you are wincing at something other than them.

Second, a pain in one area can completely mask the pain in another area. While the pinched nerve was intense, it sometimes made me forget all about the chronic pain I have had for six years in my left shoulder (due to an injury). It made me think about how this also happens with people and with organizations at times. Our state revenue problems are very real. But the current crisis is masking long held problems (like our failure to prioritize government spending).

Third, pain can lead one to desperate choices. At first I told the doctor that I didn't want strong drugs that would interfere with driving, working, or taking care of two kids. That lasted about three days before the doc got a desperate call for something stronger and I made an appointment with a chiropractor. My doctor was kind enough to spare me the "I told you so".

Fourth, I have to admit that the experience caused me to wonder whether I am sometimes a pinched nerve to others and how I might be a better team player this coming year. That being said, there are things to learn from pinched nerves.

Which brings me to my final lesson learned. Sometimes life makes one slow down. Instead of fighting it, it can be very healthy to make the most of it. Whether individually or in the case of an organization, we can learn a lot from the things that cause us to slow down and change our perspective a bit.

Happy New Year!

May the new year bring you joy in your journey and the wisdom to gleen perspective in all that you experience.

Kathryn Simpson