About the efficiency of using professional support

Back in 2013 with some close friends, we went to our farmhouse to celebrate the first of May. It was a weekend escapade and we had everything: good food, plenty of drinks, night-long jamming sessions, walking in nature, and doing all sorts of fun activities together with the small group. We also had with us a slackline. we were trying out the line, balancing ourselves, some with more success, others (like me) with less. At one point I had the brilliant idea to create this slingshot out of the slackline: two persons are sitting on the line, a third one jumps between the other two and when the third one jumps on the line, the first two quickly stands up – hence the slingshot effect. It was fun, for a while, we were jumping in the air many times until I fell. Since we were wild and careless, there was no mattress for a safe landing, so after jumping in the air approximately 5 meters, I landed on my back, in the grass. As you may have guessed: it was quite a painful landing experience. I was totally TKO-d for half of the day. Back then I didn’t know, that this will be the easy part of my slackline-incident.

You see: after this weekend for at least half of a year I had all sorts of weird problems and unusual challenges: I couldn’t sleep during the night, because of the back pain, I couldn’t bend and stretch so efficiently as before, I could not walk easily in some mornings, I had to “kick my legs in” when going to work every now and then until it was basically every day. My right leg slowly became weaker than the left one, I walked in a funny way and when rising up from the bed or the floor I moved like Frankenstein’s monster. There was always a pain, but not enough to go to a doctor, a physiotherapist or a chiropractor. During most days at the end of the day, I felt as if somebody would drag me onto the floor during the day. When I got fed up, I went on Youtube, I found some nice videos for lower sciatica exercises and after 3 weeks almost all the pain went away. 

Since then, on and off the pain in my lower back & hip area was quite persistently present. I felt moments where I could not do anything about it, and later on, when I had the time, space, and willingness, there was no sign of pain. As a facilitator and trainer, I am used to extended work hours, also sometimes being outdoors. I have to have the capacity to postpone my challenges to support others in their growth, and all that toll is paid during the times when I am not in programs: hurting back, sleepless nights, not being able to turn around in the bed without quenching my teeth together, jumping out to do groceries only to get back promptly, because I can’t walk, not on this day. 

Since 2013 have passed 10 years. These years were quite painful if I look at my lower back pain index. And only now, in 2023 I have decided to go and let it be checked out by a professional. On the first visit, which went smoothly we quickly identified the potential problem, after a long discussion and a short check of the muscles, bones and ligaments, and the mobility of the hip and the legs. I have to do reclined pigeon position and I had to buy a hard ball from a fitness shop for 5 euros. The pain level perceivably has diminished, and in one week we will see the changes and the potential further actions that I have to take. 

Thanks for bearing with me. So: what’s my point in sharing this long story with you? The physiotherapist asked all the necessary questions, checked out my muscles, gave some guidelines and I already feel, that it helped me. It took 30 minutes (and apparently 10 years) to commit that I want to get to the bottom of this backpain of mine. Now I have two questions for you. One: did it ever happen to you that you postponed something in your life just because it wasn’t painful (or uncomfortable) enough to handle it in time? Two: have you ever ignored to ask for a professional support just because you thought that you can sort it out yourself, no need to bother others?

If your answer to the first question is yes: what was the price that you paid? How much frustration, anger, despair, confusion, sadness, and lostness had to take place, until you thought, “yes, maybe now is time to sort this thing out already”? How much energy it took the decision? For me the decision itself took almost no effort. I just decided, and from that moment on I just had to conveniently act upon my decision. But oh, boy, until I reached that peaking point of decision making… 

If your answer to the second question is yes: how annoyed (or entertained) were you when you found out that the key to solving your problem are just some simple steps that you have to implement, some small changes that you have to initiate in your daily life, in order to create a huge impact? How interesting is the fact that a professional, a person who dedicated countless hours of energy, presence, willingness to learn the trade, diagnosed my long term issue in basically minutes, so that I can move to the actions which will alter the quality of my life! Could I have just googled what he suggested and never bother to book a physiotherapist? Sure. It is not quantum physics.

I can not tell you how often I heard, directly or indirectly from people, once they realized what I do for a living: “why would I pay for you to do something so simple as you do, when I can sort it out for myself?”. Usually I reply that if one can sort out the problems which I tackle during my work, then they definitely should. I am not doing anything out of the ordinary or very alien. Yet if a team or a person can not find their way to manage their state sustainably they should really approach a professional, like me, because we do now what it needs to be done, once the intake is ready. Why? Because we dedicated countless hours in order to understand human behaviour, behavioural patterns, communicational patterns, language and the adjacent psychological, anthropological, chemical and systemic processes that influence a group or an individual. What are the skills & competencies you have developed that renders you an expert or professional?

As closing I want to share here the story of the ship expert (I believe some of you already know this), bun not before I share my final thoughts regarding professional support. Professional support is not always needed, it is rarely sought, yet it is something that cut costs (time, energy, money, grey hair), if you choose to invest in it. People are good, and most of them dedicate their life to be quite advanced in a couple of things. But this also means that we all need experts from time to time to sort out things, which would be too costly for us to handle

Here is the story of the ship expert:
A giant ship engine failed. The ship’s owners tried one expert after another, but none of them could figure but how to fix the engine. Then they brought in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was a young. He carried a large bag of tools with him, and when he arrived, he immediately went to work. He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom.

Two of the ship’s owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know what to do. After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine lurched into life. He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed!

A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for ten thousand dollars. “What?!” the owners exclaimed. “He hardly did anything!” So they wrote the old man a note saying, “Please send us an itemized bill. The man sent a bill that read:
Tapping with a hammer………………….. $ 2.00
Knowing where to tap…………………….. $ 9,998.00
Effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort makes all the difference!

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