The truth is I have never written a blog post before. Yes, that is correct; you are reading my very first one. I wondered what to write about as I sat down to organize my thoughts. Then it came to me, why not blog a bit about me, and tell you why I selected the word Edgeline in name Edgeline Leadership Group. Actually, the simple answer is that I chose this name because it reminded me of what it has been like for me to navigate in life’s hard places.
As I reflect about my own experiences and the times when I have felt “on the edge” three perspectives come to mind that have been useful to me in helping me to find the means to step through the discomfort.
- Face the challenge with everything you have
- Don’t be afraid to stand in the thick of it
- Looking back can help you see the way forward
Shortly after I moved to Colorado, my husband and I went skiing for a long weekend in Crested Butte. (one of my favorite places to ski). The snow was magnificent- deep champagne powder. There was only one problem. I grew up skiing in New England; yep – little powder lots of ice. What was this stuff? As I careened down the hill feeling pure joy it happened. I fell, tumbling backwards and as I did, my ACL tore along with a few other things. Things changed quickly for me. Significant pain, a brace, waiting for the surgery to be scheduled, imagining what the recovery would be like. I had this big job to contend with – there was no time for recovery. My surgeon was amazing and told me that the recovery would be a year- at the year mark he said, “I meant two…it would have been overwhelming to hear that any sooner”. In those two years I learned how to walk on crutches, how to walk properly again, to understand the pain of just trying to turn the bicycle in PT one rotation, hours in the pool for water therapy and putting on a serene face at work when all I wanted to do was cry. While my knee healed beautifully, I forgot to heal the rest of me. My head was a mess. I experienced depression related to the general anesthesia from the two surgeries exacerbated by the stress of work. It was all overwhelming. My husband was a huge support when at the end of each week all I could do was cry. I had a choice- to have this define me or step into it – face what was hard and get over it. Fortunately, I chose the latter. What better place to start then back on skis. We found an instructor who gave me a few lessons- about technique but mostly about how to get my head back into the game. Focus, breathe, visualize, and relax. It worked. I translated that mantra into the rest of my life and work. I created time to mediate, to intentionally decompress, not try to take it all on at once and look for joy in unexpected places. It took effort, intention, and all of my being to regain my health – and perspective.
I suppose as I unpack that experience, my take a ways are small but powerful. Somehow, as I was growing up I lost my fearlessness and became a cautious adult. To have a plan B and C was my strategy. Not a bad approach, and yet those alternate plans kept me from fully experiencing what was challenging and uncomfortable right in front of me. It was more alluring to think about how to bail out then to dive in. When I learned to stand in the thick of the challenge, to stop and be present with what was hard, to face down reality I grew stronger, clearer, and at peace with myself. Looking back and learn from that experience has helped me in so many ways. I learned to admit when it is getting hard, to ask for help and support if I need it, to focus on what I can do, think about safe experiments and to walk the edge- that line between uncertainty and certainty is what makes us human.
Hey Joanie…A voice from your past… I am so inspired after reading your blog…you eloquently put into words so many things that I have experienced in retirement…I sort of
subconsciously made retirement the end of my life instead of the beginning of my life…
I think that I can use your words of empowerment to help me navigate this challenging phase of my life called “retirement”…
Thank you for your perspective and “real” and positive approach to the profound changes in your life…
I have always admired your style, professionalism, outlook and so many things that make you who you are…Thanks for this glimpse into this recent aspect of your life…You go girl!!!
Thanks so much Joanne for your kind words! I’m so delighted that the blog was helpful. You have had an amazing career and more to come. Someone said to me once that …”there is an entire life waiting for you to explore”. Best wishes my friend
To learn through setbacks….your writing is heartfelt and real.
Thank you Mary for your comment and for all the work you do with leaders helping them to live their best life as you would say