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Charting a new path to freedom

“There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they're falling in.” Desmond Tutu

Over the last two years we have inspired and encouraged and commiserated with each other and, as best possible, put on a bright face every time we left the house.

Some days were easier than others.

Some days it was the promise of a walk, or a doughnut or a glass of merlot at the end of the day that got you through it.

Some days sleep eluded you entirely, but you got out of bed on time in the morning anyway and soldiered on.

You were perky and chirpy and optimistic, but something still went terribly wrong even when you did everything right – and inevitably you hit the wall.

Hopefully not literally.

In my own case it was more of a long, slow slide as my foot found the one pothole in the laneway causing me to do a complete wipeout with a half twist in the middle of a sunny afternoon.

I never saw it coming.

One minute I was bobbing along enjoying the harbour view and thinking how wonderful everything was and the next I was lying flat on my back in the dirt wondering what “de heck” had just happened.

To make matters, worse the normally busy laneway was a complete ghost town and I actually had to call someone to come and get me because my ankle was too painful to walk on – embarrassing indeed.

Sometimes, we do not see the fall that is coming

In one of my recent articles, I commented that there really is no such thing as a bad experience because each event that takes place either shows you what you have learnt or what you need to learn.

In this particular case (beyond the obvious – that it might be a good idea to pay a little more attention to where I am going) I learnt that I need to be more patient with myself and the transformation that I too am going through.

More patient with myself when I make mistakes, more patient with my body when it requires time to heal, more patient with those in my life who are also struggling (and perhaps less able to admit it) and most importantly, more patient with the process of transition that the world is going through as a result of the ongoing health crisis.

And part of my “recovery?” is to admit all of that here in this column.

Oh, how much easier it would be to dust myself off and sweep the whole incident under the rug – pretending all the while to be some sort of an all-knowing change management guru.

But would that really help anyone?

Likely not.

More to the point it would be disingenuous.

After all, how can anyone claim to be an expert on managing a situation that continues to change by the day on a global scale?

In short – they can’t.

But I am also not suggesting that we give up on the idea of navigating a path through these troubled times – quite the opposite.

Instead, I am going to suggest that we do something really scary: let’s make this the year that we take off the mask and really get to know ourselves.

Better yet, let’s make this the year that we actually make friends with ourselves and bring that version of our best self to our interactions with other people.

Will we make mistakes?

Undoubtedly yes.

But isn’t it equally possible that if we are kinder to ourselves that we will ultimately find the strength to be kinder to each other?

Robin Trimingham is the managing director of The Olderhood Group Ltd and a business consultant, journalist, podcaster and thought leader in the fields of life transition and change management. Connect with Robin at https://bit.ly/3nSMlvc or robin@olderhood.com

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Published January 18, 2022 at 7:53 am (Updated January 18, 2022 at 7:53 am)

Charting a new path to freedom

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