Don’t work around it, fix it

Crises and injuries have one thing in common — they’re both painful experiences. And, yes, that’s an understatement for most cases but I’m constantly amazed by the level of creativity applied by the subjects in distress. They would go the extra mile to work around the challenges than address it head on and eliminate them.

I don’t want to get into the psychology of it all but it’s far more effective to just focus on the damn thing and get it out of your way. If you’ve got an “lack of engagement crises” at the workplace, instead of wasting time in “employee engagement” workshops try to get to the root cause of this. And believe me, you’ll be surprised (or shocked) at the findings!

One of my friend’s clients used to complain about “his unprofessional team of losers” who were drowning this company. My friend engaged me to investigate the absolute cause for the disengagement through several rounds of one-on-ones, detailed inquiries, and surveys. We realised that this manager was the root of all problems. We couldn’t help but report back and were fired. Believe me, we weren’t heart-broken. That’s not the point though, it’s simply that we’re so obsessed with workarounds that we don’t want to address the real problems! Even if we are one of them!

The same concept applies to your injuries — if you’ve got severe back pain, instead of wasting time on physical therapy (which is important), understand the root cause. Just knowing what happened isn’t enough. Know what caused it in the first place because that can tell you what you need to do in the future.

I recently popped my SI joint. I was shit-scared and consulted my doctor right away — he said that my SI joint is locked and it’s not a serious issue to be worried about. In fact, I’ll be doing okay in just a couple of sessions. What a relief! But it wasn’t until yesterday, I realised that the SI joint is supposed to be locked (it does move to a maximum of 3 degrees, but that’s it!). What does it mean when the doctor says “it’s locked?” Confusing, right? Well, so I did what I do the best — investigate deeper. And after my analysis and a discussion with my exercise physiologist friend we concluded the following reasons why the injury came about in the first place:

  1. Overtraining — This is the biggest reason. I had a hard rolling session the evening before I popped my SI. (I’m not even sure I should be saying “popped” when the diagnosis says it’s “locked.”)
  2. The ready state — I don’t think I was warmed up enough to be pulling that much weight (although, it was just 70% of my max).

That, my friend, is the fix right there. I should make sure that I’m spacing my trainings and doing it only when I’m physically ready. Being overtrained also means I haven’t had proper rest, which means, I need to focus on sleeping better as well. And of course, I need to be in a ready state by properly warming-up and I’m aware I don’t do that enough.

Ignoring all the details above and getting therapy would only get me so far before I land right back here in a few month’s time. It’s interesting how the solutions to some of our life’s biggest challenges are right there but we simply choose to ignore them.

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