What doesn't kill you (may eventually) make you stronger

June 6, 2018

I have a real problem with the old saying 'what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger'. Why? Because it's only half of the story. In fact it's banded about in such a fashion that one might expect that it's in your best interest to roam the planet looking for near misses on a biblical scale in the hope that you survive only to become a more omnipotent and omniscient version of your former self. 


The other half of the story, that is almost always omitted, is recovery. In fact, recovery is such a crucial component to this legend that it should probably be re-written as 'No recovery will definitely kill you!' How many of you actively hear the concept of 'recovery' discussed at work, or amongst friends? My guess is that it will be very few of you. It's not spoken about. Is that because the need for recovery is a sign of weakness? A sign that you can't handle your job? A sign that you're overwhelmed with life and can't cope?


Actively engaging in recovery is none of those things. It's where the smart money is.


Think of that colleague or boss or friend who is always so busy juggling so many IMPORTANT things such that they're hard to pin down, hard to talk to, hard to engage with. Because they're never really present in the moment. For me, that's the sign of weakness, failure and being overwhelmed.



Now think of that colleague or boss or friend who always seems to have time for you. Always seems to be available on your schedule and is always attentive and responsive. What you have here, my friends, is a person who is actively engaged in the art of recovery. 


So, what is this recovery we're talking about? Well, it can be anything from standing up and stretching for two minutes to a three month sabbatical. And everything in between. It's essentially all about getting the balance right between the period and intensity of the activity and the meaningfulness of the associated period of recovery. Tough hour long meeting? Then a five minute walk around the block will work well. Two days of back to back conference calls? Then an hour long yoga session will do the trick. Leading a challenging six month intense change program at work? Then you're probably going to need some decent vacation time.


From tomorrow, I am willfully encouraging you all to start bringing this concept of intentional recovery to life. And as a simple way to get started, book 50 minute meetings from now on instead of an hour. Take back those ten minutes and re-invest them in you. Stretch, drink some water, have a quiet moment of deep breathing and meditation (look at apps like Headspace and Calm), pet the office canine or just watch something hilarious on YouTube before you roll into the next thing. You'll be amazed at the results.


I look forward to hearing how you get on!







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