The summer between 5 and 6th grade I had a bicycle accident. Turning too fast on a rock road, I took all the skin off my knee, and some arm. My knee hurt even with my high pain tolerance, but when I got home to my parents, they were shocked I wasn’t in more pain. At 22 my doctor gave me a choice, “Walk or have the knee replaced.” Seemed like a pretty obvious choice to me.
But off and on the knee hurt… sometimes it was minor, sometimes it was major, to the point my stomach hurt. Walking helped, but it didn’t go away. I started wearing a brace on occasion… then almost daily. This was even after walking, 2 miles a day.
Then one day I happened to notice the soles of my walking shoes. The left shoe had fairly even wear…but my right shoe was wearing on the outside edge, while the inside was barely worn. The next day I noticed my gait had slowly changed to protect the right knee. By walking on the outside of my foot, I was putting weight on the stronger part of the knee.
Working the Weakness
The next few weeks my walks were spent with concentration on evening that gait. Trying to make certain my foot landed even… and honestly the pain went from minor to major. It hurt, pushing my knee like that. I propped my leg up as soon as I could after my walks.
Yet, I kept pushing my knee. I went from taking Advil several times a week, to occasionally. The constant inflammation decreased. Instead of having to wear a tight elastic sleeve brace during the day and a looser one at night, I stopped wearing the one during the day, then at night as well…
My knee was getting stronger. As time passed I forgot about how weak the knee was. I forgot about making certain my gait was even.
Then we had an ice storm. During the walk, my leg slipped a bit, and the kneecap slid out of place. The sudden rush of pain was nauseating, I continued to walk, albeit it slower. I wore my brace the rest of the day.
The next day was icy, meaning I had to protect the knee from sudden movements, that would pull the cap out of place again. A few days of sun, and again snow, then another few days of sun, and more snow and ice all required protecting the knee. I was soon wearing my brace almost all the time, and taking medicine to relieve the pain and inflammation.
And in all this protecting of the knee, that gait returned. The gait that both protected the knee, which was temporarily necessary, but allowed it to weaken. So the past two weeks I’ve been learning to walk evenly again… but the thing is, it’s not just my knee, or me. We all do this.
We Hide Our Weaknesses
We learn to enhance our strengths and hide our flaws. This is partially a defense system, partially because we like to be appreciated and have people see us as skilled and so we hide our weaknesses.
However sometimes in hiding our weaknesses, we enable them to grow. Protecting my knee during the ice was one thing, but I should have worked it once I was safely home instead of allowing the weakness to grow.
People see me walking in any weather except rain falling and see me as strong, but I’m hiding that weak knee. People see me as a techie, but I hide the fact that I very much struggle with organizing my day. I see my list and think of all I need to do, sometimes I panic, sometimes I do things… well, with the skill of a person with ADHD. Randomly working on random projects for random time frames.
Yes, I have a “productivity timer” that has 45 minutes for work periods. But I either work through the timer, instead of taking a break or forget to even use the timer.
But see that’s the thing about weakness, we either hide it, or we make plans to conquer it and yet don’t take action. You’ve heard the phrase before…
“a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link.”
Without correcting my gait, I sometimes am able to kneel down, but I’m unable to get back up. I took action with my knee. I made it stronger, which made me stronger, it allows me to kneel down, mostly without trouble.
And knowing this puts some perspective on my productivity weakness. As long as I do nothing, it stays a weakness and a weak link in my business and life. However if I start training and working on focus… then that makes my whole life a bit stronger.
You know you are doing this as well… you are protecting or hiding weaknesses. Yes, there are things you probably don’t like to do, like my friend Pam Russell at The Be Influence realizes that doing webinars should not be part of her business model. And as a Website Designer and Techie, my job is to handle things those for people who should be doing things better suited to their skillset… however we all have weaknesses we avoid. These are things you know you should do and are avoiding rather than facing it.
As a tech instructor, I should do webinars… I don’t because it will likely showcase my focus weakness.
So what are your weaknesses? What can you do to train it/ strengthen it so that “weak link” isn’t quite so weak?
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