A couple of months after my vertigo started, my husband and I went to some meeting at our synagogue. At the time, the administrative staff dimmed the lights in the hallways where they didn’t expect people to walk. However, the Ladies Room was down that hall.
Yup, you guessed it. About halfway down the hall, I fell. Why? Because we use our eyes as part of our balance system. With dim lights, I had to rely on my compromised inner ear.
I whined on my blog about people not turning the lights on. A friend emailed me and said, “No! You’ve got it all wrong. You need to rely on yourself. Buy a flashlight and have it with you at all times.”
Talk about a wakeup email. He was right.
I did buy a little flashlight, and I do have it with me all the time. I don’t fall because of the dark anymore. (Nope, I fall in bright sunlight!)
My friend acted as part of my support system.
My support system is all the tools I use—my cane or rollator or flashlight—and my friends, colleagues, and yes, strangers who give me a hand when I need it.
I didn’t realize at the time how important a support system is for an adaptable life. My support system:
- Helps me realize when I need to adjust how I live.
- Gives me a hand, figuratively or in reality.
- Provides me with moral support even if I don't need physical assistance.
People all over the world have helped me. They've helped me get on and off trains. They took my hand when I used a cane and needed support. They helped me stand back up after a fall.
Aside from the physical help, they sometimes hold a mirror to my actions and challenge my assumptions. They help me see my reality.
I succeed because I have that necessary kind of support system.
When people who care are willing to offer feedback, not just physical assistance, I can succeed.
You can ask for this support. On my previous vertigo meds, I had a dry mouth. I told my clients that if they heard me slur my words, I probably needed to drink something. They told me. Drinking water was especially effective in a workshop. The more I drank, the more often we had bio breaks.
- Use tools that help you avoid the need for support. Do as much as you can yourself.
- Do use whatever practice you need to practice and build physical and emotional strength, so you don’t need physical assistance. And, if someone offers support, decide if you need that support.
- Ask for support when you need it.
You can build your support system. First, do what you can to support yourself. For me, that mean working on my physical strength. And, using tools such as the rollator and my flashlight so I stay upright at all times.
I also recommend you tell everyone that you are open to support. Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
The more you are open to possibilities for help, the more you build our support system, the more resilient and adaptable you can be.
Learn with Johanna
Gil Broza and are offering the Influential Agile Leader Workshop in April 2019, in Toronto. If you are part of an agile transformation, please do join us.
And, I'm thrilled to announce that my most recent book (with Mark Kilby), From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams: Collaborate to Deliver is available every fine books are sold.