Having no money and no insurance, there was no luxury of rehabilitation when I broke my back years ago. I was finally able to get out of the bed months later and with a life of pain ahead of me but I managed.
It is amazing what you can learn to deal with and work through. The years caught up with me and it became difficult to stay active without suffering later. Still I pushed on until finally the pain became so great that I could no longer manage it. Public speaking went to public sitting and pain forced me to use notes to stay focused. Something had to change.
The solution involved 6 months of physical therapy — three days a week. I hated it. The pain was worse than before. Tears during and after and, just when I would seem to recover, I was headed back for more torture. A great team of physical therapists watched me grit, cry, and try to smile as they retrained muscles and dealt with tissue damage due to years of chronic pain. They worked on compensating body mechanics and core body strength. They gave me new tricks.
Through it all, they never let up and they never stopped cheering. Sometimes they talked with understanding voices while at other times they pushed me to the edge. They knew the immediate pain would mean no more pain.
I will never forget those people and how the rode the balance between pushing me through pain and recovering me from it. I won’t forget their encouragement while setting honest expectations for the next session but, more importantly, for my future. Talk about freedom! I was free from a lifetime of pain and with maintenance work, I continue to live pain free.
When we encounter the troubled or those in the midst of challenge, we need to listen like firefighters and then speak like like physical therapists.
- Be realistic and hopeful. Speak truth into their lives even if the expectation for tomorrow is rough. Inspire them to see the end-game and the end-gain.
- Speak out of experience. Don’t give advice and trite answers. If you haven’t lived it or learned it, find someone to help them that has.
- Give them tricks. Provide ideas and action items to get through the pain to the gain.
- Leave room for gritting and despair. It is hard to see hope when you are in pain or are being stretched beyond yourself. Don’t disparage the very real emotions that accompany trials.
- Balance challenge with times of rest. Sometimes we need someone to not talk about it all the time. Sometimes we need a push and other times we need a break.
- Speak like a physical therapist not a thug. Broken people rarely need to be broken at your hand.
What speaking ideas do you have? How can you speak better? Have you ever blown it when you started speaking?