I’ve had unpleasant sensations in my right heel for almost two years… the details of which I won’t bore you with.
However, I will share the outline of my journey to understand and resolve it
1. In the Spring of 2022, I went to my GP; I described my issue and thoughts on what I thought it might be.
2. They sent me to the nurse for a doppler to check my blood flow- all good
3. I was told to do the exercises for plantar fasciitis….no impact.
4. I went to a chiropractor who told me all the other things that looked misaligned on the x-ray but couldn’t explain my heel issue.
5. I spend a lot of money being adjusted- but that’s another story…
6. I went the podiatrist who said there’s nothing obviously wrong with your foot but to use orthotics.
7. I went to the biomechanics specialist who said no don’t use orthotics!
8. I went to a physio who was perplexed so referred me to a sport medicine specialist.
9. By this point, I was fed up and starting to believe that the root cause was perhaps not medical, so I took a break from a traditional approach.
10. I saw a psychotherapist, EMDR therapist and Rolfing practitioner …they helped me understand things ... but my heel pain was was still there !
11. By this point, I also have pain in my hip and back and it was impacting my sleep. This was my trigger, the point at which my pain was impacting my health, happiness and performance and I knew I need to get to the bottom if it.
12. In January 2024, I went to a sports medicine doctor who took a comprehensive history and said ‘mmm it could be your heel or ankle, but I think that it’s coming from somewhere else!” At last, I felt like I was being listen to, all along I had said, “could this be a nerve issue and linked to the spinal surgery I’d had in 1993!”
13. Yesterday, I had an epidural to calm the nerve in my back and to allow my nervous system to recalibrate- too early to tell if this has helped, I also know I have some work to do to rewire my pain pathway in my brain.
Are you still with me, I totally get if you are not, to be honest, I have felt lost long the way
This article is not about my heel!
It’s about how when we only shine the light on the presenting issue and are not curious enough to dig deeper to truly understand it that we apply ‘solutions’ that are ineffective.
So how does this relate to businesses?
I’m often contacted by business leaders because their employees are experiencing difficulties with their mental health and it’s impacting their conduct and productivity. Leaders, email and say, “can you help sort out my staff, we have an Employee Assistance Program or occupational therapist but it’s not helping?”. I reply, “yes, I can help you understand and support your teams but first I need to understand where the pain comes from, would you like me to help you with this?”
This is where different types of leaders show up
1. ‘Ghosters’- they don’t respond, either this group want a quick fix and I don’t meet their requirements, or the leader is so exhausted from constant firefighting they don’t have the capacity to explore new ways of seeing and solving.
2. ‘Yes, but' – they see where you are coming from, but they aren’t ready to invest or do the work necessary.
3. ‘I’m curious’- tell me more...they are ready, they see the possibilities a comprehensive approach offers and are ready to invest and do the work
Which one are you?
We are biologically designed to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Our modern world utilises this to sell us quick fixes. Quick fixes can help in the short term, they can reduce the pain, but they frequently don’t address the root cause so the pain doesn't get resolved. Think of a plaster on a bullet wound.
This is why I love working with nervous systems. The autonomic nervous system is the common denominator in our human experience. How we respond and recover from the myriad of challenges of life is determined by the actions of our autonomic nervous systems, resilience, then is the outcome of a flexible nervous system.
Forward thinking leaders who understand nervous systems know this and are equipped to see and do things differently. They can balance their energy and stress so they feel curious, connected to others and open to alternative possibilities.
From this place they can foster environments that promote psychological safety, trust and collaboration impacting the whole team and business results.
As Wayne Dyer said “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”
Are you open to a new way of seeing are you ready do do things differently?