I was looking forward to my morning tennis with the coach and hoping my winning streak would continue. I beat him last week after a gap of three years. Energised by this success, I was all set for a repeat performance. As I opened the door to the tennis court, my hand slipped and I felt a burning sensation course through the side of my palm. I had cut myself on a piece of rusted wire. The next 15 minutes were spent trying to clean the wound and get the bleeding to stop. Finally fortified with Dettol and some gauze, I got onto the court and started warming up.
Try as I might, my game was not working as well after this minor mishap. The pain was not that bad, but I kept checking to see if the bleeding had started again. Every time I tossed the ball in the air to serve, it felt just that little bit off. I lost the first set 6-0. I then took a short water break and collected myself. Got my mind to try and focus on each point and not worry about anything else. The second set went better with a score line of 5-4 when we had to stop as time had run out.
The next adventure was to find the closest hospital and get me a tetanus injection. This took another hour of my morning and I had to rearrange my otherwise well-planned day. Every tiny thing I took for granted was just that little bit tougher to do. Having a bath and soaping myself with one hand, for instance, putting on my shirt with care to make sure the hand was protected, and so on. This tiny cut reminded me of the power it had to change the course of my day. To throw me off my game and stop me from being my best.
I think of the workplace and the analogy of the many tiny cuts that I may knowingly or unknowingly inflict on the people I work with. My words and actions can inflict a series of tiny cuts that cascade through the day of the person who is hurt. The hurt is not so bad that it stops them from performing their job, but it does not enable them to deliver their best. Not only does it upset their rhythm and slow them down a bit, it also changes the course of so many other things in the day. Accidental cuts cannot be avoided, but they can be treated. The ones that are inflicted with intent are the ones to watch out for. Tiny changes that I can make, will have a powerful impact on the people I work with.
Cleaning the work wound with some Dettol and applying a light bandage or getting a tetanus shot if the cut was inflicted by a rusty wire could be life-saving. What the equivalent of this first aid is in the work place may vary from person to person. It could be a call with a therapist to help process the incident or it could be a short meditation to pause and gain composure or a workout at the gym to blow off some steam.
I can enable the people I work with and work for to play their A game and help them win. When they win the people around them have a better day. One tiny change can cut deep. Think of your next action when it comes to engaging with people around you. Is it going to inflict a tiny cut? Is it going to cause a small bit of pain? or is it going to give a tiny boost of energy or confidence? Cut out the negativity and you have the power to transform yourself and those around you.
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