Lesson #3 from a Broken Ankle

My life experiences have made me a self-sufficient person. I’m able to do lots of different things from light electrical and rough carpentry to shoeing a horse to grooming a dog and, of course, correcting musculoskeletal problems in the body. This is both good and bad.

It’s good because I can handle lots of different problems without help.

It’s bad because I can handle lots of different problems without help.

American culture values independence, but sometimes we can take it a bit too far. For many of us, success goes hand in hand with self-sufficiency. Anything, we are often told, can be achieved through hard work—which usually implies work done on one’s own.

For those raised in the United States, the idea of independence may bring to mind iconic stories about “rugged individuals”—pioneers, mavericks, or resourceful immigrants who built a life on their own terms. But while bravery and perseverance are valuable traits that help us make our way in life, these stories can idealize autonomy, instilling unrealistic expectations of attaining our goals solo—and these narratives also overlook the fact that we benefit enormously from the help of others.


For most of my life, I’ve been the go to person to ‘fix’ things, to get things done. Being something of a perfectionist, I have, more often than not, opted to do something myself because I know it will get done correctly. This is both good and bad . . . It’s good because I improve my skills and knowledge base; it’s bad because I add another reason for not asking for help.

Be honest, you’ve done it too, right?

When Glenn was alive and we were ranching, his favorite response to any worker asking for a raise was “When you can keep up with my wife, you’ll have earned a raise”. We were two peas in a pod – both multi-talented and willing to learn new skills and leave our comfort zones in order to accomplish something. While it certainly sounds like a compliment, is it really?   Might it not be better to increase effectiveness through collaboration? In addition to gaining the benefit of suggestions you might not have thought of independently, you may find people willing to assist with the refinement of your ideas, thus increasing the effectiveness of your approach.

This was lesson #3 from my broken ankle. There are times in life when, no matter how independent and self-sufficient you are, you’ve got to ask for help and graciously accept that help. Instead of being the go-to person, you are dependent on the help and assistance of others to accomplish everything that needs to be accomplished – like getting to the grocery store and doctor’s appointments.


Mindfulness plays a big part in being able to do this. So, what is mindfulness? Ah, shame on you if you don’t know . . . it means you’re not reading your e-mails or following me on Facebook . . . but you’re forgiven.

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Being mindful simply takes creating some new and healthier habits.

Most of us would like all new, upcoming years to be better than the current year. Personally, I would really like 2018 to be better than 2017. To that end, I’m learning the lessons from having broken my ankle, practicing healthy habits including mindfulness and being grateful for all the absolutely wonderful things in my life.

And, I encourage you do the same. Don’t allow stress to wear you down, beat it down with mindfulness. Take up or expand your Yoga (or other) practice. Slow down. Appreciate more. Sit less. Move more.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season and end of the year. See you soon in the New Year!