Making Lemonade from Lemons: Lessons from a Bad Back

Making Lemonade from Lemons: Lessons from a Bad Back

Sid Smith

Living on a floating home is wonderful, but as I learned during Portland's January Snopocolypse, it has its unique challenges.

While on our way down the walkway with our skis after the first heavy snowfall, we encountered a neighbor standing on the deck of his floating home, ankle deep in water. His home listed a full ten to fifteen degrees to one side and was in danger of sinking. Abandoning our skis, we enlisted the help of other neighbors, grabbed our shovels, and went to work.

A week later, I lay writhing on the floor, sharp pain shooting from my lower back down to my toes. Every muscle in my hip, back and leg was in spasm, crying out for help. It seems that age, inattention to shoveling form, and a lifetime of bad posture caught up with me.

That was the lemon, and I'm now ready to make lemonade.

Applying a Growth Mindset

In her fabulous book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck differentiates between what she calls a fixed and a growth mindset. Someone with a fixed mindset is more likely to medicate their way through an injury, learn nothing, and suffer multiple recurrences. An individual with a growth mindset sees the injury for what it is and looks at it as an opportunity to learn, grow, and do things differently.

With a growth mindset, you're not frozen by failure or the thought of failure. Mistakes become learning opportunities. You discover that by working hard and sticking with it you can accomplish nearly anything (or at least have a good time trying).

Although I'm fit and have exercised all my life, I am subject to the impact of aging. Joints and disks weaken, muscles shorten, and recovery takes longer. Core strength is more important than ever. This injury has awoken me to the possibility of living the life I want well into my 80's. It asks that I learn, grow, change my exercise routines, and strengthen my back instead of succumbing to a belief that "I have a bad back" (a fixed mindset).

How This Applies to Your Businesses

"Injuries" happen in business. You lose an important client, have a bad sales month, or get hit with an employee lawsuit. You run into issues with employees or are whacked upside the head by the festering elephant that your managers tried to ignore.

With a fixed mindset, you only see the problem. It is a blow to your ego. The person with a growth mindset gets excited by the challenge and looks for the opportunity. What can this issue tell you about your business, your employees, or even your market?

Is there a shift that the universe is asking you to make, and that if you take the bait will enable you to leap ahead of your competition?

Perhaps by letting that troubling employee or ineffective manager loose, your business will catch a fresh, strong wind that carries you to new heights. That bad sales month could be a clue that your market has changed, and if you change with it you'll be a step ahead of your competition.

Which mindset will you adopt for your business this year? Fixed, or growth?

Mailing Address (Sid)

6901 SE Oaks Park Way, Slip 27
Portland, OR 97202


Sid: 971-678-1495
Eric: 503-635-2319