Embrace the Shake
A friend of mine emailed me a link to a 10-minute video from the TED website. I hadn't ever heard of TED talks before, but after I watched the video I read more about the site. The motto of TED is spreading ideas that were founded on technology, entertainment and design. It seems like a really neat site and platform to learn more from others and is certainly applicable in a changing business world where sharing information is a powerful networking tool.
The video I watched is about an artist, Phil Hansen, who developed an upper-extremity tremor that limited his fine-motor skills and ultimately ended his ability to create art in the manner he had been accustomed to. He was disappointed. He consulted a neurologist, who told him to "embrace the shake," as he had permanent nerve damage that wouldn't improve. Instead of focusing on the precise, detailed art he was used to making, he used the tremor to create a different style of art and in the process learned a lot about himself. What was initially a limitation developed into one of the most liberating experiences for Phil, both professionally and personally.
As physical therapists, we see this all the time. Patients may have injuries that result in permanent "disabilities." How can we harness the same philosophy of Phil's neurologist and help our patients see the potential of their "disabilities?" Often I'm so focused on empathizing with my patients and validating their frustrations that I fail to pay attention to the optimistic components of their case.
I wrote "embrace the shake" on a post-it note and put it on the clipboard I carry with me during the day. My goal is to remember the potential my patients have. How will you teach your patients to "embrace the shake?"