Are you prepared to fly?

I am a podcaster, speaker and author in the area of self-leadership: the intentional act of creating your freedom, your life, your way.

November 2, 2022

I’m in uncharted territory.

Yesterday, we were fortunate enough to be able to move my 89-year-old father in to live with us. He has had two hospital stays in the last 3 weeks from COVID and pneumonia. He’s finally kicked them both, but he’s a little weak and he needs a lot of love and care right now.

Last Thursday, when I learned that he would be moving down here with us, I got a crash course in everything that I DON’T know about caring for an elder.  In the space of a couple of hours, I had him set up with a primary doctor down here, connected with the doctor’s nurse so that instead of having to wait two weeks to be seen, she’s fitting him in this week so that the doctor can issue home health orders. I arranged for a private nurse to fill those gaps. I learned that there’s a difference between home health care and in-home care.  And I started to educate myself on how to help dad through some of the confusion that he’s experiencing right now.

I also learned about how to make the physical environment safer for him: tripping hazards, safe lighting, shower options, etc.

We also had to clear a room so he can have his own space. So, Rick and I moved my studio from the spare room into the master bedroom. Not the most ideal, but it’s a large space and it’s good enough.

My little sister, Suzette, and her husband, Austin, have been a God’s send to us. They brought us down an extra dresser for my dad and a recliner for his room. They’ve helped us to think through things that we might need. More than that, they’ve just been there, letting us know that we are not alone.

I was talking to someone the other day about it, and she said, “You must be overwhelmed.”

And I thought: No. I’m strangely calm. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot on my list and I’m working that list. But it’s with a sense of peace and calm.

That led me to wonder: why?

Here are my answers to that question:

  1. This change is completely aligned with our values. Taking care of dad is the only choice that either Rick or I see. I don’t think I could live with myself if we didn’t do this for him. I’m not naïve, I know that this means changes for us. A huge one that a few people have pointed out is that we won’t be in Colorado for the winter, so I won’t be able to cross-country ski every day. But skiing is just something that I love to do; it’s not a person and it’s not a value. It’s an activity.
  2. While we may be in uncharted territory, I know that Rick and I know how to learn. That’s one of the greatest strengths that any of us can have in times of uncertainty. I think the key is to uncover what you need to learn and not run from it. Run towards it – otherwise it will just follow you.
  3. I also know that Rick and I know how to work together. We’ve navigated so much in our life together so far and it’s times like these when we come together and are even better together. We respect and rely on each other’s strengths while filling gaps for the other.
  4. We have the humility to ask for help. I wouldn’t have put this on the list, but my brother-in-law, Austin, reflected that back to us the other night when he drove two hours out of his way (after working a full day) to bring us a recliner. We were standing in the driveway, and he said, “One of the reasons that you guys can do this is because you have the humility to ask for help.”
  5. And, we have the support of others. From Suzette and Austin helping us to the lady who lives across the street from us. We only moved in here at the beginning of September and when I was looking for a primary doctor for dad, we reached out to her for a recommendation. The next morning as we were coming back from walking the dogs, there were two loaves of pumpkin bread waiting for us on the hood of our car.

I know that over the next few months, I will have to learn things that I don’t even know exist yet and I know that there will be some challenges and changes. But I’m reminded again of a picture I recently saw of a bird sitting on the very end of a flimsy branch that looked about to break. And the caption said: the bird doesn’t take her confidence from the strength of the branch; the bird takes her confidence from her ability to fly. 

And that might be the best way to express what self-leadership is: the ability to fly no matter the wind or the conditions.

Always be working on your ability to fly.

PS: If you found this helpful, hit the notification bell on my LI profile so that you get notified when I publish new content.

PPS: I am creating a master course. The working title is: Get Unstuck: How to dismantle your barriers in 21 days or less. I need 10 volunteers to be beta-testers for it. If you are interested in helping me out with that, please DM me.   (There is no fee for participating and I’ll send you a free copy of my book Travels of the Heart: Developing Your Inner Leader as a thank you.)

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