I use recovering from a broken neck as an example of how to set a life goal to get through crisis or change.

In my last blog, I explained how to make an IMPACT Goal Measured by setting by setting Gateways to achieve the goal.

It can be difficult to stay positive in a crisis – setting IMPACT Goals helps you to do this.

If you would like to discuss your own goals, then get in contact with me:

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A truck load of fears

There was this instant after my head smashed against the seabed and I heard my neck break, where total calmness came over me.

I was being hurled around in the water with a paralysed arm, yet my mind was in a parallel universe.

I felt this surge of clarity as I realised that I could be paralysed, I could die.

The calm control remained when I spoke to the man on the beach and asked him to call an ambulance.

But it wasn’t always that way.

I panicked when I was put in an MRI, even though I was strapped down.

It took me three goes and the care of a nurse to get me through it.

I had many fears as I went through my recovery:

  • That I would be paralysed.
  • That I’d have an operation that would paralyse me.
  • The impact of my paralysed arm on my work – would I lose my job?

Fears of loneliness, of pain, that I would get Covid whilst I was restricted in a neck brace.

And minor ones like I wouldn’t recover enough to swim or play tennis again.

That my life would be forever changed.

What’s the worst that can happen?

When I faced these fears I asked a simple question:

  • “What’s the worst that can happen?”

I asked this question of each of my fears, and in each case came up with a positive answer.

  • “I lucky not to be paralysed – marvel in that fact.”
  • “Have confidence in yourself – if you lost your job you’d find another”
  • “Manage pain with painkillers – that’s what they’re there for.”
  • “Be stringent in your exposure to Covid and boost your immunity.”

In each case, I was able to find a way to stay positive through my fears.

Stay positive with a positive mental attitude

There’s always someone who is worse off than you.

A neurosurgery ward must be the only place where you can be with a broken neck and feel like you have a minor injury!

I had three fractures in my neck, yet I was surrounded by people who were dealing with much worse than me.

I sought out people’s advice about recovery and found how many had experienced far worse accidents.

Their accidents really made me shudder!

It kept what I was going through in perspective.

Laughing is great for resilience

Humour also helps keep things in perspective.

I did a comedy course a few months before my accident and used my predicament as material – watch the video at the beginning of this blog.

The nurses on my ward always seemed to be smiling and laughing despite looking after some of the worst injuries in the hospital.

And there was plenty of gallows humour between patients!

Laughter helps release tension and to keep a positive outlook.

It’s great for resilience.

Love being loved!

The contact, love and caring from my family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, medical staff and indeed strangers was key to my recovery.

It makes a hell of a difference to know that people are thinking about you.

I had so many calls and messages that some days it took the majority of my time.

I appreciated every one of them.

It’s also been interesting to see who hasn’t been in contact and to realise that some people are not as much part of my life as I thought, or perhaps hoped.

It helps to know who to prioritise my time with, to deepen our relationships.

In my next blog, I write about how I made my IMPACT Goal “Action-focused” – even when I was incapacitated!

In the meantime, if you would like to get in touch, you can contact me here:

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