Sunday was meant to be the start of a very special week for me. I was on my way to North Carolina as a nominee for the award of Emerging Leader at the company I currently work for. But I was certainly not prepared for what Sunday had waiting for me.
Arriving at the airport, I knew I had a rough week due to my flare up of my arthritis. So I wanted to find ways to minimize walking inorder to save all my energy for the leadership conference I was so honored to be invited to. First thing I do is have a conversation with the airlines customer service (CS):
- Me: What support can I get to minimize my walking?
- CS: We can provide wheel chair assistance. Is that what you want?
- Me: Oh no.. Is there anything less dramatic...?
- CS: Sorry that's the only thing that we can offer.
- Me: hmm.. ok is the gate far? Is there a lot of walking involved?
- CS: For me its very close, but I don't know what close or far for you given your situation
I thank her for her kind support and decide to risk it, walk and avoid using the support they had. As soon as I declined it, I knew I took the wrong decision but my pride stood in the way. I heard my mind say while imagining I took the wheel chair option "What if you see someone from the office?" , "Aida, people are going to look at you funny if you sit in the wheel chair assistance".. "Aida, people will see you as weak."
I pass through security, I walk to my gate and all of a sudden my feet have reached the end of their battery life. Finding the closest chair, bursting in tears, I finally cave in and call for the wheel chair assistance. When it came with my name written on the small screen by the wheel chair, I couldn't look up at people. I felt ashamed and weak. Never did I think I would see my name next to a wheel chair.
Fast forward to sitting on the plane, I look out through the window and get lost in the clouds and infinite sky. I remember how much more there is yet to life. How our 'big' problems are really small. How there is so much beauty out there just waiting to be discovered by us, by me, by you.
I land in North Carolina able to walk again thankfully and somehow re-energized for the conference. But I learnt an incredibly important lesson: that my weakness was not in taking the wheel chair assistance but in letting my ego and pride take over at the start. My weakness was in my inability to be vulnerable and to say that I need help and to accept the help provided.
We all are going through our own struggles whether you are the CEO of a large organization or a barista at a coffee shop. We all will need at some point in our lives a certain kind of wheel chair assistance. The question is will you accept it? or will you decline it because you think you can handle it on your own? Sure sometimes you will be able to handle it on your own but there will be times when you will need the support and my advice to you is accept it. Embrace it. Be grateful for the support because sure enough once you regain your strength you will pass that support and pay it forward.
With a grateful mind,