I was riding my bike to my new office this week, trying to see how fast I could get there. My experiment was cut short when I realized I was working so hard because my back tire had gone flat. I don’t usually carry a pump in the city because our buses have bike racks on them. But of course, the flat happened on the river trail, far from any transit option. I couldn’t even pump it up enough to limp the last mile to work, so I walked.
At lunchtime, I took my bike over to the nearby bike shop to be fixed. As the mechanic put my bike on the stand, he started telling me how much it would be for a new tube, plus labor.
“Whatever,” I said, “just fix it.” The reality is that no matter what the cost, I wasn’t getting home on the bike until the tire was fixed. He pulled a nasty metal spike out of the tire and had me rolling again in 15 minutes.
The next day, I went to my first physical therapy session. I’ve never been to physical therapy before, but my wife has been a regular for over two years. After 6 weeks of mysterious pain on the left side of my neck, Jess finally convinced me to go see her physical therapist, Dr. Emily Soiney at Shine Physical Therapy.
The Root of My Problem
Within minutes, it was apparent that I was in the presence of someone who is a master of her craft. Emily watched me walk, had me sit, lie down, and move my head in different ways. She moved my leg around and announced, “I figured out why your knee was hurting on the bike yesterday.”
She let me know the pain on the left side of my neck was being caused by overcompensation from the muscles on the right side of my neck. Further research revealed that the root cause of the problem was too much forward tilt on one side of my pelvis. This caused a subtle twist in my rib cage, which threw off the neck muscles until BAM! Suddenly, I can barely move.
I spent six weeks massaging my neck, applying heating pads and popping Tylenol, never imagining the real cause of my problem.
In the hour we spent together, she did some manual adjustments and taught me a weird looking exercise. This will help reposition my pelvis and strengthen the core muscles to support permanent change. She sent me home with instructions to do them twice a day and come back in a week or two for a checkup.
Because I addressed the problem when it was fairly new, I only got 1 homework exercise and she only wants to see me 2 more times. After she walked me through the exercise a few times, she checked my neck again and pronounced me vastly improved.
“DO NOT tell Jess you fixed yourself with one exercise,” she joked. “She might slug you.”
I imagine that Emily moves through the world, seeing the story of other people’s bad posture, stress, and old injuries written on their bodies like billboard signs. But she can only fix the ones who are tired enough of hurting to come in, get help, and then do the work on their own to fix the root of the problem.
Making a Difference
I quit the WordPress development business because I can’t continue watching people struggle with their websites with no clue about how to make them effective. They stress about the placement of social media buttons, the size of images, how many blogs to post per month, which theme or font to use–all with no strategy in place.
To get to the root of the problem, you MUST spend time doing the work of figuring out WHY you do what you do, WHO you help, HOW you solve their problem(s), and WHAT you’ll say to give them the information they need to buy from you. This work allows you to create a strategy, decide on tactics and most importantly, measure your efforts to see what is working and what isn’t.
Your WHY and your plan act as the compass that guides all your decisions. Just ‘doing things’ with your website is the equivalent of pumping up a flat tire before you’ve taken out the nasty metal spike and patched the tube. It may yield some results, but you won’t get very far before you must stop and pump the tire again.
I quit development because I didn't want to keep ‘doing code’ for people who don’t want to do the work of making that code matter to their business, their bottom line, their mission and their lives.