Getting the Job Done without Trying

This week, my friend Marj had a second knee replaced, just ten months after her first knee operation. She is coming home today just two days after the surgery. Amazing. There is no dilly-dallying these days when it comes to hospital recuperation time. They expect you to get in, get out, and back on your feet the very same day as the knee replacement.

Marj went into both knee replacements with conviction and commitment that she would bring her A-Game. She exercised, changed her diet, went to Physical Therapy before and after the surgery of the first knee, and has been disciplined to make sure all goes the same with the second. And thus far, the results have been stellar! Less pain, more strength and mobility, and the ability Marj and Meto get to those events that make Marj’s heart sing – literally. Singing makes her heart soar!

Marj is committed to her well-being, enough that nothing interferes with her appointments with herself for exercise, PT, and other aspects of her health practices. Yes – appointments with her self. In her heart, she knows that she wants freedom and flexibility, so much so that she is totally dedicated to doing whatever it takes to bring that to her. Is she scared that there are risks and discomfort? Yes. Does she know for a fact that the outcome of the surgery will be amazing. No. However, the outcome isn’t the trajectory. Being present and bringing her All to every exercise session and PT appointment, sticking to the regiment required by the hospital – the completion of each aspect of her recovery program, is what matters – not missing one single knee bend.

Marj didn’t “try” to do her exercises, get to PT, and eat different. She totally committed herself to getting the job done and getting back into her life as quickly as possible, and with as much ease as came naturally. I’m impressed!

Throughout the aging process, there are many opportunities to try, and many opportunities to do. As a Life Coach, my experience – which includes my own, is that we are much more likely to try to make our lives better than to actually make our lives better. One of my clients who is in a 12-step program shared the slogan “Trying is Lying.” Ouch! That hit home!

Trying smacks of hesitancy, resistance, and the unwillingness to fully commit to, and be fully accountable to your word. In a sense, when people try, they are usually juggling conflicting or underlying commitments. They want what they say they want, while at the same time, they want something else that may not have been verbalized yet.

Generally speaking, what most of us want is pain-free, vulnerable-free, comfortable, stability, safety and security. Wha-hoo! And, at the same time we want something that makes our hearts soar, and inevitably will stretch our comfort zone. Any change brings about the fear of loss. Every change will also stretch an individual to consider if what is at stake is worth the loss and the gain. The practice of trying versus committing allows us to hedge our bets in favor of safety and invulnerability.

There are areas in Marj’s life where she isn’t as committed to bringing her best self to the endeavor. She is more committed to not letting go of comfort, stability and the invulnerability that comes along with maintaining the status quo. She, like so many of us believe that we would be sacrificing and depriving ourselves of comfort and safety. Its fascinating to witness people like Marj be so brave and strong in one area of life, and be scared and hesitant in another.

The truth is that when you’re absolutely clear about what you are committed to, you realize that you are sacrificing or depriving yourself of nothing. If you give yourself exactly what you want – where’s the sacrifice in that?

Trying allows us to work at cross purposes with our inner truth. It sets the stage for sabotage of our own best efforts. The more we try the further away we get from that which we truly desire. Obviously, you don’t have to take my word for it. Take an inventory of all the times in your life when you told yourself or someone else “I’ll try.” What was the success rate for you trying? And, if there were times that you committed to something and said, “I’ll do it,” what was the rate of success for saying YES?

When in doubt about the degree to which I want what I want, I often go to one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Yoda. Remember Yoda’s wise words in Star Wars, when he is training Luke Skywalker to be a Jedi: “Do or Do Not. There is No Try.”

By the way, Marj is stronger and more capable on her first day home then she ever thought possible. Her commitment and discipline paid off for her, big time!


If you’d like to join me in the AGING – Who Me in-person discussions at the Senior Center, we are meeting Tuesday “ March 14th, from 1pm to 2:30. For more information, or if you’d like to set up a one basis, call me – Dr. Rosie Kuhn at 360-376-4323.

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