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The Good Fortune of Living Without Health Concerns

The cost of a medical check up is a bargain if the insights you gain aid you in the long run.

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On a day that I probably should have had a large glass of water before taking off, I left my office and proceeded towards the School of Ballet and to meet my daughter who was finishing her class. I had already been walking for 20 or 25 minutes when I decided to go up the hill. It is a steep climb on the order of 30 or 35 degrees. I vigorously preceded up the hill about 450 steps, then made my way down, and finally walked out to the main road.

With minutes to go, I was feeling fine. I got to the school, walked in, and took a look at my daughter, who was still in rehearsal, and came back out. On the sidewalk outside the building, I did stretches. In one, I raised both hands up to the sky and then looked up as well. The blood from my arms came rushing down into my head. I felt a warm, distant, foggy sensation, and the next thing I knew, I was on the hard sidewalk, getting up from what had been a fall.

For the first time in my life, apparently I had fainted. Since the sidewalk was on a bit of an incline, falling straight down would mean that my right buttocks would hit the concrete first, which it did. I was a little sore, but none the worse for wear. I got up, went inside, and took some water. What a strange situation.

Leery of Routine Activities

Over the next couple days, my right side hurt, but there was no apparent injury. I was leery of taking vigorous walks and of doing that same stretch. About three days after the event, the most awful looking bruise appeared on my right cheek. It started out the size of a ping pong ball, then grew to that of two, then to the size of a fist. Its color changed daily.

At its zenith, the bruise was the size of a softball, tender to touch and terrible to view. Funny, but I didn’t feel that bad, and it wasn’t all that sore. However, I was concerned about the fainting. A week later I was in a bookstore and, looking at some books at the bottom of the shelf, I knelt down. I became light-headed again and had to hold onto the shelf to steady my balance. Now I was worried. I didn’t know when or where that lightheaded feeling would come up again, but I didn’t like it.

Weeks passed, but the light-headed “pre-faint” feeling kept occurring, just for a second or two. Sometimes it happened when I was seated and stood up quickly, sometimes when I was walking, sometimes when I was simply turning around. All of my internal and external senses were on high alert, and what had probably been normal bodily functions for all of my life now rang out with alarm.

My preceptors were on full volume, and I didn’t like it.  So I was ready to take a physical. I hadn’t had one in about ten years and it certainly made sense to do so.

Insights for the Ages and the Aged

At my exam I met Dr. Dale Beiber, who has since retired from practice. I explained the phenomenon to him. Dr. Beiber, a wise and optimistic man, told me that for all these years I had had the pleasure of living without health concerns, and now, for perhaps the first time, I was confronting them. This single observation proved to be a Godsend for me.

Immediately after that exam, I went back to the vigorous walking and as the lake season began, starting swimming. I swam long and hard and had not one iota of a tremor of light-headedness. For only that brief lapse I had fallen into the trap in which, I guess, so many others become enmeshed – letting whatever ailment that startled them become an intermittent panic button.

I recall the time I had a panic attack on a plane flight, more than 30 years ago. Following the flight, I took a taxi to the George Washington University emergency room. There, a wise physician told me that there was nothing wrong with me, and if I weren’t careful, I could become a “cardiac cripple.” My sister had died a month before and my father eighteen months before that, both of heart attacks. I was simulating, through some deep, empathetic response, the conditions that they had experienced. I was completely healthy, but my mind and body were telling me that something was dreadfully wrong.

So too with the fainting incident. I was as healthy as I could be. The reasons for passing out were abundantly clear. It was at the end of a long work day, and I was a bit dehydrated. I had taken a vigorous walk, which most people at any age would have difficulty completing. I had stretched in a manner that made blood rush to my head. I had tilted my head up, which diminished the functioning of a vital artery. The resulting experience was momentary lapse of consciousness.

When Imagination Isn’t Helpful

The random sensation of light-headedness in the weeks that followed was analogous to the cardiac crippling phenomenon. In both cases, I was perfectly healthy, but allowed my imagination to get the better of my body. The cost of that check up, whatever it was, was a bargain. Meeting with Dr. Beiber freed me to get back into a physical training schedule commensurate with my capabilities and desires.

As I write this now, I am in great shape, even exceeding in many respects that of years earlier. I am blessed.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Education

Putting North Carolina Public Education Back on Track  

With Michelle Morrow’s leadership, North Carolina public schools can be better equipped to educate and inspire today’s students.

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* * *

It’s no secret to conservatives that the nation’s children, every single one of them, are at risk. In the main, not for reasons malnutrition, growing up in a tough neighborhood, or having toxic parents. The risk that all kids face today is the potential to be indoctrinated in public schools by their own teachers, teacher’s aides, and administrators.

America’s Children Are under Siege

Some school districts in America, are populated by boards of education, principals, and school administrators who think it is their sacred duty to indoctrinate children, exposing them to all manner of adult and sex-related topics long before any child should be. As such, they usurp the rights of parents and guardians.

Nowhere is this more evident than in North Carolina where 23% of all kindergarten through 12th-grade students are enrolled in either a charter school or private school, or study at home, and the percentage increase in these three options is 84% over the last 11 years. Why? Parents want to determine the best educational options for their own children and they don’t believe that North Carolina public schools are doing an adequate job.

Fortunately, one candidate running for NC superintendent of public instruction means to the state’s education programs back on track. Her name is Michelle Morrow, and she is a personal dynamo whose grasp on the issues is outstanding.

First and foremost, Morrow advocates having safe schools with a culture of academic achievement and civility. If it takes having a security guard in every single school throughout the state to ensure the safety of children attending class as well as teachers and school staff, Morrow is all for it.

She believes that schools should be the safest buildings in the state. Alas, they are not. In North Carolina, school crime and violence increased a whopping 84% in just the past five years. The top three crimes being reported include drug use, weapons possession, and assault – even assault of teachers.

An Advocate for What Counts

As the NC superintendent of public instruction, Morrow will support fair and effective policies that both deter crime and promote classroom civility. She’ll be a strong advocate for teachers’ rights to employ fair and reasonable measures to manage their classrooms as they see fit.

Morrow will insist on parent-friendly schools, recognizing that a child’s academic performance often hinges on the vital partnership between teachers and parents. In too many schools throughout the state, parents are kept completely in the dark about medical treatments and, surprisingly, even academic performance.

Some children are forced to take surveys requiring them to reveal details of their sexual habits and mental state, and schools employ such data to monitor, diagnose, and treat psychological issues. Parents alone, however, have the right to make medical decisions in relation to their children’s health and well-being. Government sponsored data collection needs to end. Morrow will enforce a Parents’ Bill of Rights to ensure that families are protected and that parents have dominion over their own children.

Back to the Basics

Academic achievement has suffered for years on end in North Carolina’s kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms. A staggering one-quarter of eighth graders cannot meet national math, science, or reading standards. Test scores throughout North Carolina reveal that more than 800 schools are under-performing.

As superintendent, Morrow will be focused on ensuring that all the money earmarked for education actually makes its way to the classroom. She will ensure that schools focus on teaching science, math, reading, and real history. She will advocate for small group tutoring when needed by students who are not performing well, and touting for those who are doing exceedingly well and can do even better.

Morrow recognizes that the government in Washington, D.C., has no business in the education of North Carolina students. Parents are not co-parenting with the federal government. The programs and policies that politicians and special interest groups attempt to impose on North Carolina schools must come to an end, and any interference in teaching core academics must cease immediately.

As such, Morrow will sever the ties with public interest groups while helping to strengthen local school districts’ ability to employ proven teaching methods, with the goal of enhancing core academic achievement.

The Big Picture

Morrow will seek to enhance national unity and patriotism. Too many students throughout North Carolina are subjected to one-sided history lessons that portray America as an oppressive, racist, unredeemable nation. Some schools go so far as to stereotype their students and inform them that, as a result of their ethnicity, sexuality, or religion, they are oppressors.

This one-sided, warped view of humanity and method of education must end. Instead of dividing students, Morrow will seek to foster unity and understanding. America is an exceptional country. While every country faces challenges, ours in particular has been fair, compassionate, and forward thinking in recent years.

With Morrow’s leadership, North Carolina schools can be better equipped to educate and inspire the next generation who will become the leaders of our great nation.

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Business

Bite-Sized Motivation

The insights or wisdom we need to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words

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* * *

I’ve spoken to 1075 audiences at conventions, conferences, and meetings, and have had the opportunity to hear probably 800 other speakers as well.

The insights, perspectives, or wisdom we need, to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words. Here are 52 of my own six word “speeches,” drawn from my keynotes and breakout session on the topic of work-life balance. Some of these likely will resonate with you:

Choose from what you already have.
Everyone needs breathing space, especially you.
Information overload obscures meaning and relevance.
Deep breathes are essential for well-being.

Make every day an organized day.
Allow your natural rhythms to rule.
Stay confident and in control daily.
Manage your time, manage your life.

Slow down to plot your course.
Look for the best in others.
Make yourself indispensable on the job.
Compete with yourself, not with others.

Learn to take control of today.
Manage your time to make time.
Take control of your desk clutter.
You’re the best when you’re fresh.

Do something to take control now.
Major projects often require a jumpstart.
Methodically pare down your paper piles.
Don’t attempt too much at once.

Evaluate your situation and what’s important.
Narrow your priorities to stay focused.
Avoid making promises you can’t keep.
Learn to embrace your many talents.

Take the time to become organized.
Become aware of how you react.
Arrange your space; help isn’t coming.
Manage the flat surfaces in life.

Periodically challenge yourself to perform better.
Take long, deep breaths as needed.
Reclaim your places, spaces, and graces.
Start big projects well in advance.

Don’t rush the truly important things.
Make the best use of today.
Schedule accordingly: plan for your future.
Be kind, cut yourself some slack.

Opportunity knocks, but are you answering?
Conventional wisdom has diminishing value.
When practical, substitute time for money.
The market for top talent lives.

The self-reliant survive and thrive.
Leadership requires forethought and super-vision.
Learn from and capitalize on mistakes.
Firmly face the future with confidence.

“Now” holds a lot of opportunity.
Control but don’t curb your enthusiasm.
Treading water won’t propel you forward.
Have you ever really tested yourself?

Life goes on; do your best.
Continually seek out the higher ground.
Luck is distributed evenly, but disguised.
You must be doing something right.

 


 

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