Yes, and…

View from an airplane window at the wings and flying over a scenic landscape of green hills and rivers
I went to the dermatologist today for my regular check-up about skin cancer issues I have been treating for a few years. Things on my back, my chest, and my face that get either burned off, or frozen off, or killed with some toxic ointment. I can recall when Dr. took one look at my skin a couple years ago and was able to determine I was raised in the 60’s and 70’s in southern California and never wore sunscreen (all true!). With his voodoo ways, I am hopeful to get this nastiness resolved once and for all.
Today’s dermatological consultation focused on my face. Wearing gobs of SPF 55 sunblock and hats have come too late; there are growths that need to be treated on my forehead and a cheek. Dr. says to me “the treatment will be slow, very ugly, sometimes uncomfortable… but effective.” With great practicality he asks me if there is any occasion coming up where I will want to avoid having a face “in treatment” to which I say, “after my cousin’s wedding in early October.”Why screw up my cousin’s family photos? So, in mid-October off I go!

As I was driving home the entire episode became a huge metaphor for me and a client I am working with. I got to thinking about the ugliness and the discomfort we will endure in order to achieve something greater. For an executive director, how much change and uncertainty and undeveloped resources will s/he endure before something greater can happen? For my son (a freshman in high school), how much homework and teen angst will he endure before something greater happens, his goals form, he matures? How much unpleasant challenge will we tolerate in the workplace on the path to a promotion?Its not a “first this, then that” proposition (or is it?); can achievement and impact happen at the same time as ugliness and discomfort? Is there value to the pain of the moment?

I am reminded: Treatment will be ugly and uncomfortable and cancerous cells will be dying off and healthy skin (and body) is being restored. A much richer place to be than looking to when the ugliness and discomfort ends so I can then get back to my life (and stand-in family photos). I am going for the “yes, and…”–Yes, to treating skin cancer issues and living my life and growing my business and raising my son and taking a class and …

What do you say “Yes, and…” to?

(P.S. Wear sun block…lots!)


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