What Gives You a Kick?


On Sunday afternoon a friend brought me daffodils because I’ve been sidelined with a knee sprain. On Sunday night, the place where she bought them burned down.

There they were, blooming on my nightstand, all golden and vibrant. It’s like they made their escape.

It is the preciousness of what lives on that has been hitting me from so many directions lately and what we can do to touch base with that. As a New Jersey state trooper and his family deal with the tragic and hopeful fallout from a school bus crash and we witness the ripple effects of fallen idols, I think it explains so much. Namely, why I am a life coach.

There are fires and accidents and, yes, there is death. As one friend who lost her mother at a young age said to me the other day about a mutual friend, “He doesn’t understand yet the finality of death.” Sometimes there are no second chances.

That, right there, is why I feel so happy when people engage in change or challenge and, in turn, why it’s so frustrating to me when others can’t find it within themselves to make that happen. On “Oprah’s Next Chapter” last weekend, Tony Robbins told Oprah Winfrey that when he was younger and knew his life needed to change he also knew it wasn’t going to be because something came along and tapped him on the shoulder. He’d have to go out and find the inspiration that would drive him to excel; his chosen source was books.

It might not come in that form for everyone, but I like his point about finding what can spark you to action and help you dig deep. That is so personal, so individualized. I write almost every day, whether blogging, crafting this column or journaling and it is very often about what inspires me. But that doesn’t mean it will inspire my next door neighbor or the guy who works at my supermarket.

A former sports writer who probably hasn’t watched an NBA game since Michael Jordan, I finally caved to my curiosity about Jeremy Lin last Sunday and watched him spark a Knicks’ third-quarter turnaround. He’s an energy force and it was thrilling – and yes, inspiring – to witness. His story is a life coach’s dream, one to keep accessible in the “file box” when a client feels discouraged and wants to give up. When I posted about it later on Facebook, though, it became clear he doesn’t necessarily inspire everyone.

OK. I get that. But, please, take the time to find something that does. Your child’s ability to ice skate. A song on the radio that you can put on your iPod. The way the couple down the street communicates and looks at each other. And then, most importantly, honor it by doing something with it. If my kid can fearlessly glide across a rink, then I can … fill in your blank.

Lin was only the start for me on Sunday. From there, I got an enormous mental boost from 60 Minutes. Who would have thought? But as I watched a Harvard scientist talk with Lesley Stahl about the placebo effect, I was vigorously nodding my head. He was mostly talking about how we treat depression.

“People get better when they take the drug,” Irving Kirsch told Stahl. “But it’s not the chemical ingredients of the drug that are making them better. It’s largely the placebo effect.”

According to the show’s transcript, “Irving Kirsch’s specialty has been the study of the placebo effect: the taking of a dummy pill without any medication in it that creates an expectation of healing that is so powerful, symptoms are actually alleviated.”

But then Kirsch talked about knee pain, specifically a study where patients with osteoarthritis had knee surgery while others were merely opened and then sewn right back up.

“And here’s what happened,” Kirsch said. “In terms of walking and climbing, the people who got the placebo actually did better … than the people who got the real surgery. And that lasted for a year. At two years after surgery, there was no difference at all between the real surgery and the sham surgery.”

Is it possible to not be fascinated by the power of the mind?

This is not about diminishing Western medicine or conventional medical practices. It’s about realizing that in many cases we have options and power.

Granted, this hit me particularly hard because I was watching it with a leg brace protecting my knee and I’m in that place of figuring out my path to healing. But I knew right then and there that I’d be walking into and out of the orthopedist’s office with a different attitude about my role in my recovery.

I did an awful lot of receiving while sitting on my couch the last week – information, entertainment, love – and one other thing that came through loud and clear from Winfrey’s talk with Robbins was when she said she saw him as a “catalyst for getting people to change what they think of themselves.”

Oh yes. Maybe as inspirers of ourselves? Perhaps as our own primary healers?

All of this has also tapped into a place that I need to be able to access in order to help my life coaching clients. Some kind of formula.You know, belief, resolve, determination and the victory that comes with putting them all together.

I was very happy to walk out of that doctor’s office without crutches. And oh so thrilled to finally get some fresh air and to be able to put out my own garbage. The healing has begun.

And those daffodils still stand, not quite tossing their heads in sprightly dance, but they’re still kicking. And soon I will be, too.

Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is www.nancola.com and you can follow her on Twitter @nancola. Please direct all questions/comments to FOXGamePlan@gmail.com.