What did I learn in nine sessions?

July 31, 2017

I was having pain in my left knee. My doctor recommended me to take nine sessions with a physiotherapist. I wondered why nine sessions? How could he be so precise? Anyway, I came to know later that this is the norm in Switzerland. They begin with a number so that the therapy leads to some result in a specific period of time. In most cases, nine sessions are enough, though some cases do need prolonged care. In my case, it actually took nine sessions – spread over a few weeks – to get rid of the pain. I must continue the exercises though.

I loved my physiotherapist Quentin Harri, an amazingly professional. Quentin knows his job well, has a positive attitude and is a great communicator. His inspirational and reassuring words truly complement what he does with his hands; and make light of some of the hard exercises he makes you do. He began each session by reviewing the status of the pain, identifying the problem area and saying, “Let’s work on it together.”

I asked Quentin what expedites the progress in his patients most. He said, it is the patient’s willpower and determination to get better. “I only do a small part, actually patients cure themselves” were his humble words. I asked him to share his most satisfying experience. He said, “A woman came to me on a wheel chair and went back walking. It took us more than a year but we achieved what looked impossible in the beginning. The woman pushed herself out of her comfort zone. The progress was slow in the beginning but it did not hamper her determination to get out of the wheel chair.”

To me, main lessons from this experience are as follows:

• Have a time-bound plan to achieve your goal. Remember nine sessions! It may take more or less but it is good to have a specific plan with clear objectives and timeline.

• Adopt “Lets work on it together attitude”. What you achieve is not the result of only your efforts. People have supported you in the process throughout whether you realize or not.

• Be an optimist and persevere. Don’t let the enormity of the problem or situation affect your determination to succeed. Don’t give up. You will get to your goal ultimately!



June 30, 2013

Ted Williams was one of the greatest baseball players. Towards the later part of his career, he suffered a pinched nerve in his neck. His performance dipped considerably that year. He was the highest paid player in sports that year.  The following year, when he was offered contract at the same level of salary, he declined. He said he wanted what he deserved, and cut his salary by a large amount.

What a different world it would be if everyone demonstrated this level of integrity?

Our work is a testing ground for our integrity. Rules of work ethics are often well-written but seldom followed. Organizations have set up systems to monitor if employees spend the required amount of time at work but they often fail to capture if employees use their working time properly, in the interest of the work or the organization. While these issues are critical, there are other equally important issues related to work ethics. We all need to ask ourselves:

  1. Do colleagues find us trustworthy?
  2. Are we transparent in our dealings?
  3. Do we try to find and present the truth?

Some people do not present the full picture and share only part of the story in the decision making process. They take advantage of the situations when boss is too busy to go into the details or does not want to do so. Some work less for their own success but more to fail others. Views are challenged not on their merit but on personal relationships. What pains most is to notice situations in which people kill a good idea just because it comes from a person whom they don’t like or want him or her to fail. Some push aggressively for their petty issues sacrificing the larger interest of the organization or people they are meant to serve.

What should one do in such situations? Should one change and be like others, should one confront them upfront and expose them. None of these may work always. All that is important is to hold on to your own values and ethics. It is important to keep the larger goal in mind and work towards that, patiently and persistently against all odds.  The great Indian Mahatma Gandhi sums it well, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”