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  • Writer's pictureDenise Fleissner Ralston

Simply Uber

Wayne is a paraplegic. Losing his second leg to complications from diabetes, he can no longer drive, thus limiting his ability to work and play in the hometown he loves. Wayne’s wife works in health care, regularly logging 12-hour days, limiting her ability to drive her husband to appointments or social evnts as often as they would both like. Fortunately, Wayne is an IT consultant which allows him to work from home on a regular basis, but as the industry becomes more competitive, and Wayne ages, he realizes his inability to be mobile could cost him his job and his freedom.

Wayne’s routine is simple. He gets up, feeds the cats, makes breakfast, and gets to work. Day after day, the routine stays the same. When Wayne’s wife returns from work each day, she is tired, exhausted from the grind of caregiving, and has little energy remaining to tend to her disabled husband. Wayne, on the other hand, is anxious to talk about what’s been happening in the world outside of his bubble all day. As they strive to strike a balance between tired and attentive, it is clear something has to change.

Like so many consultants in the workforce today, Wayne is removed from the day-to-day interaction with his co-workers. Although he remains connected through chat groups and email communication, his disability limits his ability to socialize with teammates and colleagues and it is beginning to affect his day-to-day engagement with them.

In our coaching session, Wayne realizes what he really wants to do is stop spending so much time adjusting to his disability and focus more time on enjoying his abilities. “Great news,”  I declare, as we begin the process of uncovering all that’s possible. Peeling back the layers of what’s holding him back, his ability to drive a car and get where he wants to go is his top aggravation. “It limits everything,” Wayne admits. “My house is my office and my office has become a prison.” How many of you can relate to this?

Changing Wayne’s routine is a big step in getting him the fresh air he needs. First things first, I challenge him to wrap up a few holiday chocolates and Uber to his wife’s office. Next, he is to call her from the lobby on his cell phone and snap a picture of the surprised look on her face when she gets off the elevator. “I’ve never taken an Uber,” Wayne admits, “and I have never met my wife at her office.” I wait, allowing him to process the scope of this request. Eventually, Wayne accepts the challenge, knowing he needs the push to grow.

“Priceless,” is the text message I receive two days later attached to a picture of a very surprised wife. Three days later I receive a message saying “I’m Ubering like a mad man.” In our session two weeks later, I discover Wayne has been Ubering to his doctor appointments, the grocery store, bank, and the cleaners all on his own. “I’m free!” he declares, laughing on the other end of the phone. “I don’t need a driver’s license anymore. I just need my cell phone.”

Changing up your routine can be a very powerful, simple way to shift the way you think and feel about a situation. For Wayne, something as simple as Uber, changed his life. What could change yours?

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