Then What Happens

By Patrick McNerthney 

I’m super good at getting caught up in what I call The Tidal Wave of Busyness at Work. And by “at Work,” I don’t mean “at my place of employment.” Or your place of employment, for that matter, particularly because we don’t work together and I don’t know you and you refuse to lend me money. Which also explains why you don’t send me birthday presents (I’m looking for some moleskin boots, I’m size 10.5, if you ever get the inkling). 

No, I mean, “Busyness, at work,” because I think we’re all addicted to being super busy, and when busy is “at work,” it turns us all into mindless fools who think we’re getting something done, contributing, and otherwise making progress, when really we’re just making a whole lot of noise. What’s worse is, like most addictive drugs, busyness is insipid, conniving, and has a shiny, appealing veneer that make’s a perfect cover (to hide behind?).

(Oh that’s a great cover too! I could walk around with it…tough to fit in the car though. Hmm.)

That’s right, by being busy, we get to hide, plain and simple. THAT’s the real appeal: hiding from responsibility, making decisions, taking risks, having to find answers to hard problems, and otherwise making real progress. 

Woah, this is heavy stuff, right? 

Nah, not really. The Tidal Wave of Busyness at Work doesn’t mean we’re bad people. Just occasional cowards.

(Remember: inside, you have the heart of a lion.)

And while that too may seem harsh, don’t you worry about it, because “courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s the mastery of fear” (a quote attributed to either Mark Twain, author Ambrose Hollingworth Redmoon, or my neighbor, or Nelson Mandela, depending on how you research). Regardless, if one of those hard thinking peeps thought it was important enough to mention, it must be because they realized everyone is, quite often, afraid. 

But there’s an easy way to escape getting caught up in The Tidal Wave of Busyness at Work. Ask yourself, “And then what happens?” 

Like, out loud, or quietly, or on LinkedIn, or graffitied over your neighbor’s garage for all I care. But ask it. Because the answer holds the truth. Here’ are some of my most recent answers when I asked myself this question (out loud, like a crazy person) just last week (which was, of course, super busy). *Caveat here:these were all related to my job

Ahem. “And then what happens?”

  • “I don’t look foolish.”
  • “I don’t have to do the actual work.”
  • “I don’t have to think about the uncomfortable topic.”
  • “They’ll still like me.” 
  • “I won’t bug that person.” 
  • “We’ll be one quarter step closer to being more effective.”

So the first five show where I was hiding because I didn’t muster up enough courage. The last one was a good one, and represents moving forward in a helpful direction. I’d take mastering fear one out of six times any day, because the point isn’t to be self-critical, but to be honest. 

Note: “And then what happens?” is also a perfectly acceptable question to ask someone else who’s proffering an idea. You’re not questioning their intent, you’re simply leading them down the road to thinking critically themselves. 

Over to you. The next time you’re considering how to help the elderly, children with challenges, or anyone needing help with life’s daily tasks—and you pick a path, especially when you find yourself super busy—stop, then quickly ask, “And then what happens?” 

There’s really no wrong answer (remember, we’re just being honest), and some days we’re just not up for mastering fear. But I guarantee you, there will be other days where you say, “WAIT! That’s not what I was aiming for!”

And that’s where Fine Art Miracles (FAM) comes in. 

FAM champions creative expression as the perfect remedy for the anxiety and depression your residents and loved ones are still experiencing. Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance & Movement Therapy, Multi-Sensory Sessions , and Art 2 Go packages (and that’s not all!) reconnect those under your care with feelings of joy, optimism, self-worth, confidence, mastery, community, and relevance to the world. And when that happens, they know they MATTER. 

And who doesn’t want that? I sure do. So when you’re looking for a better answer to, “And then what happens?” reach out to Fine Art Miracles, they’re happy to help! 

As for me….ahhhhh, don’t worry about it (as my son pipes up these days when I ask him if he’s done his homework). I’m playing to win, drip by drip, so I’m gunning for TWO courageous acts next week, instead of just one. I hear that’s how super heroes are born, or so goes the tale. I’ll let you know if it works! Now where’s that dang cape…?


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