Are YOUR Toes on the Nose!
…The doctor looked at the lifeless patient laying in the ICU bed and said to his patient’s wife…
“It looks like we’ll have to cut both of his feet off!”
The woman, in her late sixties, recoiled back as though she’d been shot with a mortar round at close range.
I quickly slid a chair behind her, so she could sit down before she fell down.
“I don’t understand!” she replied.
“Well, there’s no circulation to his toes and his feet are also starting to die,” said the Doctor.
“But how will he walk?” Her voice shook as she tried to say the words.
“He probably won’t make it out of the ICU, but this will improve his chances greatly!”
“Well, why cut his feet off if you think he’s going to die?” (Her question made a lot of sense to me!)
“Look! This will give him a better chance of surviving, so I’ll leave you to it. If you have any questions… ask the nurses!” The Doctor said as he fled towards the doorway.
And so it began… the slow rot of Mr. Green’s feet.
ICU’s are usually an open style ward and are set up so the nurses can see the patients from anywhere in the unit. It has its advantages and its disadvantages. In this case it was a distinct disadvantage!
You see, smells are able to waft through the bed spaces without any restriction… and in this small ICU, the smell of gangrene had become an unwelcome permanent fixture.
I was regularly assigned to Mr. Green, so I got to see (and smell) first-hand the steady decline of his toes and his body’s remarkable ability to take care of itself.
Every day for about a week, the Doctor had the same conversation with Mrs. Green… and every day he’d walk away defeated.
She wouldn’t budge on the decision on not having pieces of her husband cut off. And with each passing day, the line of amputation got higher and higher up his legs. The last day the Doctor and his wife argued about it… it was going to have to be “above knee amputations” on each leg.
They had reached a point of cease fire and Mr. Green was treated symptomatically. (They pumped him full of antibiotics and other drugs.)
What I remember vividly about this patient was… the almost magical transformation of his toes.
Now to cut a slow, smelly story short… Mr. Green’s toes went past the point of gangrene and actually mummified on the end of his feet. They went black, hard, dehydrated and barely resembled toes at all.
And then one day… they simply fell off!
Mr. Green slowly recovered and eventually did leave the ICU, minus a few toes… but with both of his feet attached and a thankful wife by his side.
It was such a weird, surreal thing to witness.
The Doctors were convinced that the only way they could save Mr. Green’s life was to cut his legs off… and his wife was adamant that there was no need to cut bits off him, if he was going to die anyway.
Now, I know… what does this have to do with business and you know me… It has a lot to do with business!
Because, every day I see “rotting toes” hanging off the feet of businesses everywhere.
And it’s such a shame because it can all be prevented if you…
Knowledge Nugget #96: Don’t Neglect What Is Important To You!
Healthy toes don’t just drop off!
And even unhealthy toes don’t just drop off. It takes quite a while to get to anywhere near that stage.
There are warning signs along the way… long before surgery becomes an option.
In Mr. Greens case… his toes were not a priority until it was almost too late. He had multiple organ failure and that’s why he was in the ICU. His toes were the least of the Doctors problems (or so they thought.)
And as with business… business owners often spend their time with all the “big” things and neglect the so called, “insignificant things.”
That is until they have no choice. And by then… it’s often too late to do a thing about it.
Now, I don’t know about you… but I think toes are important. I mean, if we didn’t need them… they wouldn’t be there. They help us balance and walk upright.
If we look after them… we’ll have them for life. Neglect them… and they are the first to go as the body starts to shut down.
When this happens in business, I often see the business owner essentially blaming the “gangrene toes” for infecting the body.
But the truth is…
The toes were once very healthy and a vital part of the body.
So what made them turn bad?
The business owner took it for granted that they would be happy sitting there and feel “blessed” to be connected to such a great “body.”
But that’s business-centric… not customer focused. And that’s precisely where the problem starts.
You see, they are thinking about themselves… not the customer.
When they finally realize there’s a problem… things are already so bad that they need heavy duty “antibiotics” to treat the infection, and if that doesn’t work… then they usually resort to amputation.
But it’s such a drastic intervention when all they needed to do was to look at their feet every now and then.
The funny thing about Mr. Green was… the steady decline of his feet and toes were all documented in minute detail by the nurses. Part of the vital observations includes assessing the extremities (Feet and hands) for warmth, colour etc… and we were telling the Doctors that things were getting worse.
They didn’t listen! And a “little” thing became a BIG problem!
So as a business owner, how often do you look at the smaller parts of your business? Do you know if your customers are happy and content? Or are they sitting at the extremity of your business rotting away, infecting the rest of your business?
Social media is a great example of this.
Businesses all flock to have a social media presence and create groups or pages, where they corral groups of people… and then do nothing with them!
The people post on their page, ask questions and the business is MIA (missing in action)! The only time the “tribe” or group hears from the business owner is when they want to sell something.
Perhaps business owners need to stop treating their customers like a tribe, herd, gang etc. and start to see them as an important part of their business body!
You see in a tribe, a herd or a gang, there are always parts you can do without.
But in a body… nothing is truly expendable. You need it all to survive! (Despite what medical “experts” say, we still need our tonsils and appendix etc.)
So how are your toes? …When was the last time you stopped and looked?
Make sure you take care of the little things and they’ll look after you.
Until next week… take care and touch your toes : )
a.k.a. “The Copy Alchemist”
P.S. Imagine the most gorgeous looking supermodel walking down the run way. Her hair is perfect… her make up is flawless. Her dress is stunning. And then you see her feet. Her toes are black and look like they are about to drop off! All the hard work is undone in an instant.
This is how most businesses present themselves to the world. And they think the black toes don’t matter. But on the runway in Milan… I can guarantee you that most people will see the toes long before they see anything else. And that’s what they’ll remember. Humans are wired that way.
P.P.S. Welcome to my new readers. I hope I didn’t gross you out too much with my nursing story today. However, sometimes it’s helpful to attach a disturbing visual to a poignant message. We all think we “know” this stuff… but most of us don’t actually practice it. Now each time you look at your toes… you’ll think about this story.
P.P.P.S. I had a great time on the weekend speaking at the Aussie Online Entrepreneur Seminar in Brisbane. One of my clients, Neil Asher, told me that one idea I gave him has now made him just over $1,000,000! I’m so happy for him. He’s a great guy!
He got the idea when we had a “Clarity Call” together. If you want to have a clarity call with me… let me know. I’ll send you the details and we can book you in for a chat.
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