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Are you in Burnout? 10 Important Questions and Answers

Do you keep falling in the same hole? Things can change

I often talk to my clients about the change process when they are frustrated that things in their lives are not changing fast enough. It’s hard to see change when you are in the middle of it. All you can see, much of the time, is how far you have to go rather than how far you’ve come.

It’s helpful to my clients, when looking how much they have accomplished towards achieving their goals, to hear the five part poem that is written below. Don’t be afraid when you read the word “poem.” It’s easy reading and you’ll extract the central idea contained in the poem right away.

I like to recite the poem to my clients (I actually use a rough facsimile) and then to ask them what ‘part’ they see themselves in. Everyone can identify which part applies to them. Maybe they identify with the person who is “walking down the sidewalk and falls in a hole.” Everyone can identify with the appeal of eventually walking down a different street and avoiding the hole all together.

I learned this poem when I worked at a chronic pain clinic. It was read by one of the psychologists to the clients that were in program during a group therapy session. The poem has stayed with me for years. It is light, and heartening, and I hope you will enjoy it.

Autobiography in Five Chapters

by Portia Nelson

 

I

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost…

I am hopeless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

 

II

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I’m in the same place.

But it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

 

III

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in…it’s a habit.

My eyes are open; I know where I am;

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

 

IV

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

 

V

I walk down another street.

Dr. Patricia Turner, Registered Psychologist, Calgary, Alberta 

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Are you in Burnout? 10 Important Questions and Answers
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