Please Hold My Hand or Pair-Walking

During the past few conferences, I’ve been tired. My knee has been great, but my quads are not quite strong enough to support my weight for all the standing I need to do. So as the day proceeds, I have more trouble walking. The weaker I am, the more my vertigo kicks in. Figures, right?

In Brazil, I had trouble with my vertigo every waking moment. I have no idea what the problem was, but it was as if I was not on any medication. Talk about frustrating! At the conference, we were on our own for lunches. And, for the workshop, we went out for lunch. It happened that the sidewalks were uneven and had cobblestone-like surfaces on the sidewalk or the road. Not playing to my strengths.

At StarWest, I did not change time zones. I always have this problem when I fly east to west. When I’m tired, my vertigo kicks in more. So, I asked for help.

When it’s time for lunch, or if it’s a long walk somewhere, I’ve asked, “Will you please hold my hand?” or “May I please hold your hand?”

Now, you know me—there’s a particular way to hold my hand. You hold your arm out parallel to the floor. I rest my hand on top of your hand, so I can press down on your hand. That’s the best way. With any luck, I can avoid the death grip, where I yank on your hand, gripping it so you don’t have any more circulation. Both you and I want to avoid the death grip. We both want you to retain your grip strength and this way I have the most stability.

Asking for help walking has had a few benefits. Aside from not falling down, I’ve had great lunches with very interesting people. I’ve discussed project portfolio management and project management and hiring and management. I provide free consultation over lunch, we laugh, we sigh, we all have  a great time.

I like to think of solving this problem of not-quite-enough-stamina at a conference as “pair-walking.” Okay, that’s a little geeky, but so am I. Asking for a hand to take a walk to lunch or across the street makes sense. It makes a lot more sense than falling over and getting a concussion.

So, if you see me at a conference, don’t be surprised if I ask you to hold my hand if lunch is a little far away. Just think of it as pair-walking. Because you might be part of my support system.

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