I was driving through a long stretch of roadworks on the M1 heading northward to speak at a medical conference in Leeds when a warning light flashed on my dashboard. My car is relatively new and not having studied the manual in any detail (well actually at all!). I had no idea what the symbol meant but given that it was flashing in red, I took it that it was probably not a good sign!
I came off at the next junction and consulted the manual – low tyre pressure was the cause of the flashing light apparently. I groaned. I would be very tight on time if I had got to change a tyre! However, upon inspection, no tyre was flat. In fact, I was not even sure which was the offending tyre. My car was alerting me to an issue, but I concluded I was probably ok to drive to a few more miles to a nearby garage. After finally locating a petrol station with a functioning air hose, I pumped up the tyre and made it to the venue in time to deliver my speech. Phew!
Suspecting though, that there might be an underlying problem, I took the car to a tyre specialist the following day. A screw, embedded in the tyre, turned out to be the cause of a slow puncture.
Our body and mind are the like the dashboard in a car. They try to alert us to the warning signs of stress, but how many of us know what those warning lights mean? It is probably ok to carry on for a little while with one or two lights flashing but ultimately, we do no need to address the cause if we want to arrive safely at our destination. And if our dashboard is lit up like a Christmas tree? Burying our head in the sand is not a great strategy – we need to seek assistance.
It is now less than a month to go now until the launch of my book. ‘Leading From the Edge: A School Leader’s Guide to Recognising and Overcoming Stress.’ With the Christmas festivities out the way and the book gone to print ready for its January 28th launch. Think of it as a manual to help you to recognise those warning lights but a manual that is packed with advice and practical strategies to help enable you to reach your destination.
Safe driving and a Happy New Year!See all James's blog posts