Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – May 17th

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – May 17th

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – May 17th 285 320 Matt Kenney

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant.  I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.

A story I’d like to share.  Two years ago, at this time, I awoke to news that my 43-year-old sister had suffered two strokes and was in a coma.  Within hours, I was in Texas saying my goodbyes and grieving with my family.  Not even two years prior, my wife’s brother died suddenly at age 32 (he and I were also remarkably close) so this was even more devastating and the worst kind of déjà vu.

As her last unselfish act, she became an organ donor.  Whenever someone opts to do this, the hospital performs an “honor walk” for the donor.  This is where hospital staff and a handful of friends/family will line the hallway as the donor is wheeled into a room to have the organs harvested.  Normally, there will be ten or so people present for this, my sister had over three hundred; the most the hospital had ever seen.

Over three hundred people from across the country came to see my sister though there was nothing we could do.  People from her childhood, college, law school, former neighbors, coaches, and so many more showed up just to say goodbye and thank you.  The lesson my sister taught me at the end of her life is that when you treat people well, they will never forget about you.  They will always remember your love, kindness, and more.  My sister never gave up on me when I went through tough times, and I saw evidence firsthand that she never gave up on anyone else either.   I recall this life lesson often and do my best to treat people and behave as she did. By doing so, I hope I can help and uplift more people, and I know that would make her proud.

An important question to ask.  Have you ever known someone who complains about a problem or issue constantly?  Have you then observed their behavior or habits and then thought, “That’s why they’re like that”?   In other words, you quickly see via their actions why they are attaining the undesirable result they say they don’t want.  Whether it’s treating people poorly, drinking too much, eating badly, talking a certain way, or anything else; if we look at someone’s behavior, we can usually ascertain what the results will look like.  Thus, the question we must ask ourselves is what outcomes could be inferred from our own behavior?

The purpose of this exercise is not to become worried about what other people think.  Rather, it is a way of asking ourselves what our most common actions are, and what they are likely to create.  It becomes almost simple math that when we consistently put forth energy, positivity, consistency, hard work, and strong morals; we should expect remarkable results.  Conversely, negativity, complaining, overly emotional behavior, and lack of ethics will generate poor outcomes.  Give thought to what people are picking up from the behaviors and actions you’re putting down.

Something I’ve learned.  As a doctor, athlete, trainer, coach, and more; my experience is that attitude will become one of the main determining factors of success or failure.  Quite simply, the right attitude is likely to propel you toward amazing results while the wrong attitude will drive you in the opposite direction.

The “right” attitude to me entails having a hunger to learn, willingness to make mistakes, accountability, thick skin to endure criticism and correction, and not quitting when setbacks occur.  “Wrong’ attitudes often entail people thinking they know everything, not listening, talking too much, high sensitivity to advice or criticism, laziness, and the like.  Having lived on both sides of the attitude spectrum, I know how crucial it is to get this right.  I recommend not taking yourself too seriously, being willing to take some lumps, and never quitting.  That “attitude” will bring you a whole lot further than you ever imagined I assure you.

Recent experiences.  Over the past two weeks, I was at the center of a highly stressful situation involving myself and a group of friends.  I was also involved in a football game that came down to the wire and was to be won or lost based on a handful of decisions in the last minute of the game (we won!).  In both cases, I received praise from those around me for my calmness among the chaos.  Everyone seemed surprised that I could remain this way when there was so much going on around me.  It’s funny to hear this because I can lose my mind rooting for my fantasy football teams or worry about approaching a stranger yet stay composed in highly stressful situations.

Throughout my life, I have been in crazy situations.  I have been held at gunpoint, been in fights where my survival was in question, saved one of my children that was choking, held someone I loved until their literal last breath, and faced countless stressful situations as a doctor, coach, and athlete.  The one thing these experiences have taught me is that panic is never your friend.  If you begin to freak out when things start heading south, you will make poor decisions, negatively impact those around you, and take an unpleasant situation and make it go nuclear.  Others will be losing their heads, so it is imperative you remain calm.  When I find myself in a daunting situation, I take a deep breath, tell myself to relax, and then decide what I need to start doing.  This helps me overcome the first few seconds of panic and gets me to take action that can help.  I hope it never happens, but if something crazy starts happening around you, do this same thing for yourself and I promise it will end up better than if you panic.


Some quotes I Love.

“You’re my hero Matty.” – Sarah Kenney (my sister said this to me during a race we did together, it was the last time I would see her alive)

“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” – Roger Staubach

“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” – Michael Jordan

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