Photo from unsplash High vis police jacket

A helpful act or an embarrassing failure?

I ran across the road and asked: “Do you need some help?” 

Three confused faces turned to look at me and then the penny dropped. On closer inspection of the scene, I could see that I had misinterpreted the situation and suddenly found myself in the middle of an embarrassing fail.


I saw a man, collapsed in the road, with two police officers trying to help him. I went on to autopilot.

It was clear to me that the ambulance had not yet arrived. I thought that my skills as a doctor could come in handy. If I helped, then it might improve the situation and the man might have a better outcome. After all, I had a duty of care and could not just walk past a patient in distress. 

The man was clearly in distress, but it was not because he had collapsed.  

The police officers were crouched on either side of him, but they were not administering first aid.  

I had offered my assistance, but they didn’t need my help. 



How often do the police need the assistance of a middle-aged woman when making an arrest? 

It is incredibly easy to misinterpret the information right under your nose.  


  • Sometimes your brain fills in the gaps and makes up a story to fit a familiar narrative.  

  • Sometimes your brain filters information and stops you from seeing the complete picture. 

  • Sometimes your brain latches on to a limiting belief and tells you a story that is not true. 

  • Most of the time your brain operates on an emotional level. It is quick to leap to conclusions and acts automatically. Your brain is inherently lazy and takes the easy path. It is why it is so hard to break a habit. 

  • Some of the time your brain takes a bit more effort and time to process the information and makes a more flexible judgement. 

  • We like to think that we use the “good judgement” part of our brains all the time but we don’t.

You tell yourself stories all the time.

Stories that have the power to move you forwards, but they also have the power to hold you back. 

I used to tell myself a story that I should stay in my lane and keep going until the bitter end. I told myself that I should stay in a career and speciality that I had worked so hard to achieve. All that effort would be wasted and I would be mad to give it up. I felt guilty that I could even contemplate wanting to leave. I worried about what “people” would think if I left. It made me thoroughly miserable. 

What about regrets?

I worried that I might regret it if I changed. But then I started to think that I might regret not giving something else a try. Eventually the battle of regrets came to a head, and I decided to take a risk. I stepped off the carousel, changed my career, and put some control back into my life. I was not giving up on anything. I was making space in my life to create something for me and a life that I wanted. Not the things that I thought I should do.

Was it always easy? No.  

Was it scary? Yes.

Did I make mistakes? Yes. 

Was it worth it? Abso-bloody-lutely.

The most important thing is that I learnt from the mistakes and kept moving. Sometimes forwards, sometimes sideways, and sometimes backwards. But my trajectory has been steadily on the up ever since and I love writing the next chapter in my story. I also love helping other busy, exhausted, professional women to create a life that they love too.

What are the stories that you tell yourself?

Do you listen to the heroes that spur you on? Or are you paying more attention to the pesky villains that are holding you back.

With a bit of help you can harness the power of your stories and use them to create an amazing second act in your life.