There is nothing like reflecting on an emergency situation to consider the realities of who you are or how you react in a situation.
A young girl was knocked over last weekend, right outside my house. Literally outside my window. I heard the sound, the scream, the smash and then the cries. Instinctively, I took myself out into the pouring rain, with no clothes on (a part from an old jumper) and no shoes. I was running over to the girl and hysterical driver. The girl was out cold on the floor, blood everywhere, broken bike and huge gash behind her ear.
You had every sort of person there, people who were just watching, people who were in too much shock to contribute, people who were trying to contribute but freaking out, people who didn’t know what to do and those who took charge. Guess which one, I was?
For someone who is quite shy and introverted, it always shocks me, when I push my way to the front and help.
For me the situation slowed down, into a set of logical next steps…..an ambulance needed to be called, the girl needed to be attended to and spoken to….which I did with calm, reassuring tones, which was unlike some of the others around me who were “oh gosh, have you seen the blood?”and “have you seen her ear, that looks bad”. Immediately, I considered these rediculous unproductive statements, they were alarming the already hysterical driver and the girl on the floor, became more and more aggitated and confused. I went back and forth from saying to the girl, she would be fine and looking at the driver and reassuring her.
My next thought was her clothes were wripped and she was cold, also her modesty was out, so I ran to get a blanket to cover her…..no one else had considered or suggested this.
My next thought was all her laptop and everything was everywhere on the floor, so I ran into the house to get some bags and scooped up everything, so she could have it, otherwise it was going to get stood on, lost or driven on.
Inbetween all this I kept on being reassuring to the girl on the floor and to the driver, who both were extremely upset. Especially the young girl, once she came round.
My instinct in this situation was “i must do something” which then came about through practical steps. I would never be the person on the side lines or the person in panic. In fact, i can’t remember a time, when I’ve been in a crisis situation, similar, or at work, professionally or otherwise, when I’ve burst into panic.
I also am still completely at a loss, to why all the things i ended up doing at the scene, wasn’t obviously to everyone else. If I hadn’t been the one chatting to the floor, I would have gone and got a blanket regardless or picked up her things. To me this seemed obvious, rational, logical……..
When it was all over, there was discussion, I could over hear….”wow, I didn’t know what to do”…….”i just froze”. It made me reflect and consider, I approach most things in a non-emotional response. I don’t freak out and freeze, it is almost like everything shuts off and I just know what needs to be done and do it. It isn’t until afterwards, that I suddenly, think…how did that happen?
A similar situation, was when I was involved in a big Pitch to Eversheds, the global law firm. As a group, we had spent a long time working hard on this presentation and pitch. On the day, in front of the board, one of the girls froze through her bit and the other few didn’t recover. I’m terrified of public speaking and had avoided being part in the actual delivery. I found myself walking onto the stage from the side and taking over and delivering the rest. I didn’t feel anxious, or worried….I knew it needed to be done and just did it, otherwise we would have looked like idiots.
It made me realise, that professionally what may be obvious to me, might not be obvious to everyone else. It may need extra time or be pointed out. Also, I can’t expect my reaction to be the same as everyone elses, it isn’t right or wrong, it just comes naturally from instinct. Moreover, an increased understanding of why others react in ways that almost leave me shocked, instead of dismissing it, I need to seek to understand it. Surely a better awareness of others, is also part of my learning experience. Afterall knowing how people are going to reacted; forewarned is forearmed.