Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Any Bit Better

We're all trying to be better, whether we're talking about our own human or spiritual lives or the health components that come with Living With Diabetes.

Insulin pump manufacturer Medtronic hosted its second Diabetes Advocates Forum March 29-30 at their headquarters in Northridge, California. While I wasn't at the inaugural event in 2011, I was honored to be invited to this sequel that brought about 30 diabetes advocates from the online community together to discuss how we can all work together in reaching people who need it.

One of the topics on the agenda was hearing from a fellow Person With Diabetes, Chuck Eichten, who's been living with type 1 for many years. He led a discussion about the idea of Doing Better, and as we entered the meeting room that Friday morning we all were able to see a copy of his latest book, The Book Of Better, sitting at each of our seats.

I'd read his smaller bite-sized version, Better Is Better, a while back after it was published in 2005, but had not had a chance to see this full version of the book until now. The group took a tour at one point and I ended up walking beside Chuck, talking with him for about 10 minutes about our own D-lives and writing passions. And then getting back to hear him speak was simply a great experience.

The conference was busy enough and I didn't have a chance to read more than a few page flips until my trip back to Indiana (which was great, as I'd given my other book away to a Type Awesome on the flight out).

But getting through the entire book on the nearly-six hours of flying, I was thoroughly impressed not only with the content but the presentation that has marketing genius written all over it. This isn't a typical how to guide full of medical terms and dry language. No, it's a combination of both creative words and colorful, masterfully-laid out designs and artwork that make you want to keep reading.

I love this book. And no, it's not just because I got it for free (thank you, Medtronic).

On one hand, it's almost common sense to say that there's an understanding that "you can't be perfect." But so often, we PWDs feel like we need to be perfect in order to achieve those "good" or "bad" numbers, those acceptable A1cs that our medical professionals and normal medical textbooks dictate to us. If we don't hit those targets, it's so very easy to feel as if we're failing.

With those feelings of failure in mind, that's why I am so impressed by Chuck's message to just achieve to do a bit better. We got to talk some more after leaving the conference and heading back to the hotel and then to dinner, and Chuck is just a great funny guy who is very inspiring to be around.

That message he radiates personally and in his book is particularly important to me these days.

I've been dealing with my own mental demons lately, questioning my self-worth and feeling inadequate in so many ways. But instead of constantly feeling as though I am not doing good enough, I have found strength by focusing on the baby steps forward that I can make. Basically, looking at the glass half full rather than half empty.

It's easier said than done. But we have a choice: To just look for a little optimism that's just a few feet ahead than seeing all the negatives on the road to perfection. I prefer that first option.

Personally, one of the slides Chuck showed from a pair of quotes in his book (taken from a saying that Michael Jordan had) is a motto that I'm adopting in my life, diabetes management and otherwise:

"I CAN accept failing. I CAN'T accept not trying."

Oh, and ANY BIT BETTER COUNTS!

Meeting Chuck and getting a copy of his book was awesome, and I'm looking forward to the May 25 when he'll be a guest for a videochat discussion over at TuDiabetes. Hopefully many people in the Diabetes Community can tune in and hear some of the great message about just being a bit better.

2 comments:

Chris Stockef said...

I agree Mike. I absolutely love this book. I had it for a while from the PR campaign and didn't get to it until about 2 months ago as I loved it. I never got around to writing a review but I think your review was great

The Diabetic Camper said...

I bet meeting Chuck was awesome. He really seems to understand type 1 and how to voice it to others.