Sometimes a fresh idea makes all the difference!

Allison the turtle was a turtle in trouble.

Allison, you see, only had one flipper. A shark attack had left her with three stumps. When a turtle has one flipper, there is only one option, really–circles, and more circles.

The guy, Jeff George, at the turtle refuge at South Padre Island was clear-

  • turtles with three flippers can get released back in the wild,
  • turtle with two flippers can probably make it in the turtle sanctuary


  • turtles with one flipper…not much hope. They are generally euthanized.

They tried prostheses with Allison-but there wasn’t enought residual stump for them to work. She is a one flipper turtle…take it or leave it.

One of the young interns remembered something though. He recalled his days as a kid…rowing with one paddle in an inner tube. Think about it, use your imagination–circles, only circles. Like a one flippered turtle.

But put a kid in a canoe, and rowing with a single paddle is doable.

The difference-the length of the canoe, acting as a rudder.

This intern thought “outside the box”, and let go of the prosthesis idea. He worked with a wet suit that had a rudder. They played with the positioning and size, and one day-VOILA!! Allison is a coordinated turtle that goes where she wants in the tank, feeds herself, and decides when to dive and when to surface.

She still only has one flipper.

But …

someone with a different perspective helped her with some different possibilities.

Take a look:

The interview I heard talked about how the handlers continue to marvel at how Allison has “perked up”, how she revels in her mobility. She is a new turtle with her rudder–and the single fin isn’t so much a problem any more.

Reminded me of some moments I’ve had with clients, when a comment or question helped them see the issue through fresh ideas.

When that happens, clients practically bound out of session with fresh energy, ready to tackle life in a new way. It’s fun to watch…

…kind of like it is fun to watch Allison.

Everyone needs some help once in a while to solve a tough situation in new ways. Ask around. Ask for help.

Try a fresh idea.


  • Brenda Skene

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. It makes sense to me. I love the way Carolyn puts things. For me, when this happens, it’s like a light bulb goes on and I “get it”. Over time, when I’m having issues, something Carolyn said will come to mind and it helps me deal with it. I appreciate my appointments with Carolyn and thank her for helping me.

    • Carolyn Klassen

      Brenda…thanx for your thoughtful comment! I think that’s part of being human…to sometimes value and gain huge benefit from the fresh perspective of another!…I know that I gain so much when others spend time with me and help me see things from a different angle.

  • Write a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *