Thursday, June 23, 2016

Transitions - The turnstyle of life


Transitions - The turn style of life

I'm sure this image provides a familiar and often frustrating memory for many of us.  Whether it was hopping on a subway in some urban destination, trying to quickly get through it for the big game, or dragging our kids off to the state fair for some fun.  Each of us can relate to using a turn style as a means to get to our final destination.  The thing that I remember most about my experience with turn styles is the challenge I had getting through when I rushed the process or was impatient.  When I took my time I was easily able to get through and to where I was going.

I believe the transitions in our lives can be very similar to getting through the turn style.  When we understand that going through these brief barriers is just part of the journey, it can prevent us from getting stuck in life.  Here are three ways to successfully transition through the turn styles in our lives:

  •  Define the Why? - If you're facing a transition in your life whether it's a new job, a change in your health, a new relationship, or possibly some unplanned event, try to look for the why?  Some people may be thinking that's crazy especially for an unforeseen barrier, but why is it?  If we look at the history in our lives we each have travelled down various paths to get to our current destination.  Did those twists and turns teach you anything or did they give you new insights you didn't have previously?  Transitions are the gate way to changes in our lives, but to minimize the frustration and avoid getting stuck we need to first define the Why?
  • Enjoy the Moment - The turn style is also the mechanism that slows down progress.  Think about that big game or concert that you couldn't wait to see, but all of the sudden the line to a screeching halt.  What tends to be our first reaction?  I must admit for me that it can be frustrating, but is that helping the line to move quicker?  When I stop to realize that I'm still going to get in, then I have the freedom to mingle with the people around me or drink a beer while I wait.  When we're going through the transitions in life we need to enjoy every part of the journey.  We never know when we may meet that special person or be exposed to a priceless nugget of wisdom that could positively impact our life.
  • Believe in the future - Have you ever been asked the age old question, "Is the glass half full or half empty?"  I'm sure we've all encountered that question at some time in our lives.  What was that person asking trying to discern?  For me they were trying to determine my perspective on the situation, and wanted to see how I face the challenge.  Going through transitions in life are challenging for each of us, but how we respond can determine the experience.  That glass of milk, water, or even a shot of whiskey isn't really the focus of the question, but your mindset.  In a transition we must remind ourselves of why we're on the journey, stop and smell the roses along the way, and finally believe that it will eventually lead to greener pastures.
I hope you can get through the turn style in your life today, and enjoy the journey you're on to the next great experience in your life.

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
William Faulkner

“It is often in the darkest skies that we see the brightest stars.”
Richard Evans

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela   

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Lessons from Dad - A choice to make an impact

Today is Father's or Dad's Day.  A day when we get the chance to celebrate either the joy of being a child or being a Dad, but for many I understand it may be a day to be forgotten due to different circumstances.  I am grateful that in my situation I have memories of a man who was and is there for me, and I feel truly blessed for the impact he has made on my life.  Yesterday I stopped by the store on the way home for work to get a few groceries, and to my dismay there were very few things being sold to celebrate this special occasion.  This struck a core in me, and made me a bit sad at first.  Therefore, I started to think about my Dad, and the lessons he taught me about life that have helped form me into both the person and Father I am today.

These lessons started to invade my mind with images and words that vividly reminded me of how my Dad has impacted my life through his actions. Words that represent the example he showed day in and day out.

Dedicated - Growing up my Dad was busy at work, but always made time for his sons.  I remember waiting for him to get home because he'd always whistle as he entered the house.  This was the signal it was our opportunity to jump on Dad, or go out in the backyard and throw the ball.  He was always present with us when he came through that front door.  Even though he continued to advance in his career, he was dedicated to ensuring he was at the table each night showing us the importance of family and balance in life.  These actions were a result of my Dad's core beliefs and values.

Devoted - My Dad lives his life based on a set of beliefs that guide his actions.  He instilled in us that each of us is driven by a desire to connect with something greater than themselves.  My Dad's connection was his faith in Jesus Christ.  Today that seems to be a point of contention for some people, but why?  I believe it's because they may not have heard or been taught what I was taught.  Let your actions speak louder than your words.  I can't think of someone in my life who has been more devoted to letting their beliefs positively affect their own life, and choosing to use their actions to impact others lives with kindness and love. 

Decisions - Just as my Dad has made decisions about his faith, I also was taught that we have the capability to make choices each day.  Growing up my Dad tried to remind me on numerous occasions that we all have choices, and they come with consequences both good and bad.  Therefore, choose wisely.  Whether it's a decision about something you want to do or the way you choose to act, be thoughtful about your choices.

Display - Finally my Dad taught me about being real, and that men can also be real with their emotions.  I've seen this first hand throughout my life.  My Dad wouldn't hesitate to show us he loved us with affection, he also taught us how to respect women by treating my mom with love, or on the few occasions where I saw him break down as he cried about the loss of those he loved.  

There are so many lessons I've learned from My Dad over the years listening to him, but more importantly seeing him live honestly and with purpose.  On this special Father's Day I want to thank my Dad for being an amazing example, and hope to impact this world, other people, and most importantly my own precious child by living boldly with purpose and integrity.   Thanks Dad.  Happy Father's Day.  I love you.

Your Son

Friday, June 17, 2016

Sometimes it seems like a gray sky even when it's sunny and bright.  In those times that everyone experiences how do we get back to the sun?  Here are some quotes by some folks that have some insight on that issue.  I hope this will bring back the rays and warmth if you're feeling blue today.

Take care, Dave.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
Maya Angelou

“Never, never, never give in!”
Winston S. Churchill

“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Thomas A. Edison

“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
             but to be fearless in facing them.  Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Three ways we can help our patient - Look, Listen, and Feel

Three ways we can help our patients - Look, Listen, and feel.

Health care continues to change daily with new treatments, equipment, and positions designed to support these efforts.  It seems the only constant that remains in health care is that person lying in the bed or sitting on the exam table.  The patient.  Hopefully they will continue to be the focus of all this new activity, but it seems that the relationship we need with our patients to create positive change is slipping away.  How can we restore that relationship, and help our patients?
It's as easy as to  Look, Listen, and Feel.  For many of us that conjurs up visions of other medical training or actual interventions, but I'm speaking to how we must engage our patients to honestly help them experience positive change.

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Look - We first have to look or see our patients.  Often this can be challenging because our vision is blurred by the view of a patient who's not acting as we would choose, or maybe the smell is burning our eyes, or maybe we have our eyes closed because we're disgusted with the situation before us.  The challenge is that we can't help the people we serve unless we truly look at them, and see them for who they are in that moment.  It's like looking at an oil painting from accross the room.  What we see is the finished product of the image we see, but when you're next to the painting you can the uneven surface and brush strokes.  Our patients are like the painting because each brush stroke may be an experience that has impacted their life resulting in the physical manifestations of their health problems.  Without getting close enough to look at them we won't appreciate the foundation of the person, and know how we can or can't help them.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful

Listen - How true are the words by Stephen Covey?  For many of us we either don't stop to listen to others or are distracted by thoughts in our heads.  Either way we miss out on the story we need to hear.  Listening can be difficult and time-consuming, but without listening we can't appreciate the journey.  It reminds me of the numerous vacations I was blessed to enjoy as a child with my family.  My Dad was a school administrator, and therefore had part of the summer off each year.  When he was off we would hop in the car, and travel accross the country producing amazing experiences seeing places like Mount Rushmore.  On these long road trips my mother would help her two rambunctious boys pass the time by reading us books.  Whether it was the Hardy Boys or the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe my Mom's voice would draw us into to an exciting story.  In these instances our listening created visions of characters, and took us on journeys that enriched our experiences.  In order to have that same experience in our interactions with patients we must listen to the story they're telling.  Without truly listening we can't appreciate, understand, or attempt to help in a way that will benefit them and impact their health.

“We think too much and feel too little.”
― Charlie Chaplin

Feel - The act of touching another person to convey caring, compassion, or empathy.  Also, to connect with someone emotionally to produce a positive interaction.  With the hustle and bustle that occurs in most health care facilities there has become very little time for making these connections.  Time is often our enemy, so we have to take advantage of the interactions we have with our patients.  We need to be in the moment with them, and put away any assumptions about them or their situation.  We must try to understand their situation without measuring it against our own judgement and values.  To honestly help, we have to be with them in their pain and let the experiene unfold.  We have to absorb the anger and the grief they are feeling, and not distance ourselves with some phoney excuse about maintaining professionalism.  It's difficult to embrace the feelings because it can elicit emotions on our part, but that's what is needed to show them we can help in their time of need.  We are not treating diseases, but people who need us to Look, Listen, and Feel their need for our help.  Then we can drive positive change in the lives of those we're trying to serve.

"Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle"

Thoughts for the Day - Looking for the Gold in Your Life

Sometimes it's challenging to see the positive things happening in our lives or recognize the good things that have occurred.  In those times we need to remind ourselves of the gold in our in lives.  The things that we treasure, and be grateful.

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.”
― Anthony Robbins

“It makes no difference where you go, there you are. And it makes no difference what you have, there’s always more to want. Until you are happy with who you are, you will never be happy because of what you have.”
― Zig Ziglar

“We all have a reason for living
I am blessed mine has two eyes a heartbeat and calls me mum.”
― Nikki Rowe

“I've started to look at life differently. When you're thanking God for every little you - every meal, every time you wake up, every time you take a sip of water - you can't help but be more thankful for life itself, for the unlikely and miraculous fact that you exist at all.”
― A.J. Jacobs

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive,
to think, to enjoy, to love ...”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations