Musing Moment 135: LFTIO – Time vs Energy

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DSS Leadership – Assignment 12
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”



How can you move from Time Management to Energy Leadership more often?
I don’t think Time Management is necessarily a bad thing. At least not in the way the book makes it sound. As a dialysis technician, managing time effectively is extremely important. It’s also important to understand that some things are outside of my control and to adapt to those changes. I cannot stop time from moving forward, but I can adjust my focus so tasks are still completed in a way to compensate or mitigate those delays which I cannot prevent or alter.

In that regard, I don’t think it’s so much being clock-focused as clock-aware.

In the same vein, I don’t think being organized is a bad thing either, and it bothers an extremely large part of my brain for “organized” to be listed on the Time Management side of the equation with it’s opposite being “original”. I think being organized is extremely beneficial to any situation or project. The “original” aspect comes into play in regards to changing or altering the game plan as situations and new information presents itself. Being organized makes adaptability easier, at least for me. If I know how something “should” go down or where things are at or what people “should” be doing, then I can adjust as needed, which allows the process to become original or unique for the given circumstance.

Looking at the chart listed for this reflection section, I feel I lead with energy a fair amount of the time. I am effective just as much as I am efficient. I give energy to my teammates and patients by remaining positive and focusing on the “good” in a situation, versus dwelling on everything that went or is going “wrong”. I am contribution focused by being aware of what everyone is doing to progress to our goals at the time and I am purpose driven by keeping in mind my greater goal.

As far as how I can lead this way more often, during times of stress I can be aware of how my focus trends towards the legitimate time management areas. I begin to think about how someone is underperforming as highlighted by one of my previous posts where I ranted about how it took one of my teammates 30 minutes to initiate one treatment. That’s focusing on performance, a time management area, rather than contribution. At least she initiated a treatment. She could have done nothing.

I feel like awareness is the key for me. I need to be aware of my own mental state and stress levels. I need to be aware of when I am trending towards my own coping behaviors. If I focus on how we’re behind or how someone isn’t doing something within the time frame of what I feel it should take I multiply my own stress which adds to the negativity of the situation. I should take the few seconds it requires to refocus and adjust my own thoughts to mitigate my stress levels which would help the team as a whole continue to be effective and purpose driven.

What will you need to do more of, less of, or differently to practice Energy Leadership more often?
I guess I already answered that in my previous response. One of the downsides to being an INFJ and writing through my feelings I guess…

I will need to practice awareness of myself more consciously during stressful times. I will need to ask myself, “Are my thoughts and behaviors helping or hindering this situation,” and adjust accordingly. Taking the few seconds or minutes it may take to refocus myself could help everyone in the long run.

Lack of Resilience vs Resilience Mastery
I feel that for the most part, I tend to operate with the qualities of resilience mastery. I am able to focus deeply with internally driven motivation. I lean towards optimism, I have fulfilling, intimate relationships. I am able to be creative and innovative. There is genuine vitality and enthusiasm in most things I do. When I work I am able to reach levels of optimal productivity and I tend to feel “on top of” situations.

When I am tired from lack of sleep, working too much with not enough down time, or when several projects seem to be stagnating, I begin to sway towards a lack of resilience. I can be unfocused because I don’t know where it would be best to begin something. I can be externally driven by deadlines or outside pressures. I can harbor negativity within myself which bleeds into all areas of my life and causes strain on my relationships. I can become apathetic and have a lack of inspiration along with legitimate depression and fatigue. I perform less efficiently which affects productivity and the feeling of being overwhelmed can become a pervasive thought in my mind.

It would be beneficial to become more conscious of the warning signs my body and mind display in regards to my resilience, aka. balance. It would be easier to prevent a tip in my balance rather than trying to recover from it later.

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MUSING MOMENTS 134: LFTIO – Dealing With Change

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Side note: I find it amusing that in the time line of my posting, this is the post which happens right after writing about the unexpected change of keeping the kids for a week longer than expected.

DSS Leadership – Assignment 11
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”



Think about the times you faced major crises or challenges. What qualities or potentialities arose?
I feel like a broken record constantly going back to the situation of mom’s death. It has been one of the most recent events in my life and by far the most self-changing.

I think back to the beginning, the phone call and how I immediately began problem solving. How would I get out there? What did I NEED to pack? Who needed to know I would be leaving for an unknown period of time? Who didn’t know about the situation within our family/friend circle and how was I going to contact them so they knew? I wrote things down so I wouldn’t forget later. I continued to try to write as a way to manage my emotions. I didn’t give myself shit for not having answers. I didn’t berate myself for not going to the gym. I praised myself for showering and cooking breakfast and actually eating it. I reminded myself that I HAD to leave the hospital during the day, when I changed shifts with my brother’s because I needed sleep. I needed to keep taking care of myself so I could be there rather than getting sick myself.

Even in the events that followed her death, I ensured I had the papers to fly with the urn in my backpack. I made sure people knew about the service. I made sure to attend the service and be there as the representative of our family.

When I got back to Orlando I dealt with the break up with Zane. I found a new place to live. I removed my belongings from the apartment. I made sure Scarlet had a safe place so she wouldn’t be alone any longer than she already had been.

In relation to my career, I worked the last months to see my class through its transition. In regards to beginning this new career, I researched the different schools I could obtain my CNA from. I studied. I passed my tests. I applied for jobs. I kept pushing through the endless stream of “no”. I cried and acknowledged that it sucked but it wouldn’t get better if I didn’t keep trying.

I bitched about how tired I was and how it felt unfair and how I wanted to give up and yet I kept taking steps to try to change things because I didn’t know how not to and eventually things DID change.

I saught help in the form of counsling because I knew I did not have the skills to handle all of the change going on in my life without help; without guidance and support and resources both emotional and spirital.

I guess the quality that I think of is strength. I think back to the conversation I had with my mom on the couch in what had been my childhood home in South Carolina. The conversation where Law and Order reruns played in the back ground while she told me one day she wouldn’t be here and that she knew it would be hard for me. She knew it would suck but that she had raised me to be strong and to get through it. She had believed in me. She had faith that I could do it and I couldn’t let her be wrong. I had to prove to her that I could in fact be strong and get through it so I did.

Whenever I faltered I reached out. I called people I normally wouldn’t have and told them that I was struggling, that it sucked to live without her. I had text message coversations while the other person watched the same show as me on Netflix so I could feel less alone while I stayed in an extended stay, sneaking Scarlet in with me because animals weren’t allowed.

I rebuilt everything; every aspect of my life. I relentlessly worked on understanding my grief and my emotions and insecurities. I found purpose in life again. I lived until I began living again. I didn’t give up even though there were so many times I wished I had had it within me to do so and from where I’m sitting, today, nearly three years later, I’m glad I didn’t even though I still have hard days sometimes.


What qualities would you like to develop further during those times of crisis?
I would like to develop a kinder inner voice. I would like to be as considerate of my own emotions and complexities of life as I am with others. I feel I have come a long way in this regard and would like to continue to develop it.

I deserve the same unbiased, calm, level-headed reflection and perspective as I give others. I feel a lot of that comes after; after the emotions have their time, after I acknowledge and accept that yes, I do have these emotions and it’s ok, but what am I going to DO? What actions are avalible to me? Stepping back, what would logically be the best move for me to make, not the most emotionally fulled one. Not the knee-jerk insticually driven on.


What were the key things you learned during those times?
The key thing I learned from mom’s death is to value the time I have and to trust myself. I learned that I will make mistakes and that’s ok. I learned that I CAN learn and that I can do better for myself. I learned to be my own cheerleader. I learned to be my own protector. I learned to value my self. I learned to take risks and to try new things and that doing my best is all I can do. I learned that as long as you make it to the end of the day then that is success enough. The greatest success is survival. If you survive that means you have a tomorrow to try again.


When presented with a new experience, what is your first reaction?
I feel like this is pretty open-ended and I honestly don’t know how to answer. I suppose I freeze for a bit. I have to analyze. What are the pros of this situation? What are the cons? Do I gain anything? Do I lose anything? Is there a balance or am I the only one put out? Does it positively affect someone? Is there kindness involved? Is the experience in line with my values and priorities?

I need to figure out what the experience is to me and so I suppose there’s hesitation because I need more information before being ok with it. That also brings into question was the new experience something of my own doing or in the case of going to the pumpkin patch with the kids, an event wholly unexpected and created without my voice being involved? I remember the initial situation being “not ok” in my mind because it took away time from myself without my consent, but the trip itself was pleasant and I’m glad I went. I could have handled the initial change better than what I did because the change itself, with hindsight, was a good thing.

How do you react when you have invested significant work and effort into something and it doesn’t work out? What do you fear most?
Most of my projects with work have been successful. I remember how my first project when I was in finals had the issue with the facial deformation, causing me to receive a 70 as my grade rather than the 100 it would have been. I remember how I spent nearly two weeks contemplating dropping out because I was obviously a failure. Here I was about to graduate and I was making a barely passing grade. How was I going to get a job with barely passing work to show for myself.

With relationships, there’s usually a sense of “I have nothing left to give”. I try and try to make it work and it doesn’t. There can be frustration and anger. Injustice. Fury. Betrayal.

Closure in the form of the “INFJ door slam”. That moment where something snaps within myself. I’m done. Not just done, but DONE. There is no recovery. There is no talking or working it out. It’s over. It’s dead because I am killing it, here and now, without remorse. It deserves to die. Quickly. Cleanly. No suffering. It doesn’t deserve to suffer. It doesn’t deserve my time to suffer and when it is over I burning everything within my inner landscape to the ground and I stand within the flames letting them consume me so I can emerge clean from a situation I know I let myself stay in for much too long.

What I feared the most was my mom dying. I no longer fear that. It happened and yet, here I am, still alive. Still breathing. I fear losing Ox. I fear losing my brothers. I fear losing the people I care about, but I know it’s going to happen and so that fear, that anxiety, while it makes my chest tight and causes me to irrationally cry sometimes, is not something that I feel paralyzes me as often as it used to.

I don’t know what I fear most. I still fear disapproval. I still worry about hurting people’s feelings. But I don’t worry about finding a job. I don’t worry about finding a place to live. I don’t worry about money or making ends meet. And even with the disapproval of others, there’s a quiet calm within myself where I know I honestly don’t care. If they don’t approve, fuck them. I’ve lived through so much, fought through so much, survived so much. I’m not here to meet their approval. I’m here to live my life the way I feel I should be living it.

So I don’t know what I fear. Maybe I fear not living up to the expectations of mom now. Not making her proud. Doing something that would dishonor her memory or make her hang her head in shame.


The next time you face a potential loss, how will you address it?
I suppose the same as I have in the past. Analyzing my situation and figuring out where to go from wherever it is that I’m at. Potential loss is too broad of a term to really be able to say how I will react. There will be emotion involved, but after the emotion there will be reflection, and then action.

Reflect on how well you manage the following:

Focus on Opportunities vs. Problems
I think I do well with this one. I may focus on the problem for a bit, but generally, I’m able to shift my focus from one of dwelling to one of action. What can I do to change the situation? What options are there? Out of those options which is the best one for the moment with the information I have? What other obstacles could potentially arise? Should other people be involved or informed? Are there trusted mentors who could give me a clearer perspective or other avenues to pursue? I myself, being in involved or in the middle of the situation, may not be able to see the whole of the picture as someone uninvolved might be.

Focus on Long Term vs. Short Term
I feel I am, for the most part, balanced here. I am fairly good at identifying sort term goals as well as long term ones. What short term actions fit into my bigger overarching project? What can I do in the now to progress to where I want to be? What in the short term benefits the longer term?

Focus on Purpose vs. Circumstance
I feel I struggle here. I do tend to get caught up on circumstance. This situation, this issue is wreaking havoc on my life. This moment of struggle and challenge and despair and grief is the only moment in all of existence. I can lose sight of what I’m working towards or trying to achieve. Emotions become overwhelming and I falter. I lose sight. I cannot see past the enormity of what is before me, this mountain in the time of my life that has no end. It will go on for forever and I don’t know how I will move past it.

I forget the purpose of what I am trying to do. The why behind my struggle. My reason becomes the struggle, not the goal at the end, the summit I wish to reach. The view which the thought of had captivated me so strongly. The rain and mud and rocks and scraped knees and bloodied hands are all I can focus on and see. My eyes are down rather than ahead.

Eventually, I come out of this state. Either I remind myself to look up, to focus on where I’m going, or something, someone sparks the perspective shift for me. If you look down while you’re crossing the thin line of wire of a tight rope you will only fill yourself with doubt and fear and worry. You won’t see where you’re going, your destination, your light at the end of the tunnel, the view of the summit you so convictedly wanted to climb in the beginning. We all get caught in “the long middle”. I don’t think it’s weakness or a fault to need help and support and reminders that there is, in fact, a bigger picture, a bigger purpose. I think it’s human. I think it’s something we all go through in varying degrees. The bigger the project the easier it is to get caught up in the “things”, the circumstance.

There is a driving factor behind everything. Sometimes we just need a reminder to look up and remember what that factor, that purpose is.

Focus on Adaptability vs. Control
I think I’m getting better about this. I think I do a fair job at flowing and blending with others. I can take control when I need to, I can also delegate and divert when needed. I am not concerned about having the main role or the credit or the control. I’m more concerned about achieving what we are striving for. If that means stepping back or doing what I’m told, ok. Things are going to change. New information will come into play. The battle plan that was created with such care will become obsolete and a new one will need to be constructed.

Mom’s death taught me that very little is actually within our control. It is better to alter your course to match life because life will not, cannot alter its course for you.

Focus on Service vs. Self
When I become overwhelmed I struggle in this area. The more burnt out, the more hurt, the more tired and battle weary I am, the more concerned about me I become. What do I get out of it? How does it affect me? Why should I care?

I feel that much of my life is service oriented. I should be mindful and more aware of when the “self” thoughts begin to creep in. Why are they there? Could I be handling things better or in a more constructive way? Am I truly living by my values or am I regressing back to coping rather than character?

Focus on Listening vs. Expertise
I am not sure what is meant here. I suppose it might mean listening as in being open to learning or other perspectives rather than falling back on what is known or understood to begin with. Preconceived notions or patterns from the past which may cloud our judgment of the present situation.

I feel I do a decent job at listening. There are still times where I find myself listening to respond rather than listening to understand, however. Such a case can be illustrated by a conversation with my younger brother where he was expressing his frustration over his living situation. I realized halfway through his explanation that I was waiting for him to finish talking so I could launch straight into what I wanted to say. That’s not listening. That’s not hearing or understanding. That’s not being open.

Being aware that this is still a habit within myself allows me the opportunity to catch myself, call myself out on it, and to do something to correct it. It is a behavior I do not agree with. It is not how I want to behave.

What are your biggest challenges when it comes to learning from first-time situations?
Firstly, most likely allowing myself to have them. Secondly, being open enough to see the positive in them if they happen to be a negative situation. Accepting that I am still human and will make mistakes. Accepting negative emotions and allowing them to have their time so I can move past them is another challenge. I try so hard to pass that initial stage, the emotion stage. I glaze over it and rush past only for the emotions to come back later.

Emotions: Um, hi. I know we had a little bit of time together a few days ago, but I just wanted to let you know that it really wasn’t enough time and now we’re going to stick around for longer and be even more annoying and unruly to deal with and take even more time and energy from you. You really should have dealt with us in full in the beginning rather than brushing us off or pushing us down or to the side or into a box you knew we wouldn’t fit in.

I feel like if I could have a conversation with them, the emotions, that that’s how it would play out. Emotions are natural. You can’t hide from them. You can’t deny them their time and space. If something makes me feel bad, or wrong, or like a failure, I need to own that emotion. I need to embrace it, accepted as real, and then ask it why it’s there.

Me: Hello, my friend. It has been a while since I felt your presence. Anger, wrath, fury, despair, depression, apathy, insecurity, abandonment. Please sit and tell me what brings you back to me?

Maybe if I said that to my emotions rather than, “Not now, guys. I’m far to busy at the moment and tomorrow doesn’t look good either,” more constructive progress would be made in that beginning stage and prevent unnecessary hardship for myself later.

MUSING MOMENTS 133: LFTIO – Building Relationships

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DSS Leadership – Assignment 10
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”



Take some time to reflect on the following questions to help develop and build relationships:

Under what conditions do you shut down communication?
I tend to shut down with confronted with negativity. I like getting feedback, but if it’s not constructive I tend to become defensive or closed off. “You did a shitty job,” doesn’t tell me how to do something better. It just leaves me feeling bad. I do my best. I’m sorry if my best wasn’t good enough, but if you’re not going to tell me how to become better, just how I didn’t meet your expectations then fuck you. I didn’t see you doing anything other than standing on the sidelines. Maybe if you helped next time or you gave me an idea of what to do differently I would care about your opinion.

I also shut down when I feel a lack of empathy. If you’re going to act like my emotions, my perspective, and my situations don’t matter then I’m not going to care about your opinion or what you have to say. It’s a two-way street. If you’re not going to care, then neither am I.

Lack of honesty, or authenticity as this book calls it, is probably the number one trigger for me torching bridges without a second thought. If I can’t trust you to be real with me, if I have even the smallest hint of “snake in the grass” in regards to your character then I can guarantee you, while I may hear your words and log your comments away, they’re always going to remain at the bottom of my “care” list.

What beliefs are causing you to shut down under those conditions?
There’s usually the belief that there are ulterior motives to their comments or actions, which tend to be proven true given time.

There’s my belief that criticism is different from critique. Negative comments without avenues for change or recognizing any of the positive or “right” things in a situation leaves people feeling demotivated and that the effort they did put in didn’t matter.

How can you be more open in future situations?
I don’t think I have a problem being open. I feel I could be better about expressing my feelings during the situation. “I know you’re trying to help me be better, but right now I’m only receiving negative feedback and that doesn’t feel very good. How could I have handled this better or what things, if any, did I do right?”

In regards to the ulterior motives, I could try to find time to be self-reflective and to identify why I feel the way I do. Once I understand where my emotions are stemming from I could return to the person for a more in-depth conversation. “I know we were talking about this before, but I was left feeling a bit uncomfortable after we talked and this is why…”

Do you need to strengthen your “I” or your “We” to build even more authentic relationships?
I need to strengthen my “I” without a doubt. There have been several times where I have not spoken up purely because “I’m not a nurse”. I could have helped situations go smoother. I could have helped my teams avoid problems. If I had been more direct on how to handle change over, if I had stepped up and made leadership decisions, regardless of what my title is or was, I could have helped everyone involved.

My voice matters. I shouldn’t be afraid to voice strategies or suggestions. I have experience and perspective which are of value only if I allow myself to share them with others. Speaking up isn’t disrespectful or overstepping boundaries and that’s something I know I need to work on. It might be scary to have everyone looking at you and listening to what you say, but overcoming that moment of fear can lead to the whole team growing or to the clinic running smoother and more efficiently.

How can you more effectively build your relationship bridges?
I can continue to build strong, lasting relationships by not being afraid to speak up; to share my stories and experiences and at times being direct especially as I move into a preceptor role.

How can you bring your team trust and team effectiveness to a new level?
By continuing to be honest and conducting myself with integrity. If I am a person my teammates can trust, then as stressful and trying situations arise they will not distrust or resent my judgments and input.

Musing Moments 132: LFTIO – Core Values

Standard
DSS Leadership – Assignment 9
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”



Remind yourself what is important by reflecting on key life experiences and lessons learned. Consider the questions and statements below to help you consider what you stand for as a leader. Reflect on them and on your earlier StoryLine exercise. Capture your responses by writing them down.

What has your life taught you about what is precious and valuable?
Life has taught me that honesty and unconditional acceptance are the hardest things to find.

I value honest answers to my questions. I value people putting my well-being above “not rocking the boat”. Honesty can be hard. It can be uncomfortable and awkward and scary and painful. I value people who are willing to work through my emotions as well as their own to have a genuine relationship with me.

Acceptance is also hard to come by. Fair-weather friends are easy. They’re there for the good times; the easy times. Finding people who are willing to stand beside you while you scream in anguish or rage at injustice; people who are willing to accept you, all of you, strengths and weaknesses, broken pieces and shattered dreams… those are the people I value in my life. Those are the relationships I feel are real and deep and meaningful.

These people accept me as human and they don’t try to change that. They accept I am not perfect. They accept I will have hard days and stand with me through them, sometimes holding me up, sometimes sitting beside me on the path of life while I cry and try to figure out why I should keep going. These people are non-judgemental and while they beam when they see personal development and growth within me, they never press for me to be anyone but who I am. I’m not too shy or too outgoing. I’m not too intense or too serious or too silly. To them, I’m me and that’s enough. I value that; the feeling that I don’t have to do or be anything or anyone other than what and who I am.


What have the traumas and losses in your life taught you about what is most important?
The most significant trauma I have faced is the death of my mother. Her death taught me that “things” don’t matter. It wasn’t the gifts she bought me that I cherished most after she died. It was the memories we shared together. It was the vacation to California and going to Lego-Land where the tour guide made lame jokes about how, “he shouldn’t have lego.” Memories of going to Red Lobster and making the lobster dance around on my plate until its claw randomly fell off and we both cracked up laughing so hard that we couldn’t breathe. Memories of going to Moe’s for lunch and how it took me a year and a half to go back there and even then I still cried silent tears into my nachos because I was eating alone instead of with her. The things I treasured most were the moments she took out of her life to spend with me; to make me feel valued and loved and cared for.

The only things people truly have control over are their actions and their time. Cars can be taken away. Books can be taken away. Computers and phones and clothes and jewelry. Things can be taken away. Memories can’t. Memories and lessons and conversations… those last through the years and I will always cherish the time my mom took out of her life to give me the memories I have.


What have the privileges of your life taught you about what is of value?
Having lived in apartments where roommates did not clean up after themselves or pay rent or care for me as a person… I value people taking time out of their day to make my life easier. Coming home to an empty sink. The mail being check. Money being offered for known expenses before the due date. Random acts of kindness like, “I know you like this drink so I picked you up one while I was at the store.” Little things, little actions that say, “I thought about you. I cared about you. You mattered to me.”

Kindness is of value. Effort is of value. Consideration and responsibility are of value. Most of the things I value are intangible things. Their qualities of character. I value people treating others the way they want to be treated. I value people being honorable and having a sense of right and wrong. I value people valuing others more than themselves.

What is worth risking your life for?
The people who love and are loyal to me. It is worth risking my life for those who have stood beside me through the hardest times in my life. It’s worth risking my life to uphold my honor and dignity. It’s worth risking my life to live the way my mom would have wanted me to. It’s worth risking my life to speak out against injustice and wrongness. Being obedient is doing what you’re told regardless of what is right. Being moral is doing what is right regardless of what you’re told. I was raised to be moral and honorable. I would sooner take the world down with me in a blazing, flaming pile of righteous ashes than dishonor my name and thereby the name of my mother.

______ gives me the greatest meaning in life or work.
Helping others overcome their inner Evil Voice gives me the greatest feeling of fulfillment. The voice of self-doubt, and fear, and inadequacy. We all struggle. It is amazingly gratifying to help someone through their moments of darkness and to see them standing stronger for having gone through their experience; to know they have a more solid understanding of themselves and that I helped them get there.

In summary, my Core Values, the principles I stand for are:
Honesty, Acceptance, Integrity, Honor, Responsibility

Musing Moments 131: LFTIO – Core Talents

Standard
DSS Leadership – Assignment 8
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”





Think back over your career and your life. Recall those times when you felt most energized giving your gifts to others. You might have been engaged in something more personal or seemingly inconsequential, such as coaching a golf partner or walking with a friend. Or you might have been involved in something bigger, more visible or dramatic, such as envisioning a new product or an innovating strategy. Think about those times when you were at your best, when you and others were most energized and engaged. Capture some of those experiences by writing them down. Ask yourself and respond to the following questions and statements:

What gifts can people count on me for?

I feel people can count on me to listen. I feel they can count on me to help them solve problems through different, unexpected, or unique ways. I feel they can count on me to be gentle with their emotions while still telling them hard truths. They can count on me for a clear perspective. They can count on me to be honest. They can count on me to be “on their side” even if my answer is that they weren’t right in a given situation. It’s not about placing blame, it’s about encouraging ownership for behaviors and choices and to admit and accept the fact that we are all human and make mistakes. It’s ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. It provides an opportunity for growth and personal development only if we open ourselves up by accepting our flaws and striving to be better than we were.

I can be counted on to be loyal and committed and to see something through to the end. I can be counted on to learn and to bring that knowledge back to my inner circle, enriching lives through sharing my experiences.

I can be counted on to go as deep as the other person is. No corner of life is too dark, too dusty, too scary. If you are willing to share I am willing to reciprocate. If you share your deepest fear with me, I will share mine. I will show you, that I, too, am human and that together we’ll figure it out. I can be counted on to stand beside you and to not leave you alone in your hour of need.

When I am making a difference/creating value, my talents that “show up” are:

Communication and empathy. Creativity. Strategic thinking. Organization. Time-management. Efficiency. Patients. Kindness. Compassion. Humor and light-heartedness. Energy and positive thinking.

Other people consistently tell me I make a difference by:

Being proactive. Taking initiative. Going above and beyond. Being understanding and patient. Being empathetic. Thinking outside the box. I don’t know why this section makes me want to cry. Maybe it’s because it makes me think of mom and how she said she was proud of me.

When I am working with others, and we are most energized and engaged, I am contributing:

Myself. My full self. My energy and drive and passion. My resolve and dedication. My will to make something succeed no matter what obstacles we face. Each set back, each “no” the Universe throws at us, is just another “next opportunity”. It’s a way to make something better. We don’t cherish the things that come easy. We value the things that were hard, that were a struggle to achieve, that we had to fight to get. It makes the success that much sweeter because it was earned, not given.

I contribute my motivation and positivity by looking at a stressful situation as a moment in time that will be overcome. I provide a perspective of not only seeing where we are and where we want to go, but also of how far we’ve come and already accomplished. We’re doing good and yes things are hard right now but we’ll figure it out. We’ll be ok, and it’s not a bad thing to take a step back sometimes to decompress and regroup. It’s ok to take time for self-care. It’s ok to acknowledge effort and contribution. I look after the people around me and make sure they feel cared for and valued and when they begin to self-doubt or burnout I figure out what is affecting them and how to alleviate or mitigate that factor.

I am passionate about contributing:

Knowledge, passion, and insight. Creativity and uniqueness. Life and color and warmth. Meaningfulness and a reason for existence even through the dark and hard times where it feels like it would be easier to give up.

In summary, my Core Talents, the gifts that make a difference, are:

I don’t know how to answer this. I don’t know what is core… I’ve written several things. The meaningfulness part I feel in the center of my heart chakra. It’s why I changed my career to the medical field; to help people who may feel lost and alone and to show them that they aren’t. I’m there with them and we’ll get through the darkness one day at a time. That even in the dark there are lights if you are open to looking for them. They may be dim but they’re there, I promise.

In a way, I suppose empathy is core as well. Identifying with and feeling alongside others. I can only help them during those dark moments because I feel those moments with them. I share my own moments so they understand that I do know what it’s like to feel hopeless, directionless, and as if it’s all just a losing battle that doesn’t matter anyway so why fight it? Why get out of bed? Why keep going day after day after day when there’s no good left in the world and everything sucks?

I know those feelings. I have been there and the only reason I got through them was because others were there for me. Because I went through those battles, those questions, I want to be there for others on their journey. I want to give that back to the Universe because I was fortunate enough to receive the gift of that type of support.

And maybe determination. Winners never quit and quitters never win. That’s my mentality. It’s ok to fail. It’s ok to mess up. It’s ok to ask for help and for something to be hard or overwhelming. It’s ok to be scared and to not have the answers or a direction to go in. It’s ok to get stuck in a rut and to spin your wheels for a time.

It’s not ok to give up. That’s something I think mom taught me. You NEVER give up. You never sit and accept defeat because if you do then nothing will ever change. If you are willing to fight then I will fight with you. If you sit down I will tell you that I am seeing, what I am feeling, and I will ask if that’s what you want your story to be. Is this how you want your book to end or do you want to get up and try again? Not every day is going to be perfect. Your best is going to change. Do you want to stay down in the mud and dirt where you fell or sat down? Is this where you’re truly ok with being?

If it is I accept your choice and I will leave you alone. I will no longer fight for a cause you no longer feel. But, if you do, in fact, feel that candle flame of fire in you to live, to survive, then I am here. I will always be here, and I will do what I can. Resources, information, emotional support, a second pair of hands on a project. We’ll get this done, together.

So maybe collaboration and support? I’m not sure if collaboration is right. Maybe teamwork? I still don’t feel as clear on this section as I think I’m supposed to. I had thought it would be rather definitive and I feel like it’s still hazy and slightly intangible. Maybe time and the additional reflection sections will provide clarity.



After completing the Core Value reflection section and being filled with a sense of energized conviction, I knew I had missed something with the Core Talent section. I didn’t feel anything towards this section and I felt I should have. If I was really listing my core talents, shouldn’t I have felt them resonating with something inside myself? Shouldn’t they have spoken to me? Time-management, communication, collaborating… None of that “felt” right.

That led to a Google search for the definition of talent. That led to finding a post titled Talents versus Skills – Do you know the difference, by Marc Miller. From this post, I realized what my issue was. I was listing skills, not my inherent natural talents. I was listing things I had learned through the course of my life; not the things which I naturally brought to the table.

So… This is my revised Core Talents. I make a difference by actively listening to people and being a person they can truly talk to; their problems, their fears, their insecurities… I reflect on the information they confide in me and help provide a clearer perspective of their situations. From this perspective, I can help people find a stronger sense of self-awareness and purpose by guiding them towards personal growth and development.

My core talents are:

Active Listening
Empathy
Understanding
Fostering Self-Awareness and Personal Development

Musing Moments 130: LFTIO – Story Reflection

Standard

DSS Leadership – Assignment 7
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”





The book shared four stories. I am to reflect on them and explore how they may spark important emotions, memories, values, and influences.

Story 1 reflection – Book Revolution

Summary: A young girl in China was forced to leave her home with her parents during China’s Cultural Revolution. They had to relocate from their home in the city with modern conveniences to a small village in the mountains. Her parents were forced to leave their jobs. They had to abandon all of their possessions. Instead of packing necessities, the girl’s father packed books. When she wasn’t helping her family survive, she read.

After a few years, her family was allowed to return to the city and she was allowed to return to school. She applied to college. She scored above her grade level. She was accepted into a fellowship program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and is now a medical researcher at a global company.

“The vision, values, and courage of my father remind me daily what true leadership is: maintaining your dignity; staying true to yourself and what is important; care for others at great personal risk; and courageously challenging authority when your deepest values are at stake.”


Did this story touch you in some way?

It did. I found it inspiring. I feel a connection to the girl’s father. He felt that knowledge and his books were worth risking his life to keep. I feel he has a deep sense of honor he was unwilling to give up. I admire that quality in him and I feel he passed that on to his daughter.


Do you have a story in your life that resonates with this story?

Not to this extreme. I faced several application rejections due to having purple hair. While I realize that sounds a bit trivial in comparison, it is in the same vein of not compromising who you are to satisfy others. My hair does not affect how well I am able to do my job. I am not going to give up something that makes me genuinely happy in my day-to-day life to simply earn a paycheck. I knew I was making the task of finding a job harder by not conforming and dying my hair back to its original color. I also knew that I would find the “right” job by being true to who I was and am. I would find something where it mattered more what type of person I was rather than how well I could fit a cookie-cutter pattern.


Story 2 Reflection – The Deeper Voice Within

Summary: A man is diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Eventually, he became unable to walk or talk or care for himself. He was able to communicate using a computer by slowly tapping out words to form sentences via slight head movements. When interviewed by Diana Pierce she asked what he wanted people to know about his daily life. He answered that he still wanted his thoughts to be known and that it was hard having his friends and family members ignore him, “as if I am just a green plant in the corner of the room.”


Did this story touch you in some way?

I feel a great deal of empathy for this man. It must be horrifically isolating to be talked around rather than talked to. I cannot imagine how it must have felt for people to not wait long enough, not be patient enough, to allow him to reply and to have conversations with him anymore as if the disease had somehow changed him.


Do you have a story in your life that resonates with this story?

I don’t think I do. Reading about this mans view of how he was treated by people he loved and cared for, friends he had known for years, reminds me of how important it is to listen to someone, even if it takes them longer than normal to talk. Everyone deserves respect and to feel valued and cared for; not ignored.


Story 3 Reflection – The Gift of Life

Summary: Young couple suffers several medical complications with family members and premature twin girls. All the medical complications resolved themselves. Everyone survived and is alive, but it was one hell of a year for the couple and their family. Living through the trials life threw at him laid the foundation for the husband’s leadership skills, priorities, and values.

Did this story touch you in some way?

Not overly. I can respect the man’s choice to donate his kidney to his brother and the struggle he and his wife faced with their premature twins. I can also relate to learning deep lessons and discovering yourself through harsh, demanding, and unexpected situations. Out of all of the stories in this section, this is the second most relatable for me, so I’m unsure why it is the one which sparks the least emotional response.

Do you have a story in your life that resonates with this story?
Yes. The year after my mother died.


Story 4 Reflection – The Compassionate Thing

Summary: Man’s father leaves the family. Ends up needing care due to an accident. Son stays at the hospital with the father and eventually becomes his caregiver. The father passes away and the son reflects on how because of the accident he was able to grow up and reestablish a relationship with his father.


Did this story touch you in some way?

Yes. I can empathize with the resentment the son felt in the beginning and the release he felt when he was finally able to work through his emotions to have a genuine relationship with his father.


Do you have a story in your life that resonates with this story?

This reflects a bit on how my own father and I were able to reconnect after my mother’s death. It is the most relatable story out of the four for me.

MUSING MOMENT 129: LFTIO – STORY 3

Standard
DSS Leadership – Assignment 6.3
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”





For the 2-3 most impactful and formative experiences and / or relationships, tell the entire story here: 


Story 3 – The Middle of Nowhere

The first few years after my mom’s death were hard for me. I had lost my strongest support structure, I had lost the relationship I had been in, I had lost my home due to losing that relationship, and I had left my career.

Essentially, everything I had been using to identify who I was had been taken away from me. I was no longer a teacher. I was no longer a girlfriend. I was no longer anything, and so I found myself with a vast expanse of nothingness within myself. A never-ending plane of smooth unmarred whiteness where once there had been “me”, or what I had felt was me.

I found myself in a phase I had never been before. Building. Who did I want to be? What did I want to be? What did I stand for? Why was I alive? What was my purpose, my reason for waking up each day knowing that mom was dead?

It took a while, but eventually, slowly, one day at a time, one breath at a time, I found myself. I found the answers to my questions and with each answer, a brick was laid on the plane of whiteness. A foundation, solid and unshakeable. I was going to be me and I was going to live my life and Life couldn’t stop me from doing it. I wouldn’t let it stop me.

During the first year, I obtained an apartment. Though it never felt like home, it was mine and I no longer had to worry about where I would be sleeping at night. I began taking classes as a way to get my foot into the medical field. I took a nursing assistant class though I never became state certified. The thought of succeeding at something while mom wasn’t there to celebrate with me was still too much to face at the time. I took an EKG class as well as a phlebotomy class where I overcame my fear of blood and needles. Eventually, I interviewed with DaVita. When asked if I felt dialysis was something I could do, I replied with, “I honestly don’t know. But I can promise that I’ll try my best and in the end, that’s all I can do; my best.”

I made it through the Star Learning program; two months of training where I was taught about dialysis and the skills I would need as a patient care technician. Once I was through training I began working full time at the downtown Orlando clinic. As time went on I became a stronger member of my team.

On a personal level, I began going to fitness boxing classes as a way to deal with the strong emotions of my grief. That led to joining a dojo where I learned jiujitsu techniques along with Muay Thai. Martial arts gave me a way to connect with myself. It gave me a new circle of people to interact with and a common interest to bond over. I met several key people in my life during this time which helped build me up as a person. They helped me discover things about myself and the type of person I not only wanted to be, but continue being as well. More bricks to add to my foundation.

During this time of growth and discovery, there were also negatives. I began working 12 – 16 hour days since that’s how the clinic was run. My time at the dojo and the gym became less and less. My roommate was consistently unable to pay rent and I found myself donating plasma as a way to keep making ends meet. I had to drive past my old place of employment nearly every day, a reminder of the emotional pain I had experienced and was continuing to go through, along with previous apartments which had harbored abusive relationships.

While there were positive aspects of my life in Florida, there were also negatives and while I felt this need to “get away” and start over, I didn’t know how. Where would I go? What would I do? How would I move all of my stuff? How would I afford the move when I already struggled with rent and personal bills?

It was a situation where there was so much to figure out it was easier to just stay where I was and accept that life just sort of sucked and would suck for the next while.

During the second Christmas without mom, against all financial logic, I rented a room at an extended stay for a week, packed up my computer, took time off from work, and spent a week alone, away from all of the stressors in my life. I renewed my subscription to World of Warcraft and spent a majority of the week inside my room playing the game with my younger brother.

It was the week of my birthday and this was my birthday gift to myself; surviving and getting through one of the hardest times of the year without having to worry about my roommate’s dirty dishes being in the sink or the endless piles of dog fur floating around the apartment. No patients or teammates to explain my sadness to. Just me and an imaginary world where I could run around and blow up bunnies or pick flowers if I wanted to.

During this week there was a guildmate I began talking to. Through the course of our conversation my discontent for Florida came out and how I wanted to move but didn’t know where I would go and all of the other unknowns that went with the concept of moving.

“Well, Lincoln is pretty much the opposite of all of that,” was his reply to my story.

Though I didn’t know it at the time, a seed had been planted. The name of a town led to an InDeed search for job opportunities. Seeing opportunities led to looking for my own company in the area. That led to receiving the blessing from my former FA to reach out to the FA’s in Lincoln. That led to a trip to Nebraska and an interview, which led to moving halfway across the country to start my own life in the middle of nowhere.

There were people who thought moving was a bad idea. There were people who thought it was a good idea. And then there was me. Lost. Confused. Caught somewhere in the middle. Unhappy but not sure if moving was the right choice to make or not.

I would be leaving my brother. My clinic. My patients. My friends. My dojo. The last remnants of my old life. And I would be leaving for what? A possibility of things getting better? A “maybe life won’t suck as bad”? I didn’t even know if I would have a job when I got there. It was just a promising interview and knowing that medical areas usually had a need somewhere. Did I want to leave everything I knew and trade it all for some unknown leap of faith here I hoped I landed on my feet across this giant chasm?

Would I regret not moving and trying to make it work if I were to die tomorrow?

Maybe a little stark and morbid as far as a decision-making process goes, but one of the final things mom taught me was that life is short. I’m not ok with arriving at my death and regretting my choices, so if I were to die, would I regret moving or not moving more?

After sitting and thinking about my answer, I realized my answer. Yes. Yes, I would regret not moving. I would regret not trying. I would regret not knowing if it had been the best decision I could have made for myself, or the worst one where I would have to figure out, once again, how to recover from a mistake.

So I moved.

Because I moved I am in the healthiest relationship I have ever been in. Because I moved I now have a renewed sense of family and belonging and home. Because I moved I have grown as a PCT. I am now a CCHT and NFACT certified. I am a CNA on the Nebraska registry and about to begin LPN classes with plans to continue to on to RN. I have attended Academy and plans are being laid for me to become a preceptor for my clinic. Because I moved I have floated to six other clinics and met the patients and teammates of my region.

Because I moved I can hear coyotes at night and see the stars filling the sky. I have found a dojo where I feel I belong and can continue to train.

Because I moved I’ve actually have had the time and space to make real peace with my grief.

So many of the positive events which have happened in my life can be traced back to that one week in the extended stay. So much of my life can be attributed to my choice to venture into the scary unknown and I wouldn’t trade any part of it for the world.

Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.