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Grateful for enough

Practicing gratitude is how we acknowledge that there’s enough and that we’re enough – Brene Brown As we’re celebrating Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend, I’m thinking about how grateful I am for my family, friends, career and community of readers from coast to coast and around the world.  One thing I’m most grateful for right…

Practicing gratitude is how we acknowledge that there’s enough and that we’re enough – Brene Brown

As we’re celebrating Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend, I’m thinking about how grateful I am for my family, friends, career and community of readers from coast to coast and around the world. 

One thing I’m most grateful for right now is finally feeling enough. 

Smart enough.

Pretty enough.

Making enough.

Caring enough. 

Good enough.    

Doing enough.

That no matter what I accomplish today, no matter what I look like, no matter what I know, no matter what I earn – I am enough. 

And so are you. 

In our culture of scarcity, it can be really hard to feel a sense of contentment with ourselves and in our lives. We’re bombarded with messages that tell us we’re not [blank] enough.

You’re not just a nurse. You are a nurse, and that’s enough. 

Happy thanksgiving, and thanks for all that you do.

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Make them count

Sometimes it feels as though time is infinite, that we’ve got unlimited opportunity to accomplish our goals and dreams.  Realistically, our days, weeks and months are finite.  Consider this grid: each large square represents 5 years of life. The top row of squares marks the first 20 years of life, which for most of us,…

Sometimes it feels as though time is infinite, that we’ve got unlimited opportunity to accomplish our goals and dreams. 

Realistically, our days, weeks and months are finite. 

Consider this grid: each large square represents 5 years of life. The top row of squares marks the first 20 years of life, which for most of us, is spent in formal education. The darkened squares represent years 20 to 60, the part of our lives most of us are capable of working.

When we look at our life and career this way, it’s evident that life is short.

If we’re not happy most of the time doing what we’re doing, and if we’re not working towards improving our future years, we’ve got some serious thinking to do.

These are our years, it’s all we get.

Better make them count.

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Learn by not doing it right

Our daughter is learning how to ride a two-wheeler bike. Only, she’s not learning by pedalling or using training wheels. She’s learning by running, lifting up her feet and balancing. After all, biking isn’t about pedalling, it’s mostly about balancing. Figure out how to balance and the pedalling part is easy. Likewise, we don’t learn…

Our daughter is learning how to ride a two-wheeler bike. Only, she’s not learning by pedalling or using training wheels. She’s learning by running, lifting up her feet and balancing. After all, biking isn’t about pedalling, it’s mostly about balancing. Figure out how to balance and the pedalling part is easy.

Likewise, we don’t learn to walk by walking. We learn to walk by standing, taking a step and falling. By learning what doesn’t work. By making safe mistakes. By watching others, and repeating.

Our work is no different. We don’t become expert nurses by being knowledgeable and skilled. We become experts by learning from other people’s mistakes, from teaching others, and showing up because we want to.

We learn our craft by not doing our craft well.

We learn to write well by first writing poorly.

We learn to deliver effective speeches by first giving bad ones.

Isn’t it true that we learn most things in life by not doing them the way they ought to be done, at first?

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Health = Luck + privilege

Waaseyaa comes to the emergency department with a chronic cough and wheeze.  Because he has poorly managed asthma.  Because he doesn’t take his medications regularly.  Because he can’t easily access his primary care provider.  Because his parents don’t have reliable transportation.  Because his parents are poor.  Because they face institutional racism, struggle with unresolved trauma, and…

Waaseyaa comes to the emergency department with a chronic cough and wheeze. 

Because he has poorly managed asthma. 

Because he doesn’t take his medications regularly. 

Because he can’t easily access his primary care provider. 

Because his parents don’t have reliable transportation. 

Because his parents are poor. 

Because they face institutional racism, struggle with unresolved trauma, and lack social support.

Can you see the consequences of the way we think about health? Because we overlook the underlying factors, we miss opportunities to really make a difference for some people. We attribute too much to genetics, we’re quick to pass judgment and we’re far too dismissive of the things that get in the way of good health.

We underestimate the role we could play in society, and we overestimate the role of our health care systems in determining who’s healthy and who struggles for it.

We like to believe in the idea that health is a major function of health care systems, and that the world around us doesn’t matter. The truth is, our health is inextricably connected to where we come from, who are parents are, what we eat, where we work, where we live and what we look like.

Those who enjoy the best health are the ones who have better jobs, live in better communities, eat better food, and have better support – the kinds of opportunities that lead to even better wellbeing.

It’s up to us to decide whether it’s nursing’s role to replace luck of the draw and accumulating privileges with basic rights and better opportunities for all.

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Do what others won’t

A little known secret to marketing yourself and persuading people to choose you: Do what that others won’t.  Make a phone call without being asked. Send a friendly, personal email instead of a generic one. Be available after hours. Listen more than you speak. Create a committee. Volunteer your time. Write a reference guide for your…

A little known secret to marketing yourself and persuading people to choose you: Do what that others won’t. 

Make a phone call without being asked. Send a friendly, personal email instead of a generic one. Be available after hours. Listen more than you speak. Create a committee. Volunteer your time. Write a reference guide for your unit.

Do something, anything, that others could do, but choose not to because they’re too afraid/uncertain/preoccupied/selfish.

A nurse consultant works for years mastering his craft, learning the ins and outs. He sees the bigger picture and finds opportunities to teach and connect and lead until he’s built a reputation for himself.

A nurse in independent practice understands the barriers, frustrations, needs and wishes of the people she hopes to help, and delivers services on weekends, evenings and holidays when others choose to be unavailable.

A nurse freelancer knows that her work speaks for itself. She chooses to offer solutions to potential clients instead waiting for them to tell her what to do. She decides who she wants to be, and the kind of work she wants to do and finds clients who want what she’s offering. She knows it’s better to choose what to do than to rely on someone else to give instructions.

If we want to be noticed, land a great job, find better clients, or earn trust, we must create value. By focusing relentlessly on pleasing the people we hope to influence, we can’t help but be valuable to them.

The challenge isn’t doing something different than everybody else. The challenge is having the empathy to see what ought to be done and finding the courage to commit to it.

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