The 2017 New Year brings with it the value of nostalgia and hopes for an improved year to come. Having been a driven and well intentioned entrepreneur since 1993, the close to 2016 provided me some introspection on the peaks and valleys of my success over the past 23 years. I was determined when I graduated high school and embarked on the world to be an independent and successful business women. I always presumed that would be within a corporate structure, and at first, it was. Being the stoic, focused and self-disciplined person I am, it didn’t take me long to earn the respect of colleagues, peers, and family. Promotions came one after the next as I climbed the ranks of the “ladder” that led to the “glass ceiling”. At first, with youthful invincibility running through my veins, this success left me with a true sense of accomplishment and excitement about all the business endeavors to come. However, as fate would have it and as the saying goes, “its while you are busy making plans for your future that life happens”, my sister and best friend died from a tragic accident. As a result, my life came to a screeching halt. Sure it’s nice to have silk blouses, cashmere sweaters and tailored suits with enough disposable income to take off to Tahoe or Vegas in a snap, but those things don’t enrich you the way your connection with people does. After all, at the end of a lifetime, what is it that people are going to remember most about you?…not your title or social status, but they way you made them feel and the time you took to listen with pure intention.
So, when I woke up from the daze of my grief, I set out to pursue a career that fulfilled me internally as much as it provided for me externally. Because of my background in gymnastics and personal training, I set out to become a Certified Medical Massage Therapist. From the ground up I built a business with the sole purpose of helping others whose lives had come to a screeching halt after a devastating blow. My business took off in a steady upward trend year after year, not necessarily because of my skill, precision, and technique, but as my clients would tell you, “because of the time she takes to listen, get to know you and care about what you are going through with steadfast dedication in assisting you in getting where you want to be”. With little to no money spent annually on advertising, the practice grew from the respect, trust and loyalty earned by my clients, coupled with the countless referrals they made to others whom they thought could benefit from my services. After a while, the desire came to expand on my scope of practice and nursing school seemed to be the natural fit. To date, many of the clients I once treated still keep in touch through holiday cards and social media with the occasional luncheons. Relationships of trust and respect were built.
Today, in my current job as a Registered Nurse, my duties require me to evaluate medical facilities for compliance with state and federal regulations. Yes its true, I march into facilities with a team of colleagues unannounced all dressed in suits with rolling brief cases. Its been said we look like a cross between federal agents and flight attendants. Usually, the moment we enter the facility, the internal temperature rises and staff scatters like coach roaches, frightened we are going to find something horribly wrong that could cost them their jobs or shut down the building. Gaining the trust and the respect of the staff is difficult simply because of the position I hold, but not impossible. By the second day of the survey, staff was relaxed with me during interviews. I work hard to put them at ease and remind them that I’ve been in there position, so I understand what there job entails and the pressure they are under. I take the time to ask them questions about who they are, how they came to be in the field of healthcare and to reassure and validate them in all they are doing to care for vital members of our community. I let them know we are all on the side of patient care, looking them directly in the eye while they speak and acknowledging the positive in what they do and why they do it was the secret sauce to building trust. Being fair and reasonable earned their respect and by the time we made it to our exit conference, staff was all smiles, graciously shaking my hand, throwing me a hug and thanking me for all I did for them this past week.
Ultimately, whether you work in therapeutic service, regulatory services or some form of retail selling health products, gasoline or toilet paper at the local grocery store, the true reward is not in the number of social media likes, products sold or profit gained, but the quality of attention and care you bring to what you do.