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There is No Such Thing as Mistakes

Mistakes.  Something so many people struggle with.  Something I have struggled with.

In fact, people struggle with mistakes so much they are more likely to say "oops, I lied" or refuse to admit or even acknowledge that they made a mistake.  To me, this oozes with shame and the negative connotations people have with the idea of mistakes.

So what if there is no such thing as mistakes?

What if everything is just experimenting with different options and sometimes things go as intended and sometimes not?

Sure, there are times when our actions are less of an experiment and we or others have repeatedly done something harmful.  But to me, in the world of mistakes (if there is such a thing) that is more of a choice than a true mistake.

In the world of mistakes we have engaged in some action, often based on our assumptions, beliefs, past experiences, etc., that didn't work this time. 

So how is that bad?  Why do we have shame about this, taking on that ...

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Why You Don't Have a Mindfulness Practice (and how to get one)

Mindfulness. 

You probably know what it is.  You probably know it’s important or have an idea of how it can help.  You may even know how important mindfulness is in building our attention in our distracted world (both in general and with ADHD).  And even though you know all of this, you don’t have a mindfulness practice even if you want one. 

 

If this is you, the problem isn’t knowledge or the idea of how much mindfulness can help. 

The problem is that you don’t value yourself enough to put yourself first.

 

You may be thinking “No, it’s that I really don’t have time”. 

Let me ask you something.  Why don’t you have time?  What do you spend your time doing?

 

Try this: 

  • Grab a piece of paper  
  • Separate it into two columns by drawing a line down the middle
  • In column one, list all of things that you do for others, because someone (or...
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Nurse leaders: Deep Down, You Know What to Do

People want to work.  At their core, they want to do work that matters to them and makes a difference.  In the words of Daniel Pink we have an “innate need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world”.  Money often gets in the way of this.

 

I used to watch the Suze Orman show back in the day and her motto was “People first, then money, then things.”

 

And sure, maybe on the surface we feel like “yep, got it”.  But what if we dig deeper.  Often, it isn’t until we look at our behavior, our choices, and our words until we see if we really are putting people first before money and things.

 

As a healthcare worker seeking to change the system, I have noticed the healthcare system does it backward.  It seems that money is the priority and because poor patient outcomes and low patient satisfaction impacts the bottom line that we care about it.

...

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Until we do this, we can't recover from burnout

As a nurse you are likely are exhausted - depleted, disheartened, and needing change but in a lot of ways feeling bound to your work.  It is important, really essential work.  If you’re still wanting to do it, I suspect you are looking for a way to through these beyond challenging times.

I know as a social worker whenever I have felt burned out and dreaming of escape to a simpler life, I longed for a solution.  I was so mad at the system and excepted them to change.  And that wasn’t wrong.  But the thing is, what the system did was out of my control.

As a life-learner dedicated to healing and growth, I knew I needed to figure out how to heal through the tough stuff rather than succumbing to it.  As I dug deep inside myself I found there was one thing I was doing horribly wrong in the system I was in that was making it worse.  And beneath that thing was a core belief, likely a core belief that you as a nurse also hold.

The core belief I...

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Email Zero: Getting Organized and Releasing Stress I Didn't Even Know I Had

A couple of weeks ago I did something to get organized that relieved so much stress I had no idea I was carrying.

I cleared my email box to zero.  Seriously.

Now before thinking I went through thousands of emails, let me elaborate.  At the end 2018 I put all of my emails from 2017 and prior into a folder labeled "Emails 2017 and older", just in case I needed them.  Then, I went through my emails and cleaned out my inbox.

But then I let it pile up again.  Every year.  So every year for the past several years I have spent the better part of a day cleaning it out.

No more.

After reading "Order from Chaos: The Everyday Grind of Staying Organized with Adult ADHD", I found a better way - email zero.

It started by doing my annual email purge so I emptied out my email (something I need to do to make sure I have all of my tax receipts).. 

Now, every day I deal with each email.  Yep.  Every single email,...

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What we get wrong about exercise

Reflecting on what I shared last week about burnout recovery with exercise as an example (Read here if you missed it ), I realized something was missing.

 

Over my 17 years as a group fitness instructor and now 13 as a yoga teacher, if there is one thing I have learned about exercise it’s this:  not all exercise is created equal.  This doesn’t mean that in general some form of exercise are better than others.  What it means is that the exercise that will work best for you is unique to you - your biology, biography, and current circumstances.

 

For example, I started running daily in college and did so through my 20s.  While the running helped some, it was hard on my body.  And maybe at the time, it was what I needed to deal with the depressive episode in my early 20s.  However, by the time I hit 30 my anxiety was at an all time high and my body hurt - my feet hurt, my hips hurt, and my...

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Burnout Recovery: Simple, Not Always Easy

Reflecting on a conversation with a friend and fellow psychotherapist, I’m realizing that the ways to recover from burnout are in some ways simple.  For example, one piece of burnout recovery is releasing stress from the body by completing the stress response (check out my free e-book for more on that).  The most effective way to do this is exercise (or movement for those who have aversions to the “E” word). 

Exercise seems like a simple answer to the awful way burnout has left us feeling.  It’s not profound or mind-blowing.  And sure, it’s not the only thing we need to do to recover from burnout, but it is a solid first step.

The thing about burnout recovery that is hard is getting our burned out selves to do the stuff that we know will help.

In my nursing burnout recovery program, the first thing we do is go over how exercise and other tools help us complete the stress response and why this is an essential first step.  ...

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How to Shift the Downward Spiral of Shame, Perfectionism, and "Fitting In" So You Can Truly Belong

I’ve been reflecting on Dr. Brene Brown’s work from her latest book Atlas of the Heart, particularly around the interplay of perfectionism and shame, and how that negatively impacts belonging.

Reflecting back, I think I was pretty authentically myself until high school.  Having come from a very small parochial school with only 15 kids in my class, it felt safe to be me.  I specifically recall when that stopped, which was almost immediately after entering high school.  In order to “fit in” within the new culture with which I was faced, I worked hard at being who I thought I was supposed to be and being less of who I really was/am.

It’s heartbreaking to look back and see how my younger self got lost.  Especially because no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t fit in.  The less she fit in, the harder she tried to be perfectly what she thought she was supposed to be and in turn, the less she fit in.  To say this cycle...

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The Deeper Issue of Nursing Burnout: Why It's not just about changing jobs or changing the system

After two years of the pandemic exacerbating the previously existing nursing shortages, nurses are burned out and leaving not just their jobs but the profession.  There are many who have ideas on how to shift healthcare organizations to improve nurse retention and thus improve patient outcomes; I have some myself.  But one thing I see few talking about is how to help the nurses with their burnout.  Whether you are a healthcare leader hoping to help your nurses or a nurse yourself, I’m sharing this in hopes of helping nurses both feel good again and be able to offer the highest quality care (if they choose to stay in nursing).  Read on.

While changing jobs and careers or even the systems nurses work in may seem attractive, there is a bigger issue at hand here:  The levels of stress built up that create burnout get stuck in the body*.  They follow you wherever you go; so whether nurses stay in their current jobs, find a new one, or the systems...

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The Essential First Step to Changing Your Life

Over the course of my life, I have done really well with creating new habits.  While I didn't realize it at the time, I did this by identifying the kind of person I wanted to be and then did behaviors that matched that.

For example, while the language is dated, when I was a young adolescent I decided I would be “thin and in shape” and then shifted my behavior to match that (e.g., was active, ate relatively healthy foods, ate less junk food, drank water).  It turns out, it worked!

While “thin and in shape” has shifted over the past 36 years to “healthy, fit, and strong”, this identity or way of being in the world has helped me shape the choices I make more easily.

James Clear talks about this as a first step in behavior change.  That is, identifying who and how you want to be in the world and then getting clear on what those kinds of people do and starting to build those habits.  He of course shares more on how to build those...

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