I was having a conversation with a colleague recently where she was expressing her frustration about the behavior of her teammates on her leadership team. “I just want to knock their heads together!” she exclaimed. Of course, she wouldn’t do that – but the energy behind that thought is abundantly clear to her teammates around the table. She went on to say that after days or weeks of feeling so frustrated, she goes home exhausted and fed up and wondering how long she can stay in the game. She recalls that she went into healthcare because she was called to help others. Nursing runs deep in her family and she knew from a young age that this was what she wanted to be. “How can I stay true to my passion for nursing when I am so stressed out all the time?!”
Compassion fatigue, burn-out, whatever you call it – the cause and effect are the same – a disconnect from purpose, not living authentically, and feeling like you are meant to do more – be more. The demanding nature of working in healthcare can erode a person’s energy and passion for doing the important work of healthcare. How do you keep the flame alive? How do you stay inspired by the importance of what you do when you are exhausted, stuck, and overwhelmed?
Did you know that there are 40,198 books on Amazon on the subject of staying connected to purpose? People are desperate to know this. They are desperate because they know that being inspired by their lives is the key to fulfillment, energy, satisfaction, and knowing they are doing what they are meant to do – namely share their unique gifts with the world. Lucky for you, you only have to answer these five simple questions to get started*:
1) Who are you? (literally… what’s your name?)
2) What do you do? (what do you feel called to do? What is it about your profession that you feel called to do? As healthcare providers – is it about healing? Or, providing comfort in times of crisis? Is it educating others on how to live healthier lives? Or, providing clarity and inspiration to your team so that they can provide safe care to their patients?)
3) Who do you do it for? (picture them in your minds)
4) What do these people want or need that they can only get from you?
5) How do they change or transform as a result of what you do?
Now, put this together in a powerful sentence.
I asked my colleague to do this and this is what she came up with.
“My name is Ann and I provide powerful, clear, compassionate, and inspirational leadership to my leadership team. I have a unique perspective and experience that allows me to connect to my leaders in a way that they feel understood and that I have their back. This allows them to be fearless, persistent, and creative in seeking out innovative ways to take great care of our patients.”
When she shared that with me, I was blown away and so was she. I asked her how that statement affected her and how she would use it. She thought about this for a minute before replying, “I hadn’t put it all together like this before but as I was writing it and saying it out loud, I knew it was true. I felt in my gut that this is what I want to be doing every moment of every day. My leadership team is great. I’ve seen what they are capable of and when I am at my best, so are they. I owe it to them and to myself to keep this vision front and center. I can use it as my daily touchstone, a reminder of my purpose in occupying my leadership role in my hospital.”
As a healthcare provider, your “why” is never that far away. It just needs the occasional “dusting off” to remind you of what called you to healthcare in the first place.
How to know your life purpose in 5 minutes