Each Shot of Satisfaction is related to one of the seven steps back from burnout in the process of REFLECT. My hope is that, by sharing with you how I apply these steps in my daily life, it will help you on your journey to a fulfilling life of caregiving.
Originally published October 12th, 2011 – This Shot of Satisfaction relates to Step 4 – LOOK at your position within the transaction of care, and ask yourself if you are the cause of something better or the effect of another’s situation. Am I reacting or am I responding?
Reframe your role (in the patient encounter, or any interpersonal encounter), and your position in regards to your goal: to understand that the obstacles to your satisfaction aren’t outside you, but within you. Make the inner transformation and shift your position in your personal, internal quantum space from a negative to a positive one.
Isn’t all about feeling good?
“Ooooohhhhh… you’re so good, I can feel your energy workin’!”
We work in an environment where everyone who enters our doors is in crisis. They are often scared, angry or upset and feel entitled to be loud, demanding and demeaning. The insults and mistreatment they often direct at us and our co-workers only add to the already stressful situation.
At times it feels like there’s a contest going on. Everyone is trying to see if they can push enough buttons to get the energy and attention they feel they deserve. How in the world are we supposed to navigate through all that negative energy? How are we supposed to remain happy and satisfied with who we are and what we are doing amid the jabs and barbs?
Last night, I had a patient’s family member ask me, point blank, if I had a clue about what I was doing or what was going on. She was deliberately trying to insult me, to provoke me, and to push my buttons. In this tricky situation (when I wanted to react), I had to remember not to let her steal my joy. I had to realize that if I wanted to be fulfilled and happy, I’d have rise above the negativity. I had to be able to lift myself out of the mud – the purely physical world of matter – and step into Einstein’s quantum world of energy where happiness, joy and satisfaction exist.
In times like these, where others are deliberately mistreating me, my job is to simply manage my own energies; to choose my thoughts carefully so that I can stay connected to my own joy. I remind myself that my satisfaction is my business. My happiness is not dependent on another’s behavior. My happiness is dependent only on what I am thinking and feeling at any given moment.
If I want to be successful, happy and hold onto my joy, I have to remember that all I really want is to care for others. It does not matter who the person is who is standing in front of me – a patient, a family member, a nurse, a doctor or medic. It can’t matter how the one in front of me is acting. It can’t matter if the one in front of me is mistreating me. If I really want to feel powerful and be the cause of a new and better reality for myself and those I come into contact with, there is only one thing I have to do: Use the key to my success and satisfaction.
This key to my happiness is simply remembering my uncorrupted pure and simple desire to care for others. Care is the blend of benevolent thoughts and energies that I give to the one in front of me. Remembering this key connects me with my passion for care. My job then, in these defining moments, is to transform my energy and align it with my desire to care, and then give my care to the one in front of me so they can feel my empathy, understanding and compassion at work. I am successful when I make them feel heard, let them know they matter, that I want the best for them, and that I am willing to work to improve things as best I can.
In connecting to my desire to care for others, my work is more than just to provide an intellectual solution or immediate relief for their discomfort. My job is to manage my own personal energy, my thoughts and emotions, regardless of what is going on in my physical environment, what they are saying to me or how they are treating me. When I do my job, things will change for them. They will feel that they have been heard and that I know they matter. They will feel that I want things to be better for them. They will relax, exhale, and maybe even smile and, in the process, I will feel better too.
This is the only way that I can be the cause of my own satisfaction, rather than the effect of another’s bad mood or situation. The only way I can feel powerful in my work, each and every day, is by taking the responsibility to be the cause of my own happiness, joy, personal fulfillment and success. By remembering that this is what I came here to do, to care for others, I can remember to focus my energy to demonstrate my care. This is how I will be able to be the cause of a new and better reality for myself and for those I came here to care for.
Last night, I was working with one of the happiest surgeons I know. I was warning him that the patient he was about to see was not so nice – angry actually – even confrontational. I told him not to take it personally and he said something I hope I will never forget. He said: “No problem, I haven’t taken anything personally since the sixth grade.” Therein lies the key to his happiness.
Our real work is to remember that to feel truly satisfied, happy and successful at work and in life, it can never be about me, it must always be about the one in front of me!
Today and every day, remember the key to your satisfaction lies in aligning yourself with your uncorrupted desire to care for others and using that pure energy to respond to the person or situation in front of you. This will make you both feel good!
All the best!