Every couple of years, I get the irresistible urge to change things up; to try something new, to push myself past my previous limitations – in short, to grow. I had a business growth spurt that pushed me to publish a book, and a spiritual growth spurt engaging in the Alembic Program offered by the Kaiser Institute. I embraced the Paleo diet about four years ago to take back control of my health; no sugar, grain or dairy! I’ve always been the kind of person who’d rather be a little overwhelmed than bored. I’m frankly not sure whether that’s a good or a less-good way to go, but it’s always been my style and it’s served me well.
2017 found me hankering for my next opportunity to go bigger. That chance presented itself when my friend and webmaster Chad Barr invited my husband and me to be his guest at a four-day...
What if most of what we know about the process of growing older is wrong? What if we could free ourselves from our presumptions about aging’s inevitable decline, and by doing so come to a new, richer understanding of what our late-life years could and should be?
Visionaries are those who see how tied they are to all we “know” – all the conventional assumptions we mostly accept without examination - and choose to cut that cord, to untether themselves from those limitations, and imagine a better world. From among them spring the innovators – the mavericks who kick-start revolutions and movements that change the world. Our aging society desperately needs its visionaries and innovators to lead the way, because so much of what we accept now is simply unacceptable – especially for those of us in the Baby Boomer generation who aren’t willing to settle for less from life than...
Whether or not we make New Year’s resolutions, most of us find ourselves looking for ways to improve as the new year arrives. If your goal for 2018 is to become an exemplary leader, here are some ideas to help you get there.
1. Support your staff: Hospice work can take its toll. When a staff member has had several deaths in a week, it has an emotional impact. Supporting one another is vital to maintaining emotional stamina. We must treat each other as we treat the patients and families we care for; with great respect, understanding and kindness. Most of all CARE. Care about the human beings offering the service you market, and care from your heart.
2. Get out of your office and interact with staff and patients and families: I get it – there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you have to do as a leader. But unless you have a ground-level view of how things are working (or not) in your organization, how can you...
As 2017 draws to its close most of us are going to find ourselves reflecting on the year that’s passing, and taking stock of our personal balance sheet to see how we did. Did we squander our capital – our time, our health, our relationships – or did we build on it, by following through with our good intentions and doing just a little better in some of those spheres than we had in previous years?
Making this kind of personal reckoning can be frustrating, because our intentions so often outstrip our actions. We all want to be more mindful and more intentional – I certainly do! – but life has other plans and we’re so often caught up in dealing with what’s coming at us in the moment that we lose the clarity that the long view brings. The holidays are difficult for people, I think, because they shine a bright light on how we’ve used our time on earth in that last 365 days,...
Time to warm up the crystal ball, and kick off the annual roundup of trends to watch in hospice for 2018. Some of them are encouraging; others we’re just going to have to grin and bear. Hopefully all of them will support us in the vital work we do as a new generation of people with different needs and expectations around the end of life experience become our patients.
Here’s what I and others see coming down the pike:
1. How we die – and where – will continue to change. The people we served in hospice used to be (and to some extent, still are) the Greatest Generation. But now the first wave of Baby Boomers are approaching the end of life, and their needs and wants are very different than those of their generally more stoic and matter of fact parents. We’ll see increasing demand for support for living – and dying – in place, as well as experimental and alternative therapies, spirituality, and new kinds of communities as the...
Come back with me to November 22, 1995. I'm standing next to the bedside of one of the most beloved people in my life... my brother Michael, and he's dying.
It's painful to watch him wasting away. The sense of helplessness is profound. And yet he is surrounded by this wonderful group of people in this hospice facility who are making the experience of death one of dignity and grace instead of fear and despair.
On that day in 1995, I had been a Hospice Administrator for over 10 years. I could tell you the rules and regulations, the staffing patterns, and the budget. Hospice was in my head. It was my job.
But on that day... that day in 1995, standing next to my brothers bed, hospice came into my heart. And I have never been the same.
In my three decades of working in hospice, all across the U.S., I've discovered there are certain things that separate good hospices from great hospices. And it usually doesn't have...
Why do you get up in the morning? Why do you go to work each day? It is simply for the paychex? Or the insurance? Or is it because you too want to make a difference in the world? And I would ask you... are you making a difference? What is it that you are doing each day to ease suffering and empower others.
Let's talk about empowering others. It comes in all sorts of ways. As part of my consulting work, i facilitate workshops and retreats, and I love this kind of work because it allows me to see people with appreciative eyes. When we talk about our superpowers, we are not talking about x-ray vision, or leaping tall buildings, but rather the special strengths we bring to our teams. The qualities of character or personality we bring to our teams are often characterized are often shrug off as "it's just who we are".
At a recent workshop with a senior team, I asked them what they liked best about their job. One of...
Mission, Purpose and Passion.
The last of these is PASSION. So if you Mission is your overarching architecture of the building, and the purpose is what you are doing inside that building, then PASSION is the electricity that runs it.
Mission and Purpose without PASSION is like having the logs in the fireplace and not having a match to get it started.
PASSION is the energy that's needed to move your Mission forward, because when all three are present, and they are all in alignment ... it really is magic.
Work becomes easy, obstacles melt away, challenges become opportunities, and work is something you do because it is your life, not because it is your job.
When I was working at the Health Services, I thought being a clinical nurse practitioner would be terrific. My personal Mission of serving those in need was present, my Purpose of improving the health of those in served was being met, but I didn't have any PASSION. There was no spark to ignite...
Clip from Patti Moore's interview with Gretchenn Brown
Patti: You've been at the top of your game for nearly 30 years.
Well again, I think it's the culture. You have to build a culture where it matters, and where you are embarrassed or humiliated by having a bad review.
You know what I always say... "there are no do-overs in hospice". If you get it wrong, people talk about service recovery, but we have a service that can't be recovered. And so trying to impress that urgency upon folks.
And it doesn't mean that, you can't be in this big with that many staff, that you don't have disappointments. But to me they are heartbreaking... and I want them to be heartbreaking for the team and the site leader and not just for me, and I think that they are what connects with...
The recent 50th anniversary of the founding of the modern hospice movement by Dame Cicely Saunders made me think about my own journey in hospice, and how it began.
Back in 1977 I attended a lecture by Dr Elizabeth Kubler Ross., who had come to Orlando to talk about her groundbreaking work. I was tremendously inspired by what I heard, and determined to become a part of the hospice movement. In 1983 I got my chance, becoming Executive Director of a tiny hospital-based hospice in Gainesville, Florida.
Our office was a remodeled elevator shaft, a windowless space with walls that were 2 feet thick. When I started, we had three staff members (two of whom were part time), fifteen volunteers, and five patients. We didn’t charge fees; it was a free service offered by our community hospital, Alachua General. It came about through a coalition of the communities, ministers, physicians, volunteers, hospital auxiliary ladies, and the CEO of the hospital who agreed to sponsor it. Our...