It has been a busy couple of months. Our second cohort of certificate program students graduated in April and they represent some of the best of what healthcare has to offer- compassionate, curious, courageous and creative people who are seeking better ways to engage in the world. I have also been working with some incredible coaching clients who are in leadership positions in healthcare organizations. It is inspiring to see all of these people intentionally working to personally and professionally grow and it is an honor to be part of that journey.
What stays with me after working with so many health professionals is the degree to which they are caught in a trance of productivity and efficiency expectations that permeates their 'way of being' in the world. The quantification of results and the expectation of expertly fixing all that is broken have become measures of success in many organizations. Sadly, these metrics are pretty far removed from what is meaningful in the work of helping others heal.
It is clear that distancing from our greater purpose and what is meaningful in our work takes a toll on our well being and resilience. Reconnecting people with their purpose and with their own sense of what matters in their work and in their life journey is an important and rewarding part of my work.
A few years ago I consciously made a decision to shift away from my quest to be “an expert”- acquiring as much knowledge as I could about various aspects of my professional practice, and instead try to grow my capacity as an “exemplar.” Showing, rather than telling as we say in the improvisation world. This shift is significant given how long I have been working on my role as expert and the rewards that come with that. But the role of expert is limiting- it creates a status differential that interrupts a more dialogic and relational way of being.
Working to develop my capacity to show up in the world in a way that respects the innate ability in everyone to learn, decide, know and act requires the adoption of a relational stance- a conscious choice to evaluate how I stand in relation to others in the world.
In her article on the ethics of a relational stance in family nursing, Diane Tapp beautifully links ethics with the adoption of a relational approach to our work. In her article she says,
“The notion of “situating” ourselves in relation to others implies purposefulness or thoughtful choosing. These choices are connected to beliefs that we hold to be true: beliefs about ourselves as nurses and what we know, beliefs about nursing as a profession, and beliefs about the persons we encounter in practice and what they know.
These choices about relational stance are connected to ethics and obligations by the ways that they translate to what we do in clinical practice and how we act in relation to those we encounter.”
What would it look like for you to adopt a relational stance?
How does the work of achieving and producing interfere with your ability to connect with others? How do you use busyness to block connection or protect yourself?
In what ways have the people around you become ‘a problem to be fixed’ rather than an opportunity for cultivating a human relationship?
What is emerging for you now at this time in your life? What wants to happen?
(To see Diane Tapp’s article, visit: http://jfn.sagepub.com/content/6/1/69.abstract )