STEP 1: SHUT UP AND LISTEN
STEP 2: EMBRACE YOUR MISTAKES
STEP 3: BE CONSISTENT
As a child growing up, I would receive a homemade red velvet cake from a friend of the family each year. It was amazing! I never filled out a survey or application, but it was as if she had my taste buds in mind while dialing up this recipe. When I went off to college, my close friends would go to our local supermarket and buy me the same cake because they knew how much I cherished this dessert. Sadly, the pastry chef from our local supermarket didn’t reach out to the one I grew up with. The level of disappointment was profound. No matter how many bakeries I tested, finding a match that was consistent with my childhood pastry chef was a mystery that has yet to be solved.
Foundation of trust
Step 2 invited great feedback from one of our peers who pointed out this concept of creating a groundwork of bedrock in which our patients and colleagues can rely. She added that this is done by owning and acknowledging our mistakes on a daily basis. As another colleague pointed out, if you begin to create even minor inconsistencies in this foundation, it could easily lead to a case like the Millennium Tower in San Francisco that has sunk 18 inches and tilted 14 inches since being built in 2008. Imagine all of the bad habits and behaviors that you could have developed after graduating 10 years ago or even three years ago that could be detrimental to your workplace environment and patients. The further out from graduation you are, the harder it is to rectify this Leaning Tower of Pisa you have allowed to develop.
The walk of shame is actually a good thing
We all encounter off days and personal challenges sporadically that may interfere with our normal ebb and flow. However, in the midst of this whirlwind, your colleagues and patients need to be able to depend on you to hold yourself accountable regularly. You then in turn provide them the privilege of knowing they can expect you to give your all daily. The legitimacy gained from this interaction allows them to feel substantiated in their decision to trust you and will keep them coming back. You don’t have to be the best at what you do, but you must act with their best interest in mind. Sorry. No exceptions.
Clean your mirrors and filter your water!!
That reflection of what you see every day has everything to do with how others see you. Why not start with making sure your perception of yourself isn’t based on a cloudy mirror. We sometimes don’t realize how much we as humans value consistency. I find this step to be one of the most vital of the group thus far as it applies to every realm of who you are as a clinician. Are you the type to greet everyone with a smile and kind words when entering a room? Are you that person that shows up on time and ready to work each day? Do you go into a treatment session with a plan that is optimal for the patient or what’s more convenient for you that day? If you begin to second guess yourself when posed with these questions, regroup and redirect your energy into being predictable for the right reasons. In a world where our patients come to us with more chaos than we can fathom, let us be the slice of red velvet cake that is whipped up as their own personal recipe, unswerving with each bite.