Archive for May, 2011

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it

Thursday, May 26th, 2011


I think I have spoken about this before, but it has come up again in my life, so I am choosing to revisit it. Maybe this will bring forward something new for you as well.

Many years ago I worked for a large hospital here in Southern California. During the orientation, we were repeatedly told that there were patience and their families who would try to give us, individually, money to guarantee that the care received would be top notch. And that if we accepted the money, we would be fired and potentially prosecuted.

The HR director who presented this information was adamant that this should not happen. She stressed all the scenarios of what our responsibilities were with the caveat of, but be nice while you say NO!!!!! because we don’t want to hurt their feelings.

I put up my hand and said, thank you for expressing why we can’t take the money personally, but could you give us any constructive solutions and better ways to handle the situation which would support a positive dialog between the person offering the money and the person to whom it’s being offered?

This was followed by stunned silence.

I then said, could you give us a suggestion which will empower us?

Why, yes, here is a positive option.

While I completely understand the necessity to make sure that the new employees understood the policy and the reason behind the policy, I also found the focus on the negative consequences with no real, workable options, to create artificial limitations which do nothing to up hold the larger agenda, which is basically good customer service. Had the trainer gone over the policy and then presented alternatives, an overall more positive message would have been received. I know that several people later came and thanked me for speaking up, because they had felt that they were being treated as though they were thieves and liars, and because of the length of time spent on the subject and the detail with which it was addressed, that the Hospital anticipated that everyone would be tempted to take a bribe, and that everyone would be offered one.

The suggestion was truly that the Hospital believed that we were all corrupt or corruptible.

So I tell this story because I have been thinking about how things are presented and how they are designed to make us feel. And while I stand by the idea that no one can make me feel anything unless I allow them to, I also believe that when provocative language is chosen, it is done in order to achieve a specific reaction. Charismatic speakers use this technique all the time in order to elicit the results which they are looking for. They count on peoples training to submit to those in power, to the basic training to not question the experts, and to the idea which most people are raised with that they are unworthy to know and understand the more higher ideals which are being presented, and therefore they should not worry overly much about things which bother them.

This is disrespectful in the end only serves to cause a rift among employees. It sets up a us and them mentality. It also disempowers people, keeping them within narrow confines and undermining creativity and team work. Because the emphasis is on what not to do and the negative consequences of being doing the wrong thing.

What might happen if, as in my example, people where not only given the policy but also given solutions and encouraged to create other, more positive solutions? What might the result be if people are recognized and empowered to be a valuable part of the team? Could they work together more effectively and efficiently? Is it possible that there will be a higher job satisfaction and even an enjoyment of coming to work every day? What would that look like? feel like? Taste like? And who would you be if this were the case?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

Tip of the day May 4, 2011

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

One way to support yourself in drinking enough water is to have a bottle in the refrigerator which is 64 ounces. You will know you have met your goal because you have refilled it.

Another alternative is to have a refillable bottle on your desk or counter and knowing how many times a day you have to refill it in order to meet your goal. Mine is 32 ounces, so for my minimum requirement, I need to refill it twice. Easy!

So, they say it’s your Birthday…

Monday, May 2nd, 2011


So, today is my birthday. And as with most birthday’s I am feeling a little, oh, blase about the whole thing. I don’t have anything planned of today, although there are thoughts about going to visit someone in Denver in a couple of weeks – their treat – but over all nada.

World events seem to think that they needed to give me a present. The head of one of the biggest terrorist organizations was reported to have been killed last night. And while that is good news simply because now people may be able to sleep better at night, it also reminded me of something: I can love my enemies.

The tragedy of 9/11 lives with me as with most other Americans and the world. I lost two people I knew and am lucky to have not lost my cousin who was at work in the Pentagon when the plane crashed there. I feel for the friends, families and colleges who were left behind and the survivors both of the disasters themselves and those who were part of the rescue effort who have died or continue to have health issue resulting from their heroic efforts on behalf of all concerned.

But I found myself doing something unexpected tonight. Instead of celebrating, I found myself moving into acceptance, compassion, loving and forgiveness. Because I know, in my heart of hearts, that it is only through though these that there can be healing.

Yes, I agree that the bringing of Osama bin Laden to justice and his death is long over due. He and the group which he lead have wrecked a great deal of havoc and lose in the world. All in the name of a God which I do not understand or recognize. And yet, I find that I can say a prayer for him, for his soul, because even if it means nothing to him or against any score he and the Supreme Deity may have to settle, it helps me to be at peace. Because when I pray for him, I also pray for myself. When I accept and forgive, I am loving myself as well. I am able to be at peace.

This is not an easy thing to do. even as I write this I think to myself, are you crazy?!?!? ObL was a monster! He lead fanatics and encouraged them to oppress, kill and destroy any one and anything which got in their way or in the way of their dogma!

All true. But his existence in the world has also helped me to remember that every day is a gift and a blessing. That even when there is evil int he world, there is also so much good. That with out the darkness, we wouldn’t be able to see the light, be blessed by the light, be bathed in the light.

So here is my prayer, not for Osama bin Laden and other tyrants in the world, but for me and for you who read this and for others;

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
Let there be forgiveness, acceptance and love.
Let us always remember those lost, but also remember to laugh when we remember, because they were and are our shining lights and not one, no matter how malicious, can take that away from us.
Let us say a prayer for those who have inflicted harm. That they will one day find peace.
Oh Mother Father God, I am in deep gratitude for this life. For my friends, my family, my pets, my colleagues and even those who would do me harm. These are all your children and my teachers. I love them all. And I am truly blessed.

So be it.

(BTW- the above is really a large part of Spiritual Psychology. I recommend the book, Loyalty to Your Soul for more info.)

The best birthday present? Knowing that I am loved.

But, if someone has an Ipod they’d like to find a new home for, I won’t turn you down.

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman