After the death of my elderly mother last year, I began the process of going through her belongings. It is a “rite of passage” for those of us left behind following the loss of a loved one. The process was hard enough to begin with but was made even more challenging by my mother’s need to hold on to so many things. It seemed that each drawer and box was a mixture of unrelated items; a gum wrapper, a half used tube of lipstick, an old earring, greeting cards received over the years, a school picture of a grandchild along with assorted miscellaneous tidbits from the past. While I realized that some items may have held a memory, it seemed like a lot of time was spent cleaning out junk drawers, one after the other. I couldn’t just dispose of everything as I needed to locate and retain any receipts, important paperwork, etc. It caused me to reflect about my own need to hold on to things. I still have the bracelet from the kindergarten gift exchange in 1959. I have my Girl Scout sash and my old report cards. But that isn’t junk…clearly. Sure. Open the box a little more and I have a lot of miscellaneous items too. Did I really need to keep the stubs from our Friday nite date nights with my husband? Do I need that name tag badge from the last trade show? I know that I will wear that nail polish again someday. Going through my mom’s lifetime of items saved made me think about those who would have to go through my belongings someday to make decisions about what to retain and what to toss. Would they be asking “Why on earth did she hold on to all this?”
Embrace Change in LTPAC Technology
But what if the need to hold on wasn’t just about things but also about the less tangible that we hold on to? I started thinking about how we hold on to our thoughts and feelings. Remember the widely successful book, “Who moved my Cheese?” It was a staple in the business world, used by many companies to begin the dialogue with their employees about the concept of change. “But we have always done it THIS way” is one of those “hold on to” statements. “I haven’t done that before”, “I am not good with this new technology stuff”….do any of these sound familiar? When holding on means holding back, it’s time to look at what keeps us from venturing outside our comfort zone. It was Henry Ford who said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right”. If you don’t think that you can learn how to document in the new EHR, tackle the nuances of the newest software applications, or learn the MDS and ICD-10 intricacies, you are right. If you think you can learn, you are right too.
Familiarity is the basis of our sense of security from the time we are born. Our parents helped to establish early routines for daily care. First the bath, then the jammies, then brushing your teeth, then a drink and finally a bedtime story. Those routines gave us predictability and from that we felt secure. That sense of well-being, based on the comfort of familiarity gets challenged when we have to try something new. How many little ones won’t try a new vegetable, won’t get too far away from mommy, and cling to their little stuffed animal long past the toddler years? Remember the thrill from being able to ride a bicycle for the first time without training wheels? It was exhilarating. That’s the feeling that we need to recapture in our business world. Knowing that we can get past the fear of learning something new, embracing change and thinking “outside the box” might be a little fearful, but in the end it can lead to a stronger sense of accomplishment and personal growth. Our LTPAC industry is changing at lightning speed. The regulatory and technology requirements are rapid paced for sure. And it may not be easy to “teach an old dog new tricks” for those of us with a few years in the saddle. But that sense of holding on to that with which we are most familiar may be in fact the greatest challenge, it is really only holding us back. Step outside of that comfort zone and make a goal to try at least one new thing a day. Expand your world in small ways. That will make it less daunting. Try a new food, take a different route home, or experiment with a new fashion color or style. Take it to the next level by listening in on a webinar for a new topic; take a tutorial for a new software application, read some articles about your type of work on the internet. Before you know it, you will be more open to the concept of change in general and won’t be held back any longer.
As Nike tells us…”Just do it.”