Release endorphins in presence of professionalism & diversity. Open heart, boost learning, respect, action. Don’t waste time, give hurt dignity. Care & artistry
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Music by permission from Joey van Leeuwen, Boston Drummer, Composer, Arranger
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Inspired by and grateful to: Curtis Cates, Tania Marien, Kathy Cocks, Ame Sanders, Amy Price, O Horvath, Amanda Blodgett, Fred Guitierrez, Steve Heatherington, Jane Beddell, Bob Buckley, Karena DeSouza, Heidi Frei, Dafna Gold-Melchior, Suzzanne Jones, Matt Neil, Dawn Powell
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About the Show
Welcome to Health Hats, learning on the journey toward best health. I am Danny van Leeuwen, a two-legged, old, cisgender, white man with privilege, living in a food oasis, who can afford many hats and knows a little about a lot of healthcare and a lot about very little. Most people wear hats one at a time, but I wear them all at once. We will listen and learn about what it takes to adjust to life’s realities in the awesome circus of healthcare. Let’s make some sense of all this.
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I continue to survive and thrive. I sit around three to six tables every week with people asking questions, solving problems, figuring out how to learn, and getting things done. Endorphin flow guaranteed. More flow, best results, most enjoyment, and inspiration when those people around the table have varied skills, experiences, and backgrounds. When I convene or join these gatherings, I seek colleagues with variation and diversity, especially different from mine. Naturally, in these situations, some people don’t know each other. When they first gather, they might feel confident, at ease, unsure, intimidated, confused, hopeful, curious. Participants join to fill different or several roles: convener, leader, cheerleader, sponge, coach, doer, expert, scribe. Sound familiar?
When a diverse group of people gathers for the first time and look around the room, some look at themselves and compare. Who’s who? Who’s up, who flashes, who do I know? A few might feel professional, and others not so much. Merriam-Webster defines a profession as a calling that requires specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation. So, people with licenses and credentials. People without credentials and academic standing may feel they are less. Or they might have confidence that skill, experience, and avocation backed up by continual learning constitutes the profession of lived experience with or without credentials.
However, a profession is different than professionalism. Perhaps, professionalism constitutes a code of conduct, a set of values, standards we set for ourselves about the quality of our work, our ethics, our relationships. Conveners, leaders, cheerleaders, coaches, doers, experts, and scribes can all be professionals and act professionally.
What role does professionalism play in the success of groups asking questions, solving problems, getting things done, and learning? What responsibilities do we have in whatever role we fill in a problem-solving, action-oriented setting? I’ve been speaking with many people this past week about professionalism. I include some of their names in the list of ‘inspired by’ in the show notes.
The responsibilities of professionalism may include providing benefit to the team, the constituency, the community in their eyes. At the very least don’t waste their time. Perhaps demonstrate trustworthiness, be stable. Responsibility might entail strategizing to maximize the environment of continual learning, respect, and action.
Professionalism carries risks. Reaching in and opening your heart carries considerable risk. We all know that nothing works well all the time. No one acts as they or others would hope all the time. Teamwork among diverse people always causes some hurt. You can’t open your heart without getting burned. It’s the nature of the beast. What responsibility does professionalism suggest when hurt or disappointment occurs? I’d give hurt some dignity, practice forgiveness, embrace failure, strategize for next time.
Last week, my guest was O Horvath. After publication, they wrote to thank me for the care and artistry I gave to the episode. After a few tears of gratitude, I realized that professionalism also includes care and artistry. Thanks, O.
Watching professionals and professionalism in action is a joy to behold. More endorphins.
Why this rant today? I feel like crap. I’m on the downside of a course of steroids and facing some sobering decreases in baseline function. I need to level set, feed my spirit, wallow in possibility, strength, and growth. Appreciation, gratitude, dumping all work. I come back to non-pharmaceutical endorphins, my positivity trigger. All week I’ve met with professionals who give, who ask, who listen, who plow forward, who give me grace and appreciation. When I take a moment and shift my gaze from my navel to their sweet voices and faces, I absorb their passion, dignity, care, and artistry, their professionalism—recharging my batteries. Thank you. Professionalism for survival. Twisted. As in braided, strong. Onward.