Rewriting Your Narrative

I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from my recent post about rewriting my personal narrative right now when it comes to how I think about Covid and those who are choosing not to be vaccinated.  With that in mind, I thought I’d share a little more about how powerful this rewriting type of work can be.

When I talk about personal narrative, I’m talking about the stories that we tell ourselves about the events or circumstances of our lives.  You’ll remember from previous posts that our circumstances are neutral.  The thing that makes them positive or negative is our thinking about them.  The most fabulous news about that is that our thinking is something we can control and, if it serves us, we can change.

Let me give you an example.

I arrive on shift and the charge nurse tells me that the hospital is full.  We will be boarding patients all night.  There are no ICU beds.  We are also severely short-staffed due to sick calls.

My Option #1:

Son of a bitch!  Here we go for another shitty night shift where I will either have to try to do my job from the waiting room or sit around and watch the board all night as there’s no way we’ll be getting patients through the department.  I have no idea what is wrong with the administration of this hospital and this department.  They’ve obviously made the decision to put their bottom line ahead of patient care again.  I’m tired of being taken advantage of.  I’m tired of constantly showing up and being asked to do the impossible.  I’ll never be able to provide good patient care under these conditions.

How do you feel when you read that?  I feel exploited.  I feel hopeless.  I feel frustrated.

My Option #2:

Ok.  Well, that is not ideal, but I’m sure we can figure something out.  It’s not that atypical these days and yet we still manage to be able to take care of the patients who need it the most when they need us.  I’m blown away most nights by the dedication and capability of the people with whom I work and I have no doubt that we’re going to be able to make this work. I’m certainly glad I’m not responsible for staffing this hospital.  That must be an incredibly difficult job, but it’s also not something I have any control over at 11 pm. The one thing I can control is how I show up right now for my coworkers and my patients and I know that I can provide great care with whatever resources I have available to me. 

How do you feel when you read that? I feel determined.  I feel capable.  I feel love for the people with whom I work.

Now let me ask you, which one of those sets of feelings do you think will lead to a better shift? Both are options for me. We get to choose the feelings we create by the story we tell ourselves.  It’s not the staffing crisis that creates feeling of exploitation, hopelessness, and frustration.  It’s the story we tell ourselves about it.

If you’d like to know more about this, please sign up for my free training, How To Feel Better On Your Next Shift.  I’ve filled my September coaching program, but I plan to offer another opportunity to learn how to create your Unicorn Life in January so stay tuned for more details.