The title sums up how I feel at the moment. I have been consumed with helping teams write their mission statements, preparing for and delivering on our leadership programmes, talking about coaching, teaching some coaching skills and approaches, and actually coaching people.
The past month has been full on, so full on and consuming I had to look at my diary to remind myself what I had done, as I was so busy doing it took a while to recall it. I went to see Foals on Monday, it was a lovely few hours of escapism, their music is familiar, and enlivening it was just what I needed.
Work is busy as you would expect, the NHS is working at full stretch and has been for 2 years without a moment of respite. To be fair we working at full tilt before the pandemic, since then all parts of the NHS have found another gear they didn’t know existed. Everyone is working so hard and working harder and being challenged more than they ever could imagine. When I talk to teams and leaders I am astounded at how they manage to keep going, but they do. Each day they come to work though is just that little bit harder. Each day their energy is decreased. There is only so long you can work at full stretch before it becomes too much.
The problem is as everyone who works in the NHS and no doubt in other high pressure sectors and organisations, raging against the machine and being angry about our circumstances takes up more energy and adds to burn out. I here… “it’s got to be done, so lets just get on with it…” so often, people just don’t have the time or mental energy to think about anything else other than what they are doing. The problem with this is that so many of us get fixed onto the task and achieving that task is the only thing that is important. The task must be achieved at all costs, even if that is to the detriment of the bigger goal or the people connected to the task. Many of us in the heat of the moment in the endeavour to achieve forget why we are doing it. If your reason why is for the people in your community to be healthy, and be cared for when they are not, but the actions you take to achieve the tasks required, such as completing procedures within a time frame, or seeing so many people in a day, causes your workforce to become ill, or patients are discharged inappropriately. Then the tasks have become more important than your reason why. This ends up in moral bankruptcy, and damages the organisations, the people that work in them and those that receive services from them.
There might not be a light at the end of tunnel, it probably is someone bringing more work, there is not a lot we can do about that. What we can do though is remind ourselves why we do what we do, and ensure the tasks that we undertake to achieve our why don’t actually undermine it. That is why I have been working with teams helping them discover and record their mission statement, so they can remind themselves when the work is overwhelming they can remind themselves of their reason why and not get fixated on their tasks. It does not take long to identify and if used regularly can make a massive difference to how they work.
Work and life are really hard at the moment, no matter what you do. Focus on what you can control, make decisions, and changes that are aligned to your reason why. Most weeks I read my mission statement out loud to myself to remind me why I do what I do, and if what I am doing works against it, I make adjustments accordingly.
If you are interested in discovering you mission statement, drop me an email or message me via social media.