The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

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Art from the Heart Makes Hospital’s Smile

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, June 24, 2019

No job is ever ordinary—particularly if one chooses to make it “work”.  Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Work is love made visible.”  No place is this more evident than at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis where a 33-year-old housekeeper decided to make patients smile through her art.

In a recent engagement to speak to oncology nurses at Siteman Cancer Center, located on the campus of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, I found myself mesmerized and smiling at a huge purple elephant painted on a widow and at various other art objects tacked to a wall.

To my surprise, the art is the work of Kailey Custard, a full-time employee in environmental services who on her first day of work, noticed a colorful pair of two giraffes facing each other. The giraffes could be seen by patients and staff at St. Louis Children’s hospital across the street.

Kailey decided to join the fun. “Art is something that makes people happy because they can relate to it,” says Custard. “People are battling cancer on this floor and it’s sad. Instead of always being sad, I wanted to help our patients feel better.”

With the help of the nursing staff, patients and visitors now see pinwheels, paper flowers and new window paintings on the unit. Custard completes her projects on her breaks. According to Mary Drago, BSN, RN Clinical Nurse Manager on Custard’s floor, “Kailey coordinates art projects for staff, patients and visitors. She sings to our patients, makes waffles for the nurses, drew this amazing purple elephant on a window, while keep our floors spotless.”

BJG housekeepers are supplied with “while you were out” cards to let patients know what services were done while they were out of their room. But Kailey goes one step further. On the back of the card, she draws pictures or writes something encouraging. Custard believes this brings her closer to the staff, patients and visitors.

As I learned more about Kailey Custard. I realize she’s not a housekeeper. She’s a home-maker.

 

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Is Your Spirit Vacuum Sealed?

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, June 17, 2019

Just received a reading pillow from a great new family-run business Keen Edge Home. To my amazement, this not-so-little gem had been vacuum sealed in plastic packaging. The instruction is to take it out, fluff it up like a normal pillow, and wait 24-48 hours for it to reach full and expanded size. (See the before and after pictures.)

I believe this package delivered on Sunday is meant to be my meditation.

I bet I am not the only one who has days in which your spirit feels shrunken, depleted, and small. You know what that’s like: a rejection from a client, an inability to see light at the end of a difficult tunnel, an unkind comment from an acquaintance, a sense that everyone seems to be thriving in their work and you’re not, the loss of a special relationship. The list could go on.

The first instruction is to take your spirit out and fluff it up. I believe that means to get out of your physical surroundings. Leave your desk chair. Get out of the kitchen. Go walk some place where you see green trees, flowers, water, animals. Whether a park or the beach, a creek or a garden, let it be a site that opens your sight. Nature reminds us that life comes in cycles: from the enfolding of earth in winter, to the blossoming in spring. Whatever you are feeling, remember “this too shall pass”. Resiliency requires faith.

Breathe deeply and wait. It might take more than 48 hours to be shaped into the wonderful person you are. I believe will happen as surely as my shrunken reading pillow expands into what it was meant to be.

 

Stress
Before

After

 

 

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Guest Post by Heather Hansen "Catch Your Breath"

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, June 10, 2019

Challenge yourself today to catch your breath. When athletes have been running hard and long, they need time to catch their breath before they can begin again. So do we. Breathe. In your nose, out your mouth. Then do it again. See how good that feels?  

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Three Ways to Develop Ownership

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, June 03, 2019

Joe Tye, a member of The Resiliency Group and CEO of his firm Values Coach Inc., hits the nail on the head when he states that ownership can’t be mandated. Instead, it’s the result of creating a culture that is “heartwired and not hardwired”. 

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Resiliency Requires Taking Risks and Making Messes

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, May 27, 2019

Adaptability is the first critical skill in responding to every situation (positive or negative) in our life. It also means looking for multiple options. This amounts to a willingness to explore. When my nephew was a child, I remember well the lesson he taught all of us:

At age 7, Sasha had all the curiosity of a cat and the wisdom of a sage. Adopted from Russia at age 5, by my brother John, Sasha stood on the shore of one of the main piers in Cape Cod. He began jumping up and down on the sand, begging to explore the refuse that exist at low tide among the pilings.

Being a good father, John insisted that he’d get filthy… be a mess… Besides, it was unsafe… broken glass, bottles, garbage and DEAD THINGS. The last two words ignited Sasha’s plea to new heights.

“But Papa,” he hollered—waving his arms and looking more like Ms. Frizzle and her magic school bus, “to discover, one must take chances and make messes.”

Wow… “to discover, one must take chances and make messes.” If that isn’t the wisdom of the spirit, I don’t know what is. How do we grow, learn, celebrate our insatiable creativity if we color within the lines, only try what is safe and known, stay in a sterile pattern. What will you discover today because you took a chance and made a mess? How might taking that risk create a new response you never tried? I’d love to know.

 

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Laughter Turns Upset into Onset

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, May 20, 2019

Laughter Turns Upset into Onset… for a relationship that is. Strangest thing about humor. When found and used appropriately, it creates a bond and wins people over. When confronted with serious situations, laughter is often the first ingredient to dispel tension and get things moving again. As Victor Borge was known for saying, “laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” It is also what attracts others to us and our services. 

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Career Conversations Create Resilient Employees

By Eileen McDargh - Thursday, May 16, 2019

Resiliency, in my definition, is energy management. Do we have the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual energy to keep on “keeping on”? In short, can we grow forward through challenges or opportunities while we expand our wisdom and skills? Energy is determined by the quality and frequency of our connections. When a manager makes time to understand what is important to an employee, to help chart a career path that is personally meaningful and organizationally valued, then the energy sparks are powerful!  

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Naps Aren’t Just for Babies: Here’s The Research

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, May 13, 2019

I admit: I’m a hard charger. And the thought of taking “a nap” goes against my grain. But this article convinced me that re-energizing is more than a good night’s sleep and practicing intelligent optimism. So sit back. Take a deep breathe. And read. Your resilient spirit will thank you. 

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Resilient Leaders Forget Busy; Become Purposeful

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, May 06, 2019

“Fully 90% of managers squander their time in ineffective activities.” That’s the result of a 10-year research project studying the behavior of busy manages in nearly a dozen companies including Sony and Lufthansa. The researchers, Dr. Heike Bruch and Dr. Sumantra Ghoshal, term this “active non-action”. 

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Even Animals Need Resiliency Help

By Eileen McDargh - Friday, May 03, 2019

Although Earth Day has come and gone, every day offers an opportunity to protect and nurture our natural world. Consider cloth grocery bags, bees wrap in place of plastic wrap or aluminum foil, low flush toilets, compost piles instead of disposals—the list is endless of what we can all do. 

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