This quote has repeated around my head very much over the last few months...
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
A roller coaster doesn’t really sum up what we have all been through personally and professionally. As many, I have witnessed so many emotions and been humbled by what I have heard and seen. During this time, I have also been privileged to work alongside colleagues who have demonstrated compassionate leadership. Brené Brown would be truly inspired. We have shared vulnerability, been open, authentic and asked questions. We have rumbled with uncertainty like never before. We have taken it in turns to be the brave one speaking up and taking the lead when others have felt upset, emotional, angry or fearful.
I have met more people and made more connections in the last few months than the previous many years
We have connected as one larger team within our organisations. I have met more people and made more connections in the last few months than the previous many years. As a group of paediatricians we have also connected. Our College has lead from the front and has always ensured we try and represent the children and families we all work so hard to serve. Many of the children we look after have been affected over the last few months and we are fearful that the true impact of the pandemic will be felt very much by those youngest in society. Some have been born into a pandemic and have never known anything different.
It is to press pause and enable colleagues to take stock, recharge and recover
So, as we begin to dream of summer and start to hope that this wave is receding, thoughts turn to recovery. How important it is to press pause and enable colleagues to take stock, recharge and recover. Before starting to plan ‘business as usual’ we must remember that before the pandemic started colleagues were exhausted and we had a workforce crisis.
We know that everyone benefits from kindness and civility
While we take a pause and time to rest and recover lets also turn to kindness. Henry James said that three things in human life are important, the first is to be kind, the second is to be kind and the third is to be kind. Together we are tired, continue to be anxious about ‘what next’ and can be frustrated about the ongoing changes we are all facing in our home and working lives. We know that everyone benefits from kindness and civility. Givers and receivers benefit, it can be contagious (in a good way). The busier we are, the more important kindness and civility are. Taking time to be kind to others, engages them to help and can reduce our load. Colleagues may then be kind to us, it is a win win.
Kindness returns us to our humanity, builds connections, grows compassion and empathy and builds resilience within our teams. In short I believe kindness is our superpower.
What can we do?
Take a moment to check in yourself are you hungry, angry, late, lonely or tired. Then look up and out at your team.
Do you take your breaks? Do you have somewhere nice to take a break?
The smallest act of kindness is worth the greatest intention (Kahlil Gibran)
So, send that thank you card, say a thank you, make that cup of tea for a colleague, hold open that door, let that car in. The ripple effect from these very small acts of kindness can be so much larger than any of us realise.
Do you already excellence report as a team or use FERF? Do you have a MVP (Most Valued Paediatrician) board? A thank you wall?
I’ll finish with the poet Amanda Gorman: "When day comes the new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it."