Meeting Reflection- Mother’s Day
As part of my leadership series my goal is to provide tools that make meetings more meaningful. Physicians and hospital staff are all extremely busy, yet many times find themselves in meetings that may be less than productive. Most hospital related meetings occur because of regulatory functions or sometimes occur just because there has always been a meeting. So since everyone needs to be in the room anyway, why not make at least the reflection meaningful?
Yes anyone can simply deliver some famous quote and call that a reflection. The more meaningful reflections are actually a reflection! They should concentrate on something poignant to your organization or something timely from a calendar standpoint.
I am introducing “The Invisible Women” as a meeting reflection which is pertinent to Mother’s Day timing. It can be read to the group as illustrated below, or you can simply show the video presentation.[i] The tie in with healthcare is that the same monument the “Invisible Woman” is building at home is similar to the monument we as healthcare provider build everyday for our patients. Much of what we do is invisible to the patient, yet have lifelong effects. That message needs to be given as a point of gratitude to your staff. Think of this also as a way to spread wellness without any extra time spent by your staff- just an added perk for showing up at a meeting.
So enjoy this reflection and feel free to tie it into your healthcare organization.
- “It started to happen gradually. I would walk into a room and say something and no one would notice. I would say, “Turnthe TV down, please.” And nothing would happen. So I would get louder, “TURN THE TV DOWN PLEASE!” Finally, I would have to go over and turn the TV down myself.
- And then I started to notice it elsewhere. My husband and I had been at a party for about three hours and I was ready to go. I looked over and he was talking to a friend from work and I walked over and…he kept right on talking. He didn’t even turn toward me.
- That’s when I started to put it together…. He can’t see me! I’m invisible!
- I’m Invisible!
- Then I started to notice it more and more. I would walk my son to school and his teacher would say, “Jake, who’s that with you?” And my son would say, “Nobody.” Granted, he’s just five…but NOBODY?
- One night a group of us gathered and we were celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just taken this fabulous trip and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed and I was sitting there looking around at the other women at the table. I’d put my makeup on in the car on the way there, I had on an old dress because it the only thing clean, and I had my unwashed hair pulled up in a banana clip and I was feeling pretty darn pathetic. And then Janice turned to me and she said, “I brought you this.” It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. And then I read her inscription: “With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”
- You can’t name the names of the people who built the great cathedrals. Over and over again, looking at these mammoth works, you scan down to find the names and it says builder unknown. They completed things not knowing that anyone would notice. There’s a story about one of the builders who was carving a tiny bird inside a beam that would be covered over by a roof. And someone came up to him and said, “Why are you spending so much time on something no one will ever see?”
- It’s reported that the builder replied, “Because God sees.” They trusted that God saw everything.
- They gave their whole lives for a work, a mammoth work, they would never see finished. They showed up day after day. Some of these cathedrals took over a 100 years to build. That was more than one working man’s lifetime. Day after day. And they made personal sacrifices for no credit. Showing up at a job they would never see finished for a building their name would never be on.
- One writer even goes so far as to say, “No great cathedrals will ever be built again because so few people are willing to sacrifice to that degree.” I closed the book and it was as if I heard God say, “I see you. You are not invisible to me. No sacrifice is too small for me to notice. I see every cupcake baked, every sequin sewn on and I smile over every one. I see every tear of disappointment when things don’t go the way you want them to go. But remember, you are building a great cathedral. It will not be finished in your lifetime. And sadly, you will never get to live there. But if you build it well, I will.”
- At times, my invisibility has felt like an affliction to me, but it not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my own pride.
- It’s okay that they don’t see. It’s okay that they don’t know.
- I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college, “You’re not going to believe what my mom does. She gets up at four in the morning and she bakes pies and hand bastes the turkey and she presses all the linens.” Even if I do all those things, I don’t want him to say that. I want him to want to come home. And secondly, I want him to say to his friend, “You’re gonna love it there.” It’s okay that they don’t see. We don’t work for them. We work for Him. We sacrifice for Him. They will never see. Not if we do it right, not if we do it well. Let’s pray that our work will stand as a monument to an even Greater God.”
- And that is what each of you are doing every day- building your own monument.
Mark W. Elliott, MD, MBA