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Self-Awareness


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Self Awareness

 

Self Awareness is one of those ‘things’ that seems pretty simple, but in practice is actually somewhat difficult. Some people like Gary Vaynerchuk (he’s just more vocal about it) seem to have an innate ability to sense where they are internally and know how to steer themselves without hesitation. Most of us have difficulty staying focused on a task never mind having a refined internal compass that points true north!

I’ve been a respiratory therapist for 7 years. Throughout that time I’ve been confronted with challenges that have pushed me into some very interesting places. I remember the first time I realized the importance of what I was about to do. I called my mom, I was 19 at the time, and remember saying “Mom! I’m only 19 and I’m about to have someone’s life in my hands! They could be my grandmother!!”

It was pretty intense as a young man to have that epiphany. Yet that would not be possible without Self Awareness. Think of it as your internal navigation of thoughts and feelings that highlight certain pathways in your brain.

Example: You are walking along day dreaming, and a friend comes up to you. They’re the infamous ‘close talker’. It’s a hot day and their breath smells as they talk 2 inches from your face. Your internal navigation aka Self Awareness is sending off alarms to back away or end this conversation!! You may or may not be aware this is how you are feeling or acting but you wiggle your way away from close talker friend and continue your day.

Cultivation.

That’s easy! Be aware! Of yourself!!

See, that wasn’t so hard was it?

… bad joke… sorry.

Here it is, no steps just a process. Think of it as a daily practice that you can do in a few minutes at your desk, practice with your kids, sit on a bench in a park. Or do it when you wake up. I’ll be honest, it’s somewhat based on a meditative process called mindfulness. This was first brought to light by Buddha, a long long time ago. #Starwarsreference!

This was then taught to the healthcare community by Jon Kabat-Zinn. His background is too long to communicate here (follow the link) but basically self awareness is based on being mindful and non-judgemental about the way you feel in a given moment. You pay specific attention, on purpose, in the present moment to your thoughts and feelings.

Ok I’ve beaten that horse.

Interpretation.

Noticing how you feel is one thing. Interpreting those thoughts and feelings is another, and that, in my opinion, is where most of the practice comes in. If you feel sad and you’re doing the self awareness thingy you may not know why you are feeling sad. For me if I have a blue feeling I might need vitamin D, I might need sleep, I might need to exercise or get off the computer, I may just need to talk about something.

You get it? Just because you recognize the thought/feeling doesn’t mean you know how to deal with it.

Practice.

This is where you’ll start to shine. When you start to practice being mindful aka Self Aware you can then practice understanding the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing. A good way to clarify is by writing them down or maybe trying something that you think will help. Example, me being sad I take a vitamin D supplement. If I feel better I know what to associate that particular sad feeling with.

The best way to continue to grow is by continuing to practice, and dive into the thoughts and feelings. Do some research behind your brain, be curious about what your body is doing. Be aware of the situations that trigger the thoughts and feelings you are inspecting. That’s another level of awareness but very worth the pursuit.

Frustration.

If you aren’t IMMEDIATELY understanding and noticing your thoughts, feelings, and what’s triggering and how to fix them situation don’t be frustrated! Some people are more sensitive to this process than others.

It DOES NOT!! I repeat DOES NOT mean you can’t do it. You just have to work harder and find others to help you understand the process that’s best for you.

 

As always I’ll be here!

Your Guide – Jay

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Got Leadership?

Leadership

Leadership is an important part of our lives yet how often is it spoken about among people on the street? We almost never mention it in health care unless we talk about a leader in a specific line of care, not someone that leads per their example.

People all have the potential to be a leader. Whether they decide to develop it or not is a whole other article. There are actually hundreds, if not thousands, of books out there for people to learn from. Do they do it? NO!! Why?

Lead Your Own Path, Be Your Own Leader

What is the most important thing about night shift?

Sex? (got your attention didn’t it)

I believe the most important aspect of night shift is cooperation within the team, and communication from the team to the rest of the shift, aka day shift. In a way this is a sense of leadership. You must take the initiative to develop the skills to work mostly by yourself, but communicate effectively enough so people know what you are doing and when/if you need help. Inner strength is a huge part of this.

When I first started out I wanted to be a great Respiratory Therapist. After a while I had decided to become a doctor, so I got a new job and off I went. I basically saw the doctors as the unofficial leaders within the hospital. Sometimes this is the case, other times it’s not.  I realized after seeing how invested a doctor had to become it wasn’t what I really wanted. I drifted for a while and eventually realized I was simply getting through work for the paycheck. I didn’t care about anything really. Yet a glimmer of hope came to me one day. I realized I enjoyed working with people. Yet what was the biggest skill I needed to effectively work within a team and with people/ their families?

So why else do we work? We all know that money is the main objective. But we wouldn’t have gotten into the medical field just because it was a job. We aren’t cleaning poo and suctioning copious amounts of goo out of people’s lungs ‘just to do it’.

I believe that we get a sense of accomplishment, fulfillment and happiness out of our jobs. I realize it’s not always so. I know we get abused on a daily basis by patients, supervisors and each other. It’s a high stress environment ready to pop.

BUT..

Life is tough and if we are doing something that grinds us down 100% of the time why the hell are we doing it? Jim Carrey once said that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love. Watch his commencement speech here.

Instead of asking why you do something and focusing on the issue of making money. Why not focus on doing your best, giving your job 100% effort. I challenge you to do that for a week. When you feel like sitting down to be lazy instead of researching a disease or surgery, do the research. Instead of going to ask questions that seem repetitive ask instead for guidance and to learn how to trouble shoot the issue.

Look first to learn and dig in. If you want this chosen path then educate yourself every day, exercise the muscle that is your brain. Just because others are sitting and watching a show or reading a fictional book, that doesn’t mean you have to do that too.

Have the guts to think and act differently, and you’ll see a change in your life and the life of others.

I Dare You.

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Hustle Till It Hurts

The Hustle is Real

Just a few words about what the hustle means to me and why it’s become a bigger part of my life recently.

A man by the name Gary Vaynerchuck is a big reason I’m upping my game. From watching this guy work I’ve realized there is a lot more we can do every day to increase how much we get done. It’s not about being a work-a-holic, or loving work more than the people you interact with. It’s about loving what you do to the point that 18 hours just seems normal. The ‘daily grind’ become the ‘daily hustle’. It becomes a part of who you are. From what I’ve seen people have a lot of respect for those who accomplish a lot and are able to back it up.

So what am I doing?

From studying myself I’ve realized it takes me a while to adopt new behaviors. In a 3 month period I can improve and make changes to who I am. Improve my skill level and take on more responsibilities. I learn better by watching what others do, so I’m watching people who hustle and taking what they do to adapt it to my lifestyle.

Ya’ll obviously know that I currently work night shift and after a 14 hour work shift I don’t feel much like doing anything. Therefore I’ve set myself up to do work while that 14 hour day is progressing.

Where am I on my off days?

I haven’t added up the hours but I’m no where near 14 hours. Building up some grit to work for 14 hours a day on my ‘days off’ will be the hardest part. Yet I know if I worked 14 hour days I would propel myself so far ahead of where I am today I can’t even visualize it.

What about you? Are you a working entrepreneur? Maybe you work best at night, but how long are your work days?

I wonder what my world would look like if I worked every day 14 hours a day 7 days a week.

Where can you see yourself being if you worked that hard? Check out a day in Gary’s life below and comment on what you think your life would look like if you did that.

 

NightShift Guide – Jay

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Limit Your Sleep

Why Is It

Important

To Limit Your Sleep

When You Work Night Shift?

What?

What do I mean limit your sleep? I thought you had to catch up on sleep when you work night shift?

What I’ve seen in the few years of working nights are two things. Two things about sleep that might help you balance your life outside and inside work.

So what have I found out? When I first started I noticed that my routine was so off I couldn’t sleep like everyone else. I either got tons of sleep or almost no sleep. When my body adapted after a month I ONLY slept during the day. When I changed jobs, added trying to live my live outside of work, I found that I again either slept for long hours (12+) or I barely slept (less than 4). What was my problem? Why couldn’t I have both a day life and a night job?

I realized…

Life outside of work was important to me. I just didn’t know how important it was to be regimented in my schedule. Yet. There came a point where I was working a business, traveling, and working full time at night. I was so stressed out, run down and generally unhappy I nearly had a break down. If anyone has ever screamed, and I mean screamed/yelled/redfaced argument with your boss, the one who hired you, it’s time to let something go or change what you’re doing.

I moved… again…

De-stressed and found a happy place. When I started adding things back into my life I was on top of it. I planned out my schedule and I stuck to it. I modified it when I needed to. The only problem was I thought I could do anything any time because I had a schedule and therefore started doing things, taking naps and not sleeping a full 8 hours. That yielded me times where I couldn’t sleep at all and times where I could barely hold my head up.

Noticing I needed a change, yet again…

I started my uncompromising schedule. I didn’t do anything at times when I was supposed to be going to bed. Even if this was 10 am and I had the chance to meet with a big shot business guy I would have to say no if my schedule was telling me I had other responsibilities to attend to that day. I’m not rude about it but I need to let people know that I’m not super human and need to get some rest!

So here we are today

Not only do I continue to plan out my sleep, but I’ve noticed that if I take care of myself physically, mentally and emotionally I can sleep a little less and be more flexible with my schedule down the road. I’ve learned that when you take care of yourself your body will willingly adapt to a specific regimen. If you go off the reserve your body will let you know by making you feel like absolute shit, make you sick, make you exhausted, or moody.

Why do I say we need to sleep less?

Well when you are on a specific sleep track and are regularly getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep and you try to sleep more than that your body will actually react to it. I can’t prove it scientifically but from my own personal experience I can tell you that some of my hardest days getting out of bed have been when I try to get some extra sleep on a regular day. Even if I’ve had a rough week of no sleep for one reason or another, I would actually recommend staying on schedule instead of trying to get extra rest. Good self care, which includes keeping on a decent diet, exercise of your choice and reducing your static time (meaning sitting for more than an hour at a time) will help you recover.

Example:

I had to get a 3 floor 2700 sq/ft house ready for sale by myself. It’s pretty new but I still had to clean the whole thing, move the rest of the residual furniture out of the house, sell it all, and dump the trash. I was on a 4 day work week, I have a business I’m working to grow which means scheduling meetings, doing phone calls, and sharpening skill sets. In addition to that I also had to take care of the apartment, the two dogs and bird all while my lady was away for the week.

Did this suck!? Yes.

One morning while driving home from working on the house, I had to slap myself repeatedly to stay awake. I ended up sacrificing the little time I had during the afternoon to go work on the house. My weekend was also sacrificed to finish up the house. I was there at 2 am dumping trash and sweeping out the garage.

Did this all suck? Fuck yes it did!

Let’s look at the after affect.

I was done with the house but I was not only exhausted but developed a little cold because I got so run down. In the days after I didn’t sleep as much as I could, I actually kept to my sleep schedule as much as I could. I had to continue to go to work, I had to continue managing my life, and I had to pick up on my exercise regimen again. I don’t remember much of my activity but I do know that a week after all of that mess I was back on top.

Still a bit sick but because of my habits I bounced back quicker than I usually would have. I also didn’t sleep any extra. I actually slept and continue to sleep less than 7 hours a night. Is that healthy? I’m not sure to be honest. I don’t really know what my body looks like on the inside. What I do know is that I feel better and better every day and continuing to be conscious of my body and how it feels is key to my continuing success working the night shift.

Night Shift Take-Away:

What can a fellow shifter get from this post?

  1. Find a sleep schedule that works for you. I don’t care what it is because you are the one that has to deal with it. Find something that doesn’t bounce back and forth between a day and night schedule. Sleep half way in between and you should be fine. (not to mention you’ll have enough time during the day to get things done.) For examples see my DOWNLOADS page.
  2. Stick to that schedule. Realize that things are always happening around you no matter if you take part or not. You will miss things, you will take part in things. But if you don’t respect yourself enough to rest when you really need it then you really shouldn’t be working on night shift.
  3. Don’t be an asshole to others about it. Be self aware enough to realize when you need rest and when you just need some  coffee or a pick-me-up. Others will never understand what you go through physically on a day to day basis unless they do it themselves. So respect that fact and don’t hold it against them. Yet don’t let them guilt you into thinking you should be up at 6 am jogging with them on a day when you need to be sleeping at that time. Or constantly going out to get shit faced on a regular basis. Or guilting you because you can only hang out after 11am every day. If they’re your friend or a respected part of your life they will understand your limitations.
  4. Know your limits. Know when it’s time to quit and sleep, and when you need to forge forward. It’s a process.
  5. Be patient, be kind to yourself, and don’t be down because it doesn’t work the first few times you try.

As always I wish you the best of luck. If you feel you need a little help getting through things like this feel free to contact me. Everything is on the website!

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Journey: A Love Story

Journey: A Love Story

Respiratory Therapy

I remember the day I heard the two words that have shaped my life thus far. “Respiratory Therapist” is what my teacher said.

I immediately raised my hand and asked what that was. I had never heard of them on TV, no one in town had mentioned them, and I had never been sick enough to possibly see one myself. They were like a shining unicorn in the night, only glimpsed briefly through the trees.

As my teacher, her name escapes me now, explained what the profession was all about I immediately knew what I wanted to do. I started pulling books on the subject, got into a shadowing program, and shadowed a local therapist. The impact that has had on my life was fairly significant. I’ve kept that experience in my mind through the 10+ years since.

Last night I was speaking with someone who has great respect for Respiratory Therapists. He reminded me that an RT is more than just a job. It’s a person who cares and creates a system around their patient. They are coordinators of care, sideline leaders, and professionals who can come into a situation and be a key player in controlling a situation. We have no fear and little patience for negligent care. A Respiratory Therapist end’s up being more than just a care giver. Since we are part of  a team we start to do things that are more general and less specific. Our skills learned in school give us the ability to understand more than just our scope of practice.

We may only take care of people with respiratory issues to start, but at the end of the day everyone in a hospital is safer because a therapist walks those halls. It took me from the time I was in high school until now to realize that even though our pay is small, hours are long, and work is sometimes difficult we are a profession and people who command great respect within the medical community.

Currently I work on this website, and am helping others create income through other means. How am I able to do this? Through a realization that I’m a Respiratory Therapist. I’m multi talented, my skills are sharp enough so I am able to accomplish many things. I lead through my calm demeanor and quick response. Being an RT has taught me that everyone matters, not just the people I’m assigned to. I may have a specific job, but my profession tells me to protect everyone.

If you’re a Respiratory Therapist thank you. Know an RT? Take time to get to know them better. If you’re thinking about becoming an RT… Go for it. We need more strong people in our profession. People who aren’t afraid to take a chance and lead through their profession. To realize that our scope is small, but responsibility tremendous.

Take the time to commit. Even if it’s not to Respiratory Therapy, commit to something. Make it specific the more you learn about it. People don’t pay you because you’re a “Jack of All Trades, Master of None”. They pay you because you have a specific set of skills for a specific job, profession, contract etc.

Commit, be specific, and Love your RT.

NightShift Guide – Jay

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