Waiting in line for my vaccination last month, I felt such a sense of hope and gratitude for the opportunity to re-engage in greatly missed activities, like baking scones with our granddaughters. The nurse who gave me my shot said, “This is the most important work I’ve ever done.” I was touched by her sentiment and connection to the true purpose and meaning of her work.
I thought about all the nurses and other healthcare workers, first responders, educators, essential workers, and parents I have spoken to in the last year. Whether it was holding the hand of a patient in a COVID unit, counseling family and friends on vaccines, or monitoring a child’s online learning, we have all done our most important work.
We can easily dismiss and forget the purpose and meaning of why we do what we do every day, especially when it may not feel especially heroic or life-saving. You must acknowledge your most important work every day or it isn’t your most important work.
We acknowledge our most important work and why we do what we do with celebration and gratitude. ANA has extended the year of the nurse in 2021 to celebrate nurses everywhere and whether you are a nurse or not, celebration and gratitude always begin with ourselves.
Self-Leadership, the practice of learning and growing the relationship you have with yourself, supports you to prioritize and acknowledge your most important work. Ask yourself these questions to get you started:
What can I celebrate about myself today?
I have taken the time to slow down and have clarity about my most important work, personally and professionally.
What am I truly grateful for today ?
The connection I have with my family, friends, and clients.
Who can I thank for their most important work today?
Everyone, but especially nurses and other healthcare professionals, first responders, essential workers, teachers, and parents, who do their most important work every day.