My previous blog generated a fair bit of discussion around mental health and it’s something that’s still on my mind a couple of weeks later.
Since adopting (or at least trying to adopt) the 4 agreements the one I’m having the most success with is ‘take nothing personally’. It really is quite liberating! That said it still needs a degree of self awareness. You can’t really blame someone else for projecting their reality on to you when in fact it’s you that’s being an arse in the first place.
It also doesn’t mean letting people away with behaving badly either. I’ve become much more aware of other people’s sense of personal responsibility for someone else’s bad mood or perceived injustice.
What I have been less good at is being ‘impeccable with my word’. Man alive it’s hard! It’s all good and well when everything is plodding along and you’re full of energy. However after a day of constant paging, emails and bouncing from one thing to the next the only thing I’m impeccable with is my choice of expletives.
However it was with this fresh perspective that I went to our Consultant away day. The day had been organised to bring together senior clinicians and management. I’m not going to get into the detail of the day as the whole premise was to have a safe space to air views. I would however like to make some observations based on the many away days I’ve been to over the years.
I am beginning to think that the NHS is being run by ghosts. You know they’re there, you just can’t see or hear them. Traditional thinking is that they are dead inside however judging by the comments made on post it notes or feedback sheets there is in fact spirit. However that spirit is in pain, feeling frustrated and not being valued.
I always think the purpose of these days is to exorcise feelings in something akin to a purge. So is it merely enough just to write them down or stick them on a wall?
The reason I think many of these well intentioned days fail is precisely due to this. It all gets written down and not followed through. Many assumptions are made about whose fault it is and life goes on the same. It’s all a bit depressing.
So why not try something different and call these days what they really are: ‘Day of the Dead’ and no, I’m not being facetious.
The Mexicans believe that the day celebrates the cyclical nature of life in particular how new life can come from death. Why not in these team building, management away days openly talk about the past but with one major difference – let ideas and life evolve and flourish.
I know some of you will be thinking ‘but we do that’ however I’m here to tell you it’s the exact opposite that happens. Why else do we keep having the same conversations if things are moving forward?
What we need to do is restore a little faith and breath renewed life into our workforce. Acknowledge the past but not stagnate in it.
Let the spirit of our NHS live…..