For me, Winter Clinics is a mixture of extreme logistical output and a cathartic soaking up of gratitude. It is the culmination of many months of work, putting together speakers, travel arrangements, food choices, graphics and design work, securing sponsors and exhibitors, CME paperwork, videoconferencing arrangements, registering attendees…and making it all look like a well-oiled machine.
So as the event begins and wears on and there are inevitably things I want to fix or change, overall it is a weekend filled with various people being quite grateful. This is a moment that I purposefully slow down, listen to what is working and appreciated, and glow in the bask, sucking it in as potential energy for future event planning. When recognized amidst a crowd, I will sometimes even do a small bow, tipping my imaginary hat as if to say, "You're welcome. It has been my pleasure."
And it really is. For those of us gifted in hospitality and event planning, it turns our crank to put the gift of a conference, a dinner or a social all together and watch others unwrap it. I won't apologize for the satisfaction that comes from performing my job well.
And neither should you.
When Dr. Dike Drummond, author of thehappymd.com blog, spoke to us in Boise last May, he talked about moments like these in the exam room. He emphasized how important it is when a patient or their family members begins to thank you for your care that doctors need to stop, turn and give them your full attention, listen closely, and breathe the affirmation in deeply. It's like sitting in the warmth of the sun.
This is why you went to medical school, muddled half-awake through residency, and sometimes skip your kids' soccer games. It was to care for people and be a healing presence in their lives. If you aren't paying attention amidst everything you have to do, it is too easy to let those thank yous go to waste. In fact, some of us have the awful habit of blushing in self-deprecation and saying, "Oh, it was nothing (de nada)" when it really was something huge for them.
In fact, when we slow down, we might actually create more relational space to allow for more gratitude from others. My bad habit is wandering through a room of people with an "I'm too busy to engage with you" look on my face (and sometimes I am.) But when I slow down to prioritize relationships over tasks, it makes my job so much more meaningful than just punching things down. I know this is difficult when you still have to punch those things down, but it can make the extra time spent later so much more worth it.
Having interacted with many of you, I can see how much effort you put into your work so may I be the first (but not the last) to say, "Well done. Thank you for all you do."