#45: Appreciation Challenge
Let’s see, I’m not sure where to start today. I had an entire post written out for you guys this week, kind of a funny one if I do say so myself! I had prepared it in advance, as the stories just kind of spilled out onto the “paper,” but then I received some sad news on the 14th: a friend from nursing school passed away on Valentine’s Day morning. Ricky was 44; it was cancer; he’d put up quite a fight over the last few years. He is remembered by his wife and twin boys, as well as the rest of his family and many friends.
First, a story…
Ricky was a character. He was funny and sarcastic, a little rough around the edges - a tough guy, you know - and he had a couple of bad habits that I razzed him about on a regular basis… but he had a kind and gentle nature about him. Get him talking about his then-fiancee (now wife), and he turned into a big teddy bear.
I met Ricky during third semester clinical rotations. We got along quite well. He was a straight-shooter, didn’t put up with crap, and he was good at what he did. Ricky was an Army veteran and a medic, so he came into nursing school with a decent handful of technical skills, as well as experiences that you don’t get outside the military. He was sure of himself, and rightfully so. I, on the other hand, had no science background prior to my nursing pre-requisites, let alone any patient care experience. The funny thing is that because I aced almost every test and could easily explain concepts to patients and other students, people assumed I knew what I was doing. As far as technical skills, I had actually never done any of it before. I just learned as I went. There was one clinical day in particular that I remember: I was doing something new, and I wanted to do it right the first time, and do it well at that. Preceptors nowhere to be found, I looked for Ricky, knowing he had experience as a medic. I don’t remember what the procedure was… it was probably something absurdly easy, having the experience I have now… but at the time, I was a student and hesitant. I found Ricky and asked if he could show me how to do whatever it was, and he very quickly and graciously said, “Yeah, for sure. Let’s go. Where’s the patient’s room?” He didn’t get frustrated or tell me he had his own work to do or other patients to treat, or anything even remotely close to that. While I don’t remember the specific task, I do remember Ricky’s patience and genuine nature; he was not arrogant, annoyed, or condescending; rather, he was supportive, encouraging, kind, and helpful… a natural teacher, leader, and nurse.
Next, a thought…
So, when I found out about Ricky’s passing the other day, this moment during nursing school is what I immediately recalled. Because I am such an advocate for truly expressing appreciation, I know that at the time, I thanked Ricky for his help and acknowledged his kindness… but, the first thing I thought the other day was, “I wonder if he remembered the impact he had on just one fellow nursing student, let alone all of his Army buddies, patients, coworkers, friends, and family.”
I then wondered how many people really take the time to tell others what it is about them that is so special, not just THAT they are appreciated, but also WHY. It makes a difference. I know because I’ve had people tell me, and it’s such a gift to hear from someone else what it is they appreciate about you. So, in true form, I am choosing to take a very sad situation and create something positive: I have come up with a challenge for you. I REALLY REALLY REALLY want you guys to share this post with as many friends as possible, so they can participate too. It’s not difficult, I promise! Here it is:
Finally, the action…
This week, tell someone that you appreciate them, and tell them WHY. What is it that draws you to them? What is their special gift? They may not even know. You might make someone’s day. If you want to take it one step further, make it someone you don’t know well. In other words, it’s easy to tell someone you love that you appreciate them and why you do, but it’s a bit more outside-the-box to tell a coworker, acquaintance, cashier at Target, etc. It will be such a wonderful surprise for them. This way, people will know they are special and important, and that they bring something unique to this world that does not go unnoticed. Circle back to this post or Instagram (preferably IG, as I’m there more!), and let me know how it goes!
Until next week,
Be Well and Be Good!
~ God speed, Ricky ~