Put Yourself Out There

Originally published on 10/12/18 on LinkedIN; By John R. Nocero, Jennifer Rawley and guest writer Ashley Heath

John: So Molly &Trish are still on the move and should be returning soon. Jen and I haven’t stopped though. We miss them but continue to put ourselves out there, especially with our connections here on LinkedIn. One of those we connected with is Ashley Heath, who is building her network here and contributing with us this week.

“When was the last time you put yourself out there?”

This got the three of us talking: When was the last time you put yourself out there? Like, I mean really, really put yourself out there? I attended a quality conference this week here in North Carolina. Among the myriad of great presentations, there was a chance to network. Usually, I reach out to others at these events, like some sort of glad-hander collecting business cards and introducing myself. This time, I did something different. I just hung back, chilled and let people come to me. It was very counter-intuitive, but it was the right move. It felt more like me. I felt if I could make one or two really good connections, then I had a productive networking experience. I put myself out there by stepping outside my comfort zone, staying quiet, but intentionally pushing my limits and that means I am growing closer to who I want to be. Letting others talk first is very scary. It is new, unchartered unfamiliar territory for me. But that is what forces me to grow, and when I did have interactions, , I was vulnerable, opened up and let others get to know me. I felt scared. And magnificent.

Ashley & Jen: When was the last time you put your full self out there? Any repercussions?

Ashley: I am not like John at all. I want others to talk first. I’m a person who stays fairly quiet in professional and networking settings. I don’t put myself out there, and even thinking about stepping outside of my comfort zone gives me anxiety. I have been on a job search for three years now, so I’ve had to put myself out there more in these past three years than ever. I’ve applied for roughly 70 jobs and have interviewed nine times, creating PowerPoints, scope of work plans, giving presentations, and I have yet to land a new role. Anyone who has gone through a similar experience knows how disheartening it is to work hard, be yourself, and truly put yourself out there to a world of strangers in hopes that they will accept you, just to be denied in the end. Still, I don’t give up, and I continue to put myself out there. I recently connected with John on LinkedIn and he encouraged me to try something new: put myself out there via LinkedIn to build my network. Since this was something I hadn’t tried before, I thought, “what the heck?” and went for it, full throttle. I began writing to people who are in roles I’m applying for or aspire to be in, I reached out to recruiters, I messaged alumni from my alma mater, and what did I get? Silence. I didn’t get a single reply. Even though it feels like I’m putting myself out there time after time and failing, I have learned a lot through this process. First and foremost, I’ve learned how to put myself out there and I have proven to myself that I can do it, even if it is frightening at first. I’ve discovered that there are several ways a person can put themselves out there, and I have accepted the fact that it isn’t always going to work out in the end. Most importantly, I’ve become more resilient, I’m no longer afraid to put myself out there, and I know that since I am learning from this experience, I haven’t failed at all.

Jen: I feel like I ‘throw myself out there’ in some way almost every day. I usually say I am ‘winging it’ and realize now that’s pretty much what I am doing. Thinking about a recent time I did this that was significant I keep coming back to writing. I have always wanted to write more, and it took meeting John for me to put myself out there more than ever before. I remember our first piece a few months ago, I sent him back what I thought was a draft and he published it right away! I cringed typo anyone?!?

Over time, it has gotten easier and easier and while typos still bother me, I have accepted them for sake of forward progress. This is out of my comfort zone, but it has allowed me to lower my stress and worry associated with writing. More recently, I took an even bigger leap and published my own piece. It was totally on a whim and emotionally driven from the experience. I hit ‘publish’ and snapped my computer shut before I had a chance to renege. It felt amazing! I am grateful for the experience and joy this has brought to my life. Everyone should find at least one thing today that they can do to move out of their comfort zone. Worst case, you will learn something new, even if it’s learning what won’t work for you. More times than not, I think you will find a greater freedom and renewed sense of purpose.

Dealing With Change

By John R. Nocero, Jennifer Rawley, Molly Downhour and Patricia Graham

John: I’m a fixed person. I like what I like when I like it. I get up at 4:59am. I am in my office by 6am. I leave by 6pm. At the gym, by 6:30, vigorous workout pre-planned from the night before. I am home by 7:15, for dinner, watch the Yankees, and then make my lunch for the next day. Saturday is similar to Sunday, with pre-planned routines. Needless to say, I love my rigidity. This goes for the majority of my life. I like new things, but when I am ready for them. My question to my other three friends is, how do you deal with change?

“How do you deal with change?”

Jen: Dealing with change is eventually inevitable – we can either fight or slowly lose, or we can accept it and adjust accordingly. As human beings, we are constantly changing, even the most stubborn of us are doing it at a molecular level. Some changes are optional, such as electing to take a new job. Some are not, like when we are forced out of a job. At the core, resistance to change is rooted in fear. Fear of the known, such as knowing chemo is required to treat a cancer; or fear of the unknown, such as not knowing where you will live after an eviction. These fears precipitate the ultimate sense of a loss of control, which can be the hardest part for many of us to overcome, myself included.  Imagine for a moment a ballerina performing turns- they can be any type of turn, but I like pirouettes and fouettes best, so I think of those. (If you can’t imagine or haven’t seen these, click here to see- starts at 00:40).

This ballerina is in a constant changing motion, but she controls it in one big way (yes, I realize there are dozens of other controls in play, just indulge me for a minute). Notice her eyes are focused on a single place and it’s not until most of her body is already turned that she whips her head around too and refocuses. She repeats this each time because she is trained to find the same constant point each turn. If she were to let her head spin around at the speed of her legs, she would quickly lose balance and fall out of the turn. Having danced as a girl, I recall that missing my focal point for even a single turn could render me unable to find it again, leaving me dizzy and in the floor. This example illustrates how I navigate change, by exerting control over other areas of my life to stay grounded. I remind myself of anything that I can control, even something small, like choosing what I eat. By doing this, I feel less “out-of-control” and manage thru the changes. If I don’t, I eventually fall flat on my face. Of course, I simply jump up and pretend like it was supposed to happen, relocate my focal point and keep on spinning.

“…there are two types of change; change you choose and change that is forced upon you.”

Molly: I agree that there are two types of change; change you choose and change that is forced upon you. I like change and I recognize I can easily get frustrated with the status quo when I feel strongly there is an opportunity for improvement. I enjoy solving problems rather than applying temporary fixes and I hate waste (especially my time).

When change is forced upon you, I (like a lot of people) try to understand the rationale behind the change. Unfortunately, not all changes can be understood, such as a natural disaster or a terrifying diagnosis. As an oncology nurse, I have had the privilege of seeing so many wonderful people face the life changing diagnosis of cancer with courage and grace. Courage, grace, and determination come after denial, anger, and questions of why me. Supporting my cancer patients through this process gave me great insight on how I want to face change that is thrust upon me. I let myself experience the emotions as I feel that is a necessary step in determining my path with the change. Then I can decide if I want to fight it, embrace it, or maybe warm up to it.

Trish: Great question, John. This is a very interesting topic. As Jen mentioned, we are constantly changing and the world around us is in constant change. This change occurs with or without our buy-in, and ultimately, it is how we deal with the change that determines whether we are dealing with loss or control.  I like to think of this quote, “Change is a process, not an event.” Somehow, this thought process allows for the element of time. Time to get from Point A to Point B. Some people adjust to change with speed and grace. The speedy graceful people are at Point B smiling and cheering. Other individuals are resistant to change and fight very hard to maintain the current status quo. You can find these individuals still processing the fact that there is a Point B that exists, and heck no, they don’t want to get there at all…let alone get there with speed AND grace! I think I am somewhere in the middle, but more toward the person on the fast road to Point B. Why am I a “somewhat speedy and graceful” change acceptor? I Maybe I don’t like to feel a sense of fear and loss and focusing on the excitement of something new helps me manage the change. The concept of viewing change to be a process and not an event allows individuals time for consideration. This consideration may make a speedy graceful person slow down and discover challenges that need addressing before getting to Point B that they otherwise may have missed. Viewing change to be a process and not an event may allow a resister time to consider opportunities rather than be steadfast in opposition. The next time I am faced with change and feel like I am on the too speedy graceful side of the bell curve or I am too far to the resistant side, I hope to stop, take a breath, recognize that the change is a process and not an event and decide the best way to get from Point A to Point B.

Vacation

Originally published on LinkedIN on 10/4/18; by John R. NoceroJennifer RawleyMolly Downhour & Patricia Graham

This week’s topic: Vacation

John: Both Molly and Trish are out on vacation this week, which makes Jen and I a bit envious and reflective. Both of them just knew when to take a break and recharge their batteries. I struggle with the idea of stepping away. It’s not that I am so driven that I do not feel I can, but it is truly that my work is my biggest passion in life, and is my true purpose. I also understand that the brain does better with rest, and so does the heart. Mental and physical fatigue causes stress, sloppy decision-making, and carelessness. I try to build vacations into my weekly routine – time on the weekend where I don’t look at my computer, enjoying a foot-long BMT at Subway (double-meat, double-cheese baby) alone, and time watching MLB does my heart good. I found that these short breaks allow me to disconnect long enough and meaningfully enough to recharge my batteries and I come back more responsive, more creative and more fired up to do great work. They don’t cost much – Subway generally sets me back $15, but that hour there is so meaningful, giving me great separation from work and provided inspiration as well, not to mention the health benefits.

What do you think Jen, do we not wait and go ahead and vacate too?

Jen: Well truthfully John, I am still stuck on $15 at Subway…how does one accomplish that? I had to re-read that a few times in shock.

Vacation is not something I do often. Most of my time ‘off’ is spent either on short 2-3 day quick-trips or traveling to visit family, which is wonderful of course, but to me does not qualify as vacation. Last year my family went on our first trip in years that I think qualifies. We took the kids to NYC on the train. Both the journey and the destination hit the mark and we had a fantastic time. When we got home, my daughter Addysen painted a memory for us which I will forever treasure (above). My husband’s parents came along, which was awesome – having extra adults with all the walking and crowds was a major win.

I admit that I got sucked into work a little bit, but for only worthy causes. I was needed to emergently credential a provider due to a death in the family of another. Also I was simultaneously trying to help locate a very important document remotely located inside a department that was closed for the holidays. I dropped the credentialing call in a train tunnel and struggled to speak with the second individual from wind blowing me over in Battery Park. No pressure!

Overall the trip was a success – but it was freezing cold (18 degrees!!!) and we were layered up but determined to make the most out of the time we had. The kids were whiny and sometimes crying from the cold, and every picture looks like we are in the Alps with only our cheeks showing, but we made it thru! I was annoyed by my work phone more than usual because it was buried under layers. In order to get it out, I had to remove gloves and unwrap, which was not worth it in the bitter cold. I let it ring and buzz, which was stressful for me. Here’s why- I stress more to be completely cut-off and wondering what’s needed than I do staying at least minimally involved.  I know many time management and work-life-balance experts advise against this, but it just doesn’t work for me to be cut off for more than a few hours.

Like many of you, I get hundreds of e-mails and texts most days, even over the holidays. The times I have tried (or been forced) to cut myself off from my work phone have been anxiety inducing. I worry about the buildup and what I will ‘go back to’. For the record, this is not unique to my present job, its something that has been the case since my first healthcare leadership position and prior to that when I owned a restaurant. For this reason, I function instead in a ‘critical only’ sort of mode. What this means is that I peruse my inbox 2-3 times each day mainly clearing it out, filing away, delegating, or bumping into a file I will name “do this when I get back” or similar. I set my out of office to inform external senders how to contact me in an emergency and advise them to resend the email with “URGENT” in the subject line. When I peruse the inbox and text messages, I will usually only make note of them unless urgent, even if my reply is asked for. If I am still needed a while later, I will address. Many times however, the team has already resolved the issue or determined its no longer urgent. This helps me to have some boundaries and free time. It also helps my team to stretch their skills and grow.

To answer the question, should we take vacation, I say “YES!” I was hoping to do so this month, but it’s looking more like November due to some unforeseen circumstances. I am always waiting for the right time, and there probably isn’t going to be a perfect time, so I might just pull the trigger. Maybe Molly and Trish can write something about us while we are gone, what do you think?

Molly & Trish on vacation

 

 

Going With the Flo

By: Jennifer Rawley

This past week, many of us have been impacted directly or indirectly by Hurricane Florence. In many professions, including healthcare, this means we must devote extra time and effort to preparation. I work at a specialty hospital in Durham, NC, where forecasts showed we were expected to get substantial rain and winds. Thankfully, the storm is slowly passing by and we seem to have fared well. Grateful as I am, it’s hard not to feel a bit guilty for our luck.  Reports continue to pour in about the immense tragedy that is still unfolding to our south and east. Nonetheless, the preparations and planning that took place, along with the emergency operations implementations, required great effort and teamwork.

In years past, I lived in Florida and have been thru several hurricanes and accompanying emergency operations. I have also managed thru a handful of extreme weather situations since taking my current position, so events like this week are not new for me. However, this is the first time ever that I felt any trepidation and believed there was a real potential for major impact. The eventual path and downgrading has been favorable, but the plans put in motion were the same on the front end.

I first started paying attention to the reports on Friday, September 7th. I didn’t get too excited right away; like I said, it wasn’t my first rodeo. Some of the storms I recall bracing for, helping with disaster relief after, getting hit with, or thanking the heavens I didn’t, include – Floyd, Katrina, Erin, Opal, Bertha, Fran, Irene, Charley, Matthew and Maria. As the details and path of Florence worsened over the weekend, I began mentally preparing. Starting on Monday, the first of several planning calls and meetings began and I left work with my head spinning. I thought about how many times in the past I had been complacent in these situations. As a non-management staff member, I often felt obligated to serve on the “A team” because I wanted to be seen as dependable and helpful. Usually, nothing major resulted weather-wise in our location, and it felt like a let-down of sorts. I was left questioning leadership judgement calls or feeling frustrated that I was required to stay for too long. It’s especially easy to become apathetic when similar scenarios play-out over and over. I’m not proud for feeling this way, but I have to own up to it and recognize others may feel the same.

I knew I couldn’t let my team fall into this type of thinking- I had to do something different. As reports of shortages of food, water, and gas in the area became first-hand experiences, a twinge of anxiety set in. I realized that at best, outcomes of human behavior and panic could make this week a challenge. You can’t put into words what it is like to pass by a dozen gas stations in a major city in this country and not be able to buy gas at any of them until you are faced with it. It doesn’t even seem real, especially when the storm is 5+ days away and you are nowhere near the coast. I started to worry what I would do if people ran out of gas and couldn’t get back and forth to work. Most of us do not live in Durham, we commute in from neighboring cities. (For the record, all our gas and food was replenished by Wednesday and has not been an issue since that I am aware of.) I was up late Monday thinking of how I might get the team engaged. I came up with something – it was super cheesy, but fun, and I hoped it would work.

I grabbed a dry-erase map out of my four-year-old son’s room on my way to the hospital on Tuesday. I printed off a low-quality replica of the Indominus Rex from Jurassic World and cut it out. I taped it to the map and used dry-erase markers to indicate the path towards the NC coast. Down one side I wrote in topics for our emergency operations kickoff meeting- food, supplies, communication, sleeping, etc. Down the other, I created two columns for the A and B teams respectively. The A team stays for the duration of the event and leaves once it is safe. In severe cases, it can be for days on end. The B team stays home during the event, and comes in to relieve A team once it’s safe to do so. Everyone in acute healthcare knows you have to be on a team, it just goes with the job. In my past experience, most people don’t want A team, probably because I’ve worked thru so many hurricanes that end up being uneventful to my hospitals. As such, I was expecting the same from my team.

Under the columns, I dubbed A team the “Stormtroopers” and B team the “Cleanup Crew”. I thought up silly unique code-names for each member of my leadership team and created individual tags to tape on the map. To maintain ultimate suspense, I hid them behind a piece of paper. I also loosely scripted a monologue for the meeting. At the start of leadership meetings, I am usually very nonchalant and conversational. This time was different. The team was silent at first as I rolled out the map and posted it on a corkboard. Everyone laughed when they saw the dinosaur in the middle of the Atlantic with a hurricane symbol across its midsection. With great effort to keep a straight face, and as much dramatic effect as I could muster, I started on my script:

“This is phase one real world, we need to bring everyone in. Operation Flo-Rex is now live. As you can all see from this technologically advanced diagram, the Indominus Flo-Rex is making her way towards us; determined to wreak havoc and leave destruction in her path. As of our most recent reports, she will make landfall around 2am Friday morning near Morehead City and we will likely experience strong winds by Thursday morning. This is a slowdown from yesterday, so she must have had a nap, but could pick up speed again. Our mission is to establish plans to operate this hospital safely regardless of what is to come…”

…”Everyone will now be divided into one of two teams, you are either a stormtrooper or on the cleanup crew. Choose- but choose wisely, as there are pros and cons associated with each. Stormtroopers- here is your showcase: A fantastic adventure awaits you should you choose to bid on team A. For one, you get to be off, or work a short shift, on Wednesday. Then you get to come back to the hospital on Thursday and stay here, potentially for days on end, there’s just no telling. Fortunately, we have lots of goodies to keep you happy; such as the most eclectic selection of edible indulgences ever seen in this office before.  I personally hand picked each item out of shipping containers and boxes this morning at Target, with a few hundred other people…..” and I continued on making it sound enticing, with sarcastic details about hanging out with work friends and sleeping on air mattresses.

“Cleanup crew, here is your showcase: A super boring stretch of days awaits you as you get to work like normal this week, but extra hard, to prepare the hospital and set the stormtroopers up for success. As soon as emergency ops are fully deployed, you get to go home. Hopefully, you loaded up on all the yummy food and drinks like we did here, to get you thru the coming days. Charge your phones before leaving, because you just might lose all your electricity, water, wifi, and other fine things. It will be boring, and in your boredom you can think of your fellow team members having hurricane fun together at work with fully functional generators and running water….” and I went on to ensure it sounded like the lesser fun of the two ‘showcases’.

“Everyone has code names for this operation. If you do not like your code name, or find that you don’t identify with it, you may request a new one.”  More laughter, so I kept going.

I pointed to the two columns and asked who wanted to go first. They had giggled thru my script, but got quiet again. I pointed to my CNO since I knew he would be Team A no matter what, but also because he was supposed to be on vacation starting Saturday. I reached under the paper and pulled out a name and taped it under the first column, “Tango”. Everyone burst out in laughter and he shook his head and said, “touche”, because it’s an inside joke. Hands went up as we ran thru the names and stormtroopers were- Tango, Blue-Pill, Mobilizer, Aggelicious, Chaos-Muffin and Terminator. Cleanup Crew included Socialite, Special-K, Roach, Dar the Great, Puff-Daddy, Terminator and Chaos Muffin. All the names were either self-proclaimed or based on personalities or jobs. Blue-Pill is my pharmacy director whose last name is Blue. Puff-daddy is my respiratory manager- as in “take 2 puffs…” on an inhaler, etc. One of our interim leaders, who travels from Pennsylvania each week didn’t get assigned a team, but she got the name ‘Bug-Out.” Her rental for weeks now has been a cherry-red VW beetle convertible, and she is leaving, so I thought it made sense. I’m not at liberty to explain Tango, and I think Terminator origins would blow my cover, but you get the idea.

All in all- task accomplished in record time. No whining, no excuses, everyone on a team and happy to do it in under ten minutes- total success. After this, we pushed on to the serious conversations around the topics of staffing, shelter, food, drugs, supplies, dialysis, communication, providers, fuel, and others. Over the next four days we planned and executed a textbook emergency operations plan, with laughter and fun, but always with safety as our top priority.

It’s now Saturday, September 15th around 9pm. I am at home, as are most members of my leadership team. We are very lucky- but Flo-Rex continues to downpour on many areas close to us. We have had rain and wind, but for the most part nothing terrible. The A team stuck it out, and just when I asked if a hurricane could possibly move any slower, it dropped from 5 to 3 and then a 2 mph crawl! We were getting very tired, our endurance was up, and not much was happening beyond any other thunderstorm we might experience in a non-tropical fashion. In the end, I consulted with my colleagues at some other area hospitals and based on their input, the weather reports, and the fact that the hospital was running quite smoothly, I made the decision to send the A team home.

I hope they don’t think I made them stay too long, or not long enough. I hope they know I had everyone’s safety in mind- theirs, the other staff, the patients and everyone’s families. I hope that next time- and I know there will be a next time- they rise to the occasion to do what they do best- take care of our patients and each other.

I cannot express enough how proud I am of my team and the effort they have put forth with positive attitudes. I’m also very grateful to be part of a wonderful organization that allows me to be the type of leader my team needs and that supports me every step of the way.

I’m home now, safe and dry, while many of my fellow colleagues are still serving time on their A teams because their B teams can’t get in safely yet. My eight year old daughter, Addysen, is patiently waiting for me to finish typing this. She painted an oil canvas earlier today she titled “The Calm Before the Storm.” She used another painting she found as inspiration because it reminded her of some scenes from the news this week of a calm beach with just a single person on it. Admiring her piece, I realized when we don’t have control over situations, like a storm, we can still stay calm and go with the flo. Even in the areas hardest hit, hospitals are taking care of patients thanks to staff remaining calm and being prepared. It’s what we do, it’s what we will always do.

God bless all those who have or will be impacted by this disaster, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Originally published on 9/16/2018 on LinkedIN see it here
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After my initial post on LinkedIN things took a sudden turn. Monday September 17th we awoke to a tornado warning in Durham county and within an hour a second one. Thankfully we were all fine here but it was an unexpected jolt. At the risk of sounding cliche, the hurricane week was a breeze compared to the week after, but that’s life.  Thanks to everyone who pulled together to take care of patients and each other during this time.

Do Nothing

Originally published on LinkedIN on 9/27/18 see it here

By John R. NoceroJennifer RawleyMolly Downhour & Patricia Graham

Topic: Do Nothing

John:  I get so focused when I am in the office – all I want to do is get things done. But during a recent weekend, I didn’t do much of anything. I got up regularly, pet the dog (I love him so much), made a sandwich, watched the rain. Yet I felt like I got a ton done; my brain recharging more than anything. It is astonishing how much you can get done when you don’t really do…anything and just stare out the window. I thought about new things, such as writing topics, or improving methodologies. I reflected, I cried, I purged regret. Working from home was amazing for me, as being in a different environment stimulated my thoughts. Originally, I was thinking that being home will be so difficult, that it was going to be an unnecessary hardship. Actually, it wasn’t the chore I thought it would be. Now looking back on my time at home, and saying let the world pass by, is a smart move. It was research in a way – research being me-search.

Question for my three friends: did you ever have a time where you didn’t do anything, just let life pass by, and the synapses fired in a way you did not expect?

Jen: I try to ‘do nothing’ every day if I can. It’s something I do purposefully so that I can be alone, uninterrupted and completely unoccupied and free to think. It’s the best thing I do for myself on a daily basis. Every now and then, I get a chance at a lengthy “do nothing” block of time. It’s usually on a weekend and my husband, knowing I get such a boost from it, will take both of our children off somewhere for the day or overnight. These are the times I keep a certain notebook and pencil nearby wherever I sit or walk and ideas come faster than I can write them down. The notebook is almost illegible to read (being a pharmacist helps decipher later) and an unorganized mess of words and phrases. I can take those random notes and thought and translate them later into tangible goals, actions or creative future plans. This time is so sacred and coveted by me that whenever I get asked “what’s your favorite thing to do,” I quickly answer “absolutely nothing” – I’m sure you can imagine the looks I get after that!

Molly:  Fall 2014 was a stressful time. I was burning the candle at both ends with a demanding job and family responsibilities. I could feel myself closing in on my breaking point, so I took an unplanned vacation by myself to visit my parents. For five days I was responsible for absolutely nothing. I took naps in the sun listening to the waves crash on the beach. I ran for the pleasure of running and not for race training. I sat on the dock breathing the fresh fall salt air; enjoying the water-colored sunsets with a glass of wine. I ate delicious meals planned and made by my parents. I read books with no value other than just being a light story with a predictable happy ending. I didn’t wear any make up, use a hair dryer, or dress in anything other than work out clothes and pajamas. It was the recharge I desperately needed before hitting the ground running on my return. Even the memory of the peacefulness I felt during that time brings a smile to my face and that is priceless.

Trish: It takes a huge effort for me to “just do nothing” on a regular basis, but I realize it is very important for me to do so. I know that if I take time for myself to breathe, to just sit, clear my head, and recharge my batteries, I am rejuvenated and have great clarity. My method of doing nothing actually takes a good bit of effort. My perfect “do nothing” scenario goes like this. Step one: Check clock… is it time yet to do nothing? Step two: Decide that it is time to do nothing. Step three: Finish out work for the day by rechecking work calendar for the next day, did I reply to all the emails/calls I planned? Yes? Okay, log off computer and walk out of home office! Step four: Go grab the essentials: outdoor speaker, glass of Bourbon (neat), a chocolate truffle, Marty, and the dog. Step five: Assemble all required essentials on the outdoor patio, assume the “do nothing” position- on a patio chair with my feet on an ottoman. Step six: Breathe through my first sip of Bourbon, turn on music and look at nature. We both may sit for a while and say nothing, pet the dog, and sip on our Bourbon. At some point, Marty and I will begin discussing our day, a plan, or an idea. Some of the greatest discussions have turned into ideas that have turned into reality have happened on that patio. Peace brings clarity. Clarity brings forth ideas. I’m looking forward to my sip of Bourbon and chocolate truffle this evening. What will you do to bring you peace and clarity this evening?