Stressed out at work? Days in the EP lab can get pretty busy, so if you need some inspiration, take the advice of David Stein, who works as a motivational speaker in his spare time. He writes that it is especially important for us in the healthcare industry to remember that how we act and react in this industry impacts our effectiveness! No matter which facet of the healthcare industry you are in, most of us would agree that it is an extremely competitive industry with pressure from different directions. With the heavy workload and stress, it is no wonder that at times we feel mentally and physically drained. Some of the best advice I ve heard (believe it or not) comes from the airline industry. Those who travel often can recite this almost verbatim: the safety instructions before take off. The message tells us about various escape areas of the plane and what can happen in an unusual situation. I love the words they use, such as sudden cabin depressurization and rapid decent (which is a another way of saying the ground is coming closer much faster than we would like). We are told that a mask will drop from the compartment above; place the mask over your nose and mouth. Take the elastic band and place it around your head. Pull the bands in front to secure in place. Then they tell us to do something totally ridiculous: breathe normally. Yeah, right! However, it is the next step that intrigues me. We are told that if we are sitting next to a small child, put the mask on ourselves first, then assist the child. This statement violates everything I believe. As a parent, I would sacrifice my life for my child, so why would I do this for myself first? The reason is simple. In airline terms, it is hypoxia, lack of oxygen. If we can t function, we are not in a position to help the person next to us. The reality is this, it holds true in our daily lives as well. We can get so deep into one aspect of our life and career, that we neglect what is necessary to take care of ourselves. With this in mind, there are a few things we can do: Take time for you No stark revelation here, but it s amazing to talk with people and discover the last time they did something they enjoyed, totally for themselves. If you like to exercise, set a time and see it through. If you enjoy reading, do it. Enjoy traveling? Take the vacation. Shows? Movies? Golf? You get the idea. Growing up 40 minutes outside of New York City, I would be at Yankee Stadium every two or three weeks during the summers throughout high school and college. However, I didn t see another professional baseball game for the first 20 years of my work career. Why? No answer, other than I just didn t take the time. I am not a season ticket holder yet, but I do get to six to eight games a year in the various cities I travel. Guess what? I love it. Invest in you I m a believer in training and development. It s exciting when an organization takes time to invest in their employees. It sends a message to everyone that those in charge feel that we are important enough to invest in. However, there is another group to invest in us that is much more important: us. It is our career and our life. The one who benefits most is us; therefore, the one to invest the most in us, is us. So continue your education and get the degree. Above I suggested reading for enjoyment. Now I suggest reading for personal development. Take developmental seminars. Computers are a major part of our life now, learn all you can about them. Remember your family I once asked two of my daughters (who were ages ten and five at the time) if I was a good dad. They said yes, and so I asked them why. Their answer was this: you talk with us, you read to us, you wrestle with us, and you spend time with us. Nothing was mentioned about anything purchased. Forget quality time, it was the quantity that meant the most to then. Have a mentor There are people all around us who can lend advice. There are those who are where we are going. They have traveled the path and know the direction. A wise person once said, It s good to learn from your mistakes. It s better to learn from other people s mistakes. Find someone you respect and trust, and meet with him or her on a frequent basis. Make sure it isn t someone going through exactly what you are going through. It s a nice conversation, but usually doesn t yield any results. You need someone who has been there and is now through it. Give back to your community Joe Paterno, the long-time football coach at Penn State University, was once asked about his best team ever. He said I know the question you re asking me. Is it the 1986 National Champs or the 1982 runner-ups? I ll answer the same way Knute Rockne did. I need to know for sure which of the boys went on to become the best husbands, the best fathers, and gave the most to their community. When I know that, I can tell you my best team. There are many great organizations within our respective local communities. Find one that meets a need you have a passion for and get involved. You ll be glad you did. Participating in these five areas will help to provide enrichment and fulfillment personally, which in turn can help to make us more effective professionally.