I don't talk a lot about work on my blog. Partly because that's not what I want to blog about but mostly because I work in a field where confidentiality and privacy are absolutely key. I work with adults who have a developmental disability and I would never dream about exposing any part of their lives for the sake of a blog entry.
There are days however when what I do gets me thinking and I feel the need to share a tiny bit of that part of my life. Today's blog uses work as a jumping off point.
We do this thing at work where we help people using our services figure out what their vision for their life is and then we work with them to come up with a plan for how to achieve (or at least get closer to) that vision.
Visions (or dreams) can be as lofty or as far out as the person wants. Vision statements have been things like: "I want to make my own decisions about the support I receive". "I want to be surrounded by people who love and care for me". Pretty powerful words from people who sometimes require twenty-four hour support and spend most of their days with paid staff.
Once a person has a vision, our job is to help them break the vision down into goals that are S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, accountable, realistic and time-limited). Work on one (or a few) at a time and it's amazing how far people can come. I've known people who lived in 24-hour support for decades whose vision was to live independently one day. Bit by bit, goal by goal, they learned what they needed to learn to be independent.
One of my responsibilities at work is to meet with staff as they work through this goal/vision process and provide guidance, suggestions and a lot of encouragement. I spent a lot of time explaining what a vision is versus what a short term goal is. In doing that, I pick examples from my own life because that's what I can relate to.
I explain that a vision is something that we always strive for but never really reach. It's like that mirage in the desert that keeps us moving forward.
The vision I always use when I'm teaching people is: "I want to be as healthy as I can be".
I think it's a fair statement because it's something that keeps me moving forward but yet something I will never reach because, let's face it, I can always be healthier.
Then I give examples of all the different things I do to help me get a little bit closer to my vision. I make goals like: I want an A1C of 6.9. I want to run a marathon. I want to lose 10 pounds and keep it off. I want to get eight hours of sleep every night. I want to find a work-life balance that works for me.
And on and on it goes.
S.M.A.R.T. goals that all lead back to my vision.
When it boils right down to it - that's my life in one sentence.
I want to be as healthy as I can be.
Sure I drink too much wine. Eat too much chocolate. Drink too much coffee.
Sure there are lots of things I choose to do that don't directly affect my ability to be as healthy as I can be.
But there is no other theme that has a much impact on my daily choices than my health.
More importantly, my drive to be as healthy as I can be.
Because I may never achieve a goal of being 'healthy'. That's like trying to be perfect.
But I can always be healthier.
And, as life goes on and diabetes continues to rage its war on my body, complications may arise.
Yet the vision will still hold true - no matter what my future health challenges are - I can always try my best to be as healthy as I can be.
I think I've come up with a pretty good vision.