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Olympic Hopeful, Bubbles The Cat, and Me!

August 3, 2012

I know I haven’t posted in over a week and I’m sure you are concerned about my whereabouts!

Like so many around the world I have been infected with Olympic Fever. I am either talking about the Olympics or watching the Olympics or – get this – coaching a neighborhood hopeful who is training for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio De Janeiro.

When Bubbles (see picture), first approached me about coaching him to swim in the next Summer Olympics I was a little surprised. First of all, I thought to myself – I am not a great swimmer. Secondly, I told him I didn’t think I knew enough about coaching to really guide him to success. Bubbles reacted with this statement: “I thought you told me you were a nurse?”

I was really taken aback! Nurse –Coach! What’s he talking about? And then it hit me…coaching…that is among the many talents that nurses have. We coach nursing and medical students on clinical rotations, we coach patients through therapies, we coach families through difficult and life changing times, we coach caregivers of all kinds, we coach women in childbirth, and we coach legislators on issues impacting healthcare delivery, WE ARE COACHES!

Certainly, I should be able to coach Bubbles to Olympic Victory!

Filled to the brim with confidence having talked myself into believing I could do this – be a coach to an Olympic hopeful – I jumped right in. Well, not exactly me – jumping in that is – but Bubbles. I asked him to “jump right in the water” and let’s get started. Well, I don’t know how familiar you are with cats, but that – the jumping in part – turned out to be the first problem for Coach. Apparently, cats don’t like water.

I decided to get some guidance from one of the great coaches of our time, Pat Summit, Tennessee’s former head Women’ Basketball coach . So following her wisdom “I didn’t say a lot. I didn’t throw anything. .. I did think about it though.” I approached the problem of getting bubbles in the water with kindness, persistence, reassurance and a pretty strong shove. It worked. He was in the water and we were on to the next coachable moment.

So why do I tell you all this? Well in healthcare we do a lot of coaching. But even the best among us some times needs to admit that coaching alone doesn’t always move us forward. Sometimes you need to step back, assess the situation and engage in some strategic “shoving” to move things forward.

So the next time you are locked in a stalemate with words over what to do next, perhaps you should just think about doing it and move on!

Now, on to teaching Bubbles, the cat, to do the Doggie Paddle…wish me luck!

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