They will Never Forget

Branch Ed, short for Branch Education, is provided monthly at my place of employment. We sit through anywhere from one to two hours of necessary information that must be conveyed for us to continue doing what we do. (Effective and efficient is the name of the healthcare game.) A portion of this education can involve being given audit scores so that we have an idea where we rank against our previous scores as well as against other home health and hospice agencies; super important in the health care world. But for one specific meeting, my former Branch Director began stating that we have the best Social Worker in the entire company and we don’t know what we would do without her, her documentation is relevant and she always strives to do the best for our patients. Now, understand, I’m the only social worker in the building and I’m still sitting there wondering who she’s talking about. She can’t be talking about me, I was currently like fifteen charts behind on documentation (not really) but struggling to maintain my head above water. Once I realized that it was for certain me that she was talking about, the room erupted into applause as my cheeks warmed to a rosy blush and tears formed in my eyes. That room was giving me support and love and applause. And honestly, I would do anything for them as do I for our patients. But in that specific moment in time, all I could think was that I want to do my best for these people, my work family, my friends, my partners in crime. All I could think about was “what areas could I improve so that I will never let these people down”? Funny. I actually wanted to seek out my own flaws and fix them!

This made me start thinking. Let’s scroll back a few years to a previous employer. I never heard from my supervisor unless something was a mess. Never a word of thanks on a job well done, never a kind word when days were tough, never a feeling of “belonging” or of being valued as a team member. Let one audit score be slightly lower than a previous month and a meeting with the supervisor and their supervisor was conducted wanting to know what was the plan put in place as to improving said score. No discussion of the previous day staying with a family for four hours while they coped with the pending loss of their mom, teaching them how to comfort and show support to a mama that had loved and care for them their whole life, teaching them to say goodbye in an appropriate manner. No discussion of the hard work put into a recent abuse and neglect case where DHR was involved; where myself and the DHR case worker were in court by that afternoon due to some fancy footwork to insure our patient was removed and placed into a safe environment. Nothing but grief over the lowered audit scores. After leaving that employer for greener pastures I did some soul searching. What made me leave? The exhausting business of constant self validation. I constantly had to defend my actions, my documentation, my skills. I was constantly on the defensive defending my every move. Never once did I say to myself what are my flaws and how can I make them better? I never actually wanted to do better for them. I was too busy being on the defensive about what I thought was right.

What is the difference in these two scenarios? I’m human, so in both situations, there were certainly things that needed fixing on my end. But the difference was how I viewed myself in either situation. I was made to want to do better by a Branch Director who knew to provide encouragement.

While researching this particular topic, I came upon an article by Vicki Hoefle, The Difference Between Praise and Encouragement. Vicki Hoefle is a parent educator, author, speaker and coach and when I read her article…on went the light bulb! Such wonderful information and so spot on. She explains that “praise focuses on perfection rather than progress and improvement; a right or wrong outcome rather than a meaningful experience; good or bad decisions rather than the decision-making process; pride or disappointment rather than acceptance and support.” Man, did I say this was spot on?

How does this relate to us in our everyday life? Well, relationships in parenting and coaching and supervising and spouses and friends and the guy at the “parts house” (as my husband calls it)…should I go on? How we talk to and approach every single person in this life matters. It brings to mind the phrase “fair weather friend”. As long as things are going well, those fair weather friends or parents or coaches or spouses or supervisors are, as my sweet Mom would have said, “hunky dory”; but, when things are more difficult, when there’s not a word of praise that can be uttered because there is no perfection to be found…then what? Then what.

“They may not remember what you said – but they will never forget how you made them feel. ~ Carl W. Buehner

Man, that was a refreshing cup today! ~paula

I also believe…

If I’ve ever published an entry and immediately knew I had more to say, it was this time! Feel free to comment. I LOVE a good debate! If you agree or disagree, I would love to hear!

I also believe…

…there’s nothing more cleansing than an ugly, snot bubble cry or a fat roll jiggling, belly laugh with tears included.

…grief has it’s own timeline that you don’t get to dictate.

…the happiest sad moment of your life is when your baby is grown, lands their first “real” job and you realize they really are moving out.

…it’s okay to walk away from your cell phone on your personal time for as long as you want; they are not mandatory.

…you can say “no” without guilt when your sanity is in question.

…visiting with an elderly person is the most fulfilling history lesson you will ever receive.

…the low carb and Keto diets are my only ways to eat AND stick with a diet. Yum!

…that as you sing in the choir, your face should not look pained.

…that if you’re a Social Worker, you are destined to have some crude, rude, tasteless humor floating around in your brain. Know your audience before sharing!

…not everyone uses the talent they were given.

…a hot fudge Sunday can be supper every now and then.

…just because you’re attracted to someone doesn’t mean they’re your soulmate, it might just mean you’re attracted to them.

…if you can tell your social worker what the programs are, you can apply for them yourself. I’m here to empower, not give handouts.

…if you’ve never had a full body massage, goodness, get one scheduled!

…if you’ve never sent your spouse a risqué text you might be boring.

…you should mix mayonnaise and ketchup together for a splendid dipping sauce for your French Fries.

…if you don’t have sauce all over your mouth and fingers, your wings aren’t as good as mine.

…you need to have that one thing you do every week with your spouse, of which you allow nothing to get in the way.

…you have to have a sense of humor in this life or you’re gonna go crazy!

There may be more later, but for now I think we’re out of coffee. Thank you so very much for joining me around the coffee pot. ~paula

I believe…

I have some things that just need to be said out loud for all to hear. No one on this planet has asked my opinion on any of this, but I have taken the liberty to share it because Paula ALWAYS has an opinion; and opinions are for sharing. I think a little outside the box occasionally and that’s okay. If you’re offended, that’s okay as well. If you smile a little while you read, then maybe we think a little bit alike. If you’re snarling by the end, maybe we’re a little different, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still get along and live peacefully on the same planet. Opinions are like butt holes……so the saying goes.


…that most people are good…and so does Luke Bryan.

…judgments rendered by others on who YOU choose to love are irrelevant.

…if someone is using the entrance ramp, you need to get the *bleep* over and be a courteous driver.

…you need to make eye contact and smile at everyone you meet.

…you need to smile at choir members while they sing, even if you don’t like what you’re hearing.

…that if you’re riding in the left lane and not actively passing someone, someone is, or is about to start, cussing at you.

…that babies are always super cute, but are much cuter when they’re quiet and sleeping.

…you should know what relaxes you and that you should do that often.

…family is more important than anything and you should love on them as often and as much as possible because one day you or they won’t be here.

…that every now and then you should just eat a King Size Kit Kat while chugging an ice cold Mountain Dew.

…it’s okay to drink a beer sometimes.

…it’s okay to have a tattoo or twelve.

…a hug can right a lot of things.

…more can be said by sitting quietly with someone while sharing a pot of coffee than a hundred red roses sent with no time shared.

…every person has a talent.

…if you’re too good to fill the toilet paper holder at work, you’ve gotten too big for your britches.

…there was a day when I thought the first drag off of a Marlboro Light was the best.

…the sound of the ocean can drowned out all of the unnecessary clutter in your brain.

…every girl should have a pair of jeans that make her butt look amazing.

…every girl should know what it feels like to have someone tell her her butt looks amazing. If you’re currently acting appalled, you’re lying to yourself.

…every girl should know their perfect shade of red lipstick.

…every person should know what it feels like to have butterflies while remembering a romantic night that went the perfect distance.

…everybody has, at one time or another, had that one person they couldn’t keep off their mind.

…music has the ability to take you anywhere you want to go, back to feelings and moments you thought were lost with time.

…parents need to focus more on their marriage than on their children; when you don’t, it does your children a great disservice.

…kids need to hear the word “no” sometimes; as well as to know what the sting of a good pop on the bottom feels like.

…that when you are married, if one partner wants sexual intimacy, it’s time for sexual intimacy.

…that when both spouses work outside the home, all chores are halfed; there’s two adults living there and both should be pulling equal weight.

…compliments should be given freely.

…compliments should be met with a simple “thank you”; not excuses of what should have been better; compliments given take courage and energy that are expensive enough to not be shortchanged by your struggling self image.

…that if someone wants to spend time with you, they will.

…if you want to spend time with someone, you will.

…handwritten cards are a thousand times better than store bought cards.

…I don’t need flowers from anyone to feel loved; their time means so much more.

…you need to kiss with your eyes open at least once.

…New Year’s Eve is made for kissing.

…some of the best moments in my life involved mud from head to toe, 4-wheelers, ice cold beer and Marlboro Lights.

…concretely that you should treat others the way you want to be treated; unless they are consistently being the south end of a northbound donkey; then they deserve whatever Karma presents. But remember, Karma isn’t from you.

…depression and anxiety, at times, can steal the joys of life from both partners in a relationship, even if only one experiences the two.

…any time you get the opportunity to do something new, you should.

…trips to new places are the best.

…true confidence doesn’t come until your mid to late thirties.

…trying new restaurants has to be one of my top ten favorite things to do with friends.

…you are probably getting tired of reading about what I believe. LOL!!!!

That’s probably enough coffee for tonight. Thank you so much for your time! ~paula