Don’t Forget What You Really Do

Written By Patrick McNerthney

Have you ever noticed that when you meet people for the first time, and the polite conversation starts, an unspoken social contract forces everyone to describe themselves solely through the lens of their job? 

It’s so annoying. 

Here is an excerpt from my side of the last introductory conversation I had (possibly two weekends ago) at some event (Women Business Owners Gala) the boss (my wife) forced me to attend.

Me: “Oh, nice to meet you too. I’m Patrick”

(Receive vigorous handshake from someone’s husband who was also forced to be there by their “boss”.) 

Me: “So, ah, yeah, cool. Soooo…what do you do?” 

(Stop listening and think about what I’m going to say about my work while dude instantly launches into telling me about his work.) 

Me: “Oh that’s awesome!”  “Me? Oh, I’m a writer who writes stuff, mostly marketing stuff. It’s pretty fun and cool except for the nightmarish stress part.”

Note glimmer of interest in his eyes, then realize it stems solely from the fact he just spotted the bar directly behind me. Which was a huge relief, in many ways.

A relief in many ways because it’s hard for anyone to describe what they really do, and why it matters, to anyone (especially in 30 seconds or less).

(This is my least favorite part of meeting someone.)

Here’s the deal. Ostensibly what we do if we’ve been working for a while is manage stuff. For me it’s projects, clients, paperwork, time, and schedules. Then EVENTUALLY I do the research/writing part. For you as a caregiver of the elderly, children with challenges, or anyone needing help with life’s daily tasks I’m guessing it’s coworkers, bosses, paperwork (LOTS of paperwork), time, and schedules. Then EVENTUALLY you get around to the actual caregiving part.  

So we both face the same major challenge: what we put up with to get to the part that matters, pretty much kills the magic, which leads to feeling burned out all the time. In your case, this burnout is only magnified by the fact that you’re already frustrated, and maybe even saddened, by the helplessness you feel as you strive to assist your residents and loved ones with overcoming the anxiety and depression they continue to experience as a result of social isolation.

(Obviously paperwork is another of my least favorite things.)

But what you really do counts. Because if you’re still in the game, you’ve found a way to handle all this nonsense. And here’s a secret: you and I really do the same thing, day-in and day-out (even if no one notices): 

  • actively engage people with curiosity, generosity, and empathy
  • believe that creativity is generative, that more connection creates more value, which in turn gives rise to more creation
  • bring insight, tenacity, and heroism to interesting problems
  • ensure the people right in front of you are seen, heard, and know it
  • egg people on, especially colleagues 
  • believe that effort, care, and connection count 

That’s right! The truth behind what you really do, and why it matters—especially to your residents and loved ones, but also to the people you work with every day—lies buried in all of those bullet points I just noted above. And it’s important to remind you of that, because success often doesn’t look like success, and it certainly rarely feels like success (especially when we’re drowning in paperwork). 

Helping you find success is a huge part of why Fine Art Miracles (FAM) exists. FAM champions creative expression as the perfect tool for you to use to help your residents and loved ones reconnect with their confidence, self-worth, sense of mastery, optimism, and belief that they MATTER to their friends, families, community, and outside world. FAM offers Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance & Movement Therapy, Multi-Sensory Sessions, Art2Go packages (and even MORE) as both the perfect antidote to the anxiety and depression your residents and loved ones experience every day, and as a way for you make change and experience success in real-time by simply offering others the opportunity to create. 

Not a bad gig right? Reach out to FAM today and they’ll answer any questions you might have and help you get started with the creative magic making. 

Well, my schedule is free this weekend…that is, free from social events where I’m forced to talk about work with strangers. I just found my honey-do list on the kitchen counter—looks like I’ll be weeding our flower beds. It’s all good, at least the weeds don’t talk back!


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