Leave, Change or Accept

Paula Goode is a Coach, Author and Healthcare Transformation Specialist. Founder of the The Coach Hub at Goodeinsight Ltd (goodeinsight.co.uk)


 “When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it. All else is madness”

            Eckhart Tolle

How do we know what we can change and what we can’t? Who knows? Nevertheless, there are those that will try and others who do not. What appears to make the difference seems to boils down to choice. Leave, change or accept. There’s a current trend emerging, that just accepting suggests we are helpless, having learned to be helpless, so to speak.

In conversation recently someone told me that the problem at hand (or out of hand even) had been around for 35 years, all had tried to solve it without success. There was a sense of inevitability about any attempts to resolve this issue. Noticing that the rules applied to the decision-making resulted in only one outcome (the unhelpful one), two things occurred to me:

“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself”

       Andrew Murphy

“We cannot solve problems with the same level of thinking that created them”


 Martin Seligman, the American Psychologist and expert on positive psychology suggests that helplessness is learned. We become conditioned into believing that we cannot change a seemingly difficult situation. We don’t try, confined by the walls of our imagination. Unconsciously we unwittingly reinforce and sustain this self-created reality.

If Einstein is correct, then creating a different result means finding new ways of thinking. This involves a commitment to change, a commitment to solving the problem, the creation of something new.  Se we leave, change or accept? Either way the choice is yours….

“Never believe a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”

            Margaret Mead

Paula Goode is the author of Notes on Nursing a Thought (2014)





Pin The Tail On The Donkey

This game keeps popping into my mind recently, because sometimes when observing how we do things, it can feel like this way. If you are not familiar with the game, it involves a picture of a donkey without a tail. The participant is blindfolded, spun around and expected to pin the tail to the correct area on the donkey. The one who gets the tail nearest to the right spot gets to win the game. I am guessing as with anything else in life, you could improve your performance with practice.

It occurred to me recently that sometimes we get to play this kind of game, attempting to get a result even when we are not sure where the donkey is, never mind his rear end.  We sometimes delegate the task not really knowing how skilled the person is or even how often they have played the game.  Often this works and at others the tail gets pinned but not quite in the place we had hoped.  The results will depend upon the level of orientation of the individual.

In the current financial climate, educating people in donkey tail management can seem like a luxury (hope you are still with me here). Education and training especially for non-professional team members can be affected. The potential downside of this means that you have less people available to allocate the task to, they may also be less skilled and had less training than is ideal. The paradox is, with less people skilled in tail management, the more skilled the ones you have need to be.  If we don’t get this right, the skill of managing a disappointed donkey (and it’s tail handler) becomes more of a priority than the skill of making sure the tail is in the right place.

If none of this makes sense to you, what I am pointing to suggests that without the training and development of our teams, they get to fumble around in the dark, through trial and error or by chance,  we may get the results that are required. It’s a shortsighted strategy that results in much of our time being spent managing disappointment. So let’s play a new game, one that involves getting it right first time, and if you think this isn’t possible, ask Toyota. They might introduce you to their Lean donkey.

The Book Notes on Nursing a Thought by Paula Goode, available at goodeinsight.co.uk

Cracking the Leadership Enigma

In conversation with an Executive Director of Nursing recently I had commented on a trip to one of the health libraries. I was researching contemporary healthcare leaders. Unfortunately on this occasion the assistant couldn’t point me to the section on contemporary leaders. This rather peaked my curiosity. The really obvious ones were there, but they weren’t actually alive.

I started to ask colleagues of mine who they though the current leaders in healthcare were, the living ones. A few names came up, but not many. This started to really peak my interest. I followed this up whilst continuing my research into leadership.   After all, there are a plethora of books written on the subject, you can even have a master’s degree in leadership.

Whilst pondering this, something new occurred to me. Did people need to know who you were in order for you to be a leader?   Then I began to notice around me, everyday leaders. Their acts were in some cases small and others somewhat warrior like. I wondered if, in a world that is slightly celebrity obsessed we somehow expect the leaders to be high profile and if they weren’t splashed across the media they didn’t exist. That celebrity and riches was the societal reward for achievement. The irony, a truth that revealed a paradox.

Therefore, if you want to find a healthcare leader, you don’t need to go to the library, switch on the TV or Radio. You won’t necessarily find them studying an MSc in Leadership Studies. They work at all levels of the organisation and most work without the need for recognition.

Now that we know that leadership isn’t some enigmatic, charismatic, phenomenon there really is no reason not to begin. We get to make a choice are we a leader or are we a follower? Start today, nobody needs to know…show up when you’re ready.

The Attention Deficit of Management and Leadership

One of my coach colleagues recently commented on what he thought was a lack of attention to my brand, and that maybe I needed to consider how the “Comfort Break” posters aka “Toilet Posters” would affect peoples’ perception of me and my business.

Maybe he was right, but ultimately the message I have to share with my healthcare colleagues I believe is important, should they happen to hear.  The most difficult challenge in working with healthcare professionals appears to be somehow getting their attention.   Some of you may already know, I was advised not to write a book for nurses’ as they didn’t have time to read. It was suggested that I should stick what I had to say to the toilet wall. Hence, the creation of the Comfort Break poster.

What strikes me about all of this, is that people frequently complain to me that they are not being listened to. It would seem to me that the mode of delivery of our message is important but actually getting the attention of those our message is intended for could perhaps be the key to enabling them to listen. If someone is in the middle of fighting a fire, what could possibly be important enough to distract them from this heroic endeavour?

Fire fighting is a term used frequently in large organisations, along with the “burning platform” to describe reactionary day-to-day management practices. What could we learn from a real fire fighter? Importantly, they put their own well-being and that of their teams first. This maybe an alien concept for many of us committed to putting out imaginary fires, but an intention that could change the way we experience our work and life should we stop believing that they are mutually exclusive.

So, back to the poster debate. If you have something important to say, don’t get bogged down by dogma – say it anyway you can. If people don’t hear you, find another way to say it but keep saying what you would like to be heard.

What’s the worst that can happen? Someone might just tell you to bog off!  A wonderful invitation to take a moment…

Rain or Shine


I am sat in a cafe on the coast of Wales.  The sun is out and although it’s cloudy there is a warmth and beauty to the day.

Today feels good.  Having just come out of a black hole of a mood over the last week it feels good to be back in touch with a feeling of gratitude.

My low mood got triggered somehow before I had chance to catch it.  I’ve had to back track that one, because it seemed like there really was something or someone to blame.  When it’s down to something other than you it feels like you have no power over the feeling and it’s a fully legitimate bad mood.  Or so the ego would have us believe.

What struck me though, that just like my dark mood which can come and go, the feeling of overwhelm can come and go without any real change in what we see as reality.  Overwhelm, like a bad mood can keep you stuck in one place, paralysed into intertia, waiting for something other than you to change.  When we are like this we can choose to blame other people, it absolves our need to do something and this keeps us stuck for longer.  It creates more of what we don’t want rather than what we do want.

So I found, along with many others,  that when I look for gratitude and what’s good about my day the black hole becomes lighter and the world around me starts looking more friendly and connected.  Gratitude and optimism however small shine a light on our conscious thoughts moment by moment.  They act as an antidote to the difficulties that can occupy our thoughts.  Turns out my black hole is an illusion created by me.  I just need to remember to turn the light on.