A New Year, and the Responsibility of Potential

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potential“Happy New Year to you and much happiness and success in 2015!”… You know that all business conducted by email or holiday card during the past few weeks has ended with just that greeting – or variations on that theme.

It can be the hollowest of greetings – not that you don’t really wish the person you’re writing to success and happiness – of course you do! But usually when we add it to a casual correspondence because it’s easy, it’s simply cordial – a good ending – without much thought to what’s behind it.

But this holiday season, I’ve actually put quite a bit of thought into that closing statement, for reasons I will share with you here, because I think they could have a positive effect on your work, and a ripple effect, then, on your own level of happiness and success – and your CLIENTS’ levels of happiness and success, not just in 2015, but for years to come.

Here’s why: In the span of three days, I learned of three friends – good friends, people I care about or work closely with – who suffered / are suffering major medical circumstances.  One died within two weeks of a totally unexpected, practically symptomless diagnosis. Two were given devastating diagnoses and are undergoing very difficult treatments. I also heard from a handful of friends, including APHA members, whose families suffered truly tragic circumstances or news… I began to feel like that proverbial camel, just waiting for more straws.

I reacted just as many of us do; it’s this kind of news that makes me sad, so sad, at first. Whereupon I quickly transition to where I realize how important it is to LIVE life, not just slog through it. Setting aside the somedays and grabbing the bull by the horns today – right now. Doing what we love, what makes our souls sing, the reason we jump out of bed in the morning in anticipation of another incredible day. Today.

Within my thought process is that fact that this is where YOU and I – uniquely – have the opportunity to respond to this kind of stimulus so much more vigorously than others…  Continue Reading →

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The Weakest Link

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weakestlinkRemember that TV show from a decade or more ago?  When a contestant failed to answer a quiz question correctly, the host would sternly declare, “YOU ARE the WEAKEST LINK. GOOD-BYE!”  Remaining, of course, were the more knowledgeable contestants, presumably a stronger chain of smarter people who could get the job done.

Oh man, how I wish I had been able to invoke that host’s dismissal powers this past week!  As both my husband and I had to deal with different parts of the healthcare system, we encountered roadblocks – the weakest links – and in each case, we had to go over their heads to get what we needed.  THEY were the weakest links.  The problem is, they are still working there, stymie-ing patients every day.

And over and over again, the words of so many of you echoed in my head, Continue Reading →

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And They Called it Puppy L-o-o-ve

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firstlove< ….cue Paul Anka or Donny Osmond…. >

….  Remember when you were a teenager in puppy love?  Oh! You couldn’t stand to be away from the new person in your life!  You knew you would love each other forever – but the rest of the world that was getting in the way of that love. THEY thought you were too young, but you knew better! ….

And they called it puppy love
Oh I guess they’ll never know
How a young heart really feels
And why I love her so

It was the highest of highs, finding love for the first time!  Like no other, you couldn’t imagine feeling any better than you felt at that point in your life.

Hormone-driven passion… the dopamine, serotonin, estrogen and testosterone… Giddy with new-found love, you took chances and made stupid decisions….

And, as happens with any risk… sometimes you got caught in compromising positions – sneaking out, passing notes in class, or even the ultimate in getting caught when you thought no one else would be home….

At the extreme you might have even paid an “ultimate” type of price. Your reputation, a teen pregnancy, a total rethinking and reshaping of your future….

Of course, what we all know about puppy love is that it doesn’t last. The reality of puppy love is that you eventually have to deal with the real world (like parents and money!) no matter how distasteful that might seem and no matter how much it appears, at the time, to shatter your dreams. Few puppy love relationships last longer than a blip on the radar of a lifetime. Yet, we learn so much from the experience.

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Common Courtesy and Who Owes What?

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Hysterical brunette talking with two telephone receiversIt was a desperate plea from a young women (we’ll call her Bethany) with a real problem:

Bethany had been through several years of infusion treatment for services rendered outside of her network, beginning while she was still a teenager. Her insurance company covered the service (because it wasn’t available at all within her network). So insurance had paid Bethany’s mother for each claim, and then her mother paid the infusion provider. The problem was that, over the years, the mother had paid less than the total amount due – and then she passed away.  The infusion company got in touch with Bethany and insisted on a lump sum payment for the balance of well over $100,000, payable within five days or they would take her to court.

Desperate (Who wouldn’t be? Could you come up with an unexpected $100,000+ within five days?) Bethany began trying to find help. She found a few advocates online and phoned them.  One advocate recommended Bethany get in touch with me. Of course, I don’t do advocacy work myself, so the only recommendation I could make was that Bethany connect with additional advocates through the AdvoConnection Directory….  I didn’t hear anything more until…..

A few days later, I heard from one of our members who Bethany ultimately contacted – the one who took Bethany’s case, negotiated it and got it straightened out for her. But the advocate was stunned and frustrated by something Bethany told her, so she forwarded that frustration on to me.

That is….

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The Best 3 Minutes and 16 Seconds You’ll Spend Today, This Week, Month or Year

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mikiagrawalOne of our APHA members* forwarded this video link to me, interested in the idea posed about starting one’s practice before it is perfect.

So I watched it…  And watching it was perhaps the best 3 minutes and 16 seconds I have spent on business motivation in a very long time. So I ask you, too, to spend your next few minutes viewing it – then come back here for a few comments….

Standing Out in a Noisy World

<tap> <tap> <tap> <waiting for everyone to come back to this post….> <tap> <tap> <tap>

OK – so in those few minutes I heard a very young and clearly experienced and knowledgeable Miki Agrawal** sum up the mental approaches and attitudes it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.  (I am truly impressed!)

Her suggestions, and her approach, are spot on for those who think they want to start and grow a patient advocacy business! I’ll provide some highlights here because they are so valuable.

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