Category Archives: Inspiration
Two years ago on Sept. 4, I started the day by putting my daughter on the bus for kindergarten, not knowing that I would be embarking on my own new journey a few hours later. See, I was canned by my firm. While I wasn’t exactly thrilled with being let go from a job for the first time in my life, it was the best damn thing that ever happened to me.
Looking back on that day, I should have seen it coming. I was going in one direction, the firm in another. Did I want to get let go? No way. But I’m glad I did. Does this mean you should look forward to getting fired? Absolutely not. But, for me, this was the realization that my dream of running my own business was about to come into focus. So, yes, I’m glad I got let go.
I’ve learned much in two years; things I would not have learned otherwise. What have I learned in a relatively short time span? Let me tell you:
- There’s no overnight success- Unless you have a Rolodex full of big spenders, you are going to have to hustle, sweat, and pound the pavement. Matthew Cerrone of Metsblog is a perfect example of this. He started Metsblog and turned it into a incredible success story. But, it wasn’t something that he took for granted. And he still hustles like an all-star every single day.
- Have a plan- This should be very obvious, because without a plan, you are a ship without a rudder. Every successful business, no matter how big or small, has a plan. The day I got let go, I sat down that night and put the small plan I already had and expanded it. Think about what you need and how you want to go about growing your business.
- There will be failures- Why sugar coat it? The first few months of my business were a huge gut check. I needed to collect unemployment for the first time and the money wasn’t coming in. I learned more about myself and where I wanted to be during this time. You want to be a success? You need to understand failure.
- Never stop learning- Every single day, I read or hear something new. In a recent post for PRSA’s new professionals, I was asked about ways to gain more experience. I wrote, “Gaining knowledge is up to you. Don’t rest on what is in front of you; look beyond the now, and see the future. YOUR future.” The only way you’ll continue to grow, is to always act like a student (as my friend Stephanie Florence likes to say.)
- Go with confidence- There will be moments when you feel your lowest. Sure, being canned is a very tough pill to swallow. How can you overcome it? Believe in yourself, your skills, and your experience. This doesn’t mean be cocky. It means to take that first step towards future success, you need to believe that you can do it. This means no rope, no parachute. You rely on your skills and knowledge to make it work.
As I mentioned, being canned isn’t the most optimal way to start out. But, whether you step out into a new beginning on your own volition or not, believe the best is yet to come.
In late June, I spent eight days in Italy, specifically Rome and Tuscany. For years, I had admired both places from afar. As a history buff, I longed to visit Rome to see the Colosseum, The Vatican, The Sistine Chapel, and to get an idea of how the Roman Empire shaped our world. Exploring Tuscany, especially Montepulciano and Montalcino, was one of the most exhilarating experiences ever, from the rolling hills, the unbelievable wine, and delectable food. I never expected to return home and have this trip change my life.
My family’s history begins in Sicily, but being in Rome (or Roma) was a moving experience. Seeing St. Peter’s Basilica and the Holy City (regardless of religion) is something one can’t explain. There is absolutely nothing like it. Then, there’s the food. Oh, the food. The grilled calamari was incredible; the pasta was freshly made. You like coffee? You’ll love the espresso and cappuccino much better.
What I learned from those eight days is that my life is good, but it could be so much better and so much more fulfilling. What do I mean? I have four things that I’d like to share with you and help you have UN’ottima vita (Italian for “an excellent life”).
- Technology is great, but… I didn’t experience one person in Rome walking through the streets with their head buried in an iPhone or BlackBerry. They were enjoying what was going on around them. I used my phone only to take photos while traveling around Rome and Tuscany. Lesson number one: Don’t live through your phone, live with your heart and soul.
- Go off the path- When we arrived in Rome, we had no idea where the good places to eat were. My wife and I walked around and found a great little cappuccino and gelato bar, called Mondo Gelo Dolce. It was one of the most happening places in the Roman “suburb” of Lazio. When we were in downtown Rome, we ate in little restaurants, not in big places. We enjoyed our time more because we didn’t go with the norms.
- Enjoy your life and work- One of the things that really struck me were the smiles on all the people we came across. The waiters enjoyed talking to you, the owners came out to chat. We had three tour guides and each LOVED what they did. It wasn’t faked. They displayed passion for their work and the life they were leading. If you don’t enjoy what you do, why are you doing it?
- Embrace the Past, Grasp the Future- Rome has so much history. From Caesar to Nero, the streets are filled with something epic. It’s that history that helps to shape what we do today. By understanding the path our ancestors laid out for us, you will be able to take hold of the future… your future!
One last point. As we were about to exit St. Peter’s Basilica, I snapped this photo:
The sun coming through the basilica shone down on everyone. It got me thinking… if you aren’t taking time to open our eyes to the great things that are around you, what are you really doing then?
Jas’ note: It’s a great honor to have my wife, Michelle Mollica, RN, MS, OCN, as my next guest in the Inspire Series. Michelle recently gave an address to nursing graduates of D’Youville College, which was called “inspirational” by a number of those in attendance. An edited version appears here.
Firstly, I want to say congratulations. You have made it. For some, this has been a long path. Many of you have come from different fields, changed educational paths along the way, or changed careers entirely. You have gone from a scared student, afraid to do a physical assessment on your own classmate, to a confident, mature, professional graduate nurse, ready to take on the world. You have made it through the long nights of studying for exams and skills testing, preparing for clinical rotations, and balancing your home and family lives. You have made sacrifices that have finally paid off. You are now graduate nurses from D’Youville College, and you should be extremely proud of yourselves.
As you go out into the world of nursing, remember that in all ways, you are now a representative of D’Youville College’s School of Nursing. In your clinical rotations, you have seen different types of nurses; there are some who made you question the reasons you went into nursing in the first place (we’ve all met them, and we know they are out there), and then there are the nurses who are extraordinary. They seem to light up a patient’s room with just a few words. They are a patient advocate in every sense of the word. These nurses go above and beyond the basic tasks every single day. You have the potential to do amazing things, and I have no doubt that you will.
I urge you to consider what you can do to improve the face of nursing in the future. You are entering this new phase of your lives at a time when the world of healthcare is changing…. changing in ways that will call upon each of you…each one of us…to think differently about nursing…how and what you can contribute, not only to caring about individual people, but what you can contribute to the good of your community.
You can become a shaper of change! You can be the one who changes the face of nursing! Embrace this incredible opportunity! And when opportunities knock, open the door, accept the challenge. You might surprise yourself!
I would like to share with you a few things that could be of use to you as you transition into your role as a nurse:
- Understand and always remember why you went into nursing. When times get tough, and believe me, they can, this is your “go to pill.” It will help ground you.
- You need to have passion. Do what you love to do……and take your heart to work. And on that note, when you lose your passion in whatever field of nursing you are in, consider a change. The amazing thing about nursing is that you can go anywhere and do anything as a nurse. This leads me to my next point…
- Embrace opportunities and challenges. They will make you stronger and wiser. And they open doors. I promise you.
- The next is one that I know you’ve heard, but it rings true especially in nursing: Always do the right thing, especially when no one is looking.
- Set goals. Know where you’re going and what you want to do. Life is never a straight line and that’s okay. But always have a vision of what and who you want to be.
- Always keep a sense of humor.
- Never stop learning. I hope that we as your faculty have shown you that you will never know everything about everything. You will become experts in your field, but the education never stops. You should always strive to learn more and continue to grow.
Thank you so much for allowing me to take a small part in your celebration.
Michelle Mollica, RN, MS, OCN is the coordinator of the RN to BSN Online Program at D’Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y. and an Assistant Professor in the college’s School of Nursing. She is also completing her PhD in Nursing at the Medical University of South Carolina.
It has been 66 years since the great Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball and made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Although I never saw Jackie play, he impacted me from the time I was very young. My parents bought me a children’s story, called “The Value of Courage: The Story of Jackie Robinson.” I read it over and over again. A poster of Robinson adorned my room as a teen, as a reminder of this courage.
I never experienced an ounce of what Jackie went through, yet I have always been drawn to the way he carried himself during turbulent times. He never fought back and let his actions, on and off the field, do the talking. I think about Jackie a lot when times are tough and even when they are great. Here are a few ways that he has inspired me.
- Tenacity- Despite great odds and constant scrutiny, Jackie never backed down. This is a great lesson, regardless of race, how we can stand up for what we believe. If you believe in your heart of hearts that you can do something, go with confidence and do it!
- Work Ethic- Jackie never settled. He continued to improve his game and push himself to be the best he could be.
- Pride- Jackie knew he couldn’t necessarily fight back against those who hurled racial slurs or threw an intentional fast ball at his head. He pressed forward and got stronger. The lesson here: No matter what the odds, YOU have the power to be in control.
- Courage- Jackie could have given up at any time. He didn’t… despite what seemed like insurmountable odds. Think about your toughest time… how did you handle it? While starting your own business may not seem at the level of courage of what Jackie did, it still takes a ton to step out on your own.
Jackie Robinson was much more than a baseball player. He was a symbol of hope, dedication and pride. It’s something we can still embrace and learn from today.
(photo courtesy of MLB)