You never know!

conferenceI am sitting in a large conference room and a senior nurse is presenting at the front of the room. I know her face but I just can’t place her. I just assume I have seen her on my long conference circuit – I meet so many people these days I find it impossible to remember everyone – but my capacity to remember faces hasn’t gone away, so inevitably these day I often start conversations by saying ‘I know you, don’t I?…..’

Yesterday, I’m standing at the coffee station at another event and a nurse comes over to me and says I just wanted to say ‘hello’, I’m from this Trust and you came to speak to us and I’ve done this since then’.

Another day, I’m waiting in line in the loo (there is always a queue in the ladies and I’ve never been one of those women who is confident enough to dive into the men’s) and a lady comes up to me and says – ‘I just needed to say hello and tell you what happened. You made me realise that I had a passion for informatics, that my organisation at the time couldn’t give me the role I needed to feel fulfilled and now I have a new job in a new organisation where I love it!’ She was beaming.

ward sisterThe first of these examples culminated in the lady coming over to me at the end and saying ‘You are Anne Cooper aren’t you?’ She had been a student, and then newly qualified staff nurse, when I was a ward sister. For some reason, work related, 25 years ago, I had invited her to my home. She remembered it; she could recall my first little marital house and exactly where she had parked. I started to remember her a little. She told me that I had been ‘inspirational’, that I was doing all sorts of things (sounds like me I guess) and she had remembered me from all those years ago. Then we jointly reminisced about the good old days and our shared experiences; it was a good conversation.  The photo is of me at almost exactly that time.  The hospital that I loved no longer exists – its an Asda and a housing estate now – how time flies!

roffeyNow, words like inspirational make me squirm a little. It seems so ethereal, so non-specific and hard to pin down….. this post isn’t about that. It’s about impact and role modelling.

I wrote a post a while ago – you can see it here – about how we tend to focus on people we can role model from and less on how we, ourselves, are role models and what this means.

These conversations I have had this week bring me back to that thinking. Sometimes it’s the small things we say and do, that we see as having little consequence, that have a big impact on others. Being a leader is hard. Sometimes feedback takes its time to come back to you – in this case 25 years – but I was proud and humbled when these incredible women took the time to approach me and be so lovely.  It makes me squirm a little but it also makes me feel good that I may have had a positive impact on people.

‘Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul’

Thomas Merton

Reflections from me:

  • Try to be your very best with others all the time, be a positive role model, as you don’t know the lasting impact you are having.
  • If someone has done something that is important to you tell them! That matters too!

lead by example

‘Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant’

Robert Louis Stevenson

14 thoughts on “You never know!

  1. A lovely blog Annie and very true! It really chimes with the blog Ken Howard and I posted yesterday to coincide with our WebEx for the NHS Change Day celebration.
    Ken was very keen to share with the key people who have helped him regain his life and are almost certainly completely unaware of the wonderful gift that they gave to him. Very important lesson I think to realise that we all affect other people’s lives every day.

  2. As always, Anne, you hit the nail on the head. I suppose we’ve all encountered people who come into our lives and careers and create a positive stir.

    Sometimes we catch their emotional contagion like wildfire. Other times it is a slow-burn. Sometimes we are surprised when someone who has touched our life in a way that at first appears negative or challenging, turns out to be our saviour, moving our thinking on to a better place.

    Some of my favourite moments in my working life are when I reflect on my day and have a warm feeling inside to think that I have planted some seeds.

  3. A wonderful blog Annie. I can just picture the ripples of influence you have had on nurses who became nurse leaders and then influenced others who became nurse leaders… and now you have influenced me too.

  4. Thank you, Annie. You shared profound thoughts simply stated. I am encouraged to continue planting seeds.

  5. You never know! | Health Blog Round-up | Scoop...

  6. I have never before felt the overwhelming need to talk to speakers after a conference but last week I did. I rustled up my confidence and came over to say Hi! That day you were inspirational to me – it may make you squirm but that is what you did! I came away with a greater passion to push for where I want to be and do what I want to do.
    Keep up the great work and I look forward to more blogs that inspire me.

  7. Annie you have influenced the way I see data now and although I’ll never be a maths whizz – I’m proud yo say that I had a lightbulb moment about the pool birth rate where I work – I delved into data and found it had increased by 152 % so thank YOU 💕

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