Julie Thorson

One of my favorite quotes from baseball manager Joe Maddon is, “Don’t ever let the pressure exceed the pleasure.” It’s one of those quotes I sit with often because I wish it came with a “how to” section.

The tuth is there is no “how to.”

We work in a field where there is pressure. Some days more than others, but the pressure is there. It’s constant.

In a blizzard, will your team show up? Will we have enough employees to do the work? Here in Iowa, Mother Nature is playing a cruel joke on us. We were pounded this weekend with a blizzard worse than we’ve had in years.  

There were certainly frustrations this weekend and some employees physically could not make it in. In some areas, no plows were running and the snow, all 10 heavy inches, landed on top of a shiny sheet of ice. It was physically impossible for some to get here, and yet we expect it.

In our work, the doors never close. The work is never over. We don’t get to have a snow day. That is a lot of pressure. Regardless, it is necessary for employees to show up. We are so blessed to have a team that understands that pressure and shows up to work together. No blame, no finger pointing. Everyone pitches in to do what needs to be done.

I was overwhelmed with great stories of how the team pulled together. The only answer I could come up with as to why this happened is they find pleasure in the work. They own their work and the pressure of the work takes a back seat to all that is right.

Sure, there were a few misses this weekend, but in large part in spite of the worst Mother Nature could come up with, our team was here. Creating experiences, enjoying the day when it’s miserable outside — that’s when we know culture is alive and well.

Another great example of the pleasure exceeding the pressure was last year during our annual survey. Gone are the days of our care teams being afraid of surveyors.

Instead, we had caregivers lining up waiting on our guests to watch them show off their skills. Our caregivers were nervous, but their excitement to be the ones who shined offset their nervousness. We had a great survey, but an even bigger win was our approach to the survey process.

We do great things every day. Why not be excited to show off rather than nervous we will “get caught” doing something wrong? Again, another win for culture!

A final example of the pleasure exceeding pressure is found in how we come back to the real reason we are all here: those we serve. The relationships that sustain us are what keep us coming back. Our relationships with the residents we serve and the relationships with our teammates are vital.

At the end of the day, if we can’t find a tipping point with those relationships outweighing the pressure, we should move on. If you are like me and still find much more pleasure in those amazing relationships, you also know they win over the pressure any day!

Julie Thorson’s “Living Leadership” blog was named the 2016 “Best New Department” Bronze Award winner by the American Society of Health Publication Editors. Most recently, she was the 2018 recipient of the LeadingAge Dr. Herbert Shore Outstanding Mentor of the Year award. The president and CEO of Friendship Haven, a life plan community in Fort Dodge, IA, Thorson is a coach’s daughter at heart. A former part-time nursing home social worker, she is a licensed nursing home administrator and has been a participant in LeadingAge’s Leadership Academy.