When Someone You Love is Dying and It Makes You Uncomfortable

I have a client who is struggling with the impending death of her father. Watching someone you love suffer and decline is excruciatingly painful. You want to help but you can’t. You want to escape the struggle with your own mortality but you can’t. And family members commence friction with each other that was never there before. 

There is no textbook on how to deal with a dying parent but one book I recommend made a big difference for me in shepherding my children through the death of their father. It’s called The Four Things That Matter Most. 

We can’t change the fact that we all will die someday. None of us are getting out of this alive. But we can be alongside someone who is dying. It is enough. We need not fill the silence with chatter. We need not feel inadequate because we can’t fix things or afraid of the human process. Embrace acceptance. Death is part of life. Being there is enough. “I can’t change this for you but may I...

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No one wants to hurt

Recently I had the honor of attending a mindfulness presentation and meditation session by Buddhist Monk Dr. Barry Karzin, physician for The Dalai Lama, sponsored by UPMC in celebration of Nurses Week.

He reminded us that one of the kindest things we can do for someone we are serving, no matter what the industry, is to ask them, “What’s the most important thing I can do for you today?”

There is no word in the Tibetan language or in Buddhism for “guilt” because when we have healthy confidence no one is ever condescended to. There is no putting down - especially of one’s self - only compassion. Compassion is the desire and action to alleviate suffering. Loving others, especially when their behavior makes it difficult, helps us to be compassionate.

We all want to be happy. No one wants to hurt.

Your coach,

Mary Lee

P.S. Money replenishes itself. Time does not.  Click here to request a call with me and let's talk about your...

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Thinking of You

Recently I was not feeling well and missed an event where I had hoped to extend my deepest appreciation to several hundred volunteers at St. Margaret Hospital. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t be there to thank these outstanding stewards of our patients who struggle with the biggest challenges of their lives. The next day I received this note from the two directors of the event - simply run off on their printer that said:

 Thinking of You -

Hope you’re feeling much better

and hope you’re remembering, too

The many warm thoughts and good wishes

that always are right there with you.

If you think personal notes (talking hard copy here and not email) are a thing of the past you are wrong. This totally captured my attention, warmed my heart, made me smile and immediately inspired me to reach out and thank them.

I keep a drawer full of informal note cards for this very thing - from personalized Crane to Kate Spade to convenience store birthday cards. And I...

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How to Give Feedback that Matters

Feedback is crucial to performance improvement because it enables us to look at situations and ourselves from a third-party perspective. It unlocks self-reflection and growth, and opens the door to opportunity. “You are doing a great job” or “You have to do better,” does not give the employee the needed tools to improve or the intrinsic fulfillment to make him want to stay with the company and grow.

Effective feedback has three mindful components. It is 1) Strategic, 2) Developmental and 3) Aligned with the values of the organization. These require us to be aware of our restrictive biases.

Strategic Feedback: The employee can most benefit from feedback that answers this question: “What should this employee do more or less of to be maximally effective?” If you aren’t sure of the answer, ask the employee. Once you have the answer, you can work with her to clear distractions from her workload and position her to do the most meaningful and...

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