Today, I want to write about how I became aware of my invisible mentor and how he was, and continues to be, a huge positive and expansive influence in my life.
Years ago, when working in middle management in Neuroscience of a major Teaching Hospital, I was faced with a nurse in distress, let's call her Ina, who felt that she was discriminated against because she was not Australian. The situation was bizarre in that our nursing team, with the exception of one nurse, were non-Australians.
Without going into the details of the grievance I tried very hard to comprehend the essence of Ina's grievance. Every morning shift Ina was on duty we ended up in my office trying to resolve the grievance. We parted with the understanding that we had reached a resolution only to receive a phone call from Ina a couple of hours later to realise that nothing had been resolved. It was a distressing time on both sides. I had hit a brick wall in that I run out of ideas on how to resolve this, and to be very honest, also of patience.
One morning as I walked into my office I noticed the quote on my desk calendar. The quote was by Albert Einstein and spoke directly to me. It said:
"Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity."
Well, one thing was clear to me 'I wasn't insane' but I asked myself 'what was I doing over and over again and expecting a different outcome?' It was obvious what I did wasn't working. There must be another way but what? The answer came the following morning 'Take the pressure off you and simply listen with curiosity.' And that is what I did during our next meeting. What I discovered was truly revealing and had nothing to do with discrimination. It was about a need for control in the work situation. Ina was married to a controlling husband and had little control in her private life. What she was really looking for was some control in her work situation. Having discovered this truth, we were able to work out an approach that would work for Ina while meeting the needs of our unit overall.
Albert Einstein's quote had such a huge impact on me at the time, and was the first quote I became consciously aware of, and embraced as an invisible guide.
A print of Albert Einstein's portrait, painted by Spanish Artist, has its honourable place in my office. He has become my invisible mentor whose wisdom speaks to me through his timeless quotes. 'The Question is more important than the Answer' - 'Imagination is more important than Knowledge' - 'Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity' are the most profound quotes that guide me in my everyday life - personally and professionally.
Looking at Albert Einstein in my office, I notice that some of my thoughts and actions bring a little smile to his face, and others raise his eyebrows. Is it true? I don't know! I chose imagination over knowing. My imagination becomes my reality. I take the smile as a confirmation. And the raised eyebrows as a message to question my thoughts and actions.
Take a Moment to Reflect:
Who is your invisible mentor? Do you listen, embrace and honour his or her wisdom? When you do, you will never feel alone, not even in the most painful circumstances.
Elisabeth Gortschacher ©2016 All Rights Reserved