On July 16th, 2018, I published a blog post titled, “Nurse, What’s Your Personal or Professional Everest?“. That post began thus:

Speaking with a nurse colleague the other day, she was referring to something she’s attempting to do in her life outside of nursing as her “personal Everest”. These types of endeavors can be scary, and they can cause you to question yourself along the way. Is there something you want to conquer or master, either personally or professionally? Is there something in your sights that you just can’t let go of until you do it?

Reach the summit

Photo by Ali Gooya on Unsplash.com

Here are some blog post excerpts: 

Your nursing Everest could be any number of things. Is it achieving your next degree? Is it mastering a difficult clinical skill, a new software program, or a novel patient interviewing technique? Or how about a specialty certification that would really move the needle in your nursing career if you finally had it under your belt?

If you’re trying to do something quite difficult or challenging, comparing your relative rate of success or failure to others is definitely not in your best interest — in fact, it’s a huge waste of time and energy.

If it’s true that comparing ourselves to others isn’t a hot idea (which I know for a fact it isn’t!), why do we insist on doing it so much? Is it this “I” culture of selfies, curated lives, and only showing on social media the stuff that makes it all look fun and easy? How many of us post about our failures, weaknesses, and bad experiences? I know people who use social media in a very transparent and authentic way, and I also see others who I imagine taking 10 or 20 shots before they get the one they think will show them in the best light. Is it really healthy for us to only see the perfection in others’ lives and not the struggles and sweat inherent in achieving success?

Whether your Everest is bowling a perfect game or learning to run a code, it doesn’t really matter — the fact remains that it’s yours to own, take on, and achieve if you want to set your sights on it.

Let’s say you want to become a certified scuba diver. There’s lots of scary stuff to learn, and threats to your ability to breathe are probably scarier than most. In scuba, your life is in your own hands, as well as that of your instructor and fellow divers — it’s intense, and there’s no escaping the fact that you’ll be challenged physically, mentally, and emotionally as you learn to — literally — go deeper and deeper.

If we take this scuba diving metaphor further, we could compare it to the depths you have to go to in order to become, for example, an expert circulating nurse in the OR  — neither is easy to do, but many people achieve it and so can you if you set your mind to it.

In the end, you need to keep climbing. Christopher Reeve didn’t just stop breathing because he was tired of being a quadriplegic, and I didn’t stop studying because I failed the NCLEX. And I bet there are things you’ve done that you can look back on and see how you just didn’t give up. What was it like to keep climbing and then reach the summit?

We all have our own paths to climb and our own frustrations to live with and overcome. What’s your Everest, and how hard are you willing to work in order to successfully reach the top?

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Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BCIn case you didn’t already know, Nurse Keith is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, keynote and motivational speaker, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses.

From 2012 until its sunset in 2017, Keith co-hosted RNFMRadio, a groundbreaking nursing podcast.

As of May of 2018, Keith is the host of Mastering Nursing, an interview-style podcast showcasing inspiring, forward-thinking nurse thought leaders and innovators.

Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—as well as at NurseKeith.com.

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