Tuesday, 27 July 2021
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A colonoscopy, Chip & Joanna Gaines, and who we are Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash

A colonoscopy, Chip & Joanna Gaines, and who we are

Don’t worry. I’m not here to tell you about my colonoscopy. And no, Chip and Joanna Gaines are in no way connected to my medical procedures. Just as an added bonus, I’m not asking pregnancy help organizations to offer such a procedure, either. 

But I’m getting somewhere here. Come along for the ride.

Let’s begin with “the procedure.” 

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A few months ago, one of my tests came back with suspicious results. I got a phone call and a message from my doctor’s office telling me, “This doesn’t mean it is cancer, but you’ll need a colonoscopy to find out more.” Something like that.

Anyway, all I heard was “cancer.” Jenn is a cancer survivor, and like you, we’ve had plenty of friends and family members battle this disease. Hence, I was concerned. 

But a funny thing happened on the way to my colonoscopy: I met a team committed to providing hope and joy through a time of uncertainty. 

From Amanda to Dr. Howard to Misti, everyone set the same tone. It was as if they knew what I was thinking answering even my unspoken questions. Regardless of results, they had a plan, and all would be okay. Spoiler alert: Everything was okay.

For instance, “Prep Day” is the worse part of a colonoscopy, I was told. I dreaded it. 

But Amanda told me, “We don’t do that concoction no one likes. How about we do this instead?” We did, everything went smoothly (pun intended), and I was ready to go.

On the day of “the procedure,” the nurses were friendly, the anesthesiologist was confident and even funny, and Dr. Howard told me that in my situation, “99% of the time we won’t find anything that needs further treatment.” 

Best news I could have heard. We joked about a couple of things and he gave me a fist bump. An hour later I woke up. No biggie. Afterward the nurse told me things went well, whatever needed removal was gone and all was good.

My follow-up visit was even easier. Misti, a nurse practitioner, went over the results and told me I’m good to go--sending me on my way.  But on my way out, there was Dr. Howard. He glanced at me and laughed. “Oh, you’re the guy with the jokes,” he said.  

I had to ask him, “Was it my jokes before the procedure? Or were you making jokes about me during the procedure?”

“Both!” he said.

Oh boy, maybe I didn’t need to know that. But it did make me laugh--reminding me that this team knew how to treat its patients.

What I did need to know however, is that this group is not limited to characteristics such as, “professional,” “excellent” or “talented.” No. While those attributes are extremely important, ultimately, I had to know we were all in this thing together and that I—not just my results—mattered to them. 

Now you see how this connects to our work with those who come in our door. 

It’s great that we are professional, and it’s important that we conduct ourselves with high standards. But while our clients and patients look for this, they want and deserve more. They want to know we are in this—whatever it is—with them. That we care. That their outcome is personal to us.

Then there is Magnolia

Fast forward to Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of the show Fixer Upper and the Magnolia Network, which seems to expand daily. The other day my wife Jenn asked me to read their book, The Magnolia Story. I did. In two days. If you want a better pregnancy help organization, you should read it, too.

Thinking about our mission, one of Joanna’s stories leapt out at me. 

Years before there was a TV show, Joanna opened a shop, Magnolia, where she sold all types of home décor pieces. She talks about one of her favorite customers, and my first thought was this customer would be a wealthy socialite who dropped a thousand dollars every time she stopped in.

But no, Joanna talks of a woman who never bought a thing: “She would just show up now and then and poke around, and she told me one time, ‘I just come here because I want to be in here. This place inspires me.’”

This woman, Joanna says, affirmed her desire to create an experience for her customers—something much bigger than a place to buy things.

It’s no wonder people flock to Waco to see the Magnolia store, want to stay in the Gaines’ short-term rental homes, watch their show and eagerly await their coming venture with Discovery + and their new cable channel. It’s the experience the Gaineses create which transforms people to the someone better they want to be.

Always remember, we create an experience

As crazy as it sounds, my medical team transformed my “procedure” from a dreaded encounter into an experience which finished with me saying to myself (not out loud, I hope), “I did it, I made it and now I can take on the same situation again without fear!”

Chip and Joanna Gaines do the same for families finding a new place to live, and for anyone wanting to take their home and transform it into a comfortable oasis joy and wonder.

And what about us, the pregnancy help community? Each day we have an opportunity to transform fear into hope by creating an experience for those we see, one filled with love and optimism. 

Tweet This: Each day we in pregnancy help have an opportunity 2transform fear into hope by creating an experience 4those we see filled w/love & optimism

It’s important that we are professional. It’s important we do things well. It’s important we reach for high standards.

But let’s not allow the pursuit of these attributes to get in the way of what is most important. Because most important, our clients and patients need to know we care about them, from the moment they walk in the door to the moment they leave their appointment with us.

They desperately want someone to see them, listen to them, know their hearts and create an experience which says, “You matter to us.” 

Does our lobby exude this message? Does every encounter with our staff—paid and volunteer—affirm this message? If so, they are more likely to walk away saying, “Fear is leaving me. I can do this.”

Tweet This: When we create an experience that says, “You matter to us,” our clients can walk away saying, “Fear is leaving me. I can do this.”

The next time we talk about strategic planning, let’s go beyond programs, initiatives, goals and objectives. Let’s soar higher, envisioning an experience which transforms those we see into someone better than they can imagine. Will this help our clients? Sure. But this will do wonders for our team as well.

Kirk Walden

Kirk Walden is a senior writer with Pregnancy Help News, an Advancement Specialist with Heartbeat International and author of The Wall. For banquet speaking engagements, contact Gloria Leyda at Ambassador Speakers Bureau. His new Faith Revolution Podcast is online at www.kirkwalden.com

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