Posts

Wendy Weber, PharmD, MBA

What Would You Do If You Knew You Couldn’t Fail

Many years ago during a job interview I was asked, “What is your biggest fear?” It took me all of about two seconds to respond. Failure. The interviewer sat speechless with a look on his face that was a combination of shock and holding back laughter. Once he composed himself, he shared that he was expecting a more typical answer like heights or snakes. Something tangible. He never expected a naïve student to answer so quickly with such a thoughtful and honest answer.

The fear of failure has always been my biggest motivator. Blame it on my stubbornness or, perhaps, my cluelessness as to what I’m getting myself into. Regardless of the underlying reason, if you tell me I can’t do something my new mission will be to prove you wrong. Over the years, I have been my biggest champion and my biggest obstacle. It’s easy to step away from a challenge, especially when I think the end result may be less than perfect in my eyes. Learning how to use my fear of failure to keep me moving forward is a daily choice.

Learning how to use my fear of failure to keep me moving forward is a daily choice.

Tammy Kellebrew

Get Out Of Your Way

As writers, we have all struggled at some point. Whether it has been finding that next writing project, identifying a topic or overcoming writer’s block, we can all relate to the challenges associated with the craft we love. But how many times have you created additional obstacles that have prevented you from applying for or accepting a writing assignment?

I don’t know anything about that topic.

I’ve never written a blog.

That project is going to take too much time.

That assignment doesn’t pay enough.

I have no idea what SEO is (Search Engine Optimization – yep, I had to Google that one… more than once).

It’s time for all of us to get out of our own way and do what we are capable of doing. Kick that little devil off your shoulder because you ARE capable and KNOW a whole lot more than you give yourself credit for. No more excuses. If you want to build your business and extend your reach, it’s time to make yourself a little uncomfortable. After all, you can’t fail.

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Endless Possibilities

Just like a blank canvas is full of possibilities for an artist, a blank page is full of possibilities for a writer. Challenge yourself to explore the possibilities. As a writer with a limited portfolio, I know that if I want to be considered for more writing jobs I need material to share. In order to build my portfolio, I need to step out of my comfort zone and write about topics and in styles I may not be familiar with. Instead of thinking of what will happen if you fail, change your mindset to “I will do this and it will be amazing!”

How do you change your mindset? Easier said than done, right?

Here’s some guidance to get you started:

  • Research a topic that interests you.
  • Write about that topic in a new format.
  • Add the sample to your portfolio. You wrote it. Be proud of it.
  • Share it on your blog, if you have one. You may need to tweak the content a bit to fit the format, but at the very least, talk about what you learned.
  • Apply for a writing opportunity about the new topic or in the new format.
  • Find a support network (the tribe at HMN is a great one) – ask questions, use their tools and resources, and most importantly network!

Believe in Yourself

What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail? Honestly, I have no idea what, specifically, I would do. Perhaps, that’s because I need my internal competitor pushing me to take advantage of a new opportunity. Until I identify that opportunity, I can’t say for certain what it will be.

My goal for 2019 is to try new things, and that means stepping out of my comfort zone. Writing a blog post is exactly that: stepping out of my comfort zone, doing something that I know I’m capable of doing but have never done because I was afraid it wouldn’t be well received or that I wouldn’t have anything to say that others would want to read.

So, knowing I couldn’t fail because there is a whole tribe of HMN #SavvyScribes that have my back, I seized the moment and just proved to myself that I could do it. I wrote my first blog for an audience that is more than my family and friends. It’s time for a new mindset. I just did it… and you can too!

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

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Why Freelancing & Healthcare Go Hand-in-Hand

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the healthcare industry? Whatever your answer, one thing’s for certain; it’s not freelance writing. I hope to change that today!

How many times have you emptied the pockets of your scrubs or lab coat only to find what seems like endless amounts of scribble on post-its, notebook paper, receipts, or anything else you could get your hands on? How many times have you had a patient with a new disease process or medication that you needed to brush up on, so you do a quick search and jot down notes?

You enter your patient’s room or home and you educate him or her to the best of your ability. It leaves you with a sense of pride and accomplishment to know that you’ve given another human information that could possibly save his or her life. Like most healthcare professionals, freelancers love intertwining the art of patient care with education. We get a sense of fulfillment submitting articles to publications or clients knowing that our words will have a positive impact on the reader.

My Freelance Story

Like many freelancers in healthcare, I began freelancing as a way to make extra money. I was tired of working PRN jobs to supplement my income and I knew there had to be a better way and I’ve always loved to write. Even as a small child, I could sit for hours and just write. It wasn’t until I landed a job with a home health agency that I realized that I could use my passions for nursing and writing, simultaneously.

Home health nurses go into the patient’s homes and educate the patient and/or caregiver on various disease process, medication management, prevention methods, etc. I often found myself working with patients who had difficulty retaining the information that I was presenting. Spending thirty minutes once or twice weekly, really isn’t sufficient to teach a newly diagnosed diabetic everything he or she needs to know. Sure, the agency had tons of reading material, pamphlets, brochures, and booklets, but let’s be honest, how many patients were actually reading the material once I left the home? Some didn’t have the time, others weren’t interested, and for some it was just plain intimidating. So, I came up with a solution to my problem.

I began to research and use the material provided by the agency and condensed it into two or three pages, per each visit so I could effectively go over the material. My patients and their caregivers could look over it in a short amount of time, and it was written in a style that wasn’t intimidating. Eventually, I saw the fruit of my labor and I quickly became a fast teacher and more efficient nurse. It changed my life and it was one of the stepping stones to building my own business.

Turning Passion into a Business

Equipped with the knowledge that my writing could make a difference in the lives of others I decided to start my journey into entrepreneurship by blogging at Your Nurse Connection. Mainly, for my own therapeutic reasons, but I also realized it could help me educate vast numbers of people that I couldn’t reach on my own.  It wasn’t until someone sent me a Facebook message and asked for my price sheet, that I realized I had stumbled upon something grand. This led me to do what most of us do when we want to find answers; I googled it.  I typed “freelance nurse writers” into the search bar and was surprised to find that there was an actual market for this!

Looking back, I shouldn’t have been surprised. As a freelance writer, particularly in healthcare, you hold a unique and marketable skill. You have the eye of a writer and of a healthcare professional. This is immeasurable. You hold the power to aid in changing the healthcare continuum, which is currently packed to the brim with misinformation. Too many people, who have no formal training in healthcare or medicine are donning the title of “health coach” and shoveling out tons of inaccurate information. It is dangerous and we need more reputable, certified, licensed practitioners, in this industry. Imagine googling “hypertension management” and finding articles from a nurse, dietitian, or physician rather than someone who simply uploaded an article full of “wiki facts.”  As practitioners, who have taken on the responsibility of saving lives, we owe it to our communities to get them the most accurate, updated, cited information possible.

New Opportunities Await

Freelancing can also lead you to jobs outside of your normal niche. I’ve had the pleasure of ghostwriting for several entrepreneurs. I recently landed a role as a contributing writer with a brand targeting millennial thought-leaders. Writing articles about everything from entrepreneurship to career acceleration. The editor located me through an old blog post. It has been an exciting journey.

Healthcare and freelancing go hand-in-hand because it is already ingrained, in each of us.

We have the knowledge and skill set to educate. We have a responsibility to push out the inaccurate information, that so many of our patients are receiving. The internet is not going anywhere. It is our duty make sure that people have access to accurate information that will change lives.