Change Your Mind, Change Your Life, Change The World
"The only consistent in life is change." Change can mark a longed-for transition--we look forward to changing from kids to adults, from students to professionals. Change is necessary for growth, and without it we wouldn’t be able to serve each other the way we do now. Like the changing of seasons, a change is sometimes needed to transition into something else.
However, while some changes are beautiful and anticipated, changes can also be traumatic, unexpected, devastating. Every American was changed by the mass shooting last week in Las Vegas. Whether for a moment or for a lifetime, the news of the horrific injuries and loss of life—59 killed and 515 injured at the time of this writing—causes each of us to determine where we stand on the issue of firearm regulations, of the treatment of the mentally ill, of what we’re willing to accept or speak out against. Our American history was changed in a moment, and we are left to determine how we are going to grow.
As medical professionals, we see tragedy from the inside. We are among the first to speak, talk to and touch the victims after the event. We are the ones on the front lines, when the shock is palpable, the emotion is raw, and the outcome is uncertain. We are called in this moment to provide answers we don’t know, courage we can’t guarantee, and sometimes hope we can’t feel. The strength, determination and courage shown by the medical teams in Las Vegas were incredible, and they continue to treat and heal these victims today.
After the tragedies of Sandy Hook, the Pulse Nightclub, and now Las Vegas, it can be incredibly difficult to maintain the idea that we are truly making a difference in the world. The victims in Las Vegas were at the height of community, sharing a common bond of music to unite and celebrate. This was a “safe” venue, precautions were taken…and yet the unthinkable happened. We can be filled with a sense of dread that mass tragedy can happen at any moment, and we are powerless to stop it.
What do we do with this unexpected, tragic change in our American history, and how do we choose to grow as a result of this experience?
Growing in fear is not the answer for us as medical professionals. Courage is embedded within us. We call on our courage daily in our own practice and we watched as courage overcame chaos in Las Vegas. We watched first responders jumping into action to provide immediate assistance, total strangers driving wounded victims to hospitals, doctors, nurses and medical staff working hours on end in blood-smeared hallways to give their time and talents to the victims—maybe you were one of those angels in scrubs. This change was not meant for us to transition more deeply into fear. The world needs us to show courage in the face of our uncertainty.
Should we grow in hate? We go into healthcare because of our empathy, our ability to connect with people and feel their struggles to help treat them. By nature, we fight those things that threaten to harm and destroy those that are in our care, whether it is an infection, a behavior, or an event. It is easy to be filled with hate for the shooter in Las Vegas, and sometimes even for those we feel might be contributing to circumstances that led to the event. However, the immediate images flashing across social media and our televisions showed the best of humanity as the concertgoers immediately began to think of others, sometimes complete strangers, above themselves. The outpouring of support saw no race, no religion, no political bent—it was pure and true and from the heart. To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, hate truly drove out hate in that moment. Surely this change is not meant to provide a transition more deeply into hate.
We work in the area of miracles and of modern medicine. We do not give up when situations look hopeless. We dig in, conduct research, discuss options as a team and choose the best path to moving forward. Our nation is currently in a state of shock, and it’s time to come together using our influence as caregivers and providers to provide a path forward for those who are hurting. It’s what we have been trained to do.
In her book Braving the Wilderness, social scientist and bestselling author Brené Brown describes the importance of this moment for potential healing: “In a hardwired way, the initial trauma and devastation of violence unites human beings for a relatively short period of time. If during that initial period of unity we’re allowed to talk openly about our collective grief and fear—if we turn to one another in a vulnerable and loving way, while at the same time seeking justice and accountability—it can be the start to a very long healing process. If, however, what unites us is a combination of shared hatred and stifled fear that’s eventually expressed as blame, we’re in trouble.”
Whether you feel it or not, you as a medical professional are ready for this change, for this challenge. Your education and your experience, as well as your empathy, have prepared you to get comfortable with discomfort, to have truthful conversations with people of all views, and to listen without judgement. In Brown’s words, “we can build connection across difference and fight for our own beliefs if we’re willing to listen and lean into vulnerability. Mercifully, it will take only a critical mass of people who believe in finding love and connection across difference to change everything.”
Are you willing to use the specific talents and gifts bestowed upon you as a medical professional to make a difference in the lives of others at this crucial moment? Can you see this change in our history as an opportunity for connection and healing? Will you be determined to treat infections of hate and fear with the antibiotics of love and vulnerability?
If so, throw on your scrubs and don't bother clocking in…our shift is starting right NOW.
Even though it’s exceptionally warm here in Missouri, last Friday was our first official day of fall. One of the best parts of living here in the Midwest is the changing of the landscape from summer to autumn. Greens give way to rich oranges, reds, and yellows as the leaves on the trees signal cooler weather and shorter daylight hours. This change allows the trees to adapt to different climates, to provide a period of rest from many seasons of changing carbon dioxide into oxygen, and to store up chlorophyll for the upcoming year.
As medical professionals, it's important to be able to adapt to changes in our careers and our lives. Changing regulations, corporate structures and caseloads can play a major role in destabilizing our work patterns and driving our stress levels into the stratosphere. Taking a cue from leaves, what are you doing to adapt, rest, and prepare for change? Are you thinking of taking a leadership position, attending a new course, or taking additional moments to practice self-care and rest?
We give so much of our emotions, our intellect and our physical abilities to our patients. However, like the leaves, we need to allow for seasons of adaptation and rest. Even it means carving out just 10 minutes per day to refill and recharge, it’s incredibly important to be sure you have enough in your reserves so you can share yourself with others.
Much like Midwest seasons, change in our profession is unavoidable, and it's important to take measures beforehand rather than be forced to adapt. Like the spectacular watercolor landscapes that appear throughout in our heartland this time of year, change can also be a beautiful thing if approached with direction and confidence.
What are you doing to refill, recharge, and prepare for change?
We are excited to announce our "Scrubs for Change" project, rolling out just in time for 2016. Women who are victims of domestic violence often arrive at shelters with little more than the clothes on their backs. They desperately need comfortable options while receiving care and treatment. A great solution? Donated used scrubs! They fit all all sizes and genders comfortably, and give dignity to those that need clothes while they are getting back on their feet.Catalyst has decided to partner with domestic violence shelters to provide clean, pre-worn scrubs as an option for women in a time of transition. Our first partnership is with House of Hope in Catalyst founder Holly Godfrey's hometown of Lexington, Missouri. Ann Gosnell-Hopkins, House of Hope's executive director, says that the donated scrubs will also be used to help provide uniforms for the women who are transitioning back into the workforce, as many jobs in the rural area are in healthcare and require scrubs.
Here's how your used scrubs can become "Scrubs for Change": Send your pre-worn scrubs to Catalyst at the address below, and we will e-mail you a coupon code for 20% off your next scrub order! Be sure to include your name and e-mail address with your donation so we can send you your coupon code. Pair up with other nurses and therapists to send in scrubs together to save on shipping, and each person that donates will get a coupon code!
We hope to start partnering with other domestic violence resource groups throughout 2016--if you know of a place that might benefit, please contact us HERE!
Not only will you be helping survivors of domestic violence here in the U.S, but by purchasing Catalyst Scrubs you will be providing sustainable income for at-risk women around the world. Plus, we guarantee that you will love our scrubs as much as our mission. Our repeat customers agree that these are truly the BEST scrubs on the market, and the story behind them makes them the best scrubs in the world. "This material is crazy-soft, and it doesn't wrinkle!" "I've washed mine a million times and they look just like they did when I bought them!" "I love the pocket placement on the tops and pants"--these are just a few of the comments we've received in the past month.
Send us your scrubs today, help the homeless here in the United States while providing jobs to women in the slums of India, and reward yourself by purchasing a luxurious pair of new Catalyst Scrubs!
You can send your washed, pre-worn scrubs to:
Catalyst Scrubs--Scrubs for Change
Lee's Summit, MO 64081
Or, if you live in the Lexington, MO area, you can deliver them directly to House of Hope:
Lexington, MO 64067.
Feel free to contact us anytime with questions or suggestions! email@example.com
The soul always knows what it needs to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind. ~Carolyn Myss
It’s that time of year when we reflect, remember, and resolve. For those of us who work in patient care sometimes we put our own needs well below those of those who need us. Here are some suggestions for true renewal in 2016:
Over here at Catalyst, it’s been a year of building relationships, learning the ins and outs of sustainability and trying to best serve the needs of women around the world. We are excited about 2016, and can’t wait to offer new and exciting products, including pants in TALLs for all of our vertically-gifted customers. Here’s a few of our other resolutions for our personal lives 2016:
We wish you all the best for a terrific 2016!
On this, our second edition of “Make a Difference Monday,” we are excited to announce that we have achieved Pending (Start-up) Status as a Certified B Corporation! “B” comes from Ghandi’s assertion to “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” And at Catalyst, we are doing just that!
What is a Certified B Corporation? And why does Catalyst have “Pending” status?
Certified B Corporations meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performances. It means that our entire company is set up to promote a sustainable and ethical model of business. It's like fair trade, but instead of a product meeting a certain criteria, it's our entire business. It's an intensive performance assessment that not only looks at a company's goods, but also its treatment and impact on all of its workers, its community, and our world. All Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider this impact. A company cannot be fully certified as a B Corporation until it has been in business for one year, but we have met all other standards of transparency and sustainability as judged by an independent organization. It was very important for us to achieve this status early on in our company's growth, so that you as a customer can have full faith that we are "walking the talk!"
Why is this so awesome?
From the very beginning, it has been our mission to be transparent with our customers. We love sharing with you who our partner artisans are and how they make the products you love. Being a Certified B Corporation puts that third party stamp of approval on our business practices. Catalyst uses business and partnership as a force for good and that's exactly what B Lab - the nonprofit organization that certifies B Corporations - is all about! With the addition of the B label on our website and products, the assurance of our quality business practices can be quickly seen and understood. It means that you can be sure that our company will continue to be held accountable to our beliefs, to our mission, to our partners, and, most importantly, to you, our customers. Other famous B Corporations include Patagonia, Method cleaning products, Dansko shoes—we’re in great company of organizations truly making a difference!
To learn more about how B Corporations and why they matter, click here!
Welcome to Catalyst’s first “Make a Difference Monday!” We are excited to start kicking off your week with inspiring stories featuring those that are truly making a difference with their influence, whether on a global scale (like today’s celebrity), in their workplace, or in their community.
If you’ve been anywhere near a TV or your smart phone recently, you have heard that Pope Francis made his American debut last week, speaking before huge crowds and holding intimate meetings with faithful supporters. One family even made a 13,000 mile trip from Buenos Aires to New York in a VW bus to hear the Pope speak (the Pope was a fellow Argentine), and they were surprised with a private face-to-face meeting with the pontiff.
No matter your spiritual or non-spiritual leanings, it’s undeniable that the Pope is a major political figure throughout the world, and Francis chose to use his platform to address another influential political establishment: the U.S. Congress. We at Catalyst were inspired by his calls to action, and thought it fitting to feature Pope Francis in our first Make a Difference Monday post.
The Pope chose to speak about cooperation to combat slavery and injustice:
“It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.”
He encouraged all people of influence to bring opportunities to those who need them most:
“Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.”
And to help bring economic opportunity to those that are at a disadvantage:
“It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good.”
Well said, Pope Francis. Thank you for being bold and using your abilities to speak for those that need a louder microphone. We hope his words will encourage you to find opportunities to make a difference in your Monday, and all week long!
Do YOU have someone you think should be featured on one of our "Make A Difference Monday" posts? Are you making a difference and want to tell us about your journey? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d love to hear your stories and feature you or someone you admire in an upcoming post. And if you’re submission is featured, we’ll send some Catalyst awesomeness your way!
I’ve lived in and around Kansas City my entire life. Anyone with ties to KC knows that the major part of Kansas City is actually in Missouri, and anyone who doesn’t have ties to Kansas City…doesn’t really care. Kansas City is beautiful, vibrant and full of culture, but for most of the nation it sits squarely in what is known as “flyover country.”
When I started working with Alpha Fashions in Chennai, India to make Catalyst Scrubs, I was surprised to learn that we are more connected than I ever could have imagined. Chennai , like Kansas City, is filled with a diverse mix of culture, technology and art. However, to anyone in India not from that area, Chennai is known as “flyover city.” Sound familiar? For two cities 9,000 miles apart, the similarities of living in a city of relative insignificance abound.
The most disturbing similarity between Chennai and Kansas City goes much deeper than a seemingly harmless nickname. This likeness puts both cities squarely on the map as important for all the wrong reasons, and it’s one that isn’t going to be mentioned in any tourist propaganda. Both cities are hotbeds for human trafficking, and both cities are seeing the numbers grow on a yearly basis.
Human trafficking is the 21-century incarnation of one of the world’s most primal evils: slavery. It affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, including an estimated 40-80 million in India alone. It is run by individuals and groups, small scale and large scale, domestically and internationally. Most victims of trafficking are women and children from poor neighborhoods that are lured to big cities in search of jobs, or film stardom, or simply to escape bad family situations. Traffickers prey on these individuals and sell them into brothels or forced labor.
In a country plagued with forced slavery, Chennai has the dubious distinction of being one of the largest hubs of human trafficking in all of India. Because of the illegal but prominent social caste system, women from a lower socioeconomic status are considered to be less valuable, have few rights, and many are uneducated. This leaves them vulnerable to kidnapping, abuse, and slavery. Many women are promised roles in American movies, or education in private schools and willingly travel with those that will eventually become their pimps and captors, brimming with the hope of a better life in America or Europe. The nightmare begins once they realize that they are now someone else’s property, to be forced into prostitution, unpaid labor, or to be sold to the highest bidder. Children are kidnapped and forced into the sex trade as early as 3 years old.
We might expect these nightmarish tales from a country like India that suffers from lack of government programs and organized justice systems. But the disturbing fact is that here in America’s heartland, smack dab in the middle of “flyover country,” Kansas City is becoming just as infamous for human trafficking as it is famous for its barbecue. Kansas City plays a disturbing role as a hub for human trafficking due to its central location and intersection of major, east-west and north-south Interstate highways. One study shows that Kansas City is #2 among 10 metropolitan cities in the US as a hub for domestic minor sex trafficking. The US Attorney’s Office in Western Missouri has prosecuted more cases involving human trafficking than any other US district. Much like the women in Chennai, predators use the lure of movie contracts, education, and the hope of a better life to convince American girls to willingly accompany them to their place of imprisonment.
It’s easy to assume that the audacities are happening thousands of miles away from our daughters, our sisters, our friends. However, the truth is that we can no longer turn away from human trafficking as a “developing world” issue. Austin, Seattle, Chicago—all of these cities have come forward with plans to combat the human trafficking that is occurring in their area. And it’s very probable that trafficking in some form might be happening in your city as well.
Both India and the U.S. are taking every possibly opportunity to combat human trafficking, but its invisibility makes capture and justice difficult. It will take each one of us becoming educated, speaking up for those that cannot, and supporting systems that are destroying the poverty that makes these women vulnerable in the first place. By using our platform and our purchasing power to aid those that need it most, we can be the change that will boost the value of women, empower them and give voice to the vulnerable. Heal Chennai, heal Kansas City, heal your country, heal the world.
‘Twas the night before school started and all through the house…mom was running around like a madwoman and on the verge of a panic attack.
What? That doesn’t rhyme?! Just hearing the words “back to school” makes me twitch as I start thinking about trying to work a full-time job, sign up for school events, get my kids to running club/band practice/afternoon sports/dance lessons/piano lessons/blahblahblah, make sure to help with evening homework and get everything signed and in the right backpack by the time I hustle out the door at zerodarkthirty the next morning to go back to work. Deeeep breathhhhhhh.
Let’s face it—most healthcare jobs are not great at offering flextime options. While this is understandable, and you wouldn’t want your patients coming to your house for treatment, it makes the juggling act of getting all that mom stuff done a lot more tricky. So, in honor of “back to school,” here are my top 5 tips for surviving the school year.
These hacks amount to at least 7 more hours in your week to do things that matter most, especially if it’s taking care of yourself. Happy “back to school” time, working mom! May it be your family’s best year yet!