Caregivers experience many feelings
including self-doubt, questioning their own abilities
and whether or not they are “doing the right thing.”
Sometimes caregivers question themselves right down to
the core and ask “Why am I doing this?” This is when
all caregivers can use some of the lessons from private
industry and those successful in business and sales.
Many in corporate training programs
are taught to surround themselves with those who are
successful. The understanding is that this will help
them to also become successful. The same philosophy can
be used to achieve a successful caregiving experience.
Caregivers can do this by attending support and
educational groups. This is a forum for gaining insight
from others who are caring and sharing ideas and
information. This can also be accomplished by reaching
out to professional organizations that can provide
assistance in the form of information, services or
training. Caregivers can start at the local Area Agency
on Aging (www.n4a.org). This may house a regional Family
Caregiver Support Program or direct you to appropriate
local service providers. Caregivers can also learn about
their state Office on Disability through the Department
of Health and Human Services (www.hhs.gov/od).
Surrounding yourself with professionals and other
caregivers will offer you the keys for success.
Those successful in sales learn
early on that confidence is part of their success. How
do caregivers gain this confidence in themselves? The
first step in gaining confidence is educating yourself
about what you are doing. If you are selling an auto
part, you need to know how it fits into the engine and
how it improves the car performance. If you are
providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease, you
need to know how the disease is diagnosed and treated.
There are many ways to educate yourself. The first step
can be to find which national organizations or
foundations exist concerning your loved ones’ issue.
These resources have up-to-date and correct information
about various illnesses as well as links to local
programs. The Alzheimer’s Association, Easter Seals
Society, American Heart Association, National Multiple
Sclerosis Society are a few well-known national
associations, but many more exist. There are also
multiple resources online, although caution is
recommended as caregivers need to be wary of who is
sponsoring a website and posting the information.
Another place to start is at a teaching or research
hospital. Talk to your doctor about whether getting care
at such an institution will give you more access to
current information and newer treatments.
The second step in gaining
confidence in one’s abilities is to simply fake it. If
you fake confidence long enough, it eventually starts to
rub off on you. This can be referred to as the “fake it
until you make it” strategy that many in the sales
industry will use. How do you fake confidence? You
simply tell yourself over and over that you are doing
the right thing. You look at yourself in the mirror and
you say out loud “You know what you are doing here and
you are doing a good job.” There are many other mantras
you can adapt to your personal situation, such as “I am
the best at what I do,” “I am a great caregiver” and
anything else that is a positive message reminding you
of your abilities. Some may need to go so far as to
write these sayings out and post them in their home. It
may not be your idea of beautiful décor, but if you ask
those in sales who use this positive affirmation system
– it works. There are many in the direct sales industry
who have found success after “wallpapering” their home
with positive confidence building statements.
Eventually, you are no longer faking it, and it becomes
The same system of using positive
affirmations helps when caregivers start to question
their core value of why they are doing these tasks day
in and day out. Reminding yourself why you are providing
care may need to become a part of your caregiving
routine. I recommend making a sign that says, “I love my
husband/wife/mother/father” and posting it where you
need to see it most. Do you need a reminder in the
bathroom where you find it exhausting when assisting
with toileting or bathing? It may need to be next to
your bed so you see it at the end of the day and at the
start of the next day. Start each day telling yourself
out loud why you are caring. In private industry, those
in sales are told to keep a goal picture close by at all
times. For someone in sales, this may be a car or
vacation home they hope to purchase with their earnings.
For a caregiver, this may be a smiling picture of their
loved one or a picture of their family during earlier
times. Daily reminders that love, kindness and caring
are the why will do wonders for keeping that love alive
and present in your life.
All these lessons from private
industry can be adopted into our daily lives as
in business is not analogous to success in family but we
can use the same strategies to get there.
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