Connection

image courtney therese iacono photography beavertail state park, jamestown, ri 

It’s a beautiful day here in Connecticut! And, I have spent the day mostly inside “working” on my side hustles. Yes, plural “s” on hustle. You’ll see …

Yesterday marked 19 years since the 9/11 attacks, a day that forever changed the way we lived. For about seven months now, we continue to face a new “normal” in the wake of the covid crisis. The pandemic and resulting tragic losses that have occurred for people truly have led me to want to pursue what is personally most important to me. There are many ways that our (big “T” and little “t”) traumas shape us. Sometimes, ideally, they are the wind beneath us pushing us to follow our passions. Working in hospice from a young age has shaped and pushed me. Never did I think I would see death so close, and for this long. People often say I’m an old soul, and I agree, crediting this work.

This month marks 12 years that I’ve been working in hospice. I started as a social worker, under the wings of JoAnn Davis, my beloved mentor. It was the moments of connection before someone dies that truly reeled me into this work, and my absolute favorite part of my social work was, and still is, making people’s final wishes come true. Granting wishes truly fills my soul, and quite honestly, when doing that type of work it doesn’t feel like work at all! I then got promoted to a community liaison role, supporting the sales team, and shortly after joined the sales team as a hospice specialist. From there my colleague and soul sister, Michele Carignan, and I worked together creating non-pharmacological programs and integrated them into our “selling.” Like Zig Ziglar says, “Stop selling, start helping.” We were successful with our outreach efforts, and I was again promoted to the regional team as the manager of program development rolling out the program we co-created, TIME (Trainings & Individualized Mindful Enhancements) to 46 offices. I traveled most Mondays – Thursdays, met so many people, learned so much, and I loved it because my strengths were being utilized and my passions were being supported. From there I had my position cut due to an acquisition, and since then I’ve been working at a smaller, privately-owned hospice and palliative care company.

It’s one company within an ever-evolving industry. The healthcare field feels more and more like a mine field. The stress, the overwhelm of need, the overburden of a broken system weighs heavy on me. So many needs are a struggle to meet, even things that seemingly seem simple and basic, and the lack of connection that I see due to social distancing absolutely breaks my heart. It further makes me want to focus my attention and efforts on what most fills me and what I truly believe life is all about – small moments of authentic connection.

Last month I sat on the steps of a nursing home to meet with the wife of a man inside who was coming onto our hospice services. We could not go in. She could not physically be with him, despite my requests. He was not imminent, but still … Telehealth would have to suffice. We both sat in tears talking about the pure heartbreak she was experiencing not being able to be present with her husband, especially knowing their time together on earth was limited. My interaction with her has not left me. I was shook by this, and this is only one of countless similar examples out there.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a lot of interests. I am NEVER bored! I love this about myself. For years I’d call my dad every few months to share a business idea with him or a property for sale, as I’ve always been interested in real estate. Every time he would kindly listen, and he often encouraged me to research whatever it was and circle back with him, or he’d offer some advice. Then one day he called me after speaking with my mom’s uncle in the nursing home where my aunt was living at the time, and he said they talked about what they would have done more of if they were in their 30’s – buy property on water.

And shortly thereafter, thanks to him, that’s how I got my little cabin on the pond in 2017. He has a lot of rental properties and I so appreciated that he was able to 1) share wisdom with me – invest in property (on any kind of water), and 2) help me with renovations. He is truly my everyday hero, and I am very much my father’s daughter. People know that if you agree to “go for a ride” with my dad that you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be home many hours and many stops later, and I feel this. My life feels like a “ride” with my dad – I’ve got lots of things to do, places I want to see, and lives I want to touch.

One of the hard realities about having a lot of passions is that I often am all over the map. I recently decided that I wanted to find a common theme around all of my passions, gain clarity, and get more organized. Well, I’ve finally identified it! After personal reflection and having started to work with Business + Confidence Coach, Lauren Claire, I realized that “connection” is the common theme (need) around all that is most important to me and is the focus of my work.

When I look at all my greatest interests in life they all directly boil down to connections. I would venture to guess that many of us might identify that same theme, and we just meet it in different ways. For me, something about identifying it, naming it, and owning it feels different and empowering. Below are the ventures I have going in my life that all stem from connection. Feel free to check out what I’m up to!

  • Hospice – I continue to help Rhode Islanders get their end-of-life needs met in any way that I can amidst challenging restrictions. My truth is that I’ve been feeling more and more disgruntled with healthcare and depleted for the reasons described above.
  • SALT – I am currently working on publishing a 9-week self-guided study of SALT practices for a lifetime, and a journal to document some of the practices and track outcomes. It’s an jubilant feeling to be sharing so much of what makes me, me with the world.
  • Lamothe Properties – I am FINALLY following through on something I’ve always wanted to do – real estate! I am feeling proud and a bit anxious as I still need to pass the test, but I’m hopeful and confident it will happen!
  • Pop•Nic Co – Southern New England’s ultimate pop up picnic experience. SO excited!!! This is exactly the lightness and playfulness that I need in my life right now!
  • JC Spirit Shop – It means a lot to me to know that one day I will take over my dad’s liquor store and to be part of a small community. I continue to practice being trusting and grateful.

SALT, real estate, pop•nics, and the package store all have a personal connection to the core of my being, therefore they don’t feel like work when I think of them, work on them (like right now, 8 hours on a laptop inside on a gorgeous autumn Saturday). They energize me rather than deplete me, and I can’t wait to share more with you in the days, weeks, months, years ahead! So stay tuned on this unmapped journey, and join me as it unfolds.

Now, I am curious to know about what YOU have going on? What are your passions? Are you following them? Have you identified a common theme that defines what all of your passions (personally and professionally) are truly about? Can you tie them back to a common core human need? Let’s talk.

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