work life balance

Season’s Reflections – 2015 πŸŽ‰πŸŽ„


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Well we’ve almost come to the end of another year again. Where did 2015 go? I remember welcoming in 2015 with quiet optimism that it would be a better year than 2014. As I sit here and reflect on the past year, I feel so blessed to be alive when so many others are no longer with us. I feel a sense of real optimism and self-belief that I’ve never experienced before.

The first quarter of 2015 was filled with excitement when I commenced my PhD programme at Middlesex University, London. What a wonderful opportunity this continues to be! The journey continues and will for a while yet, I am enjoying the process of self-discovery as I explore my topic and design my research.

The second quarter of the year saw me reach a cross-road in my life in which I reluctantly accepted that I needed a better work-study-life balance. Perhaps the wake up call was when my cardiologist (yes, unfortunately I have one of them) asked me to decide if I was living to work or working to live. Now, there was a question that no one had ever asked me before. It started a whirlwind of life changing reflections and decisions including, how I could continue to be the passionately ambitious person that I have always been while having the headspace to enjoy the most important things and people in my life. Sometimes, wonderful things can happen through unexpected life events. We need to learn and grow from them. Come out of them better than we were before.

With the help of a few friends and confidants, the third quarter of the year saw me starting a secondment from my senior nurse or matron role into an operational service management role. After 15 years of working in a range of nursing roles, here I was in a role that didn’t require me to be a nurse. This role change was challenging for me to transition into. Again, I reminded myself  of the reason for the ‘break’ and so I forged ahead. I went on another visit to see my cardiologist and he was amazed at my progress. I reminded him of his challenge to me on my last visit and he went pale with embarrassment. He could not remember asking me the question, however I certainly could remember and I thanked him for giving me the motivation to do something positive to change my life. Life is not perfect, but it was never meant to be. I can confirm that I’m healthier and living life one day at a time and enjoying every second of it. That would explain why I smile so much. The joy within shines through.

The final quarter of 2015 has seen me transition into a new and improved version of myself. As one of my former team members said this week when she introduced me to a new staff member at the hospital where I work, “this is Nichole, she is a very nice lady”. That was one of the best compliments I have ever received. It almost brought tears to my eyes because of the simplicity and the heart-felt, sincere manner in which it was said. I have seen her a few times since and we continue to smile and stop for a quick chat in the corridor as we move from one department to another. It reminds me that I must ‘give without remembering and take without forgeting’.

While we are on our own journeys and going through challenges and life changing events, we must hold our values dear and live them. If I ever feel like giving up, I just have to walk down the corridor and see endless reminders of why I cannot. You never know who is watching and learning from you. Teach them well!

Have a blessed Christmas break and start 2016 with a positive mental attitude knowing that you tower over your circumstances. Your current situation is not your destination!

Join me on my adventure by following my blog or on Twitter @mcintoshnichole



By Nichole McIntosh FRSA

I am a Jamaican-born British nurse, poet, blogger:, vlogger, podcaster, motivational speaker, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Editorial Advisor of the Royal College of Nursing Institute’s Nursing Management Journal.

I am also the Founder and Director of Maroon Mindset Unlimited Ltd, a consultancy company that works with the NHS and other systems to learn, think and behave differently.

Follow me on Twitter: @McIntoshNichole
Instagram: @tyrese876 or @maroon.mindset
Facebook Page: @NicholeMcIntoshFRSA
LinkedIn: Maroon Mindset

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