• Fresh Views

    Perspective over comparison

    No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. – Eleanor Roosevelt

    The trees in Kentucky are bringing their showy fall foliage. Each does not think about competing with the tree beside it. They just do their thing and bring their color.

    Our last post focused on the impactful words that Tami keeps on a post-it note stuck to her computer monitor: Progress, not perfection. These words build on how the growth mindset draws attention to one’s own progress. Today we turn our attention to 3 more impactful words shared by a mentor over the years: Perspective over comparison.

    Accepting oneself can be hard! 

    In life it can be easy to default to comparing yourself to others. Just last week Tami heard these words from a patient, “I’m bad…I don’t eat the way I’m supposed to. I don’t keep my blood sugars as well controlled as my friend who also has diabetes.”  It’s so easy to get caught up in creating our own opinions of ourselves and how we measure up to others. We can play the comparison game all day long but how helpful is that really? Comparison can leave us feeling down. 

    Being realistic about personal strengths and challenges is often easier said than done. Striving to be honest with ourselves and accept who we are, our abilities, and acknowledge when we’ve reached our limits is the goal. Without acceptance it’s impossible to move forward. In a 2018 #DSMA Twitter Chat we asked participants about their strengths. One individual with diabetes replied:

    “I am strong when it comes to seeking support. When I am down, I am self-aware enough to address my hardship. I’m not afraid to be vulnerable.”

    Another replied:

    “My strength is that I refuse to give up. I am tenacious and do not take no for an answer.”

    Acceptance is critical when living with a chronic condition like diabetes

    When encountering clients/patients facing this comparison scenario, diabetes care and education specialists (DCES) can step alongside as a think partner and give perspective to the circumstances. We can offer caring, support and encouragement.

    People need to feel safe when engaging with their care team to acknowledge what they can do, along with what is challenging for them. This past week in an educational symposium for people with diabetes that Tami spoke at, the participants voiced loud and clear the theme of feeling judgment from their healthcare providers. DCES have a unique opportunity to support those that live with diabetes as they learn to accept changes and new challenges in dealing with diabetes. And, practice acceptance, understanding that people react to challenges differently. It’s critical to accept the person in front of you as they are, without judgment.

    An individual typically can recognize and clearly identify things they are able to do or achieve and feel happy. We can then encourage focus on those strengths, do more of what is working, and leverage those strengths, skills and qualities to create new opportunities. 

    In the same Twitter Chat mentioned above, another participant shared:

    “I concentrate on the lifestyle. The day to day life of a person with diabetes. I work for overall health through exercise, and diet for BGL [blood glucose] results. The support I receive takes care of the rest. So, cure or not, let’s make it as good as we can and support the other.”

    Diabetes care and education specialists can learn a lot from simply asking people what strengths they have to help them live well with diabetes, keeping top of mind, it’s all about perspective over comparison.

    Here are 6 solution-focused questions you can incorporate to focus on perspective, strengths, and self-acceptance:

    1. What would success look like for you (e.g. in life, in living with diabetes etc)?
    2. What strengths do you have and use to help you manage your diabetes every day? 
    3. How can you use your strengths to create opportunities for success?
    4. What is one thing you have come to accept in your life that took some time to process?
    5. How did you feel when you were finally able to accept that challenging situation?
    6. How could you use those experiences and feelings to move you forward to accept a new challenge now?

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Follow us on Twitter @AFreshPOVforYou

    Deb is employed by Dexcom, but her words and opinions in this blog are her own.

    Tami is employed by the University of Kentucky HealthCare Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center, but her words and opinions in this blog are her own.

  • Fresh Views

    Bring A Fresh Perspective to Diabetes Technology Through Solution-Focused Conversations & Principles

    Perspective is everything when you are experiencing the challenges of life. – Joni Earackson Tada

    Arch Rock, Joshua Tree National Park, California

    In this new year, are you looking to add a fresh perspective to your diabetes care and education conversations?

    Over the past two years, through this blog and our research publications and presentation we’ve been sharing tips and guidance to help diabetes care and education specialists incorporate principles of solution-focused practice into their conversions with clients. At its core, solution-focused practice is based on relationship building between the client and the clinician who acts as a “think partner.” The overarching themes of most of our blogs help the diabetes care and education specialist to view their interactions with a new perspective and challenge them to think differently. (With the mention of “overarching” we thought the photo above as fitting for our “fresh view” for this post.)

    With the rapid evolution of technology-enabled care during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been discussing the need to focus some of our learnings to support the use of solution-focused principles when incorporating technology into care and education. So, we’ve decided to launch a series of blog posts focused on different aspects of technology-enabled diabetes care and education and incorporating solution-focused principles. Over the next few posts we’ll write  about various technologies that impact and influence diabetes care and education including diabetes apps, digital health tools, diabetes devices, online peer support and online coaching.

    In the meantime, there are two papers focused on incorporating technology into practice that we encourage you to check out. They were published by colleagues (including Deb) in August 2020 in The Diabetes Educator journal (now The Science of Diabetes Self-Management and Care):

    • The second paper used continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) as an exemplar for integrating technology into practice. In this paper a simplified process for evaluating CGM data was presented. This DATAA model (an acronym for download data, assess for safety, time in range, areas to improve and action plan) not only simplifies data interpretation, but also includes solution-focused principles along with strength-based language practices to empower people to use their data for learning and behavior change.

    Stop back by in two weeks to see which technology to impact and influence diabetes care and education that we focus on first!  

    We welcome anyone interested in our approach to Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Deb is employed by Dexcom but her words and opinions in this blog are her own.

  • Fresh Views

    Take a pause to gain a fresh perspective

    Photo taken on one of Tami’s pauses

    When life gets crazy, as it often does for us, a strategy that we @AFreshPOVforYOU find particularly useful is taking a pause or break to help clear our minds and gain a fresh perspective. It could be a half hour, an afternoon, a day, or a week. Tami has found that when her mind is jumbled or she’s trying to work out a problem, taking a walk allows her to think, her creative juices to flow, and to gain a fresh perspective. (And sometimes even happen upon a stunning sunset view like the one above captured on a recent walk). Deb enjoys sitting outside in her backyard, enjoying the view of the trees, flowers and clear water in the pool.  Even getting away from our desks and out of the office at lunch brings clarity and new thinking. We’ve found when we’re hit with “writer’s block”, just putting the project away for a day or two allows us to return with a clearer mind, new ideas and new perspective. Clients we’ve worked with have shared a variety of things they do to take a pause – from taking a long run, reading a pleasure book, mowing the yard, or simply sitting and being present in the moment, Taking that pause can change your perspective….much like “turning turtle” can. You can read more about “turning turtle” in our January 30, 2019 blog.

    Have you tried stepping away for a bit when you’re in the midst of a challenge? Maybe you’re struggling with insurance benefits and getting your medication prescription filled, or maybe a co-worker questioned the food you were eating at lunch. (we know that never happens!) Taking a pause may sound counterproductive, but actually it’s not. As you step away, spend a moment acknowledging all the hard work you have done. Remind yourself  what you’ve accomplished or what is going well, even though it may feel like the world is swirling around you.

    The practice of using solutions focused brief therapy (SFBT) encourages the exercise of asking questions when trying to identify solutions. A key premise of SFBT is that the individual is the only person who can understand his or her own needs, strengths and capabilities. The practitioner can facilitate by asking questions. One opportunity to incorporate the practice of asking questions is during these moments when you need to pause and step away.

    Here are 3 questions to consider to help guide your thinking and help gain perspective:

    1. Compliment yourself on your current efforts.  What would you say to yourself?
    2. What good intentions did you have when you started out today?
    3. What is the most important quality you have and use when you are under stress or pressure and how can you leverage that now?

    Asking yourself these questions when your mind is calm, and you are not distracted can help remind you of the resources you have within you and re-focus on your strengths.

    We often find that the more challenging the season in life, the more often we need to pause. It’s an important part of self-care. Sometimes just stepping away from a situation for awhile helps to bring a fresh perspective.

    Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published! 
    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

  • Fresh Views

    Reframing: One way to bring a fresh perspective

    Our key to transforming anything lies in our ability to reframe it.  – Marianne Williamson

    Reframe by definition means, “to look at, present, or think of in a new or different way or from a different perspective.”  We can change the way we look at something and consequently change how we experience it. Reframing is not simply “positive thinking” – it is different. It is a technique to help view a behavior or situation in a more positive context that allows recognizing and appreciating positive aspects of the situation. The facts remain the same, but a deliberate shift is made in how we see it. Reframing helps us to use whatever life hands us as opportunities to be taken advantage of and live life more fully, rather than problems to be avoided.

    Reframing a situation, idea, or belief can bring a fresh perspective. In illustration, this week Tami found herself at a dead standstill in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic. All she wanted was to just get home. Ever been there? The stress started to rise, until she intentionally made the decision to reframe the situation. Rather than focusing on the sea of red brake lights, and viewing the traffic jam as a stressful “problem,” she reframed it as an “opportunity.” An opportunity to pause after a stressful day. An opportunity to catch the dramatic sunset you see in the picture below. And an opportunity to gain a fresh perspective on her situation. “Problem” has a heavy quality to it, while “challenging” is energizing. Our energy can be affected by a simple change of word.

    By the way, what do you see in the clouds? Many have shared that they see a Phoenix, the mythical, magical bird that lives for several hundred years before it dies and is reborn from the ashes, to start a new, long life. Such powerful symbolism. Could reframing help you to start a new life, so to speak, with a fresh perspective?

    Reframing can even enable you to implement the ancient wisdom that says – you can’t always control what happens to you, but you can certainly control how you react to it. Beyond reframing a “problem” as an “opportunity” for change, here are a few other examples of reframing:

    • A “weakness” as a “strength”
    • A “demanding” person as an “assertive” person
    • “Unkindness” as “lack of understanding”
    • An “impossibility” as a “possibility”

    In reflecting on clients we’ve worked with over the years, a multitude of times we’ve heard them reframe a diabetes diagnosis from a “problem” to an “opportunity.” An opportunity to  eat healthy, be more active, or lose a few pounds. Some clients have new, close friends or even new jobs, because they have diabetes. Living with diabetes encouraged them to change their focus in life.  Looking at life through a positive reframe certainly doesn’t mean ignoring the stress and pain that life may bring, but it does help deal with the challenges by seeing them in a different light and from a fresh perspective. It transforms a less than desirable situation into a worthy purpose. Reframing gives you an opportunity to neutralize negative feelings and be more action-oriented.

    Reframing is a tool you already have in your tool belt. By implementing the powerful tool of reframing, we can find resources we didn’t realize we had, and continue to move forward becoming more resilient. We can be inspired to keep our attitude strong and hopeful. In closing, here are some characteristics of resilient people:

    • Awareness
    • Perseverance
    • Internal locus of control
    • Optimism
    • Support
    • Sense of humor
    • Perspective

    We’ll revisit reframing in January, and how to use this tool to make New Year’s Solutions (rather than New Year’s Resolutions).

  • Fresh Views

    Thoughts on time and perspective

    Sometimes you just need a little bit of time for yourself to clear up your mind and see things from a new perspective. – Anonymous (Jar of Quotes)


    It’s National Diabetes Month and we’re on the go raising awareness about diabetes, gaining new perspectives, and challenging those impacted by diabetes to embrace possibilities, opportunities and a fresh vision for the future!

    As you may be catching on, we are all about the “view”…from striking “views” on life’s travels to embracing a positive perspective in viewing life itself, day-in and day-out. So on that note, we want to share this “view” from one stop in the November travels  – looking out over Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland.

    The top photo was snapped in the morning on the way out the door. Then below you see that same view, taken before settling in for the night. What a difference the passage of time and associated changes in lighting makes. The lighting changes what is perceived, and how. Twilight brings a whole new and beautiful perspective…the ability to see the harbor in a different way and see things that aren’t visible during the day.

    Taking that thought a step further…What could be possible if you took a little time to clear your mind, and shifted your focus from the problems you’re facing living with diabetes, to instead focus on those times when things are going as desired? What if you viewed things in a different light? How can you build upon your successes?

    Here’s an example for those using continuous glucose monitors (CGM) to stay in touch with blood glucose levels. When looking at trends and patterns, rather than focusing on the time blood glucose is out of range and trying to “fix” that, how about turning your focus to times you are in range, what  was going on then, and trying to do more of that. What small steps can you begin to take in that direction?

    Without a doubt diabetes is complex and burdensome. No one wants or needs anything NEW to do. But what if you focus on the things that are already working for you and try to do those more often?

    That’s the challenge we leave you with today. Time may bring a new perspective.

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

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