Above the line thinking graphic

Above the Line Thinking for Nurses

Many years ago, we saw a graphic on Above the Line Thinking. It was very thought provoking because it pointed out those attributes that everyone should value. But, better yet, if we all had Above the Line Thinking in every area of our life, we would be real winners and life could be far less complicated.

What is Above the Line Thinking? As we reflected on this question, it truly boils down to a maturity that comes with repeatedly doing the rights things, choosing integrity instead of the easy road and being open and honest in our communication and dealings with others. Some of the areas covered:

– 100% Responsibility – I am responsible for how my life unfolds. Yes, there are and will be circumstances beyond my control, but what do I do about them? Do I make excuses? Do I blame someone else? Or do I look for a good result? Do I take action or do I victimize myself? Do I analyze the choices I have and choose wisely.

– Effective Communication – Do I communicate a situation or problem in a clear, concise manner?Or am I vague, non-committal or even a liar? And, yes, this includes little “white” lies. One thing about life – the truth always comes out. Too often in relationships we “swallow” hurts or problems until we erupt. If we practice effective communication these issues will quickly pass away.

The same thing holds true for the workplace. We need to be willing to ask questions, get direction and communicate if something is wrong or we don’t understand. How we communicate is critical.

Anger will never get us anywhere. Whether it is in personal or professional communication. We can be angry, but our communication should not be. One of the most effective ways to control the situation is to prepare mental notes beforehand so what needs to be said can be done in a calm and assertive (not aggressive) fashion. We are less likely to get side-tracked with anger during a difficult conversation if we have thought of what to say and how to say it.

– Acceptance – That means you have the right to choose your path in life. I cannot sit in judgement of you. Now, this doesn’t mean that I cannot counsel you if you are headed in the wrong direction and you are open to my counsel; but, I also must give advice/help in a way meant to build up and not tear down the other person.

– Choice – An above the line thinker realizes they have choices in life. That includes how I respond to things that don’t go our way. How we react to other people. How I choose to face the day – do I have a smile on my face or am I Debbie Downer? And, yes, sometimes it is really, really hard to do this, but, once again, choosing your attitude puts you in control. You are not a victim.

– Hope – Are we hopeful for what life will bring or do we feel hopeless? Hopelessness is below the line thinking. We react instead of act and we are stuck in our own mind. We must work to turn that thinking to Above the Line Thinking, where we will respond, analyze and make our choices, and start back on the road to hope.

– Serve – A mature individual is one who knows that serving other people brings joy. And, this doesn’t mean being subservient. It means you have chosen to engage without expectation of getting something in return. You give simply because it matters. And, you make the sacrifice to serve because it is noble and honorable. You don’t do it to receive recognition. This could mean community service, helping your neighbor, or unexpectedly doing the dishes at home. Choosing to serve is a wonderful feeling. The beauty of our business is we serve patients every day.

Above the Line Thinking requires work. It requires us to grow as a person – in our feelings and in our actions. And, to do so is hard work. There are two quotes that readily come to mind:

“If I always do what I always did, I will always get what I always got.”

And, the other one is:

“It takes a big person to be able to dam up a negative behavior and re-route it.”

Our Elite Team is a team that thinks above the line. We are always seeking the best in ourselves and others. Keep this chart handy and look at it frequently to make sure in everything you are an above the line thinker!