Friday, February 10, 2017


Recently I was put on a big project at work to help build the "nursing role" within my company. Since nurses working for insurance companies is a fairly "new" idea. I chuckled a bit when I was invited to participate on this committee...for this is my 3rd "RN Retention Committee" I've been asked to serve on in my short 6 1/2 years in this field.

After serving on the committee, I got a phone call from a "Leadership Consultant" in my company (one of the perks of working for a big many resources!!) -- who said she wanted to be my mentor. I was ecstatic about this. As every time I listen to her speak or lead a meeting, I always thought to myself "Wow, I want to be like her when I grow up." She is an incredible leader and communicator.

She has given me several tasks to do, books to read, videos to watch on my own time, to grow me as a leader.

But the most interesting task I was given was to take this "5 Strengths" Test through Gallup. It's a $15 test online that will outline your strongest qualities. And when I finished the test, I was directed to call her back and talk about those strengths.

Not that I am compensated by any means by Gallup - but if you'd like to learn about what type of lead (and really, person) you are - I strongly recommend this!

The test took me about 45 min-1 hr, and is pretty darn accurate.

My Top 5 Strengths:

1. Individiualization
This was definitely summed up by her 1st question to me after reading my results. "Is there anyone you hate?" My answer is no. I am extremely quick to forgive. I look at every individual, and can see someone good about them, and therefore get along with just about anyone.

Are there people who behave in ways I don't like? Of course. I'm not Mother Teresa in any way. But I feel like I can "name" the issue, and move on quite easily. In fact, I kind of enjoy connecting with people are are incredibly different than me -- because it makes me realize that we can all get along and love another if we try!

2. Achiever
This strength isn't so much on being an "achiever" as it is getting great joy of "doing". People strong in this area, are often the one's who don't like the sit down. We can sometimes irritate our family members, because we overbook our calendars and overcommit. We love "to do lists". The 1st question from my mentor was "Abby, How many *to do lists* do you have going?" I started laughing. I have them everywhere in our house. And sometimes I'll even write things down that weren't originally on my to-do list JUST to cross them off.

And I am currently in an "over-committed dilemma". So this trait definitely fits me.

3. Strategic
This trait was described as the type of people who get from Point A to Point F in the most direct unique manner. And if other people don't see your method, we often get annoyed.

I never really think of myself as "strategic". I'm horrible at "strategy games". (Especially when I play with my husband who is an engineer. )

However, when explained in that way - I do come up with some clever ways of doing things and figuring things out. I wouldn't say I "cut corners" - but I use "strategy" to get what I need.

4. Learner
I'm kind of surprised this wasn't higher up on my list. The learner is always wanting to learn and try new things. This is absolutely me. This doesn't mean I'm super intelligent or an expert at learning

 We read hundreds of different articles about different things. We probably aren't an expert in any one thing. But we have our hand in every pot we possible can get our hand in.

This can be a weakness. And it is for me! I want to be everything. Just look at my job history: Health Insurance Case Manager, Cross Country Coach (part time), Pulmonary Research Nurse, Hospital Case Manager, ER Nurse, Travel Nurse, Fitness Intstructor (part time), Telemetry RN, House Supervisor, Charge Nurse, Bank Teller, CNA, Waitress, Hotel Housekeeper.....

Sometimes for fun I just research random nursing jobs. Ex: The other day I looked up what it takes to be come an Esthetician. And how I could start a business as one. What in the what?!

And then 20 minutes later I'm researching how to build yourself as a Private Youth Athletic Coach. I am all over the place. My husband is a patient man.

5. Communication 
This one is kind of obvious. It relates to being able to express yourself without difficulty. Anyone who has spent time with me knows I'm not one to "hold things in". "Communicators" take great care in conversations, and we put a lot of thought into making our conversations come out positively.

My apology for the novel. This was just kind of fun. In fact, when I saw Ryan 3 weeks ago in NY, I told him about this test. and he has taken a variety of these types of tests in his job - so it was fun to share and talk about our results. Doing so really "clicked" as to why we work well together!

Have you had to take a leadership-type test? What were your top strengths?? 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Peculiar Destinations

As I was writing about our trip to Syracuse, I made the statement " I don't think we would have visited this part of the country, if it weren't for Ryan's job.". And it dawned on me that there are a lot of beautiful, amazing places I wouldn't have explored...if it weren't for just that!

"We will see how things play out" are words that come out of my mouth several times/week, in fact. When trying to make plans in advance.

And I'm okay with that. We cannot control what we cannot control!

So here are few gems we have found due to our situation:

1. Tucson!! When I look back at "me" 10 years ago, I would not have chose Tucson. In fact, if you gave me a map and said "Pick anywhere" -- I'd pick someone with more seasons. But, WOW, I can't picture life had we need found this place. Our adventures, the hobbies we've picked up, the friends we've made, the lifestyle we developed....

2. Montgomery, Alabama. Now this would not be my #1 place to visit. But since Ryan graduated from officer school here -- I visited him for his graduation back in March of 2012. If you ever have to be there -- it is a gem of a downtown! Really good restaurants, very charming old buildings, great history!

3. Las Vegas. Ryan has had to go to Vegas for various trainings over the years. We are exactly crazy about Vegas, but always have made the best of our trips! 
City lights views from the Stratophere

I went to visit him a few years ago, and while he was in school all day - I ventured out to Red Rock Canyon Park to trail run. Incredibly beautiful!!

4. San Antonio/Austin, Texas. We got to live in San Antonio for about 5 months summer of 2013. I do not recommend the Riverwalk. But there are many gems to found be in this region. Pictured below are a few of my favorites!
Guadalupe River. We went tubing down this with friends a few times. 

I also found a bike route that goes along the river for about 20 miles! It was just a stunning place for cyclists! This picture marks such a fun and memorable day. We biked the Guadalupe River, and then had lunch in a German Town called Gruene. So fun!

This is a picture of the running rails of McAlister Park in San Antonio. San Antonio had some beautiful parks and trail running in the outskirts of town. It was common to find deer early in the morning when I'd go running!

And of course, the Texas state capitol. Bigger than the US Capitol. Of course! Everything is bigger in Texas ;)

5. Alamogordo, NM. Now I would not tell you all to get on the 1st flight to Las Cruces. Ha!!! But Ryan had to live here for 5 months in 2014, and darnit we made the best of the weekends I would come visit him!! 
White Sands is incredible. That is all sand around me. You can sled in the sand! 
I also highly recommend the mountain town of Cloudcroft!! Very charming with art stores, pubs, and good restaurants. 

6. Keystone, Colorado -- While Ryan was stuck in New Mexico - his group of classmates did a weekend of skiing/snowboarding in Keystone. It was about an 8 hour drive. This was a fast but incredible weekend!

7. The wild blue yonder. Ryan had to get his private pilot license for his job. Due to that - I have been able to go up in the sky with him. I absolutely LOVE flying. I don't like taking the yoke, but I love helping navigate and taking in the scenery!
This was our view flying over the Salt River just north of Phoenix, AZ.

8. And finally...Syracuse/Ithaca! And soon NYC because he is in Syracuse! 

So whenever I get frustrated with the process and lifestyle, I need to just be referred to this page of my blog! I cannot wait to see what adventures await. We never know in advance! ;)