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October 17, 2012

Work that Matters

No matter what your line of business is these days – chances are you are working harder than ever. Longer hours, more work, less staff, looming deadlines, travel….all of the things that make your days long.

Why do we do it?! On difficult days I often threaten (plants) with becoming a florist instead; but this week I had an “Oh, THAT’S why we do it” moment. Allow me to share:

Earlier this spring, we produced an educational program for the National MS Society. One of the topics we explored was pain and pain management techniques.

Now, most of us understand the concept of pain. We’ve all had a headache or a band-aide worthy experience, but try to imagine severe, incessant, unrelenting pain. Imagine living with pain every day, all the time. Now imagine trying to do everything you normally do, when you’re not in pain: make the kids lunch, drive to work, balance your checkbook, etc. Because, let’s face it: when most of us experience extreme pain, we lie down, we take an aspirin, we take a break.

There are techniques for management, and these were explored within the video Pain in Multiple Sclerosis; however for some people, pain is nearly ever present regardless of medications, or management techniques.

As content producers, we are lucky enough to have opportunities to learn new things. This is something I personally enjoy immensely. Research can be interesting, even exciting. We seek out participants and information, and then piece everything together through filming and post-production into a well-structured and effective story.

Once complete, we move on to the next one. Our subjects do not.

Last week, one of our participants received and viewed the completed program. She responded with an email commending us for our work on the program. And while it is always nice to hear that, “good job, I enjoyed it” from your audience, what wasn’t expected was the reminder that what we do, and the stories we tell, have consequence and purpose.

This is what she said, “I have developed a new type of pain… and I have been feeling very frustrated and down, but after my watching the video it reminded me to pull out the tool kit and to throw ‘mad and sad’ out of the window. After my morning walk I felt better and it also reminded me of focusing on the beauty in life…education is so important to helping others learn ways to help themselves and I wanted to reiterate that what you are doing with this education program is phenomenal and worth all your hard work.”

Now, we all have tough days, but this was perspective building for me. And it was a nice reminder that what we do actually matters. How we tell the story matters. The content and the results, matter.

I have the greatest job. I really do, because on every single project we meet someone new, someone who has a story to tell, a gift to share, or a lesson to teach.  My job is to learn and do these stories justice, to explore them as best I can and put it all together in a way that informs and entertains, and at the end of the day makes a real difference.

This story is the first of a three part series we will dedicate to inspiring people, the work they do and results that matter.