How’s Your Moxie?
by Debi Tyler Newsom, OTR/L,
PAC Client Relations Director
We are thinking about skill this month. One of the synonyms for skill is moxie. In fact, moxie is skill layered with courage and determination. Here are some other words associated with skill: dexterity, artistry, competence, expertise, and proficiency.
As I looked over that list, it occurred to me that there were some words not on the list: interest, intelligence, knowledge, eagerness, and willingness. What differences do you identify between those two lists of words? Which words imply action, momentum, and implementation? Which words reflect a mood or thought process?
When it comes to dementia care, why should we go beyond awareness and knowledge and move to skill? What is the value of enthusiasm and knowledge if we don’t have a way to practice and apply it? A common example I often refer to is dental care. Knowing what to do, or even being enthusiastic about it, and actually doing it, are two different things.
In my elementary years, my mom took me to the dentist for routine visits. As I sat in that oversized reclining chair and thought about which plastic toy I would choose from the treasure chest when we were done, my eyes focused on a framed print strategically placed. It read, You don’t have to floss all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep! To this day, that phrase echoes in my mind, especially when I am tempted to skip the flossing and just use the toothbrush. My enthusiasm for keeping my original teeth and my cognitive commitment to flossing are not enough to get the job done. I have to actually get that strand of dental floss in between each tooth. It was awkward at first, but got easier with daily practice, and became a regular part of my dental routine.
To develop skill, real skill in dementia care, awareness and knowledge are a great start, enthusiasm is fabulous, and practice, practice, practice is the key to dexterity and competence. New habits require coaching, feedback, opportunities to turn challenges into success, and repetition to ingrain new techniques as routine. Throw in a little moxie and you’ve got a strategy for success and sustainability!
Contact Debi Tyler Newsom at PAC Training for information on building awareness, knowledge, skill, and competence for your organization.