It seems, too, that we have grown as a people to aim for a standard far below perfection because we’re sure we can always get it right later, get it right the next time. Or worse: When we do screw up, we’re pretty quick to expect people to be gracious to us, to forgive our errors. When they’re not so amenable, instead of looking at where we might have been wrong and correcting it, we bite back with, “Well, nobody’s PERFECT.”
I saw some of all of that in myself recently, and it was not a pleasant revelation (yes, revelation). And recently I screwed up on the one thing you really CANNOT mulligan: a first impression. Haven’t you heard that? “You never get a second chance to make a first impression?”
Later, when I realized what kind of impression I likely left, I thought about how I could re-do it. But I could not re-do it. I could try to clean up any mess I might have made — but sometimes that just makes matters worse, so be careful — but I could not, in fact, re-do that first impression.
Then I thought about nursing in areas like critical care, emergency or trauma situations. I’ll be in those situations shortly, and I’m glad I got this understanding now: Sometimes there are no mulligans. You have to make a quick decision, and it could be — oh-so-literally — life or death. No do-overs.
Probably we have become somewhat of a “second chances” society out of self-preservation. How untenable is it to live with this kind of pressure all the time — get it right the first time OR ELSE? Way too untenable.
Yet sometimes we MUST live that way. If I’m your emergency nurse, you’d better hope I live this way.