President's Message: Professional Development as Self-Care

It feels like forever that we have been heads down, mired in the day-to-day tasks of running our business. We are all exhausted. We hear a lot about self-care, but who has the luxury to do that? And what does that mean anyway? Yoga, meditation, sleeping in? You’re probably thinking, “I don’t have time for that. I have a business to run.”

I do want to talk to you about self-care, but not that kind. Think self-care for your mind and your business. You probably don’t think of professional development and networking with colleagues as self-care. But it can be just as restorative as the other activities mentioned.

Feeding our minds is good for the soul. I never feel more exhilarated than when I exchange ideas with someone else in the profession. A few months ago I attended an OGR Study Group with a dozen or so other funeral home owners. I left feeling excited to go back to work and implement strategies shared during our discussions.

Taking one hour out of the day to attend a webinar from OGR or another source is also a worthwhile way to take time for yourself. We can’t be our best selves unless we are striving to be better for the families we serve. It may seem insignificant to attend, but a nugget you take away could be the spark that inspires you and your staff to even greater things.

Taking time for yourself also means carving out the time needed to implement the things you learn. Sometimes this is the hardest part of professional development. We walk away from a conference or webinar with all the best intentions, then as soon as we get back to work, the notebook goes in the drawer and all the inspiration goes with it. Find a way to give yourself white space to reflect on what you learned. Then commit to implementing three things over the next week or next month. They don’t have to be big things – just take the first step.

Two years ago OGR developed a three-year strategic plan to ensure that the association continued on a path of providing our members the resources and support they needed to succeed in business. The strategic plan includes three pillars: Members, Brand Identity and Programming Excellence. We are committed to the development of relevant engagement opportunities and educational programming that is applicable to independent funeral home professionals. We have Professional Development and Membership committees comprised of funeral home owners and operators who meet regularly to address the goals set out in our three-year strategic plan and bring you new opportunities to connect, learn and grow.

In the coming year, I encourage you to develop your own personal strategic plan that includes a self-care pillar. Take time to expand your mind, be open to new ideas and strategies, and share and receive your business experiences with others in the profession.

I hope to see you – virtually or in-person – at one or more of the many growth opportunities that OGR has to offer in 2023.

Wishing you happiness and prosperity in 2023!

Paul Hummel III
OGR President, 2022-23

This message was originally published in the Winter 2023 issue of The Independent® magazineClick here to read the entire issue.

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