We don’t like to think about The End. Particularly not our own. So it was refreshing to spend some time with people who think of little else. Hospice UK represents more than 200 hospices around the country. They are in the Ending Business. They believe everyone matters and that no one should die in avoidable pain. They kept that promise to my father earlier this year. (Thank you again, Marie Curie). So when they invited me speak at their annual get-together, I jumped.
I arrived in Liverpool expecting to meet professional, committed and – ok, I’ll admit it – slightly worthy people. What I actually found was ingenuity, curiosity, joy and buckets of aliveness. It’s like the hospice movement is an island of mischief in a sea of Health bureaucracy. What the difference between a hospital and hospice? I asked one palliative care expert. “We encourage whisky – and don’t think flowers will kill you”.
I’ve been thinking a lot about endings this year. There was my Dad’s death for one thing. And then the book I am writing on storytelling for leaders. My observation is that successful people and organisations:
Work from the End Backwards
The people you are leading need a destination not a laminated itinerary.
Celebrate the Mini Endings
If you look there are things to celebrate at the end of every project, week, day, meeting. Even breath.
Keep Learning until the End
It’s not over till it’s over.
Live like Life’s not Endless
If you embrace the end you can start thinking about what follow it. What outlives what you are doing? What’s the sequel?
Endings mean change and that’s unsettling. But we’re all going to have our That’s-All-Folks! moment. It’s powerful and liberating to think in advance about crafting an end to be proud of. That’s what the Hospice movement is doing for you right now. Please support them.