If you've attended my presentation entitled "#WordsMatter (and so do actions & attitudes)" - formerly known as "Injured Workers Are People Too" - you know it's a more philosophical "big picture" dialogue with the audience. I typically go thru a series of words ("claimant," "enabled," "success," "recovery") and concepts ("communication," "respect," "passion," "empathy") to help everyone think how Workers' Compensation can be different / better. I'm always encouraged by the great ideas from that dialogue - from wise people who do it well, or want to do it well, or have learned lessons the hard way. And it's fun for me to watch them think - yes, you can see people think - about how to apply some of what they heard at their job (and in their home because these have universal application).

Yesterday at the Montana Governor's Conference in Big Sky I heard a new word - nobility. Here's the background from the audience member ...

Several years ago he visited a recently widowed woman. So recently, in fact, that her husband had not yet been buried after suddenly dying in a workplace accident. It was admittedly an awkward discussion as he talked through the logistics of her Work Comp claim. She was obviously still grieving from this massive change for herself and their children. He answered her questions, helped her complete paperwork, talked about what would be happening next. Relatively ordinary tasks associated with a claim.

In one of his subsequent follow-ups with her a few months later she thanked him. For his physical presence at that very difficult time. For making this complex "system" she was now involved in seem manageable. For helping her know that the employer would be taking care of her financial needs. For basically converting some of the uncertainty in her future into certainty.

Her appreciation made him feel noble. It fueled his passion later when things didn't go as well, he had to deal with bad actors, and the complexities of the system seemed overwhelming even to him. When his job was difficult (and he didn't feel appreciated) he remembered back to that day when his seemingly ordinary tasks made a difference in someone's life.

One of the things I always mention in these sessions is that every single thing we do as individuals and as a system has an impact on a person. If we do it well, it can help someone return (to work, to function, to life) and help them move on. If we don't do it well, the negative implications could be generational. What we do matters. Every single time.

  • There are multiple definitions of noble:
  • "of high birth or exalted rank" -- Nope
  • "grand or impressive especially in appearance" -- Nope

"possessing, characterized by, or arising from superiority of mind or character or of ideals or morals" -- Yep!

But this "superiority" is not about being better than someone else (i.e. condescending). Instead, it is having outstanding / excellent character, ideals, morals. It's about BEING BETTER. The exact opposite of ignoble ("characterized by baseness, lowness, or meanness").

In other words, doing the right thing. Because ...

"The time is always right to do what is right." - Martin Luther King, Jr. 

So my takeaway from yesterday? Be noble. At your job. In your home. During your travels. Be the person that makes a tangible, positive, impact on other people.


Mark Pew, SVP of Product Development and Marketing for Preferred Medical, has been focused since 2003 on the intersection of chronic pain and appropriate treatment, ranging from the clinical and financial implications of opioids, benzodiazepines and other prescription painkillers, to the evolution of medical marijuana, to advocacy for the BioPsychoSocialSpiritual treatment model. Educating is his job and passion. Contact Pew here, on LinkedIn at markpew, or on Twitter @RxProfessor.


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