Daunting – that’s the word that described how I felt each time I thought about taking the Certified Patient Experience Professional (aka CPXP) exam. It seemed like such a daunting feat, and yet I truly believed it was something I should do – professionally and personally.
Professionally, taking and (hopefully) passing the CPXP exam, there were countless reasons why I thought it was something I should pursue – most predominantly credibility.
Personally, it was overcoming that constant battle in my head that I fight – the fear of failure. You’d think that as an adult, having lived more than half a century that I would be more comfortable with accepting my best self. But alas, finding triumph in simply having the courage to try alludes me.
Still, this was something that I couldn’t let go. I kept ‘playing the tape forward’ and could feel the disappointment in myself if I chose not to take the exam. But, ‘playing a different tape forward’ I could feel what it was like when I passed – when I called myself a CPXP. There was something empowering, bold and confident in that image that quieted the fear-filled voice in my head just a bit. Still, I wasn’t ready to apply.
I accessed all of the available information on the PXI website. I participated in the CPXP Prep Webinar. I purchased the CPXP Workbook – all in an endeavor to overcome that fear. But still, I didn’t apply.
My fear of failure is a loud, discouraging deterrent to growth and adventure, putting all of what matters on the end result. And this notion of ‘it’s all about the end’ is in such conflict of what I believe and have experienced, as one of my own mantras in life is – “It’s never about the end, it’s always about the middle”. So, I had to find a way forward – to appreciate the middle, and to celebrate the courage I had in choosing trying.
And so, I called Peggy, my Beryl Institute Faculty colleague, in the hopes that I could find support and a study buddy to bolster my confidence.
“Hey Peggy”, I said.
“Are you planning on taking the CPXP exam?” I asked.
“I hadn’t really thought about it”, she replied.
Seriously?!? Not thought about it?!? I haven’t stopped thinking about it! Now what?
“Well”, I said, quietly stepping into that space of vulnerability,
“I think I want to take it, and wanted to know if you would take it with me … I’m afraid I won’t pass”. (Even as I write these words, I am hearing the ridiculousness of this fear and the stifling nature of its implications.)
And almost immediately, I was calmed, comforted, and catapulted into the ‘middle’.
“Sure, what the heck”, Peggy responded.
Peggy and I set up our first prep call 3 months before the exam. It was clear from that first meeting that we had very different study patterns. I was very structured. I outlined a prep approach where we used the CPXP Workbook as our guide. I assigned focus areas with specified completion timeframes. I set up weekly teleconferences for us to review content. I made sure we had available all of the resource recommendations. And, within each structured step I took, Peggy was right there - encouraging me, supporting me, and patiently tolerating my prescriptive approach.
We met weekly, reviewing each knowledge domain, often surprising myself by how much I knew. And over time I began to relax. I began to trust myself, my knowledge, my experience, my understanding of the material. The more comfortable I got with the process of preparing and the material, the more confident I got in taking (and passing) the exam.
Soon our study sessions grew more into developing situational exercises and less into memorizing content. I began to appreciate Peggy’s brilliance and curiosity in asking – ‘I wonder how they would write an exam question for that’? I could feel Peggy’s confidence – it was contagious. I often thought, ‘If she can do it, so can I’!
And as you might expect, this ‘Sure, what the heck’ CPXP prep adventure grew into an remarkable friendship – one filled with respect, laughter and appreciation for each other and the strengths we share individually and collectively.
In October, 2016 I took the CPXP exam… and passed. And as I ‘play the tape backward’, reflecting on the choice I had in front of me, I am grateful for choosing to jump into the middle. The middle was filled with growth, courage, focus, support, encouragement, strengths, friendships and confidence. The middle helped remind me of my best self. And the middle helped to develop me into an even better patient experience professional.
“It’s never about the end – it’s always about the middle”.
P.S. With heartfelt appreciation, thank you Peggy.
P.S.S. For those of you considering any step forward into a new space of experience – Go for it! Trust yourself, your strengths, and those core qualities within you that make you your magnificent, best self!
Diane works with and supports The Beryl Institute as a faculty member, facilitating virtual classroom sessions, topic calls and workshops. She is also Founder and President of Contagious Change, LLC, assisting healthcare organizations to achieve new potentials. Specializing in improving the healthcare experience, she works with clients to tailor programs and improvement initiatives. She is a certified professional coach, and developer of The hArt of Medicine®, a program designed to engage the clinician in creating therapeutic relationships and improving their communication and empathy skills through a unique experiential learning approach. Diane believes that ‘everyone has the capacity to change a world’. Whether the world is the physical space that we occupy or a moment in an individual's life; we all have the ability to create a positive energy that brings about an amazing change.
To learn more about the upcoming CPXP Prep Course on June 20th in Chicago, click here.