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The Power of One

The power of one. Receiving a bouquet of flowers is something many of us enjoy. Having a big bouquet of fresh cut flowers in an assortment of colors makes my heart sing. The brighter and larger bouquet is better. Recently, I was given a beautiful bouquet of fresh, brightly mixed flowers.

After ten days, the flowers began to fade and slowly die, as they always do. I decided their best days were behind them. As I looked at the flowers seeing if I could “save” any, there was one lily, a smaller one on a branch of three that was still fresh. I clipped it off, saved it, and put it in a smaller vase.   It was beautiful: simple, elegant and unique.

Sense of calm

Interestingly, I felt a sense of calm as I marveled at this single lily flower. I realized how much I loved seeing just ONE flower, alone in a vase. It’s beauty stood out. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE flowers, often the more the better. Yet, there was something special about this one flower. I could really see the intricate beauty of this one that was lost in a whole bouquet. Sometimes, simple is better.

Isn’t that so true about life, our relationships at home and at work. There is power in the simple, the ONE thing.

The Power of One

What about when we are working with patients and clients on behavior change? The power of ONE thing: one next step, one goal.   Often, our patients get so overwhelmed with all that is wrong. “Your sugar levels are high, your weight is up, your blood pressure is elevated. Are you taking your medications?”   Yikes. It is all necessary and part of the office visit yet it can be so overwhelming and paralyzing for both the patient and practitioner. This is especially true when working with the change process.

Sometimes we may want to pull back, reassess, and ask what they are interested in. Ask what, if any, concerns they might have. What “matters to them” and then focus on ONE thing.  What Matters to YOU.  See the power, the beauty of one step, one action, and one intention. Behavior change, one step at a time.

Questions we can ask:

“What is one small step you can make to go forward?”

“Where can you start?”

“What is something you can tweak to make this work?”

“As you leave the appointment today, what is one thing you will do?”

“What do I need to move forward?”

“Where do I need to start?”

All of these are questions we can ask family,  friends, team members, patients, clients and ourselves. What is one step?

Transform conversations. Transform healthcare. Transform lives.

Dr. Becky Lang


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“Dr. Lang’s training provided me with a better understanding of the motivational interviewing process. The skills I learned from her training have helped me feel more engaged and thoughtful when listening and talking with those around me. Dr. Lang is energetic, knowledgeable, passionate and provides a great learning environment.”

Nancy AdrianseBSDH, Oral Health Manager, Iowa Primary Care Association

“The training I received in Becky’s motivational interviewing class was invaluable. It laid a wonderful foundation for me to effectively empower my patients to develop and implement positive changes for their health. Becky created such a nurturing, nonthreatening environment that allowed me to freely learn and practice. This is certainly a class I can recommend to anyone wanting to learn to assist others with behavior changes.”

Robin GeorgeRN, Motivational Interviewing training participant

“At the YMCA, we have worked with Dr. Becky Lang for over a decade now to help us shift and shape our culture. As an organization committed to strengthening our community, the coaching and training skills that Dr. Lang has provided have helped us immensely. With her education and guidance she has helped us establish a culture that focuses on building meaningful relationships with our members, focusing on their needs, and coaching them towards success in their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Lang has trained all levels of our staff from our front line Wellness Coaches to our Executive Directors and Leadership Teams. Her on-going support has allowed the coaching-culture to come alive in our organization.”

Kim Stewart Kim Stewart Director of Operations, YMCA of Greater Des Moines

“The training Becky provided has been one of the most rewarding nursing experience I have had in 30 years. The style of interviewing and teaching patients is rewarding and positive. Her techniques drive the sessions to be more personal and patient-centered. Through Becky’s teaching, I was comfortable to practice and get familiar with the motivational interviewing process. Becky is an exceptional trainer and I recommend her training to all health coaches and educators.”

Sandy LovelessRN, Motivational Interviewing training participant

“The motivational interviewing techniques Becky teaches allow patients to set goals and work toward changes that are important to them. Patients feel in control of their own health and allow me to be in a more supportive roll. Becky has a positive and uplifting spirit that makes her classes extremely enjoyable.”

Tyra CarltonRN, Motivational Interviewing training participant

“Rebecca Lang was a respected colleague who diligently served as a teacher and mentor to hundreds of students over her long career at Grand View University. I had the distinct pleasure to work with Becky and regularly witness her vocation to Wellness education. She motivates those around her by a strong and genuine commitment to a lifestyle which promotes health and well-being.”

Katharina TumpekPhD, Professor and former Chair, Dept. of Health Promotions, Grand View University

“It has been a pleasure to work with Becky Lang over the last 25 years. Within a variety of contexts in the wellness arena, I have witnessed Dr. Lang’s mastery as a wellness educator, a health coach, a professor, and, most recently, as a health coaching trainer. I could go on at length about Dr. Lang’s passion, enthusiasm, high energy, wisdom, and deep knowledge in health promotion and behavior change. One of the attributes that impresses me most, though, is her ability to create a relaxed, fun, interactive, and content-rich training environment. Her refreshingly supportive, inviting, and empathic style of training and coaching allows learners to take risks, experiment, try on new skills, and participate authentically in role play exercises without feeling awkward and intimidated. Through Dr. Lang’s coaching and training, people learn–often more than they imagined.”

Jill NorrisRN, MPH, PCMH-CCE, Director, Care Management, University of Iowa Health Alliance