Diane Miller RN said she found the inspiration to start her career from her mother. Miller was raised by her single mother who struggled with a mental illness. Despite having a mental illness, Miller’s mother taught her to have gratitude and to always give people a chance to give back. Because of her mother’s influence, Miller spent time in leadership positions as a psychiatric nurse. She said she helped implement disaster mental health services and directed new hospital programs.

The Road to Leadership

Q: What is your favorite piece of advice that you’ve received and you’d like to pass along? A: Start every day with writing down 10 things you are grateful for — your dog, sunshine, a friend, the ability to walk, sleep, anything. Keep it near your bed. At the end of the day, read it over again. 

How to Handle Chaos

  Q: Have you ever experienced an economic spiral while being a leader (C-suite, director, manager, spouse)? If yes, what happened? If not, how have past downturns affected your career? A: I lived through 9/11 while working in New York in finance. My daughters and I had to make life changes over the years as a result. As a financial advisor, I also made a decision to help athletes — a group that can make a lot of money, but it’s short-term; so, they have unique needs for financial security long-term. I taught classes to many teams. It wasn’t because I was the smartest or most experienced financial advisor, but rather because I had the experience of life changing instantly and drastically, just as an athlete’s income and lifestyle can change suddenly too.  Q: When dealing with a ‘disaster’ (for lack of a better term), how was your emotional state? What kinds of feelings were you feeling? A: When going through disasters, I believe we are all focused on survival and control. When I watched the towers burn on 9/11, I was mostly scared for my newborn and 2-year-old. We thought the world was ending in New York City (and much of the country). I automatically went into survival control mode. Food, water, baby supplies. Getting the house in order was therapeutic for me. I then had the desire to help. (This is the honeymoon phase and coming together of a community, which happens in the early stages of disaster). So, I spent days calling clients, family and friends to support, and shared experiences were comforting. Then, when the anger stage of the 9/11 disaster hit New York, I posted a note on my mirror: “There is an ugly hateful fairy on one shoulder. And a loving forgiving fairy on the other. Which will grow bigger? The one I feed the most.” I used this quote while raising my kids and still today. Q: Please describe what it was like working with your team to solve the problem. What were some challenges you faced having multiple hands stirring the pot? What were some things you were grateful for? A: In my many leadership roles over the years, one of the most challenging to learn was to let go. To delegate. To allow others to own a task or project. It’s easy for leaders, who have the experience and expertise to get to their current position, to want to own the problem. We think it will get done better, faster and easier. Then, you come to a point in your career where you realize the team needs to own a piece of the solution. They can be the expert in that piece. They, too, need to find a purpose and passion in the solving of the problem. My favorite mentors and bosses have allowed me to own my piece of the bigger solution, or goal; they kindly and gently guided me back when I was off course. Q: Overall, from overcoming such an obstacle, what would you say was the best and worst thing that came from it? A: All obstacles, disasters, losses and crises have the potential for danger, or an opportunity for growth. I’ve learned to let go and trust I will find the good somehow.  Q: Right now, the country is dealing with some hard, economic times. What would you say to leaders that are handling this for the first time? How would you advise them NOT to handle it? A: Do not panic. Do not think short-term only. Watch the news in small increments. Trust that the world and the human population have been through worse over the years. If we were to all disappear, then our money is useless anyway. But,  if and when we get through this, it is those who remained level-headed, kind and focused on helping; for these leaders, this will have become a growth opportunity in the long run, regardless of how different their lives may look before and after. Being scared is expected and normal. Get your support where needed. Go through the emotions. But in a leadership position, you must remember that you are the rock-solid person for those you lead. Let them know you’re human and feeling this; but, focus on plans, goals and helping them with theirs,  even if you need to shut your company’s door or shift focus.

Inside the Leader

  Q: Which living person do you most admire? A: May I include my dog and all dogs? They are oblivious to the pandemic. Their lives overall have substantially improved through this. From being alone while their owners go to work, to tons of attention now. Lucky dogs. They live in the moment. They are appreciative and just want to play in nature and share love, even now. Q: When and where are you happiest? A: In the woods with a backpack filled with a water filter, tent, sleeping bag, and food and supplies to survive in the wild for a week or two. Mother Nature is my joy and strength. Q: What is your most treasured possession? A: I have the biggest football card collection. It’s securely locked away, but I love looking at my cards when I need a distraction. A player from the 90s Aztecs and NFL was my first card. Sweetness from the Bears gave me his rookie card when he taught me the game. And, I’ve kept every piece of “art” my daughters made while growing up.

Final Thoughts

Q:What would you tell your teenage self about facing the uncertainty and challenge of our current situation?

A: I would tell her to keep bigger goals (school) in mind but be in the moment and don’t worry too much about where this is going. So much out of our control. Spend some time doing what you enjoy. Take up a new hobby cooking etc. and talk to friends via phone / FaceTime /Skype sometimes. Since they can’t be face to face in person. Back and forth conversation so you know you are going through it together with friends.

 

In the Works 

Q: Is there anything that you’re currently working on that you’d like to promote?
A: My website has a list of my current passion projects. As an RN, I am waiting to see where I’m needed the most over this pandemic.

 

Follow Diane Here:

You can email Diane Miller to learn more about Diane Miller Consulting, LLC and Firstdown4Ever, LLC. Check out her website at dianemillerconsulting.com for more information. You can also connect with her on LinkedIn.

 

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Cydney Melton

Cydney Melton

News & Media Assistant

Cydney Melton is a fourth year journalism major at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, but is originally from Cardiff, California. Although she has not spent much time around race cars, she has spent a lot of time riding motorcycles in the desert, on the back of her dad’s Harley and just recently got her own motorcycle license. Cydney is a big advocate for women empowerment and encouraging women in male-dominated industries. She will be working as the News and Media Assistant, highlighting the progress and power of the Athena women as they claim their spot in the racing world.