Yesterday I rewatched one of my favorite Oprah Super Soul Sessions with Brené Brown live at the UCLA campus in Los Angeles.

(If you’ve never heard of Brené Brown, start by watching her TED Talk on The Power of Vulnerability here.)

Brené’s Oprah talk, The Anatomy Of Trust, describes the concept of trust and the marble jar in the classroom.

Here’s the story she told:

Brené: One day my daughter Ellen came home from school. She was in 3rd grade. And the minute we closed the front door, she literally just started sobbing and slid down the door until she was just kind of a heap of crying on the floor. I said, “What’s wrong Ellen? What happened?”

Ellen: Something really hard happened at school today and I shared it with a couple of my friends during recess. And by the time we got back into the classroom, everyone knew what had happened. They were laughing and pointing at me and calling me names. And it was so bad, and the kids were being so disruptive, the teacher started taking marbles out of the marble jar.

Brené to audience: The marble jar at school is a jar where if the kids are making great choices together, the teacher adds marbles to the jar. If they are not making great choices, the teacher takes out the marbles. And when the marble jar is full, the class has a celebration.

Trust is like a marble jar.

You share those hard stories and those hard things that are happening to you with friends who over time you filled up their marble jar. They’ve done thing after thing after thing where you’re like I know I can share this with that person.


Brené’s talk got me thinking about the importance of trust in the medical office or healthcare setting and how important trust is to building and sustaining a wildly profitable business you love.

The research as described by Brené, “shows that trust is built in very small moments.”

For example, when you ask your patient how their mom’s chemotherapy is going, that builds trust.

And when you (or someone on your team) offers your patient in pain their favorite tea in a real cup while they wait for an appointment with you, that builds trust.

Recently, the new receptionist at my acupuncture clinic started offering me some speciality tea in their tiny, itsy bitsy waiting room. She serves it to me and now every time I come in for my bi-monthly appointment I look forward to that special moment drinking my tea.

This one act of kindness continues to build my trust in this business and those in it who I see as partners in my well-being.

My big message to you today?

The design of your patient-centered waiting room and facility is more than just a pretty face.

What’s in it builds trust, cements loyalty and grows badass referral business like you’ve never seen.

Hit REPLY and answer this question:

Are you a marble in your patients’ marble jar?

Is there something (or many things) in your healthcare environment that makes your peeps feel special?

With love from your marble jar friend,

Cheryl
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HOW DO I DESIGN A WAITING ROOM THAT KEEPS MY PATIENTS COMING BACK?
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