Why?

Rewind to 5 days ago. It was Monday morning and I was sitting in my office in a meeting when I heard a knock on the door. I got up and opened the door, and a colleague and friend was on the other side. She said she needed to talk with me about something personal. She was visibly upset. The first thought that came to mind was that she had found another position and was leaving. A bit of panic set in because she was really great in her role and it would be such a big loss to the hospital if she left. My colleague who I was meeting with was insightful enough to understand that this interruption was important, and she graciously stepped out of the office so I could have a private conversation. What I heard in the next few minutes left me speechless.

Jeopardy!

On Jeopardy! there is one right answer for each question. The contestants study the answers and are prepared to provide the answer when the question is presented. That’s TV. Life often presents us with complex issues and problems to solve, and the reality is that sometimes there are more than one right answers. There is an old saying, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”. While the saying is a little bit disturbing (not sure how many cats were actually in danger back in the day), there is wisdom in the adage.

A great start

I taught my kids growing you, “Finish what you start!”  I was teaching them that when they made a commitment, it was important to see it through even when the going got tough.  That advise still stands.  I am adding another piece of advice to supplement the first.  Sometimes starting is enough. Occasionally we will find ourselves in situations where we started something but there is no value in finishing. The value was in starting.   There is wisdom in knowing when to move on.  And there is no need to feel guilty when we do.

Brand Awareness

When you visit my parents and they offer you soda, it will be Pepsi. That’s their favorite soda brand. Many of us have loyalty to certain brands. Companies understand the importance of having a strong brand. They invest heavily to ensure their brands are unique, readily recognized and loved by their customers. When we see a swoosh or a partially eaten apple, we know exactly what brand is being represented. As individuals, we also have a brand.

Coming to America

It was June, 1987.  Mom had returned home to Jamaica having left us 14 months earlier to check out a job opportunity in the States.  She had packed a small suitcase.  This was supposed to be a reconnaissance mission.  We didn’t know at the time that the journey would take her to Kenedy, Texas, where she would be offered a job on the spot and would be required to stay while the immigration paperwork was sorted out.  She missed my 16th birthday.  But she was home now.

Inprocessing

I spent the summer of 2013 in a fog. I was desperately trying to adjust to a new reality that I was totally unprepared for. 9 days after her high school graduation, we flew to Colorado Springs to take our first born, Alexia, to “Inprocessing” at the United States Air Force Academy. 9 months prior was the first time I even heard of the United States Air Force Academy. It was September of her senior year, and Alexia expressed interest in applying to a service Academy.

Grand Adventure

The summer of 2012 was the summer of our “Grand Adventure”. The kids were 17, 14 and 12 and we wanted to do something different. We liked to travel and see new places, and had done many road trips over the years, going as far as Canada to see Niagara Falls. For the first time we decided to take advantage of the “military hop” as a family to go somewhere different and experience something new. We spent all day, waiting around in the air terminal on the Norfolk base, hoping to get on a flight. The kids were on summer break, but my vacation time was limited and we had to set a time limit on how many days we could wait before calling it quits. We had 3 days to get a flight.

Got Stress?

“Stress will kill you. Literally,” commented Stephanie. I was sitting next to her at breakfast. We were both attending the NASHE C-Suite Leadership experience in San Diego, California. We had spent the previous 2 days listening to speakers and dialoguing with colleagues about sustainability in healthcare and the challenges facing healthcare leaders as we work to innovate and transform the industry. As healthcare executives, we were no strangers to stress. But Stephanie’s story goes beyond what we experience in the C-Suite. She was referring to stress of a different making.  Stephanie is an Army veteran. In 1989, she survived a helicopter crash in the mountains of Korea.

Decision 2019

Do you need to make a big decision in the next few days or weeks that will significantly impact the rest of your life? Maybe you are a college student trying to decide which college to choose. Or you may have a job offer or want to start your own business and you are trying to decide if you should take the leap. Maybe you are deciding if now is the time to get engaged or married. Or you might be deciding if it’s time to buy a house or have a baby.  Maybe you are contemplating retirement. Or maybe you want to start a whole new career and you’re wondering if it’s too late.

Perspective

Have you ever been in a situation when you think you are there to encourage someone and it turns out that they end up encouraging you? That happened to me when my son David was in Basic Cadet Training (aka bootcamp) at USAFA. After learning about the boot camp experience from our oldest daughter Alexia, I felt like I had a pretty good understanding of what David would face when he was there. I knew that it would be important to send David letters of encouragement, reminding him that he could make it, that the experience would not last forever, and that we were here rooting for him. 

You are here

When you visit theme parks or malls, they often have maps that help you find your bearings with a big dot labeled “YOU ARE HERE”. Sometimes we are more interested in where we are going than where we are. But it is important to know where we are. Over the years I have come to the realization that we are exactly where we need to be for that season. Sometimes we know that the place is temporary, like when we are in college. Sometimes we think we will be somewhere for the rest of our lives.

Different

If someone is different from you - in the way he looks, thinks, believes, behaves, or speaks - it doesn’t make him bad or somehow “lesser than”. It just means he’s…different.

Mentors and Role Models

Is there someone you look up to, someone who’s strength and integrity is admirable, who perseveres under difficult circumstances, who treats people with respect, who makes good choices when it would be easier to compromise on his or her values? These are the unlikely heroes in our lives, mentors and role models who make us better by being in our lives. Not perfect people - no one is perfect- but caring people who make a difference. I would not be who I am today or where I am today without mentors and role models.

Last Time

This journey of life is short and unpredictable, filled with challenges and rewards, valleys and mountain top experiences.  Let’s take every opportunity to show compassion and kindness to those we love.  We should never leave their presence without them knowing that we love them.  If we have disagreements, if we have to discipline our kids, if we are betrayed by a coworker, if friends disappoint us…at the end of it all we can still affirm our love, because you never know if it will our last chance, last encounter, final time.  Love big, forgive freely, no regrets.

Under the weather

This is not how I thought I would be spending my Saturday back home after holiday travel. First weekend of the New Year. I had important things planned, like a hair appointment, and other stuff. But here I am curled up in bed with 102 temp, and aches and pains all over.

New year resolution

Are you a “new year resolution” person?  I am. There is something enticing about starting fresh, turning over a new leaf, and beginning again. It’s liberating to put the past behind me with all the failures, regrets, disappointments of the last year, and start new.

Car troubles

Three and a half hours. The total amount of time it takes to get from Goodfellow Air Force Base to Sheppard Air Force Base is about three and a half hours. I’d made the trek before – 4 other times to be exact – and so when I turned on my audio book and cruise control, I put my mind on auto pilot. About 45 mins away from my final destination, I started hearing an unusual noise….it was almost like a high pitched thudding, if you can imagine that sound. Over the course of about 5 minutes, the noise became louder and more persistent.

My heart is full

My heart is full. As a mom, there is no greater joy than spending time with your children and seeing them happy, healthy and loving life. That doesn’t change when they're adults and live half way across the country.