Sunday, January 25, 2015

Thoughts for the Day - An Attitude of Gratitude

An Attitude of Gratitude - How to put things in perspective by being thankful.

​“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
Eckhart Tolle

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”
John F. Kennedy

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”
Alphonse Karr

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

“We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count.”
Neal A. Maxwell

Believe in yourself - The Only Way to Create Change

Good Morning,

I apologize for the delay in my posting today.  I've been a bit under the weather today, but I gave myself a gut check and I'm ready to go.  Today I wanted to talk about believing in you because it is the only way people can become finishers.  By finisher I mean winner, champion, achieve your goals, and make a life that you want for yourself.

Have you ever had a great idea, concept, or a plan that would fix a problem?  Have you been told that it won't work, ignored, or they chose to do something different?  I'm sure you may have answered yes because this is something all people experience that teaches to develop thick skin to survive in the world.  In addition to the thick skin you must believe in yourself and what you can positively offer others.

More than a year ago I personally left a corporate position because I wanted to make a change in people's lives. In my last position I was unable to get that accomplished for a number of reasons, but I still believed there was something more I was supposed to do.  The creation of the MINDWAYS QUIT Solution Stop Smoking program I cofounded was a way to carry this hope of helping people change their lives.

This past year has been fraught with personal illness, losses, financial challenges, depression, and frustration at times.  That's life isn't it for each and everyone one of us, but through it all I've held on to the belief that I wanted to make a difference.  I wanted to be the change, I wanted to see people take control of their lives, and I wanted to see people live longer lives with those they love by sharing some information that would help end their battle with smoking.

What is it for you today?  Do you have doubters or do you doubt yourself?  We all have moments of uncertainty, but you need to remember who you are, the talents you have, and how you want to make others' lives better by following your passion.  I'm going to leave you with some quotes below that will hopefully encourage you today.  Have an amazing week, and look in that mirror and tell yourself "I can do it"!!!  Take care.   Dave 
"To succeed we must first believe that we can."  

                     Michael Korda

"A person can be as great as they want to be.  If you believe in yourself, and have courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive, and if you are willing to sacrifice little things in life, and pay the price for the things that are more."  

                     Vince Lombardi

"Believe in yourself and there will come a day when others will have no choice but to believe."  

                      Cynthia Kersey

"To be a champ you have to believe in yourself when no one else will."

                      Sugar Ray Robinson

"Don't be afraid to be amazing."

                       Andy Offutt Irwin

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Vanishing Leadership behind Healthcare Reform - Why Emerging Leaders Must Play 3 Roles to Ensure Continued Progress

We are currently in the midst of tremendous changes in our health system here in America.  Just like any organization or group, change in health care comes from the top.  One of the biggest challenges facing the health system today is the soon to be disappearing leadership.  With a huge number of senior leaders edging closer to retirement, there will soon be a void of decision makers trying to reform a broken system.  The need for new emerging leaders is evident, but how can they continue the work?  Driving positive health care change will require new leaders that will ensure they can make an impact on those they lead, the organizations they support, and the patients and families they serve.

When was the last time you looked in the mirror?  Did you stand there and ponder how other people see you in the world?  Most of us at some point in our lives stand in front of that mirror, and look at the image of our life wondering the same thing.  Have we done enough, been enough, or pursued enough?  How much more important is this action for those people who lead organizations or have the ability to affect others lives.  Learning to lead can be a daunting task that may not come naturally to some, but these emerging leaders can be successful when they learn to function in 3 specific leadership roles that can deliver dramatic results.  

  • Be a Custodian - Where would we be without that dedicated force that ensures that the person or building receives the best care?  Can you imagine what it would look like without the involvement of a custodian who humbly does their job with little gratitude.  To be a successful as a Custodian a leader must have two defining traits:
    • Confidence - When you do a job that others may not value or appreciate you have to be confident in who you are, and the mission that you're trying to support.
    • Consistency - Secondly, to ensure the support of those you lead requires creating a consistent presence that acts proactively, plans for challenges, and provides a calming presence in times of change.
  • Be a Curator - According to the dictionary this is someone who cares for a museum.  What is in a museum?  Things of great value.  Therefore, an emerging leader needs to learn that they've been put in a position to oversee the valuable commodity of the team they lead.  Success as a curator requires two characteristics:

    • Caring - As a leader you must care for those valuable people who've been entrusted to you.  Your role is to help them see their potential, and stay encouraged about carrying out the mission of the organization.  In the case of health care, it is the patients and families that are the recipients of our care.
    • Collaborative - No man is an island, and new leaders need to be taught that without their team nothing will get accomplished.  Therefore, it's vital to tap into this valuable resource, and collaborate to ensure the best outcomes for those you serve.

  • Be a Counselor - The final role each leader needs to play to ensure they make an impact is a Counselor. What is it that a counselor does?  Their title speaks to one of their functions of guiding people to achieve personal success in their lives, but successful counselors also act by using two other actions:
    • Challenge - A seasoned counselor challenges their clients or those in their care to be better people.  They ask the hard questions, they say the tough things people need to hear, and they're dedicated to seeing that person reaches their potential.

    • Compassion - Success as a leader can only occur when the people you lead believe in your sincerity, and that you have their best interest at heart.  Being a compassionate leader means understanding that life and people are not perfect, and it means giving others the benefit of the doubt until they cause you to change your mind.

With so much work ahead of us in creating a health system that provides for the needs of the many, we need to ensure that we have leaders who won't falter when times become challenging.  When these emerging people learn to become the Custodians of our care, the Curators of collaborative innovation, and Counselors led by a compassion then we can be confident that we'll have a new generation of prepared leaders.  They will be able to look back at the image in the mirror, and prove they are enough to continue the good work.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thoughts for the Day - Striving for Excellence

Do you roll out of bed each day ready to give life your all?  Here's some quotes to encourage you today.  Take care, Dave.

"Mediocrity will never do. You are capable of something better."

Gordon B. Hinckley

"My meaning simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest."

Charles Dickens

"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?"

John Wooden

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."


"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way."

Martin Luther King Jr.

Breaking Addiction to Missiles to Improve Healthcare

“During the Korean War, the Navy kill ratio was twelve-to-one. We shot down twelve of their jets for every one of ours. In Vietnam, this ratio fell to three-to-one. Our pilots depended on missiles. They lost their ‘dog-fighting’ skills.”*

~ Jester, Top Gun, 1986

I remember seeing the movie Top Gun in the mid-1980’s and how this quote struck me … and believe it or not … it has informed much of my work in healthcare.

Fifty-one years ago (1964) the Hippocratic Oath was rewritten by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University, to include (excerpts):

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability.

may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

With this is mind, and in the blog post How a lack of empathy affects our healthcare I made note …

“Thirty years ago, medical schools taught that the most important component of a mental health healing encounter is empathy, human connection, and authentic relationship between a physician and patient.” 

And yet more recently we healthcare leaders have evolved the healthcare delivery system to include:

·         Clinicians triple booked every 15 minutes

·         8 to 12 minute office visits

·         The I-Patient (to borrow from Dr. Abraham Verghese) replacing the actual patient
·         Patients being dehumanized and becoming a diagnosis rather than a whole person
·         Clinician focus turning away from the human being before them and toward electronic health records, target organs and test results
·         Technology becoming the solution focus rather than a tool
·         Care teams held to the same productivity standards as clinicians (as noted above) and yet providing less continuity for a patient with “their” clinician
·         A model which rewards excessive tests and invasive procedures

·         Physicians and nurses burningout and worse

We have switched from “dog fighting” i.e. avoiding overtreatment, establishing and ensuring human connection and authentic relationship, and finding joy in healing to “missile dependency” i.e., the “evolved” model described above.

In our effort to make things better we have forgotten why we are here in the first place.  We have sought “missiles” to improve the broken system. We have lost our way. And we are harming those we are honored to serve.

If we truly want to improve the health of our patients, families and communities, it is time to break our addiction to missiles and reconnect with the Hippocratic Oath, what was taught in medical schools thirty years ago, and to our patients, families and communities. 

For only then will we truly innovate healthcare.

It’s not too late and yet long overdue. 

* As both an animal lover and someone who desires peace this analogy was challenging and yet hopefully lends itself to creating a compelling argument for the need for dramatic change and improvement to our healthcare delivery system.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Thoughts for the Day - Martin Luther King Jr.

"Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase."

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

"If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward."

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” 

“Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?” 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Thoughts for the Day - Sharing Compassion

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
John Holmes 

 “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

 “I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness.”
Mother Teresa 

 “Dare to Be

When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.

When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.

When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.

When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.

When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.

When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.

When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.

When times are tough, dare to be tougher.

When love hurts you, dare to love again.

When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.

When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.

When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.

When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.

When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.

When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.

Dare to be the best you can –

At all times, Dare to be!”
Steve Maraboli,

The "Marc" of a True Physician - A Decade of Compassionate Care

Just recently we again experienced the great care of this physician, and the amazing team of individuals who support his efforts.  It was scary knowing she had to have surgery, but comforting to have such a caring and compassionate physician who was able to calm our nerves.  I just wanted to repost this to say thank you for giving my wife such great care, and providing me with peace of mind.  

What is it that sets apart a great physician when you look at those who've been involved in your care?  Is it the board certification, the experience and credibility, or their rate of successful patients treated?  I would imagine for each and every one of us that those are obviously important, and guide our decisions when choosing a physician for our care.

The other amazing gifts a physician can offer is their humanity, compassion, and empathy.  I know this first hand because we as a family have needed that care for the past ten years.  Thankfully we've been the recipient of all these wonderful traits that I've described above in our surgeon.  He has been skillfully taking care of my wife for ten years, and providing the expertise and guidance we've needed to make it through these challenges in our lives.  What makes this amazing man the "Marc" of a True Physician boils down to 4 things as I look back on a decade of care:

  • He speaks to us with respect - We don't have medical degrees or wouldn't ever claim to be as brilliant as this man, but he doesn't treat us any differently.  He takes the time at appointments to carefully speak to us in terms that we can grasp without being demeaning, and with total dignity and respect.
  • He's Transparent with the Truth - When we've had those difficult appointments, and know that things in my wife's condition haven't been progressing well he's been honest.  He doesn't claim to be the answer to every cure, but instead promises that he will always keep our best interest at heart during her treatment.  It has increased our confidence in him because we know that he will always deliver the truth because he's a man of integrity.
  • He's a Patient Teacher - Not only does he speak to us with respect, but he takes the time to ensure we have an understanding and grasp of the challenges we're facing.  He takes the time to go through the labs and the scans to share what each number and term means.  He knows that by increasing our understanding he's helping to reduce our anxiety and fear.

  • He Cares for Us as His Own - Throughout the years when we've been faced with difficult decisions concerning my wife's care, he has said on a number of occasions "This is what I would do for my own family".  Hearing those words creates so much gratefulness and thankfulness in my heart because I know that he is caring for my family that day if they were his own.
This has been a challenging journey, but it has made all the difference to have such an amazing physician at our side.  He has been a blessing in our life even through the struggles.  Being exposed to a physician who speaks to us with respect, is always truthful in every situation, ensures we understand the gravity of our decisions, and promises to care for us like we were his family has made all the difference.  I want to publicly thank Dr. Marc Mayberg for providing a decade of compassionate care for my wife.  I can never repay you for your kindness, the skillful use of your talents, or the empathy you've showed after each surgery when you shared the successful outcomes of my wife's procedures.  You are truly an amazing man and physician.  Thank you.


Healthcare Odyssey - A Patient's Perspective

What is it the makes the current health care system so challenging for people these days?  I believe it truly boils down to one phrase, "I know how you feel".  Here are 4 ways that people struggle with a health system that isn't listening to what their consumers are saying.

1).  Care is directed - How many times have you been asked by medical professionals what you want for yourself?  Does that occur when you go to purchase a new car?  The first hurdle faced as a medical consumer is that care is not a collaborative process, but a directed issue that uses consents to give the impression that it was a joint venture.

2).  Lack of knowing - How much do they know about you and your family?  Is there an effort to understand the support system you have or the factors that will influence recovery?  There seems to be a disconnect in the desire to know the customer's needs.  Not surprising why continual readmissions to hospitals occur.

3).  You need me mentality - Does it ever seem like the medical care you receive is provided like it is a privilege rather than a right?  How many other businesses treat you that way as a paying customer?  None I would guess because you would no longer be frequenting their establishment.  This prevailing attitude that you need us may change with the new pay for performance model, and give power back to the consumer.

4).  It's your problem - I think the fundamental issue facing a patient today is the pure lack of empathy and compassion at times.  Much like the staff that walk into a room after a patient and family have received bad news, and say "how are you doing?".  By not being able to readily show concern and empathy it's like they are saying, "it's your problem" which results in a lack of coordination and disease management for the patient and family.

Until the health system can began caring for their populations like they would care for a loved one, consumers will be battling a system where care is directed and not collaborative.  It would be amazing to see what would occur if the providers and decision makers had to wear the hospital gown for a week.  I'm sure the personal experience may create some enlightenment and drive quality changes.  Thank you for listening.  Dave.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

4 Steps to Passing Through the Storms in Your Life

Good Evening,

What is strength?  The definition varies depending on whether it relates to physical or mental strength. This week I've had the opportunity to see true strength in action.  My wife had brain surgery earlier this week, and she has been the picture of strength since.  Not just because of this surgery, but because she has held her head and attitude up for the past 10 years.  So how do we as people remain strong during tough times?  We all have our approaches to getting through tough times, but as I've watched my wife I've seen certain characteristics that have resonated with me through the years.

Here are 4 steps to remaining strong when things become challenging in your life

  • Push Through the Challenge -  When tough times come into your life sometimes you have to put your head down and weather the storm.  That may mean being uncomfortable, and enduring circumstances that you don't like.  By putting one foot in front of the other you'll be able to move forward.  We must also remember that just as the natural storms in our world our temporary, so are the storms that enter our lives.  You must not give up and keep moving forward. 
  • Proactively be Positive -  Our mind is a powerful force that can change outcomes.  This is easily illustrated by premier athletes that visualize winning their events.  It also has been effective in harsh conditions like POWs.  Some of these heroes spent hours staying positive by enjoying their favorite past times in their minds.  The next time you face the storm change your perspective by staying positive, and you'll stand headstrong in wind knowing that the calm is on it's way.
  • Perpetual Gratefulness Provides Fuel for Your Journey - There are documented studies done by Harvard in 2011, and also in a book by Dr. Robert A. Emmons "Thanks", that provides actual case studies showing people who practiced a grateful attitude increased their happiness by up to 25%.  Other data supports gratefulness in helping with healing by showing positive results for those with chronic illnesses.  Therefore, no matter what challenges you may be facing it's important to remember the good in life.  When we take time to list these benefits, our darkness can begin subsiding with the onset of the light that comes through gratefulness.
  • Plan for a Prosperous Future - This is very similar to having a positive perspective, but this is different because planning takes action if you want to reach your goals.  When you're in the storms of life, focus on that paths that lead to your dreams.  It may be a new relationship, pursuit of more knowledge to improve your circumstances, or the hope of better health.  When you feel the storms of life trying to remove your grip from your dreams you must hold on until it passes.  Maintain an eye to the future, and know that your strength will carry you through the storms of life.
Take Care,


Monday, January 5, 2015

Thoughts for the Day - Unbroken, Louie's Way to Win the Race

Louie is the subject of the new movie "Unbroken".  It tells about his story as a WW2 pilot who survived many difficulties during his service.  The quotes highlight his thoughts and perspective about life and being a survivor.

"Yet a part of you still believes you can fight and survive no matter what your mind knows. It's not so strange. Where there's still life, there's still hope. What happens is up to God.” 
― Louis Zamperini

"People tell me, "You're such an optimist". Am I an optimist? An optimist says the glass is half full. A pessimist says the glass is half empty. A survivalist is practical. He says, "Call it what you want, but just fill the glass." I believe in filling the glass.” 
― Louis Zamperini

"It was all in His hands now - as it had always been.” 
― Louis Zamperini

“One moment of pain is worth a lifetime of glory.” 
― Louis Zamperini

"God has given me so much. He expects so much out of me.” 
― Louis Zamperini

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Thoughts for the Day - Strength in times of Adversity

Corrie ten Boom was an amazing lady that used her faith and personal strength to rise up against adversity.  During WW2 she and her family risked their own lives to protect persecuted Jews in Holland.  She believed she was called to provide a "Hiding Place" where the Nazis couldn't find these poor people.  Her efforts resulted in saving many before they were caught, and sent off to the camps. 

She continued to protect others during her hardship, and eventually was released at the end of the war.  Her faith propelled her to courage and action in the face of adversity. Here's some of her thoughts concerning her approach to life challenges.

"Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?"

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength."

"This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see."

"If you look at the world, you'll be distressed. If you look within, you'll be depressed. If you look at God you'll be at rest."

"When I try, I fail. When I trust, 
He succeeds.” 

Thoughts for the Day - Dealing with Difficulty

Good morning,

Today I wanted provide some quotes for people who are currently facing a storm in their life.  Just remember "this too shall pass".  Believe, depend on those who love you, and know that you are made for a special purpose.  Never, never, never give up.  Thinking of You, Dave

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.
The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."
 Thomas Edison

"It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." 
Edmund Hillary

"Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."
Michael Jordan

"Inside of a ring or out, ain't nothing wrong with going down.
It's staying down that's wrong." 
Muhammad Ali

"Tough times never last, but tough people do." 
Robert Schuller

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Grow Where You're Planted - 5 Steps to Making Things Happen in Your Life

Grow where you're planted?  That seems like such a weird concept, but it is truly about realizing that your dreams can occur if you take the steps needed to ensure your success.  Have you ever been to some of the great forests in our nation, or admired a beautiful agricultural exhibit at the state fair, or sipped an expensive wine?  The commonality is that each of these became great because of where they were planted, and also because someone took the time to ensure their growth.  Every person is made for greatness in their own way, but why are there so few that realize those dreams?  Here are 5 steps to follow to make things happen in life, and be a person a greatness in your life.

Your life has a purpose - Be Grateful

Every person on the face of the earth believes in something.  Even those who profess not to have a belief are forced to hold firm to that concept to validate their belief.  The sun rises to give warmth for the day, and the moon shines to light our way at night.  No matter what belief people claim to hold, these occurrences happen each an every day for very specific reasons.  Our lives also have purpose, and understanding that our talents and skills can be the catalyst to create goodness should make us grateful.  With an attitude of gratefulness we're able to look at life with a new perspective that opens doors to new opportunities that results in achieving our dreams and goals.  A good exercise to increase the attitude of gratitude is to create a timeline of events that have occurred in your life.  You may list things like receiving an unexpected gift that created a smile, a new opportunity that fell in your lap, or the good feeling when you were recognized for talents.  These reminders should help to show that there is much to be grateful for in our lives, and inspire us to action.

Things happen for a reason - Be Positive

Have you ever been in a rut in your life, and then unexpectedly things got better?  Maybe it was the car trouble you experienced on the morning of an interview for a new job.  You were driving along when your car starting having problems.  You pulled off to the side of the road distraught about the lost opportunity when along came a Good Samaritan who intervened, and you made it to the appointment that resulted in your new employment.  Or was it the time that you were struggling financially not knowing how you were going to pay the next bill, and when you opened your mailbox that day a friend sent you an unexpected check that provided the ability to meet your needs.
You may not have had these same experiences, but each of us can think to times when the bad turned into good things that happened for us. Remembering your history is vital to believing that you've currently landed is where you were meant to be planted.  Now it's time to grow.

Look for opportunity - Be Willing
We've all heard the saying, "make lemonade out of lemons".  Which is said often when people are confronted with a negative circumstance, and then use that situation to create a positive outcome. When you're planted in a location that you may not see as ideal, look for the opportunity to grow in that spot and make the most out of the situation.  The only way that can occur is when we are willing to look for the opportunity.  What do you have currently in your life that might be an opportunity if you were willing to be open to new possibilities and change?  Only you know, but looking for that option with willingness can create the positive change that could make things happen in your life.

Don't take no for an answer - Be Tenacious

Have you ever been told no?  Have you ever had a door shut in your face either literally or figuratively?  What did you do when this happened?  How you respond in these types of situations affects how things unfold in your life.  Therefore, when you see that door coming quickly at your face just take the time to knock once more.  If you ignore your fears, and stay tenacious in that difficult situations it may result in that yes that leads to achieving the dreams and goals you have for your life.  Remember, the only difference between those who achieve and don't is that brief moment when there is a decision to hold on even when it seems impossible.

You are your own niche - Be Extraordinary

Even identical twin have differences that make them unique from each other.  No one on this planet is an exact replica of you.  That should be great news because you've just been given the market share for a product that can change the world.  In order to make things happen in our lives, we have to believe that we are a unique niche that has market appeal.  When we cultivate this mindset it fosters the confidence we need to be great.  Don't forget about your unique abilities and talents, but use them to differentiate yourself as you become extraordinary in this world.

When we realize the importance of growing where we're planted, than we can become like that great oak tree that is able to weather the storms of life, provide shelter for those in need, and bears fruit that delivers the energy needed for others to grow.  Take time to follow these 5 steps, so you can have a 2015 that generates new opportunities and goodness in your life.

Take care, Dave