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When my very smart social media advisors recommended we create a title for this blog, they offered up a couple of suggestions. Some were quite amusing, and pithy, but one stood out to me because it contained the name of our healthcare system – Community. It’s possible I was just straining to avoid the other titles like “Inside Peg’s Head”, but there was something about this one that caused me to pause, so I looked it up on Wikipedia. It turns out, the word community is actually derived from the Latin word communitas, meaning “with or together” and munis, meaning “gift”. There it was – subconsciously I think I was drawn to “gift” because its’ presence is so strong at Community.
You’ve probably felt this yourself at points in your life, or if you are very lucky, everyday at work. It’s that feeling that you are “in the zone”. Sometimes it’s accompanied by a deep sense of calm and satisfaction and at other times a complete sense of giddiness. What triggers it, is the ability to combine your talent with your passion while tapping both your skills and knowledge.
At Community, I’ve already seen the energy that is created by talent-in-action. Last week, I spoke with a friend who had the opportunity to accompany several of our social workers on patient visits to low income housing units. For some of us, this might be tough work. It takes a cup-full of communication skill, with more than a teaspoon of empathy. When they had completed their road trip, Caine Christensen told her, “I love my job! This is 70s street-level social work!” He knew he was making a difference in people’s lives and more than that, using his God-given talent. Sweet!
Talent in Action was also apparent in the first minute of my first visit to Community Regional. When I entered the doors of the lobby, I was pretty shocked. It was only ten in the morning and it looked like Grand Central Station. At the reception desk, Trinidad ‘Trina’ M. Rodriguez was very calmly and efficiently using the computer, answering questions, providing directions, in two languages no less, and she didn’t even break a sweat. If she were an introvert, had trouble multi-tasking or making decision and got flustered easily, she would hate that job. But instead she is a perfect fit for her role and was masterful. She gave everyone her full attention and made them feel like they were the only person in the room. Now that’s talent.
I learned a great lesson about not judging a book by it’s cover in April 2009. As I was rushing around getting ready for work, I briefly stopped in front of the TV to see the Today Show air a clip of, “Britain’s Got Talent”. You might remember it too. A middle-aged women, with frizzy hair and a dowdy calf-length dress had taken the stage and it was clear that the crowd and the judges had made up their mind that she was a dud. That was, until she began to sing. When Susan Boyle belted out “I Dreamed a Dream” her talent was revealed and her life changed forever. Sometimes people’s gifts aren’t obvious and have to be discovered. My hope is that you are using your greatest gifts now. If you aren’t, what do you want to do to change that?
Hopefully what we can do in this on-line community, is share ideas, and stories about what our work means to us, and how we are using our individual gifts to make a positive impact at Community and in Fresno. Because it really does take community to make great things happen.