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September is a great month. Finally hot weather fades. College football is in full swing. It’s too early to shop for Christmas presents thank goodness. And, at Community, we begin communicating our goals for the coming year. As I was thinking about goal setting, I remembered an article I had read on a Southwest flight from Denver to Omaha, so I scoured my home files to find it.
The article written by Nathaniel Reade with photography by Randi Berez, tells the story of Rob Summers. In 2006, he was a tall, good-looking athlete with a steady girlfriend, and then, as Reade tells it, he ran out of luck. One night, Rob went outside his home to retrieve his gym bag from the car. As he closed the car door, he heard a car engine racing and looked up to see headlights. Before he could realize what was happening, he was struck and flipped into the air, tearing all the tendons attached to his C-6 vertebrae. This dream-shattering event would normally crush more than bone. For most of us, it would dissolve the hopes we have for our future. But that didn’t happen to Rob. He had a secret weapon: faith, a supportive family and a $3 pamphlet called “It Works”, helping him believe his desires were possible.
He wrote his goals and started spending hours in the gym. He also met an investment expert, who taught him about finances and day trading. Then he started to give back. Once a baseball standout in college, he began to teach kids the mechanics of pitching and hitting. Well sure, you might say, but he’ll never walk again. None of that goal-setting-hooey can fix that. But it seems, Rob doesn’t listen to negative people. He got into a trial at UCLA to test something called an “epidural stimulator” and has been able to stand and even practices walking. And he fell in love again.
Goals are Good. It’s one of the most hopeful things we can do. Scientists have lots of research that show that goals can increase our focus and attention, and make us more productive. Big goals usually require a community of people locking arms to accomplish them. Goals create connectedness and inspire a common purpose.
In the next couple of weeks our leadership across the system will describe the goals we’ve set for 2013. As we all know we’re here for one reason, to keep people well and to heal those who are not. So to make sure we keep our eyes on the ball we’ve set new goals for patient satisfaction and quality. You’ll see lots of discussion and actions bubbling up around employee engagement (ie. how we can create a work environment that makes you proud, that you would recommend to friends, that makes you leap out of bed in the morning eager to come to work.) And we’ll focus on how we can wisely use our resources to survive and thrive under healthcare reform and continue helping the poor and disadvantaged in our region.
So here’s something you can do: If you are feeling lucky today, write some personal goals that will make you happy, and read them out loud during the next week. If you don’t feel lucky, write some goals that will make you happy and read them out loud during the next week. I would not be surprised if you tell me six months from now you’ve accomplished exactly what you’ve been saying in the mirror. It works.
Tell us what goals you’ve set for yourself, your family or your work environment. If you have a strategy you are using to make your goals come true, share your secret!