Having over 40 years working in healthcare with 25 of those as a healthcare executive, I learned many lessons, most of which I wish I knew when I was a young man and an inexperienced executive. Over time, I came to learn that not all lessons are learned in the classroom. Here are three that I learned in the classroom of life.
Time is more valuable than I thought. I wish that I would have realized how precious time is and how easy it is to let time slip away. Like most, I took tomorrow for granted, putting things off sometimes for years, and in a few cases, that became forever when the opportunity was lost. Ask yourself how do I make each day a masterpiece?
You can’t make a masterpiece if you spend time of frivolous activities. Think about it this way…each day someone deposits $86,400 into a bank account for you and at midnight the account is emptied – it’s a use it or lose it deal. Wouldn’t you try to spend every penny of that money every day? It is the same with time. Each day you get 86,400 seconds. Lost time is lost time; you can’t make it up by working twice as hard the next day. To make the most of every day you just make conscious decisions about how to balance the time you have on that day; time to work, to play, to learn, time to grow.
Family matters. Someone once said, “Friends are the family you choose.” Good friends are like gold, they are hard to find and precious. Over the years good friends will play various roles in your life. You find that people will come in and out of your life but with good friends they are never really gone, they are just in the background ready to show up when the time is right.
I missed so many of life’s lessons because I thought I was smarter than my parents. I missed so many opportunities to connect with my younger siblings because they weren’t as “mature” as me. I missed the chance to grow when I lost contact with my extended family and friends. If I could do it over, I would check my ego at the door, ask more questions than give answers, and respect the uniqueness that each person brings to the table.
You must look to see life’s lessons. My dad never told me that he was teaching me a lesson…he just did things and left it up to me to figure it out. I wish I would have asked more questions along the way. Once we were talking about the difficulties associated with being a CEO and the challenges that others present. He said you can’t lead others until you learn to lead yourself. He continued, others watch what you do and say and follow the example you set. Through our conversation I teased out these life’s lessons:
· Always tell the truth
· Don’t whine or make excuses
· Choose the difficult right over the easy wrong
· Do your best no matter how small the task
· Look out for others
· Respect diversity
Over your life you will see others experience challenges and the successes and failures that arise from those challenges – take to the time to “see” and learn the lesson that is being taught. Life is full of lessons and those lessons are repeated until you learn them.
Author: Joseph Dorko, RPH, MBA