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A Big Lesson in Baby Steps

Have you ever wondered what makes great healthcare organizations great? I think about it a lot, having had the privilege of working with some of the very best. I believe that great leaders who know how to influence, inspire, and motivate are probably one of the key drivers to being the best. But, even with fantastic leadership, greatness doesn’t happen overnight.

I’m going to share with you a story from my very personal life that taught me valuable life lessons, many of which I can link to leadership principles.

Bear with me here.

I may not look unhealthy now, but at one point I was. After I started my business six years ago, I gained 30-plus pounds. My doctor gave me just two months to get my sky-high cholesterol in check, otherwise the dreaded statin would be ordered for me. I then attempted the 17-Day Diet (way more than 17 times) but saw no results, and my cholesterol remained high.

Undeterred, I made a drastic decision by giving myself the gift of a lifetime: I signed up for an eight-day stay at The Biggest Loser Resort on Amelia Island. There, I learned to eat in a way that I had never known about, and realized that in all of my attempts to lose weight I was actually not eating enough. Of course, I also learned that I’d been eating all the wrong things. (80% of my meals are consumed on planes and in airports.)

While the trainers were tough, their encouraging message stayed the same. Actually, there were two messages: It’s all about taking baby steps, and don’t beat yourself up when you fall.

​​It’s been three weeks since I returned home, and I’m already halfway to my goal—and feel wonderful! At the resort, I learned how to eat and exercise differently, and, more important, that you don’t have to be perfect to reach your goal.

When it comes to perfection, the same thing goes for us as leaders in healthcare.​​

Best practices come at us fast and furiously: we haven’t even nailed the last one and then another comes along. We fail and fall almost daily, but that doesn’t mean it’s over; it just means we get back up and start again. It’s about baby steps, chalking up whatever it is we’re attempting to implement to make us better leaders, and working on it in pieces we can handle.

It works for improving our own health and it works for healthcare leadership too.

What will you do today to take a step toward becoming a stronger leader?

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