Looking back at 20 years – and what I learned along the way

In 2019, I celebrated twenty years at Doctors Care – and as I begin my twenty-first year I can’t help reflecting on what these past two decades have taught me professionally, personally, and philosophically.

Be As Inclusive as Possible – make room at the table – you never know who will serve you your next meal.  It is without a doubt that Doctors Care’s success rests on the inclusion of a strong and vibrant volunteer program.  From my earliest years, I learned that volunteers double our success, our output, and our joy.  Volunteers are champions of the mission, cheerleaders that push us through the daily grind and miracle workers that remind us to take a leap of faith; go beyond our comfort zone and be more fearless.

Be As Transparent as Possible – we do not have anything to hide, and hiding things takes energy.  Doctors Care knows the community we serve understands that we may make mistakes and we own them.  With the advent of the web, sharing one’s views can happen quickly and not always be favorable.  Unfortunately, we cannot always meet everyone’s needs in a manner that is desired.  We must ask ourselves; were we respectful, kind, and did we try our best?  Sometimes we are just human and must depend on the people around us to give us a little shake.  It happens to the best of us.

Be As Adaptable as Possible – health care is taking a beating.  A volleyball has an easier existence right now.  Despite all the changes and uncertainties, we are able to look a little further down the road and figure out how to adapt our programs and services to best care for people in need – especially when it comes to covering the cost of health care.

Enjoy the Surprises – expect the unexpected. During the past 20 years, I have been surprised by incredible generosity, typically in moments when I least expect them.  How did these donors know we needed them? Why did this volunteer connect with us now? How was it we bumped into the next perfect board member in the least expected place? Somehow the perfect employee fell from the sky when we needed them most. We joke about this and yet it has happened more times than I can count.

Move Beyond the Disappointments Quickly – see them as opportunities instead. During the past 20 years, this is probably the hardest for me. Not being chosen for something we thought was a given, losing a staff member for a better paying job or to follow a family member across the country, seeing a negative review, the loss of an incredible board member or a favorite volunteer. Regardless of the disappointments that lay before you, I’ve learned that you can only move forward.

Don’t Forget to Celebrate and Laugh – take the moment, the hour, the day, or even longer to be happy. There’s never a wrong time to stop and reflect on what we have achieved for the folks we serve, our community, and ourselves.  This is probably the hardest lesson so far, and the most important. If I find it difficult to do, I walk around the facility and say hello to a child, bump into a volunteer, or ask a staff member how they are doing.

All these things bring a smile not only to my face but to the faces of people I encounter as well.  Thank you for celebrating 1999 – 2019 with me. I look forward to celebrating another decade with you all!

Looking back at 20 years – and what I learned along the way
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