Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Importance of Giving Your Time

I've written about servant leadership and the special gift of sharing time with others .  (It's hard to believe that my father and I enjoyed that day meandering the mountains of Northern California just 5 years ago)

My wife recently emailed me a New York Times Magazine article entitled "Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead?"  and it really resonated with me.

Every day I receive numerous requests from students, colleagues, and community collaborators for meetings, phone calls, and speaking events.

Just as the New York Times article suggests, I do not see these requests for my time as a distraction getting in the way of my job.   I see serving the healthcare IT community and the stakeholders throughout the world as my job.  

It can be fatiguing to serve so many people in so many contexts, but time spent sharing a vision or helping break down a barrier makes a great difference to everyone involved.   The power of ideas communicated with clarity and enthusiasm may have a disproportionately  positive effect when the perfect storm for innovation occurs due to an alignment of people, processes, and possibilities.

I try every day to help and serve those around me, without an expectation that my energy and time will have a specific payback.    

However, enough odd coincidences happen to me that I know my time is having an impact.  Last week I was having breakfast at the Cambridge Hyatt with a few Canadian Healthcare Executives and a person I have never met approached our table and said  "Thank you for writing about Unity Farm and my condolences on the death of your father."

When random strangers are affected by the things you do, the thoughts you think, or the words you write, you know that your time is well spent.

My advice - when a young person ask for mentoring, a colleague asks for career advice, or a community contact asks you to speak to a group of concerned stakeholders, say yes.   Giving your time is your best opportunity to make the world a better place.


Anonymous said...

Very true. There are plenty of people that don't believe they have the time to respond to others. Thanks for being a great example of the "right" behavior. There is a great TED video that calls those moments that cause unexpected/unknown impact on others lives as "lollipop" moments.

Ned said...

John - so you know your blogs have positive impact - I serve on a national committee and felt after a long meeting that they were heading in the same old direction. I answered numerous questions and made comments on the meeting early this morning and was ready to say you all can move on without my help. Having read your blog I decided to hang in there for at least today. I just received from a number of the participants that my ideas where PERFECT and just what they needed. Thanks - maybe!