We had a meeting with our new company today—the first welcome into their system for all of leadership. I couldn’t help but feel like it was the first indoctrination into their way of life—the gentle setting of expectations, the over excited welcome, the highly emphasized success stories, and the affirmation of previous success in joining. Naturally when you run a company you’re allowed to level set and make it what you will…but it feels like less of a celebration of mutual collaboration and more of a precursor to telling people to get in line or get out.
We all have unique qualities about us and I feel like as leaders, we need to help people develop and enhance those qualities. But I feel the system we are in now (healthcare or otherwise) trains us to be the same. The system values homogeny so it can produce more. And it hit me, hearing that there are now over 1200 of us, that they will never remember my name. They don’t want to hear what I have to say: they want me to do the best at what they tell me. Any idea I have will only be seen as valuable as the dollar amount it may bring in. It will have nothing to do with my efforts or my work. I could bleed myself to the bone, work endless 15 hour days, give up any sense of a life with my family and as soon as I put a limit on it, they would find someone else to do it for them. Another piece in the machine.
Six years ago, my cousin tragically passed away. We grew up together and we were closer than anything. We hadn’t been on the best terms when it happened because of a series of unfortunate misunderstandings and really poor decisions and different fundamental lifestyles. One night his girlfriend was involved in an incident between the two of us and it all went to hell; it was clear he was choosing a different life than mine. After the incident, my sister got really close to that girl. When he died, she was at the memorial—and she didn’t remember me at all. This person who had such an impact on me, on a moment that was so defining in my life had NO CLUE who I was.
The link in both of these instances is that there are moments that will stick with you that will have no impact whatsoever on other people involved. It hurts like hell—It feels like the twilight zone, as if there were two different experiences. You question if your memory is accurate and you feel angry because of how you remember it.
The truth is there were different experiences. The lesson is to identify what you really want and to go for it with total abandon. You can live your life according to other people’s demands whether it is a job or people-pleasing, you can live holding grudges so deep where you’re the one left holding the burning coal, or you can find a way to make peace and accept what has happened.
It is so important to be firm in who we are, to have a foundation locked in where we can make our own decisions with the utmost clarity. We have choices in life: be who we are or who other people tell us to be. Be forgotten for falling in line, be forgotten for going against the grain or be remembered for being steadfast and going where you are meant to be. Choose you, my friends, always choose you. They may make you feel like a cog in the wheel but you are the driver. You are indispensable. You have every say in where you go. NEVER forget that. Because they will, and they will spend their lives finding people to meet their expectations. You will live to your expectations and it will be amazing. So, continue to let them write the book–or set that shit on fire and write your own story. Forget what they say and who they want you to be–Remember your own name.