Author: Chris Woodgate, ISAS Officer
It is a fact universally acknowledged that ‘you only live once’ or perhaps better put as ‘you have one life to live’; so why not live it well?
The other fact alongside this is you are only young once. With age comes experience and wisdom but often we lose the energy, the ‘joie de vivre’, that joy of living as circumstances of life change and responsibilities increase.
I would like to challenge this, do we really have to knuckle under convention and become staid old folk?
Or is there a choice to retain our joy, our excitement in the career we have chosen, a delight in being alive and the possibility of making a difference?
After all what is ‘young’, there are many who are 20-30 years older than me who would think me young and there are many more 20-30 years younger than me who would consider me ancient!
Live it well, that is a challenge! One of my favourite bands Switchfoot have coined these lyrics –
I wanna sing with all my heart a lifelong song
Even if some notes come out right and some come out wrong
'Cause I can't take none of that through the door
Yeah, I'm living for more than just a funeral
I wanna burn brighter than the dawn
Life is short; I wanna live it well
One life, one story to tell
Life is short; I wanna live it well
Songwriters: Jonathan Mark Foreman / Timothy David Foreman, Live It Well lyrics © The Bicycle Music Company
Wouldn’t it be great as managers to be remembered for the positive difference you have made, for the changes to patient care and quality of service, of leading teams that make a difference.
To say that you ‘lived it well’ the once chance you have been given wasn’t spent chasing targets/funding but in chasing the good only you can do.
Sometimes there are no rewards for doing the ‘right thing’, for leading so that others get the glory, empowering change, and for me the most important, leading through failure so that it becomes the stepping stone of success.
As a mum I marvelled at the way in which my children tackled their next opportunity to acquire the new skills they needed for the journey of life.
They embraced the bumps in the road and the obstacles they had to overcome (thinking about crawling, to staggering, to walking, to running) as they pursued improvement. It's the primary reason why children develop at such an incessant rate.
A child will fall, a child will falter but would we, as parents, tell them to stop and give up?
No, instead we understand their struggle, we patiently find ways to encourage them and share in their determination to succeed.
So what stops us repeating that behaviour with others?
When your teams try but fail do you encourage them to try again, to use their failures to fuel their future goals?
Do you help them to be inspired by failure and not scarred by it?
How about you; do practice this in your own day to day working life? Do you let others put your ideas down, be beaten by not having immediate success, get discouraged by lack of engagement? The list could go on and on.
Lifelong learning is not just a trite expression it can really work, if we don’t learn we allow the failures to rule us, to allow the voice of the naysayers to become a voice of negativity within.
If we can’t fail and if we can’t allow others to fail how can we expect to produce different results.
By identifying where we can become better we give ourselves the best possible chance to move forward.
To live it well we have to decide what measure we live life by, what standard will we measure ourselves against, to what end are we doing this for.
Hopefully like me you want a safe, effective patient centred service that innovates and continually improves. The Imaging Standard may be a good place to start.
You only live once – live it well.