One of my favorite quotes is by Sir Oliver Wendell Holmes. He said, “I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving…we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it – but sail we must, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.”
I have found a great deal of both motivation and comfort in this quote over the years. The motivation comes from knowing that I need to sail forward, and not just, “drift, nor lie at anchor.” Anytime I feel like I am just drifting, remembering this quote helps motivate me to do something, anything, to get moving again in the right direction.
The comfort comes in a different form. It seems like when I am really facing difficult challenges, time seems to drag or almost come to a stop, while the good times move incredibly fast. The quote helps me put that feeling into perspective: “…we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it.” When you are sailing literally, on the ocean or elsewhere, sailing with the wind means you are clipping along at a steady pace being driven in the right direction by favorable winds. However, when you face unfavorable winds that threaten to blow you in the wrong direction, you must learn to “tack” into the wind.
Tacking is a basic back and forth sailing maneuver which refers to turning the bow of the boat through the wind so that the wind changes from one side of the boat to the other side, allowing you to move in your desired direction, despite the unfavorable winds. Tacking into the wind obviously takes a great deal more time to get from point A to point B than it does when you are sailing with the wind at your back. So logically when we are figuratively, “sailing against the wind,” we are going to feel like it is slower, or time is moving slower. Understanding that principle helps reduce my frustration and helps me learn to be more patient in difficult times.
When I look back on the last three years I feel fortunate to have had the privilege of “sailing” with some incredible individuals in ACHE and the Utah Healthcare Executives. I am excited to hand the torch off to Amanda Choudhary, FACHE, our next Regent for Utah, during ACHE Congress this year. I know we are in good hands, and that she will represent our chapter well.
Again, let me say that it has been an honor for me to serve as your Regent for the past three years. I value my membership in ACHE, and our local chapter, UHE. Thank you for all you do every day to improve our healthcare system and to serve patients and families here in Utah. And, remember to keep on sailing!
Kevin Johnson, FACHE
CEO, Mountain View Hospital