The subject line on the email read: “Blog?”
The message was from one of our long-time contributors, and someone I consider a real friend, Dale Sanders. Now, with a question mark at the end of the subject line, and knowing Dale, I had an idea what it might contain — a left-leaning political treatise that we’d have to politely decline. I don’t mind veering into non-healthcare IT discussions of leadership, but I don’t want our site to touch politics with a 10-foot pole.
The email read:
Hi Kate and Anthony!
This is a very different and long blog, maybe not appropriate for you guys, but you are free to post it if you want to!
Hope all is well! We are overdue a catch-up call!
After opening the document and quickly scrolling its length, I decided this one had to be printed, which I did before heading outside the office to sit on a bench. I can’t tell you what the weather was like because, once I started reading, I never looked up.
“Wow,” I thought. “I can’t believe I know this guy — how cool is that!”
I’m lucky enough to have regular calls with Dale, during which I’ve always had a feeling I was learning a lot. But what his piece made me think about is how much more I could absorb if I’d just talk less and listen more. I mean, this guy, equipped with only a dime and a dream, sends the entire US National Security apparatus scurrying, while the only thing I’ve hacked into is a watermelon on a hot day.
Sanders — this piece brought home — is one of the few people I’d embrace as a mentor, because he combines intelligence with a love of learning and deep introspection as to what constitutes a life well lived. He possesses a heaping helping of that rarest of attributes — wisdom.
Folks like this are gifts who, if in our lives, must be engaged, if lacking, must be sought. No matter what we’ve accomplished, there are those who’ve covered other ground, or better covered that we’ve already tread.
In my work, I’m lucky enough to deal with outstanding folks every week (just check out our Advisory/Survey panel). I’m sure, given some thought, there are mentors in your midst. If necessary, go out of your way to spend some time with them to soak up their wisdom. Though few will offer Cold War intrigue, I’m sure it will constitute time well spent.