Several weeks ago, I spent time talking to a class of IT managers. These managers, from a wide range of industries, were learning about IT management and leadership. I was there to talk about my career, my management style, my values, and why I made the choices that I made over the course of my career.
During our discussion, I suggested that they think about the following.
All of us are caught up in the busy-ness of our professional and personal lives. But let’s suppose that you were told that you had five minutes left in your life. As you looked back on your life, what would you want to be able to say?
And I gave them my answer. I would want to be able to say:
- That I was as madly in love with my wife then as I am today. I fell in love with Denise 34 years ago. And I am more in love today. She is my best friend, my lover, the mother of my kids, and my confidante. In ways that are unfathomable and indescribable, in many aspects of our lives and being, she and I have become one.
- That my three daughters have had lives as blessed as mine. Their paths will have been different and their choices will have been their own. But I hope that they know deep love, good fortune, success, and many fine moments that have become treasured memories. I would hope that we were always good friends and looked forward to each other’s company.
- That I will have been spared the agony and horror that can dominate a person’s life. I hope I never have to experience great hunger, deep and enduring physical pain, crushing hatred, or excruciating torment. If I was spared this, I would be grateful. If I was not spared this, I hope that I exhibited courage.
- That those people with whom I worked say that I inspired them, taught them, and led them well. Just as I have been inspired, taught, and led well by several people, I hope that I gave that gift to others. I would like to know that many people are different people, better people because they knew me.
- That the health care industry in which I work, and the provider organizations that I work for, have been changed, become more effective, have advanced because of the legacy that I have left. I would want to know that I showed these organizations and industries how to operate and think at a higher level; a level that significantly increases their ability to care for people, innovate and teach.
And if I can say all of this, I will die with a smile on my face. I will have had a good run.
John Glaser is vice president and CIO at Partners HealthCare System. He describes himself as an "irregular regular contributor" to HIStalk.