Love Letters and Mirrors, Revisited

In January, 2014, I wrote a blog about how much my clients had influenced and inspired my writing of “Leading Valiantly in Healthcare”. The piece was entitled “The Love Letter and the Mirror”- the “love letter” was my frame for the dedication and courage I witness so often.  The “mirror” was a reflection of the spirit that so many of these leaders have, but don’t always remember in the press of daily challenges.

Their skill, courage and dedication sum to what I call “leadership valor”. That is, a beautiful kind of fortitude that fuels their capacity to manage and lead the very complex venture that is healthcare in the United States today.

It’s now 10 months later and it’s time for another love letter, a new mirror and a different subject. This time, I am celebrating the readers of “Leading Valiantly”. My days are always deeply satisfying when I hear from them and today was no exception. This blog is dedicated to all of them, and in particular, it’s a tribute to the Dean of a School of Nursing who requested to speak with me today. When I answered her call, she sounded relieved and so happy. She told me she had read “Leading Valiantly” from cover to cover, and that she referred to it often following her long days at work. What’s her work? She is orchestrating massive changes in her School as it migrates to a new university system.  These changes impact every aspect of the School, from its curriculum to its faculty and student policies to its culture and location.

I listened as she recounted just some of the tales of her journey, and I could hear her focus and commitment. I could feel the excitement, the effort, and the tinges of weariness as she shared her conviction that there was no choice but to succeed.

I felt quite humbled during and after this phone call. Writers can’t know if what flows through them and onto the page will have an impact. Words in a book no longer belong to the writer and it’s not the writer that creates meaning for the reader. If there’s value in a writer’s efforts, it’s the value that the reader brings. It’s the reader and the reader alone who determines whether a writer’s work matters.

So, indeed, this is another love letter, right from my heart.

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