And he lost.
On May 19 in my remarks at our Greater Louisville Medical Society Presidents' Celebration (watch the video here), I touched upon the concept that our team, aka our "tribe," can reach our winning potential only if the pervasive attitude is, "Together we can be great."
But is this possible?
It is hard to be together. There are so many barriers between physicians these days. We used to hang out in the doctors' lounges, see each other on rounds, meet each other at seminars, and even pick up the phone and talk to one another. The GLMS roster - affectionately known as the "mug book" - proudly displayed everyone's picture, address, home phone number and spouse's name. A quick flip through its pages and you felt like you belonged to something special and could connect at a moment's notice. This is still true. But now in our everyday practice, we are partitioned into subgroups defined by things like specialty, locale, hospital affiliation and employer.
It is critical that we reconnect, not just with colleagues, but also with our passion. Deserve the privilege of our patient-physician bonds. Be worthy of the immense trust gifted in this relationship. Trust is inherent to our profession and is born at the intersection of science and art. Trust is powerful yet fragile. Trust must be nurtured, honored and protected. By acting in our patients' best interests, trust is sustained.
Are we powerful enough to save a profession?
Faced with so many dilemmas - where we will work, whom we will work for, what we will earn and how we will collaborate - our temptation is to cling to the status quo, to protect our turf. But the status quo will pit us against other professionals, third-party payers, our patients and even ourselves. If we do not solve these dilemmas, they will be solved for us. If we do not write the stories, they will be written without us. If we do not lead, we will be forced to follow.
I cannot keep from wondering what time will do...
and I wonder how far away from yourself you will go.
A very special teacher once conveyed these words to me. She understood that life's living will weather anyone and would invariably change me. Even so, I can steer back toward my true self - the real me - by making a difference in the life of someone else. No profession facilitates this journey more effectively than the healing arts. And there is no equivalent in the healing arts to the calling of physician.
As individuals we can be great. But together we can be greater. We can positively affect people's lives in a dramatic way and on a grand scale if we commit to our shared values, reconnect and work together. It is not only possible. It is our inherent duty.
And we all win.