It’s important to figure out what your true and guiding center is as an individual, a company, a business, an organization.
Imagine at the center there is only one thing: One value, one principle, one true north, serving as a guiding force, providing direction.
Wherever I go I try to
understand the center of the being or the organization.
Unfortunately, much of what I see at the center appears chaotic rather than clearly in focus. It seems that having a center has become very unusual and even rare.
I was recently in Rochester, Minn., visiting the Mayo Clinic. It was very clear that the enormous clinic, truly the size of a small city, had a single, clear center, and their center is patient care.
All of Rochester was focused on patient care. Anywhere I went in the town, people went out of their way to be helpful.
They made everything – transportation, meals, directions, whatever I needed – incredibly easy because everyone was focused on patient care.
They treated everyone like a patient. I wasn’t a patient, but I found everyone noticeably helpful. This can only happen when there is a strong and easy to understand center.
I read a sign on the wall from the founder of the Mayo Clinic. It was written decades ago and it said, “Patients first.” I thought about how much has changed in our health care over those decades that have passed.
How critical and difficult it is now to live up to those words. It made me think about my early days of training to be a teacher and how we strived to put “students first.”
Again, how much has changed. In just a few decades our education system now finds it to be a noble achievement to live into these words.
Perhaps our center has become too crowded. We seem to be creating systems, organizations, companies and individuals who don’t know their own center.
You can’t have four centers. The lack of clarity creates a chaotic mess where people are easily lost.
It’s an essential thing for our difficult times. The only way we will rebuild our lives and our communities from the economic blows is to focus on strengthening the center.
If we don’t know what our center is, it will not be possible to recover.
We know we will not go back to before 2008, but as a community, we will struggle to build something better if we don’t define what is most important.
What is your center, what is at the heart of everything most important? Make a map to go there.
Sarri Gilman is a freelance writer living on Whidbey Island and director of Leadership Snohomish County. Her column on living with meaning and purpose runs every other Tuesday in The Herald. You can email her at email@example.com.