Finding your center point can lead to peace, understanding

  • By Sarri Gilman
  • Tuesday, October 25, 2011 12:01am
  • Life

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

Talk to us

More in Life

Kotor's zigzagging town wall rewards climbers with a spectacular view. (Cameron Hewitt / Rick Steves' Europe)
Rick Steves: Just south of Dubrovnik lies unpolished Montenegro

One of Europe’s youngest nations offers dramatic scenery, locals eager to show off their unique land, and a refreshing rough-around-the-edges appeal.

Dark gray wheels and black exterior accents provide extra visual appeal for the 2024 Subaru Impreza’s RS trim. (Subaru)
2024 Subaru Impreza loses a little, gains a lot

The brand’s compact car is fully redesigned. A couple of things are gone, but many more have arrived.

TSR image for calendar
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

This weekend in Snohomish: The Snohomish Blues Invasion and the Snohomish Studio Tour 2023.

Made by Bruce Hutchison, the poster for “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is an homage to 1985 classic “The Goonies.” (Photo provided)
Indie film premiering on Whidbey Island

Filmed almost entirely on Whidbey Island, “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is set to premiere in Langley.

TSR image only
Does your elementary school child have ADHD?

It’s important to identify children with this condition so we can help them succeed in school.

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

A clump of flowering ornamental grass or pennisetum alopecuroides in an autumn garden.
My garden runneth over with fountain grasses, and for good reason

These late-blooming perennials come in many varieties. They work well as accents, groundcovers, edgings or in containers.

This Vacasa rental is disgusting. Can I get my money back?

The vacation rental Carol Wilson books for her group through Vacasa is infested with rats and insects. Vacasa offers to refund one night, but can they get all of their money back?

A woman diverts from her walk on Colby Avenue to take a closer look at a pickup truck that was partly crushed by a fallen tree during an overnight wind storm Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in north Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / Herald file)
Storm season is coming. Here’s how to prepare for power outages.

The most important action you can take is to make an emergency preparedness kit.

Do you prefer green or red grapes? This antique Moser pitcher is decorated with enameled grapevines on shaded red-to-green glass.
Grapevine pitcher was made by renowned Bohemian company

Also, queries about grandmother’s coffee set and late husband’s Beatles records and memorabilia collection.

The city of Mukilteo is having a naming contest for its new $75,000 RC Mowers R-52, a remote-operated robotic mower. (Submitted photo)
Mukilteo muncher: Name the $75,000 robot mower

The city is having a naming contest for its new sod-slaying, hedge-hogging, forest-clumping, Mr-mow-it-all.

Death of parent with child. Piece of paper with parents and children is torn in half.
Helping children cope with the hard realities of divorce

I’s important to set aside one’s feelings and find a way to make this challenging transition as comfortable for children as you can.