Career: One more Deal At The End Of Life

I pride myself on being a critical thinker. So I can forget to express appreciation for the people and things that inspire me.

So it is with former First Lady Barbara Bush. Her wit and fortitude. along with that almost savage self-depreciation lend her a unique charm. She must be a delightful human being

In 1990, I was struggling with a career choice. The idea of nurse practitioner  was catching on. I'd applied for training at UCLA Harbor-General. It's one of the most prestigious and toughest medical schools in the nation. Going there would involve great personal and financial sacrifice.

As I waited for word from the admissions office, Mrs Bush spoke at a college graduation, Her words have stayed with me to this very day:

  " need not, probable cannot, live by a 'paint by the numbers' life.  Decisions are not irrevocable...I hope many of you will consider making three choices.

The first is to believe in something larger than yourself. Early on I made another choice which I hope you will make as well. Whether you are talking about education, career or service, you are talking about life. And life must have joy. It's supposed to be fun!

The third choice that must not be missed is to cherish your human connections: your relationships with family and friends.  For several years, you've had impressed upon you the importance to your career of hard work, and, of course, that's true. But important as your obligatons are as a doctor,  lawyer or business leader will be, you are a human being first and those human connections - with spouse, with children, with friends - are the most important you will ever make.

At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend or a parent."

I didn't get into Harbor General. In fact the whole nurse practioner program was put on hold for many years. But Mrs. Bush's ringing words helped me through this disappointment and much more down through the years.       






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