Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
Commentary
2/4/2009
10:31 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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A Very Successful CIO Muses On The Meaning Of Success

John Halamka enjoys a rich, diverse, and fulfilling life: he's a CIO at a prestigious university, is actively involved in professional organizations, and writes a wonderful blog. And did I mention he's also the CIO of a health care system? Oh, yes -- and a practicing physician? So I was eager to see John's latest post, in which he explores how we measure success and why that matters.

John Halamka enjoys a rich, diverse, and fulfilling life: he's a CIO at a prestigious university, is actively involved in professional organizations, and writes a wonderful blog. And did I mention he's also the CIO of a health care system? Oh, yes -- and a practicing physician? So I was eager to see John's latest post, in which he explores how we measure success and why that matters.I met John about 10 years ago as he participated in some of InformationWeek's events and was quoted in various articles, but it's been many years since we last spoke. But a while back I began reading John's blog, Life as a Healthcare CIO, and was amazed that a man with his brutal schedule could make it through each day, let alone summon up the energy afterward to chat electronically with the world about it. But more than even that, John's posts aren't of the insomnia-curing variety -- they are always revealing and engaging, and often thought-provoking in ways we might not expect from a CIO-physician.

But a piece that John posted at 3 a.m. today (no doubt written as he ran between teaching advanced hand-to-hand combat to secret agents and restoring stained glass in an old cathedral) lets us step outside the frenzied world of technology and business and health care and into that inner self that governs and guides who we really are, what we really care about, and why we do what we do. It's too good to paraphrase, so let me offer two excerpts and urge you strongly to go to John's site and read the whole thing:

Life is about finding your passion and committing every day to it.

In my case, I wake up every day and ask

"How can I make my wife and my daughter happy today?"

"How can I ensure patients will receive the best possible care through the use of the IT systems I oversee?"

"How can I experience some wonder of the natural world -- something as simple as watching a plump squirrel meander through my back yard or feeling the wind on my face as I run through a local forest?.....

In my youth, I thought society defined success as the car you drive, the house you own, and the clothes you wear.

Today, I know that none of these things really matter.

Define your expectations as pursuing your passion and you'll not be writing "My life did not turn out as planned" 30 years from now. For me, life is filled with daily adventures and no particular expectation where I will end up, but the journey will be quite a ride.

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