Remembering why we do what we do

On a plane trip recently, I met a fascinating young physician traveling to St. Louis.  She has specialties in pediatrics, neurology, and oncology.  Simply put, her specialty is brain cancer in children.  She talked about “her kids” and how special they are.  She was excited about new advances in treatment and how kids are being helped every day by these advances.  She talked at length and with pride about her hospital, St. Jude’s in Memphis, Tennessee, and how no family has to pay for treatment… everything is completely covered by donations.  When she learned that I worked at Mallinckrodt, she spoke of how our products relieve the severe pain “her kids” suffer.  And, the importance of our products, and others, that allow precise imaging of the brain of these children. 

This terrific woman also spoke of serving children in underserved countries… Mexico, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Africa, and others… on her many medical missionary trips.  It was clear to my wife and me that this young lady spent 14 years in medical school, internships, and residencies not to live a life of luxury (by the way, she was flying in coach), but to serve others, especially children.  She also spoke of her own family and the focus on serving she learned from her mother.  It was clear that she was motivated to serve and save the lives of children.  After going our separate ways, I am still in awe of an individual obviously so talented, dedicating her life to children.  It was a pleasure, but humbling, to spend that hour with her.

This dedicated doctor was not motivated by title, prestige, education, or position… she was motivated by what she could do to improve the lives of “her kids.”  So, what motivated me to come to work today?  Am I here to improve the lives of others or am I here for any other reason?  What is that one thing I plan to do today to make a difference for someone else?  How about you?  We don’t all have multiple titles or degrees or the ability to cure brain cancer, but we do have the ability to help turn a bad day into a better one for somebody.  Do you accept the challenge?


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