Monday, November 20, 2017

Sage Advice & Coincidences

Our Aunt Harriet Pyle Manuel wrote this to me in my high school graduation card. I didn't get it back then, but I learned to get it as I grew older. I pay attention to it in my personal and professional life. There is truth and beauty in it.

"There are meaningless coincidences in life and there are meaningful coincidences in life. Your heart will know the difference if you listen to it. The meaningful coincidences are God's milestones, telling you that you are on the right path. Watch for those milestones. Be worried when you don't see them; be at peace when you do see them, and stay on that path." 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Veterans Day Reflections: Military vs Healthcare Career

A shout out to all my friends and family who served... especially my Dad and brother.
Sheesh, what a youngster in this picture. I was a first Lieutenant... about 1986, 26 years old in this picture, giving a briefing and tour of the Looking Glass Airborne Command Post to a Colonel. It looks like I was wearing an "Alert Crew" badge, which means that I was on a week-long assignment, staying at the crew quarters in the alert facility at Offut Air Force Base. At the time of this picture, there was a Looking Glass aircraft that was constantly airborne with a battle staff crew, and an alert crew on the ground, waiting to go airborne in case of national emergency, or the airborne command post needed immediate relief.
The Air Force gave a few of us the responsibility for "turning keys" that could launch all 1,000 nuclear ICBMs, plus, the responsibility for communicating the Presidential Emergency Action Messages (EAMs) for launching nuclear bombers and submarines, too. And, if that wasn't enough, we were also responsible for reconstitution of the US government in a post-nuclear world, based on anyone who survived. I exited the Air Force a few years later and went to work for TRW. The work we did with NSA was, no exaggeration, straight out of Clancy novels, and even better, thanks to Ron Gault. We were doing very important and cool sh*t to keep the bad guys away from nuclear weapons.
There is nothing that compares to the intensity of responsibility that you experience in the military. Healthcare is a form of mission-based service. It has been interesting, occasionally fulfilling, quite a bit less dangerous... but also incredibly frustrating and frequently boring in comparison. I keep talking about leaving healthcare and going back into the military/national intelligence world, but Laure says "No way. We have babies." 
Aim High. Fly, Fight, Win.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A CIO's Life: The Ups and Downs

That's the moon shining down on a moored sailboat, owned by Red Sail in the Cayman Islands. I forwarded it to them and they used it for their Christmas card that year. Camera was a plain old Backberry phone.
Taken at 3 am on a sleepless and troubling night, this scene was profoundly meaningful and spiritual to me. The timing in life was perfect. It calmed the waters of my heart.
I'd been living in the Caymans alone for about three months. What's not to love about that, right? 😳 Well, my first day on the job, in September, as CIO for the national health system, was greeted by a computer virus outbreak that disabled every computer in the organization, including every computer used in clinical patient care. In November, when I took this picture, many of us were still working 18 hour days to recover from the disaster. I'd never solved a problem like this before, in my 25-year IT career. Every single computer was infected and inoperable. One of our public health nurses was in the emergency meeting of our executive team to deal with the problem. She made a passing comment about reacting to public health outbreaks-- isolating infected patients and treating them one at a time. That prompted the same thought in my head... the only way to solve this problem was to disconnect every single computer from the network, and treat each one before reintroducing it to the "public" from isolation. There were 2,200 infected computers and it took an average of 90 minutes to treat and repair each one.
Exhausted, but not able to sleep, I walked out to the beach, wondering if I'd made the right choice by taking this new job. This scene was my answer.
Thank you Mighty Creator.

Musings About Life's Purpose from Yellowstone

"Spiritual (or immaterial) inequity is now as great a problem as material inequity, perhaps even greater. People have enough to live, b...