This is a trying time for leaders in the healthcare industry. The pandemic is putting stress on operations and financials, and is straining the capacity of the entire healthcare system.  We have huge challenges to overcome, but it’s difficult to know how to lead and find a way forward in a situation no one has experienced before.

When circumstances are difficult in my life or career, I need to dig deep to find the motivation to accomplish the goal before me.  Meeting challenges head on and finding ways to work through them with mental strength and determination has built my confidence for the next tough goal I face, and has given me some incredible stories to tell.

You have a choice.

Every year my husband and I take time off work and go on a long motorcycle journey. Times like these bring to mind the toughest ride we’ve ever had. Over the course of 12 days we rode from the East Coast back to Washington State, traveling through Canada. It rained all day on 11 of the 12 days of our journey.  One day, we even got snowed on—while riding our motorcycles over a pass in British Columbia! The fact that we made it back to Washington safe and sound is a testament of sheer will power to get you through the most difficult situations without giving up.

The longest day I’ve ever had on a motorcycle, we rode 750 miles (on our wedding anniversary!).  Once we got caught in tornado-like weather, and every trip is not complete without at least one bike breaking something! You have to overcome hunger, exhaustion, and the natural elements to reach the goal of getting to your destination each day. When conditions seem impossible to bear, you always have the choice to quit. You can pull over, get off the motorcycle, have it shipped home, and find a simpler way back to your destination. But there are consequences to these decisions. If I quit in the middle of the ride, it doesn’t just affect me. My decision impacts the people I’m traveling with. To motivate myself, I try to stay focused on the bigger goal, reminding myself, “If we make it through this, think of the story we’ll get to tell.”

Author: Renee JensenRenee Jensen is an executive leader and performer with over 19 years of experience developing and leading strategic transformation, innovation, change management, and optimization efforts for healthcare organizations. An expert in public hospital district operations and integrated healthcare systems, she is a trusted and effective leader who values transparency and exhibits the ability to implement cultural change and drive financial results.