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June 2006 - Nourishing the dream

"A daydream is a meal at which images are eaten. Some of us are gourmets, some gourmands, and a good many take their images precooked out of a can and swallow them down whole, absent-mindedly and with little relish."

Attribution: W.H. (Wystan Hugh) Auden (1907-1973), Anglo-American poet. "Hic et Ille," pt. 3, sct. C, The Dyer's Hand (1962).

I have oft' rambled on about dreams and how important it is to have a dream, a vision. I am, however, finding it increasingly difficult to sustain my dreams. The reasons for this are varied but ultimately come down to energy and resilience. I try to top up the energy supply by eating more and exercising less, but, strangely enough, that approach doesn't seem to cope at all well with an evidence-based analysis. Where then, does the energy come from? The energy in fact comes, not from maintaining a caloric load, but from acknowledgment, respect and tangible support. Recognition must come from both employer and colleagues, those above us in the tree, those below us in the tree. Gratitude is not necessary, just recognition.

Resilience? As I age I am finding that I bruise more easily and it takes longer for those bruises to heal. That, I am afraid, is one of the prices of increasing maturity. The degree of resilience required, however, is intimately connected to one's expectations and as we gain experience we all tend to raise our expectations. I believe this to be entirely appropriate and is, indeed, fundamental to the philosophy of continuous quality improvement. In contrast, I find myself being more and more frequently advised to lower my expectations. This sadly is a philosophy entrenched in modern society. We are presently seeing that here in the West with a vigorous debate over Outcome Based Education. I am a firm believer in Outcome Based Education but from what I can determine here, the plan is to set the outcomes based on what the student can achieve without the education! I wonder if the CRFS review committee considered an approach like this?

Am I a Gourmet or a Gourmand? I hesitate to consider myself a gourmet, but I would vigorously resist being labelled a gourmand. Sadly, I am finding many of those in management decision making positions today, seem to fall into the canned food category. It is increasingly frustrating trying to get decisions made that consider anything beyond the label on the can. As for the relish………?

We must all cherish our own dreams and nourish our colleagues' dreams. To lose the dream is to lose the passion. There is little I can do about those above me in the tree, my responsibility is to those below. We all need to ensure that the ideas and dreams of our teams form part of a gourmet meal, not a gourmand's excess or a can emptied onto a plate. Sustenance comes from enjoying the meal at the time, and savouring it afterwards.

K

June, 2006

kevin.gain@health.wa.gov.au

 

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