This post was written by Gretchen Hammer, a previous member of our team.
I have skied a lot in my life. I started at a young age (that’s a photo of my dad and me, to the left), and since both my parents were small business owners, we never took week-long vacations, just weekly pilgrimages to the Colorado mountains to ski. Through my late teens and early twenties I worked as a children’s ski instructor, and skiing has been an anchor that has connected my family over the years.
As with most things, my love for the sport has waxed and waned. The low years were when our children were three and six and just simply getting ready to go skiing felt like a whole day’s work. And, there was the year my husband broke his leg.
However, just this year my passion for the sport has been rekindled. My kids can now ski the mountain proficiently, allowing us to spend our days together enjoying the sport and the great outdoors. And, a few Sundays ago, I had one of those defining runs when the snow was light and fluffy, the bumps were huge, and I could not buy a wrong turn. Wow, was it fun!
Reconnecting with my passion for skiing has reminded me of the importance of staying connected to the passion that drives my professional work as well. With so much change needed in our health care system and so many efforts underway, it is easy to feel like work is just days of going to meetings, answering emails, and trying to keep on top of everything.
As the leader of a nonprofit organization, I am lucky that I have a clear mission that serves as a grounding force and driver of our work. I am also lucky to have an incredibly talented and thoughtful staff and Board that keeps the higher meaning of our work front and center. But, staying connected to what keeps me personally passionate, motivated, and feeling like I am bringing my best to our work still takes ongoing self-reflection and discipline.
As I look forward to this sentinel year of health care change and the sheer volume of work we have to do to reach our vision of health care systems across Colorado that meet the needs of everyone in the community, I know staying connected to my professional passion is going to be more important than ever.
Just as that ski day in January reminded me that I love to ski because it gets me outdoors, challenges me physically, and allows me to spend time with my loved ones, this year we are all going to have to remind ourselves why we love to do what we do and create the conditions for us to act on our passion as often as possible. If we do this, I am sure our work will be better and I am sure we will have some fun along the way.