“…Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind…”
Working in healthcare is more than selling or marketing or manufacturing, it is about life, death, health and hope.
If you work in healthcare, you need to know of this enduring content and its resonant power across the centuries.
Have any of you read John Donne’s poem “No Man Is An Island”? Or “Death Be Not Proud”? Whether you have or not, what is amazing is that although his poems are over 350 years old, most of us, across the generations have heard or used a phrase or two from them. In many ways, many of his words ring true to why we do what we do when you work in healthcare with a “Mission Mentality” – that you are doing the right thing for the right reasons.
But to put his poems in modern context, they are superior content. Here is “Death Be Not Proud”:
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
This and his other poem (below) endure because he crafted incredibly moving content that spoke right to the heart of Humankind’s defiance and denial of Death. It is content that is not posted and curated, it endures. It is authentic. It is a campaign; it cuts to the core of what we believe but very often cannot articulate. He put into words what we all would wish and believe was true about Humankind and Death.
In healthcare, so many of us are motivated by a personal story, a loss, a feeling that maybe, just maybe your helping lives. That is our passion. Because passion drives the best strategy. Passion makes us bounce back from working in an industry so regulated industry that the word “No” is often more heard than “Yes”.
Why is this relevant? Recently, a fellow professional passed on. I did not know him well, but I know the world lost a wonderful, generous soul. As he went through his chemo journey, he may have gotten thinner but what was most noticeable was his smile got wider. He was defiant and positive to the end. The loss of one touches us all. And for me, it reminded me of why I am in this business and made me think of the many, many people I know who have that Mission to impact lives. Let’s finish with an equally powerful statement:
The poem: “No man is an island”
No man is an island, Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
As I said: Working in healthcare is more than selling or marketing or manufacturing, it is about life, death, health and hope.