Column | Leadership

Fear Factor, HFMA style

Column | Leadership

Fear Factor, HFMA style

When it comes to fear and failure, it’s time to flip the script.

If you made it to HFMA’s Annual Conference in Orlando or have been following along here or on social media, you know my theme for this year is Dare You 2 Move. It’s a call to action, to movement, to get uncomfortable and to embrace fear and failure, all in the pursuit of better. You’ve been dared.

One of the people I referenced and quoted in my annual conference presentation was Laird Hamilton. I already was familiar with him when an e-article titled “Laird Hamilton: The Fear Factor” caught my eye. The article appeared in the March 2019 issue of American Way. Hamilton is a legendary surfer who gained notoriety in 2000 for riding the “Millennium Wave,” a 20-foot wall of water believed to be the most dangerous wave ridden at the time. He is also an inventor, entrepreneur and author.

In the article and in his latest book, Liferider, Heart, Body, Soul, and Life Beyond the Ocean, Hamilton suggests we are built for fear and responding to it, and that our minds and bodies require duress to improve and get better. I think, if we are being honest and vulnerable, most of us will admit we desire and strive for stress-free days and lives devoid of tension. But life doesn’t work that way, and certainly not our work life in healthcare today. The tension will always be there, and people like Hamilton believe if we know how to harness it, we get better ideas and better results.

The first cousin to fear is failure, and as with fear, we do everything we can to avoid failure, or the appearance of failure. Hamilton and others suggest that failure is necessary to get to success. Rarely does anyone or anything succeed without first failing. As Hamilton says, “Make sure your dreams are longer than your memories.”

It is time to flip the script. Instead of avoiding fear and failure, run to it. Embrace it. And grow.

I will leave you with this. We got a Peloton bike back in January. It’s been a great way to get in and stay in shape. Peloton sent an email recently that started with “Our bonds are formed by movement….” And that idea aligns with Hamilton’s belief that movement is needed for mind and body connections and helps us heal faster. Find me on the Peloton, username DY2M, and let’s ride together! I dare you to get moving!

About the Authors

Michael M. Allen, FHFMA, CPA

is CFO of OSF HealthCare, Peoria, Ill., and FY19-20 Chair of HFMA

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