Julie Thorson

I thoroughly enjoy writing this blog. It’s kind of a leadership journal of sorts for me personally. I hope it’s a help or inspiring to others every month, but selfishly, I look forward to each month taking the time to reflect on leadership.

Until today.

I had no desire to write anything about leadership. I’m still reeling over a not-so-great-incident and felt my attention should be spent obsessing over what happened, what should have happened, what I could have done about it, and what’s going to happen as a result; you know, all the things I have no control over.

Just as I was ready to call Editor Jim Berklan and say, “Don’t count on me this month. I’m letting you down I have no leadership lessons to offer anyone,” Ray walked in.

Stop reading and check out the picture I’ve included. Yup, his name is Ray and he’s known for T-shirts like this one! He was just the person I needed to see. In Iowa we have had a gloomy spring: snow, little sun and more snow. But Ray shines bright. He’s quick to flash his million-dollar smile, and his quick wit picks anyone up when they are down. Ray lives with his wife, Nancy, in one of our townhomes, and he is more fit than most 20-year-olds and is one of the most positive people I know. A freakin’ ray of sunshine — just what the doctor ordered.

Our every day Ray of sunshine.

When I thanked him for popping into my office, he replied, “That’s what I’m here for!” He genuinely stopped by to simply cheer us up. He’s proud of these crazy T-shirts, and he always wears them with a huge smile on his face.

This “Ray” of sunshine was just the reminder I needed that the sun will come out. We will keep laughing and smiling, and all is right with the world.

So, the leadership lesson for the day is: When the pressures of this field get to you, the answer is always right in front of you. Keep it in perspective and look to those we serve to brighten our days.

Staying positive is key to leadership. After all, attitudes are more contagious than Influenza A. Others will catch positive attitudes just as quickly as they will negative.

So, take a quick break and appreciate Ray’s sunshine. After all that IS what he is here for … Thanks, Ray!

Julie Thorson’s “Living Leadership” blog was named the 2016 “Best New Department” Bronze Award winner by the American Society of Health Publication Editors. Most recently, she was the 2018 recipient of the LeadingAge Dr. Herbert Shore Outstanding Mentor of the Year award. The president and CEO of Friendship Haven, a life plan community in Fort Dodge, IA, Thorson is a coach’s daughter at heart. A former part-time nursing home social worker, she is a licensed nursing home administrator and has been a participant in LeadingAge’s Leadership Academy.