Isn’t it interesting how in January new ideas are so exciting? Then in February, life’s hits keep coming, and there are those, “What was I thinking?” moments. Well, guess what? I’m only slightly feeling that this month.

Last month we started a little challenge for my Living Leadership blog. I’ll continue it the rest of the year, hiding 12 clues or quotes about leadership that connect to a theme.

It was so fun reading your emails and responses to the first of this series. It filled my bucket to hear from old friends and new friends. I was very excited to get people thinking in a different way and focusing, if only for a few minutes, on something completely positive. 

Let’s let it roll! As a reminder, embedded in this month’s blog is a statement from one of our top thought leaders. It connects to last month’s blog as well. There is another hint. 

Vaccines seem to be on the minds of most of us in long-term care these days. I have found it interesting how many leadership lessons we can learn not only from distribution, but how the public reaction and perception has influenced others. Persistent naysayers tend to quote opinions as facts, and the fallout may impact our ability to completely reopen. 

What we do know is there is an urgent need to give more to our residents. We keep fighting, and we trust the vaccine is one step closer to happiness in so many ways. Still the question remains, will it be enough? Here lies the leadership lesson. Keep fighting the good fight even though the certain outcome is unknown. What 2020 taught us, being able to adapt in a moment’s notice, can either make or break you. 

Taking the time to absorb the leadership lessons we learned in 2020 and taking in the leadership lessons we continue to learn are perhaps the most profound takeaways of all this. The question I keep coming back to, the thought that is always lingering is: Are we doing enough?

I’m sure many fields beyond long-term care are asking the same questions. For us though, it’s different; we work in someone’s home. We “regulate.” We “enforce.” This approach to long-term care must change. We can do better. It will take us, as long-term care leaders, to share these lessons from 2020 and beyond so that others may truly hear and understand what the pandemic has done to us as individuals and to those most important: the people we serve. 

This experiment of embedding a lesson within a lesson has caused me to be even more reflective, and I hope it’s doing the same for you. Let me know by emailing me at Julie.thorson@friendshiphaven.org.

When you find the answer to this month, or if you still are trying to figure out last month’s, I’ll certainly let you know so you can share in this experience.

If you need a clue: Month number two, I’m not going to make it quite as easy for you, because so many of you were able to figure it out last month! There are 13 words in this month’s statement. Nine of the key words are in this blog in the same order as the saying. 

The words are all there, I promise. Let’s see if you can put it together. BTW, I hope you enjoy my lessons as well!

Julie Thorson’s was the 2018 recipient of the LeadingAge Dr. Herbert Shore Outstanding Mentor of the Year award. Thorson is currently a coach for the Leading Age’s Larry Minnix Leadership Academy.  Her “Living Leadership” blog was named the 2016 “Best New Department” Bronze Award winner by the American Society of Health Publication Editors. 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 completed Leading Age’s Leadership Educator Program last summer.