The Spirit of Pouring
Is the glass half-full or half-empty?
It depends on whether youíre drinking or pouring: If youíre drinking, the glass is half-empty. If youíre pouring, the glass is half-full.
At the beginning of 2005, you would think we were a nation of heavy drinkers, judging from the half-full glasses in health care, education and global economic competitiveness. In health care alone, weíve been whining about high costs, inequitable access, gross inefficiency and excessive regulation for so long that any good news is viewed with suspicion, even alarm. With the entire industry perceived to be in a state of crisis since the early 1970s, itís a wonder that so many individuals and organizations in health care continue to thrive.
The answer is that people are much more resilient and resourceful than you would be led to believe if you judged reality solely on what you picked up in the media or at a conference featuring the latest merchants of the Dismal Critique, whose breathless pronouncements of impending demise are enough to drive anybody to drink. The simple truth is that most people are pourers, and they live their lives with expectations of hope, not gloom and doom.
It is in the spirit of pouring that SLHI begins 2005 and makes plans to commemorate our first decade as a public foundation focused on improving the health of Arizonans and their communities. These are our resolutions for the next decade:
1. We will recognize and promote the remarkable resilience and potential of people and their communities in Arizona. We will emphasize strengths and assets. We will make a concerted effort to frame our education and advocacy messages in the language of hope.
2. We will work through, and consistently encourage, community partnerships and development. We will nurture relationships of caring and trust.
3. We will be open to active learning, surprise and adaptation. Control arises from mastery. We will develop that first.
4. We will peel away the health care onion. We will research, disseminate and promote the transparency of information to improve access to affordable, high quality care for all Arizonans.
5. We will disappear into leadership. We will encourage the light in others.
The spirit of pouring is more than a set of lofty resolutions. It is a way of life. For those of us who are inclined to be contemplative and critical by nature (or who suffer a surfeit of philosophical training), it takes a conscious effort to resist the messages of deficits and crises that constitute the superficial ìnewsî of the day and focus attention and energy on the opportunities for personal and organizational growth that exist under our very noses. Experience confirms that when we start with what we have rather than what we lack, all sorts of interesting possibilities open up.
In February 1995, the trustees of the St. Lukeís Health System sold their health care facilities to an investor-owned corporation and converted the net assets to a public foundation, with the intent to focus on issues in community health. No one then could have predicted exactly where we would be ten years later, and with any luck, no one can predict today how things will stand in 2015. Circumstances change; some opportunities are seized, others are left on the table. If you never change your plans, you never plan to change.
All we can be certain of is that there will be new opportunities in the future, new ways to leverage resources, talents and human hope. We are committed to remaining open to these opportunities, even if we canít say what they might be. We are committed to building a strong and vital network of like-minded individuals and organizations who are dedicated to improving the health of people and communities in Arizona.
We intend to be pourers first. We wish you the same for a healthy, safe and prosperous 2005.