Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The World According to Patch

I'm working this week delivering training in a small town in northern Minnesota where I don't have internet access at my hotel. I've forgotten how dependent I've become on keeping up to date with e-mail and the web, so this is a great place for me to unwind.

The hotel does have a TV though, so last night I watched "Patch Adams" on network TV. For whatever reason, I have never seen this movie before so it was a really fun way to spend a Monday evening away from home.

I think what Patch tried to do with the medical field can be compared to what trainers like me are trying to do in manufacturing environments. In both industries it seems questioning the status quo is not looked highly upon. But in each, the real key to ongoing, long-term success is how you treat the people.

Last night I heard Patch say that if you treat a disease, you win some and you lose some. But if you treat a person, you win every time.

In the environment Patch was passionate about creating, he said "you carry with you a flame which you can only hope will spread through the institution like wildfire. We can only hope that others will practice 'excessive happiness'."

The movie was set in the early ‘70s and showed the amazing results Patch got from his rather unorthodox method of healing. It was inspiring to me even though sometimes I might think being innovative and creative is a “new” phenomenon. According to the movie credits, Patch Adams’ home-based medical practice has attracted more than 1,000 calls from physicians willing to leave their practices and work with Patch for no fees because they are called to make a difference.

How is this different from Corporate America? Shouldn’t people want to be involved with situations where they know they can make a difference? Are we still so bound by fear that we’re paralyzed to do what we know is right? If we’re afraid of being fired by doing what we know is the right thing, is it really a job we want to have? Does fear hold us captive? Are we willing to sell our souls for a sure paycheck? How sure is that paycheck in the long run? If we’re required to check our true selves at the door, how effective are we in our own lives?

If we’re selling out for the paycheck, we may be missing out on something else that would allow us to live fully, but we’ll never know if we’re not willing to take that risk. I’m willing to bet that if we stand strong in doing and being what we know is what we need to do and be, the universe will conspire to make good things happen for us. Patch Adams was a great example of the good that can happen when you stick to your guns. I’m sure there are many, many more examples – maybe even in your own life – of what happens when you sell your soul to the company than of what happens when you listen to your life. Patch was accused of practicing “excessive happiness.” What a crime!

When you think about what holds you hostage in your job, how much of that is fear? And how much of that fear is authentic fear? How often do people really get fired for doing the right thing? I’m guessing it’s a very, very low number. What is it that we can do to get beyond that fear? What are you willing to do?


At 1:31 PM, Blogger Hanna Cooper said...

Jodee, great post - it's given me a lot to think about!

At 8:25 PM, Blogger Jodee said...


Thanks so much for visiting! I'll look forward to hearing from you again!



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