A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure and opportunity to attend the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) 2018 Quality Conference in Baltimore. I’m somewhat of a conference veteran and have been attending these annual events for the past several years, and as usual, this year didn’t disappoint.
As I sat in the airport and waited for my flight back home, I reflected on what I had learned and what I would take back to the HealthInsight team. What were my key takeaways? There was much to take in, which to be honest, quickly overwhelmed me and eventually led me to the following conclusion: It was the connections with others that made the most difference. The relationships and reunions are what attendees are most excited about. I hear it time after time. People share their conference experience and almost always speak about the personal connections that made their participation worthwhile. The content and presentations were fascinating and offered a great deal of insight, and in some cases tools to take home, however, what people will remember most is the connection they made with a colleague, leader, partner or friend.
So how is it that 2,600 people from all over the country can come together around a common desire and vision, spending time, money and other resources to break away, only to prize the networking aspect the most? This concept fascinated me. I was humored with the notion that knowledge may be power, but that relationships eat knowledge for breakfast.
Personal connections make us feel normal. They remind us that we matter. True personal connections help us become the better humans. They help us grow, take risks and make a difference for somebody else. Connections help us come out of ourselves and feel seen, heard and valued. Miriam Webster defines a connection as “a relation of personal intimacy, coherence or continuity.” That’s powerful stuff!
Connections make us feel stronger. They help us define ourselves, make us more resilient, and help us conquer greater things than we could otherwise achieve on our own. It’s no wonder we don’t get very far in our work without them. We caught a glimpse of this with the 2018 Winter Olympics taking place in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Yes, it’s about the medals, but what would it matter if there was nobody for the athletes to share their proudest moments? Or, if they were to break a world record only to turn around and find nobody there for them to share the experience and cherish one of their proudest moments?
Relationships and connections matter a lot. Take care of them. It may be the most important thing you do today.