Motivational speaker and marketing guru, Roy Spence, spent time this summer in Colorado as wildfires rolled across the Mountain state. Every time he saw a front-line firefighter, a first responder, or a physician, he thanked them.
It’s what he does—and that’s what he urges leaders in emergency medicine and other health care specialties to do daily.
“What I’ve found about the great cultures—and health care, especially [ACEP] members, the people on the front line all the time—is that we have to thank each other,” Mr. Spence says. “There is a ‘thank you’ gap in health care.”
Mr. Spence, co-founder and former CEO of GSD&M, the biggest advertising agency in Austin, will give ACEP18’s keynote address Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 5:30 p.m. His talk, “The Power of Purpose in Business and Life,” is a distillation of his 40-plus years in marketing, a career that saw his agency create advertising, like the iconic baby-back ribs jingle for Chili’s restaurants and the famed “Don’t Mess with Texas” anti-littering campaign for the Lone Star State.
For most people, Mr. Spence’s message is to find their purpose; but for emergency physicians who often get into the specialty to help people at their worst moments, it may be more about keeping that purpose.
“Aristotle may have said it the best. ‘Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your vocation,’” Mr. Spence quotes. “The men and women [of ACEP], the students, faculty, they’re using their talent to truly meet the needs of the world. Every day.”
“Aristotle may have said it the best. ‘Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your vocation.’” —Roy Spence
Of course, he understands burnout, and his advice to combat it is surprisingly simple: Take a walk.
“Here’s what I’ve found about burnout: we’re all so destination driven,” he says. “Got to get to work. Got to get the kids to school. Got to go get this…I’ve found that walking is the greatest medicine for burnout. You have no destination. It’s a journey. Walking means you can actually put your phone down and look up.”
And once the walk is done, emergency physicians can return to the grind of their day job with more appreciation of the purpose that brought them to the specialty in the first place.
“In the health care industry, we’ve got to help each other,” Mr. Spence says. “We already know the government is not going to help us. And the bankers aren’t going to help us. We’ve got to take care of one another.
“Everyone is fighting some kind of battle, including our caregivers. So we we’ve got to make sure that we help each other live well.”
Richard Quinn is a freelance writer in New Jersey.