A Reflection of My Life – in 15 Minutes

Bruce BroussardIn a series of LinkedIn Influencer blog posts, Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard shares insights and ideas about the future of health care and discusses the importance of working together to improve the health-care system as well as our own health and well-being. His latest — A Reflection of My Life – in 15 Minutes — is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

Recently, I had the honor of serving as the commencement speaker for the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business in Washington, D.C. I have a personal connection to Georgetown, as my son Clay is about to enter his junior year.

My commencement speech focused on three core themes. The first was about adversity and discovering what’s important in life. The second concerned perseverance and courage, which focused on standing your ground despite the negative consequences your actions could have. The third was about serving others and how the power of humility enables you to truly learn something from everyone.

I expanded on each of these themes with professional and personal experiences, some of which were not easy to share, and how these ultimately changed my life. After the commencement ceremony, I was asked by a few people if it was fun. While I replied that I loved giving the speech, I also told them the writing part was an enlightening and meaningful exercise for me in personal reflection.

Drafting and revising my speech was as much about going through the process of assembling the thoughts of the speech as it was taking my life story and connecting the key moments to the decision points along the way that created who I am today.

As I looked back on my speech, I thought about the importance of small, subtle – and large – decisions every one of us is called to make along the way and how these decisions ultimately determine our journeys, life circumstances, and opportunities — from doors that are opened for us or even ones that are closed.

It’s important for anyone to take the time periodically and reflect on one’s journey. A graduation ceremony – with its endings and new beginnings — and vacation time with family are both ideal times for this type of reflection. It’s not only an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, but also to learn from others and, if necessary, to correct the course of your journey.

You never stop learning, no matter what stage of life you’re in. I learn the most from people when they share with me their own experiences, good and bad. It takes courage for anyone to share a hurtful experience, and it takes real humility to realize that you will never have all the answers.

As I look back to that Saturday, I realize that this time of reflection was a valuable gift; it allowed me to review how the decisions I’ve made – good and bad – made me into the person I am today. I have faith that the decisions that await me around the corner – and the outcomes of those decisions – will enable me to learn and grow in ways I never could have imagined.

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