Tuesday, March 30, 2010


INDIANAPOLIS, IN - I read a facebook post recently that said something like ‘I don’t mind if people are ambitious, I just want them to admit it.’ I’ve heard about some pretty blatant ambition lately, and quite frankly I find it wholly disconcerting. It’s all over social media sites and even the evening news; Climb that ladder, throw whomever it takes under the bus to get to the next ‘level’, disparaging others to make oneself look good, you name it. And not just in the political arena, just in the regular business world! I don’t mind reading about these types of folks, they are pretty clear about what they want and there is something to be said for that kind of candor.

But, today I want to tell you about George and his ambition. In his world, he’s about as important as you can get. He’s got a big, juicy title (several, in fact, and they are so big they can’t all fit on a business card. That alone should throw the overachievers into an apoplectic fit.) He is treated like a superstar, king or even deity by the people who come to see him in his place of business. (Ok, maybe not the nurses, but they do love him. They just don’t genuflect like the rest of us.) I don’t know his salary, but I’m sure it would make people envious as well. In other words, he is the most successful man that I know. King of the hill, top of the heap, a-number-one, just like the song says.

This is my favorite part of George, however. He is compassionate, gentle, kind and quick-witted. He doesn’t parade around in $3,000 suits or insist that we be silent while he is present. He never shakes my hand, he hugs me instead. When he talks to my children, he smiles at them and addresses them as if they really matter to him, and aren’t just nuisances in the way. He has cried with patients who are sick, were too sick to make it, and laughed with the ones who could continue on. I asked him once what else he could possibly want from life, what would make him retire to a life of leisure and luxury. His response should be an example to all, in my opinion, and why George is the most successful man I know.

He said, quietly, “I would like to be put out of a job. I would like a cure for cancer.”