The Attitude of Gratitude*

As we celebrate our holidays this week, be it Easter or Passover, I would like to personally take a break from the insanity that has been my life the past couple of weeks and say thank you.

Thank you to my mother, who has enabled me to be the woman I am today.  My mom left her career as an elementary school teacher to stay home with my sister and I.  She has always been and continues to be a mom superstar.  Growing up my mom modeled a type of excellence for my sister and I that we now do our best to emulate.  Although she did not work outside of the home, she threw herself into her roles as the girl scout troop leader, the president of the PTO, and the president of the Pittsburgh Junior League.  While doing all of this she kept an impeccable household, and ran a business as a seamstress out of our home.  When my father launched his engineering company, she contributed her aptitude for finances, organization, and personal relationships to step in as his office manager.  Today in between caring for my ailing grandparents in Milwaukee and trips to Minneapolis to help my sister, she is the second mother for my kids, and often steps in as my household manager.  The most important gift my mother has given me, though, is compassion for others and a desire to serve those in need.  I can be there for your needs because she is always there to help me with mine.  Thank you, Mom, for being “the wind beneath my wings”.

Thank you to my father, the one who modeled the courage that it takes to make this first step as an entrepreneur.  My dad started his own engineering company when my sister and I were 12 and 15 years old.  My mom did not bring in a salary, and they had no significant savings to rely on, but my dad had a vision he was passionate about.  He was 41 years old and felt he had the knowledge, experience, and inspiration to make something out of nothing.  It was hard work, but his enthusiasm, charisma, and incredible work ethic saw him through.  He ultimately sold the company for a nice profit.  Through either nature or nurture, I have that same bonfire inside of me to create the perfect medical home for my patients.  I have a vision of a place where I can provide for as many of their healthcare wants and needs as I can.  My father also taught me about persistence and determination.  He himself never shied away from a daunting task, and he never allowed my sister or I to either.  When we were faced with a challenge, he didn’t rush to our aid, but had this saying, “Do you know how you eat an elephant? One bite at a time….”  I believe this attitude enabled me to discover that I was capable.  I knew my father would never give up, and to that end, neither will I.  I am proud to say that this attitude has allowed me to accomplish much of what I have to this point, and I think it will enable me to establish my medical practice for all of you as well.  Thank you, Dad, for giving me the courage and confidence to take this step.

Thank you to my sister for always being my friend, my confidant, and more recently my inspiration.  My little sister works as a high powered corporate executive.  She also manages to care for three year old twins while excelling at a full time job that often requires travel, even overseas.  She is a black belt in six sigma, and works on large IT projects in the realm of organizational readiness.  As I have been developing my ideas regarding electronic medical records, and how I can help make the transition easier for my doctor colleagues, she has been a remarkable sounding board for all of my ideas.  I am so impressed with her expertise in this area, and it’s great to be challenged by her active mind.  People have thought my sister and I were twins.  I, however, happen to be the quieter and softer spoken one of the pair, so those of you who know me will have a sense of her energy! 🙂

Thank you to my in-laws who bought a second home close by so that they could travel more often from their home in southern California to be with us.  They also are true team players, and pitch in to help with my kids whenever asked.  They also were with me during the week I came to the decision to leave my former practice.  This was an incredibly emotional time for me, and their support was incredible.  After knowing them for 18 years I truly feel like their daughter, and I know I can always count on their love.  They are another critical unit for my children.  Their love and enthusiasm for being with my children also brings me the inner peace that provides me the internal permission to be home less so that I can work towards my professional goals.

Thank you to my brother-in-law who got this website and blog up and running for me in record time!

Thank you to my nanny, Margaret, who is often mistaken out in public as my kids’ grandmother.  Her loving nature is infectious, and she brings happiness wherever she goes.  She also keeps our laundry and household mess under control when I am gone, a true blessing!  She is incredibly reliable, and even when there is terrible weather, or she is sick, she is always there.  This means I can always be there for my patients.  

Thank you to my girlfriends – you know who you are.  I appreciate your listening ears as I’ve worked my way towards this big transition.

Thank you to my 11 year old daughter for being so supportive of my work.  Her creativity amazes me and I am so grateful that I have been blessed with a daughter that I can watch grow up into the amazing woman she is meant to be.

Thank you to my boys for always bringing a smile to my face no matter how challenging my day was.  They remind me to stop and cherish the little things – a cuddle on the couch, a walk to the park, bubbles, coloring, songs, and stories.

Thank you to my patients that are choosing to come with me on this journey.  The outpouring of support that I have gotten from so many of you through email, snail mail, and phone calls this week has been overwhelming.  At times I’ve even been moved to tears because it’s more than I ever expected.  Your faith in me has only renewed my commitment to each and every one of you.  Thank you for putting your lives in my hands.  I promise to do my best to live up to your expectations.

But most of all thank you to my husband.  We’ve been together for 18 years, and I feel so blessed to have chosen the perfect life partner for me.  He is the rock upon which I lean.  He supports me through everything and I know that he will always be there “for better and for worse”.  He loves me even when I don’t act very lovable.  He listens with an ear that never tires.  His brilliant mind helps me to work through tough challenges.  His arms comfort me when I’m feeling down.  He celebrates my successes and encourages me when I have disappointments.  He is an amazing father to our children.  He allows me to take risks, and has more faith in my abilities than even I do.  My gratitude for his presence in my life is hard to put into words.

People often ask me, “How do you do it?  Four kids, a medical practice, EMR consulting, Sunday school teaching, girl scout leading, running….”  So here’s the answer – I’ve been blessed with an incredible team that lets me “shatter my speed limits**”.  So take this holiday time to tell your supporting cast how much you appreciate them.  Remember everything, whether positive or negative, rolls down hill. 🙂

*From M.A.D. Leadership For Healthcare, Wendy Lipton-Dibner, 2009 Greenbranch

**Shatter Your Speed Limits, Wendy Lipton-Dibner, 2010


About Kara Nance MD

Kara Nance, MD FACP currently works in private practice in Rolling Meadows, IL. Dr. Nance approaches the care of her patients with a very holistic attitude that targets the many factors that contribute to overall wellbeing. She is a mother of 4 young children, and often brings her personal life experiences into play when helping her patients solve problems relating to life balance. In addition to her clinical practice, Dr. Nance is passionate about electronic medical records and the establishment of electronic health exchanges. She consults with local physicians, hospitals, and medical groups about transitioning over to electronic medical records. Kara also participates in advocacy activities relating to primary care. As a Fellow in the American College of Physicians and a member of the ACP's Northern Illinois Council, Dr. Nance frequently travels to Washington to lobby for important issues in health care reform.
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2 Responses to The Attitude of Gratitude*

  1. What a wonderful tribute to the people in your life who love and admire you. Your humility in knowing that their support makes it possible for you to chase and fulfil your dreams speaks volumes about your character: caring, capable, wise, kind.I am honored to be "part of the team."

  2. Sharon says:

    From the midst of the maelstrom, comes a well-defined sense of self. You continue to amaze me. Affirmation is a wonderful gift. Thank you.

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