The Mission has your back

Recently, I’ve been in a few meetings where people have had strong differences of opinions. The debates have gotten heated to the point where the individuals involved seem to take the disagreement personally and try to prove why they are right and the other person is wrong.

I see it as a chance to call a time out and remind them why we are all here in the first place: We are called to serve the Mission, and if you focus on that, you’ll know the Mission has your back.

The point I try to make is that the Mission is bigger than any one of us. You can’t make it all about you, and I can’t make it all about me. We are here so that the amazing work of Providence can happen.

People have thanked me later for the reminder. In fact, it’s kind of become a motto now: The Mission has your back.

Inspiration out my window

My office overlooks a statue of Emilie Gamelin, the founder of the Sisters of Providence. I specifically chose this office space so I could be reminded of her on a daily basis. She is an incredible role model. Talk about someone who didn’t take things personally. There was no ego with her.

She was all about service and making sure everyone felt loved and cared for, and she paid special attention to people who would otherwise be forgotten: the homeless, orphans, the mentally ill, prisoners and typhoid-stricken immigrants. When other organizations come to my office for meetings, I point to the statue as a way to tell the story of who Providence is and what we’re about.

Emilie Gamelin

The view of Emilie Gamelin from my office. I watched through the window the day they installed the statue. They almost dropped it! Thank goodness they didn’t. It’s great to look outside and see her every day.

Our work can get stressful at times especially for those who are at the bedside or in the operating room when it really is about life or death. But we can also have stressful moments with each other and ourselves. In times like that, I hope all of you remember that the Mission really does have your back. If you keep that front and center, everything will fall into place the way it’s supposed to.

What’s your motto?

Now, it’s your turn. What does the Mission mean to you? Do you have a personal motto that reminds you that we’re all part of something bigger? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.

  1. That is a very wise motto!. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Mike, I was incredibly impressed by this piece. You have shown your leadership and your mission-spirit, and I am most appreciative. I hope all of us, as people of Providence, can take your words to heart. I will certainly try to remind us here in Medford of this call. God bless, Jim

  3. I love the reminder Mike! One of the key messages we wanted caregivers to think about when using the new Perfomrance and Development process is “Feedback is a gift”. While sharing this with Mike Moreland, CHRO in Oregon, he took it a step further and I have adopted his motto “Feedback is Love”. If we accept this, then giving and recieving feedback takes on a whole new meaning!

    • That is a great perspective. Thanks for sharing

  4. Thanks for the reminder! I have two quotes:

    “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

    “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” — Leo Buscaglia

  5. Thank you, Mike, for your amazing leadership and sharing this reminder of why we are here. I try to daily begin by remembering how few resources Mother Joseph had and the many ministries she opened in our part of the country. (we complain about traffic- she would have loved some company) I also think about the internal struggles she shared and would give her will to God…..for with His strength and Will, we can do all things…..but HIS will not ours. I also focus on Emilie’s dying words; on our paperweight; humility, simplicity and charity (love). I have two….and cherish them greatly as reminders. I attempt to say a prayer before every encounter and/or meeting to ensure I am not focused on myself; but others…..for every encounter, we have an opportunity to share God’s love or to not… is a privilege to be a person of Providence. And with turnover in our ministries and the many changes which are exciting, the constant is our Mission and Core Values….thank you greatly.

    • Beautifully said, Pam. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Thank you, Mike. One of my favorite quotes comes from Eleanor Roosevelt: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” This may seem a strange one to call out here, but the way I see it is it requires me to be courageous in all things. Being courageous doesn’t mean that I ignore what scares me, but that I face it, head-on, despire my fears. THAT, coupled with what Blanche mentioned “Fear nothing: Providence will provide”, allow me to plant my feet and push forward.

    Ever forward.

    • Love it. Thanks, Michelle.

  7. Thank you, Mike, for sharing this blog with us…very timely!! My Father used to share little gems of wisdom with the family and this one truly resonates with me: In the span of my life, any act of kindness takes only a moment. That moment of kindness may last a lifetime for the recipient…touch often…with love in your heart!

    For me, our Mission and my Father’s gems are my roadmap through life…quite and awesome gift!

    • I am glad this came at the right time for you and what a great roadmap.

  8. “Leave a path of blessing in your wake.”

    This came from an image I got in my head many years ago. It could be a kind word, a listening ear, sharing a laugh, or helping someone achieve a goal. Greed and selfishness leave a path of destruction behind. My aspiration is to be a blessing, so that each person I’ve interacted with, either personally or professionally feels encouraged and supported, and that I leave behind something lasting that has made it better than it was before I “passed through.”

    • That’s a great one. Thanks for sharing, Aaron.

  9. Thank you Mike for the reminding all of us why we are here and that the Mission is bigger than any one of us. Thank you also for reminding us of the Blessed Emilie Gamelin. I truly hope everyone reads your blog and I, for one, will keep your motto front and center: [We are called to serve the Mission, and if you focus on that, you’ll know] the Mission has your back.

  10. Hey Mike,

    Thanks very much for your wise and timely words.

    Here’s one of my favorite quotes my team and I draw strength from in our work at Providence ElderPlace:

    “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted, and behold, service was joy.”
    – Rabindranath Tagore



    • A great one about service. Thanks for sharing.

  11. “I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
    Etienne de Grellet

    a high school teacher gave this to me many years ago…

    • Wonderful. Puts it all in perspective.

  12. “Start each day with a grateful heart.”

    • A perfect one to start the day, Elizabeth.

  13. Thank you, Mike! Working with you for six years was a joy and inspiration. . .the memories are many and warm. I stated often during that time that “Providence provides” and continue to state that almost daily in my professional and personal life. My thought is that “Providence has your back” is much like “Providence provides.” Peace and blessings!

    • Exactly right. Mission has your back is another way of saying Providence provides. It’s been great working with you too Blanche. Thank you for all you do.

  14. Thank you Mike for the reminder that it is not about us personally but about why we are here.

    One of my favorite mottos is: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” ~Charles Dederich

    It reminds me that we may not be able to change the past, we cannot predict the future with certainty, but we can make a difference today.


    • Great one. Thank you for sharing.

  15. “the greatest enemy of the good is the perfect.”

    • that is one of the best mottos

  16. Thanks for the inspiration Mike, and of course, the reminder. I have two quotes that actually sit on my signature. Everytime I go to change them, I get reminded why I put them there in the first place and leave them.

    The first is from Steve Farber, who wrote “The Radical Leap” — “Trust, love and humility are hardcore business principles.”

    And the second is from personal experience — “Prayer changes me. Work hard. Pray harder.” Praying for others, generally changes me in profound ways of perception, compassion, and attitude.


    • These are hardcore business principles. So true.

  17. Thank you! I needed your message in my e-mail box this morning. 🙂

    I have so many favorite quotes that inspire me! The below 3 are ones that I alternately use in my e-mail signature.

    “Could a greater miracle take place then for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” ~ Henry David Thoreau

    “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~ Plato

    “I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.” ~ Stephen Grellet

    Thank you for the encouragement! “The Mission has your back.”

    • These are all great and definitely fit with the Mission. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Thank you Mike for the reminder and refocus. This is going on a postie on my monitor!

    My personal motto comes from my dad. He said it to me over and over again as I was growing up. Now that he is gone, it is also on a postie on my monitor to remind me.

    “Absolutely everything happens for a reason.” William E. Robbins

    It reminds me to take each and every situation as an opportunity to make something great out of whatever situation I am in. Good can become great and bad can become great, it is all in the perception.

    • Flattered to hear this is going on a postie. Wise words from your dad.

  19. Let love be your greatest aim. Love the Lord with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. The Bible.

    Truly connecting our Providence Mission.

    • The golden rule. Thanks for sharing, Mary.