By Denise Williams | News & Views
What are your goals as a cardiopulmonary rehabilitation professional, and what steps can you take to attain them?
A crash course awaits you at AACVPR’s 38th Annual Meeting this September 13-15, courtesy of a luminary in the areas of preventive cardiology, health promotion and wellness.
One of the most anticipated speakers gracing the event is AACVPR Past President Barry Franklin, PhD, whose illustrious career is punctuated by far too many accomplishments to list. Convention-goers who recognize his name and his contributions to the field are likely to sign up for the presentation on principle. Who’d want to miss out on what could be one of his last speaking engagements before retirement, tentatively slated for later this year? Meanwhile, members of the cardiac rehabilitation (CR) and pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) community who are still growing into their work – and trying to figure out how to be great at it – have even more reason to attend the talk: to unlock the secrets to professional excellence, regardless of role or specialty.
A Degree Is Just the Beginning
Education may provide an edge, but Dr. Franklin insists there’s so much more involved in the pursuit of excellence. The realization hit him like a brick as the “real world” beckoned after approximately 12 years of education. With the confidence of a multi-degree holder – bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate – he accepted a position at New York’s Millard Fillmore Hospital … only to find himself unexpectedly and utterly unprepared for certain aspects of the job. “I could take heart rates and blood pressures, I could do a stress test, I knew what healthy diets were, and so on,” Dr. Franklin recalls, “but I lacked training in the ‘soft’ skills: collaborating with others, goal setting and dealing with setbacks, to name just a few.” Those areas represent a gap in conventional education, he argues, citing renowned Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, who argued that the most important information is that which helps guide the way you lead your life. “I believe at the AACVPR meeting,” he projects, “we’ll have a lot of students, a lot of young people early in their careers, so this will be very important information.”
Tips for Healthcare Professionals
The advice he’ll impart, including that setbacks are really steps forward, is culled from his book GPS for Success: Skills, Strategies, and Secrets of Superachievers; and it applies whether you’re a teacher or a rocket scientist. Having made a name for himself in healthcare, however, Dr. Franklin is excited to recollect some pivotal personal experiences that he believes will resonate with the AACVPR audience. “I’m going to share some things that happened to me that they can appreciate because it probably may relate to them,” he reveals.
Dr. Franklin believes CR/PR professionals – and anyone in healthcare, for that matter – would do well to pay special attention to two of what he frames as the top three foundational factors for success. The first is to do what you love. “If you find it at age 20, wonderful! If you find it at 46, 47 … that’s fine, too,” he says. “Everybody is capable of reaching their potential. I sincerely believe that every person is born to be accomplished at something they enjoy doing and they’re good at. The purpose of your life is to discover what it is and then to spend those years planting your seeds and then reaping the harvest of rewards.” The second gem of wisdom he would offer fellow healthcare workers is to serve others. “The rewards will come,” he promises, alluding to a boomerang effect that seems to accompany good deeds. Third in this grouping, Dr. Franklin says that being successful entails taking 100% responsibility for one’s own life and never blaming others. “If it is to be, it is up to me,” he counsels, invoking a favorite quote that he believes captures the essence of the book. Other nuggets of advice – just a sample of the smorgasbord within the 223 pages – speak to the values of patience and persistence; the benefits of interviewing, writing and speaking well; the importance of honing time management skills (e.g., start the job!); and the yields of an enduring dedication to constant improvement.
Fittingly for AACVPR members, GPS for Success also highlights the power in relationships, collaborations and associations. “I can’t even begin to tell you” [how association membership pays off], teases Dr. Franklin, who of course can attest to exactly that. He holds or has held volunteer positions with organizations including the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, the American Heart Association, the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Society for Preventive Cardiology. For one, he recommends membership in a professional society as an ideal way to adopt a greater cause – which happens to be yet another tip in the book for building a successful career. And that’s on top of the other unique opportunities that may arise: in his case, ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange and working with celebrities such as actress Jane Seymour and entertainer Donny Osmond. These are cherished memories that he recognizes might never have been happened if not for his association work.
Besides being experiential, Dr. Franklin aims to deliver a session that is simultaneously entertaining, motivational, inspirational and – importantly – practical. His goal is for attendees to leave his session understanding concepts such as the “Pareto” and “HOG” principles and other information they can immediately use to ramp up their productivity, improve their outlook and increase their happiness with their work. He’ll use not only his own journey as an example, but also pull stories and quotes of successful people from all walks of life to drive his points home. Think Roger Bannister and the mindset that allowed him to crush the four-minute mile barrier. Think Thomas Edison – you might be surprised at just how many attempts it took before his light bulb idea actually worked. Think of the Tiger Woodses, Bill Gateses and Mickey Mantles of the world and what characteristics place them all in the category of a so-called superachiever.
The material in GPS for Success, from explaining the “reap and sow” philosophy to sharing the No. 1 strategy of superachievers, is so extensive that Dr. Franklin couldn’t possibly cover it all during his 1-hour session in Milwaukee this fall. In the author’s words, the book offers “one-stop shopping” on everything from communication skills to inspirational stories, all in an easy-to-read format. For a wider view on how the different strategies in the book work together to facilitate career advancement and life breakthroughs, attending Dr. Franklin’s upcoming talk and/or securing a copy of the book is a must! But, be forewarned, as the inside cover notes, “GPS for Success will empower you to live the life that you imagine.”
Dr. Barry Allan Franklin, PhD, MAACVPR, launched his career in medicine almost 50 years ago, and has been studying the habits and traits of superachievers for nearly as long. A former president of AACVPR, among other notable honors, he has published 27 books including GPS for Success. His conference session by the same name will take place on Thursday, September 14, at 1:30 pm CST, at the AACVPR 38th Annual Meeting. Register for the event here and find more information on the book, including links for ordering, here.