Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 44 seconds

I ran into an old friend at the Boise Co-Op that liberal bastion of all things “granolaesque”. As we bumped into each other and hugged (as if we were trees) in the bagel and cheese isle. We easily blocked out the background noise and started to jabber, anxious to catch up.


A local hang out

Family and friends were of foremost importance, and then we slowly wandered around to our working lives. I brought her up to speed on my retirement and remodeling situation, and she started talking about her’s.

She is employed at a local hospital on her 26th year, and does some amazing work; she has always been a positive upbeat person in the spirit of patient advocacy and has a heart of gold. She is one of those people that you are always happy to see. I could tell something was up.

Why the negativity?

The wandering Jews

The wandering Jews

She mentioned that she was sad; it was getting harder to keep a positive mental attitude. She was disappointed that I had left EMS but understood. Her sadness evolved around her coworkers losing their patient care focus. Personal drama has gradually taken the place of patient centered conversation.

How did they lose their way? How do you nurture empathy and compassion? I thought to myself.

She went on to explain that many of her coworkers are acting as if resources are scarce and a self-centered emotional hording is going on. We both agreed that purging must happen. “The Jews wandered 40 years in the desert” I told her. We erupted into raucous laughter. That is exactly what is happening (at a snail’s pace) at the hospital too.

In the mean time, I offered to come teach a class on empathy and compassion. She said “Save your breath to cool your soup”. She confirmed that she was trying to lead by example, but you either have it or you don’t she said. “No amount of teaching or watering the soil can grow a plant when there is no seed there to begin with”.

How do these people get into, or stay in healthcare? Certainly, there are talent scouts out there. Then it dawned on me. I can have a positive effect on Paramedics for the rest of my life. As we parted ways, the gears started meshing in my head. I grabbed a wedge of wicked strong blue cheese and a fresh loaf of Zeppole sourdough French bread homeward bound for dinner.

I realized I can do my part.

My old flight program Air Saint Luke’s, my boss Mike McGrane, and the employees of the program had just given me a wonderful retirement gift. A scholarship program for future paramedics at CWI (College of Western Idaho).

The Air Saint Luke’s Joe Levitch Pay-It-Forward Scholarship Program.

Paramedic Program

Paramedic Program

Starting in January of 2015. Each year, 2 deserving students will each be given a $500 scholarship based upon financial need and a blind selection process. As part of the application they must answer several essay questions I have written designed to prove that the seed exists in the first place. Once awarded they will have the opportunity to meet and get to know me and hear my story.

The school will be responsible for making them clinically excellent, I will tease out the best in them by sharing my love and compassion for the human condition and the art of being a great Paramedic. They will have a direct line to me and my mentorship. I may not be able to fix everything, but I can create a snowball effect by starting a movement, one Paramedic at a time. This may also inspire me to finally write a book.

You can contribute too!

Anyone and everyone can add money to the fund, once it reaches $10,000 it becomes a permanent endowment, which regenerates funds based upon the interest generated. CWI has graciously waived all administration fees and has agreed to help promote donations.

Bonus questions?

  1. What does negativity do to you in your work life?
  2. Share some ideas that work to build a word class team?

There is no room for negativity on our team

Sore Thumb

Sore Thumb

Upon reflecting upon the conversation, I admitted that I was tricked again into letting a skillful negative person into my remodeling company. Once we let them go, it raised the spirits of everyone.

I have successfully incorporated several new Levco employees into the fold too. I realized that like my previous successful business, I am creating a healthy culture that encourages mentorship, teamwork, and cooperation. When we are happy working it attracts other likeminded people and Vise Versa.

As I look at the dark cloud that has been lifted, I can clearly see the silver lining. I am reminded that to the extent that a positive culture is thriving, anyone with an Eeyore mentality sticks out like a sore thumb. While celebrating their departure, we all took an oath to do what it takes to protect, defend, and grow our culture to sustain our vibrant thriving company.

Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261

If you or someone you know is considering remodeling or just wants to speak to a trustworthy remodeling contractor please contact me, you’ll be glad you did.

Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.