Focusing on your Current Role

I recently had the opportunity to interview Chris Van Gorder, President & CEO of Scripps Health based in San Diego, California. We discussed many topics during the interview, including the importance of focusing on your current role.


One of my favorite quotes has long been “if it’s to be, it’s up to me;” Van Gorder made some excellent comments during the interview that really expanded on that concept:


“[Success] is a combination of hard work and dedication to whatever that duty or job is—and a little bit of luck along the way. I often tell people, ‘I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to be the CEO here at Scripps Health.’ Almost everybody says, ‘Oh no, no, it’s not luck.’ But I say, ‘You know, it really is. It may not be luck to keep the job, but sometimes it’s lucky to get the job.’”


While many would not consider luck a key player in the game, Van Gorder believes it occasionally plays a small part. He acknowledges that there may be more than one right candidate for a job, which means you are responsible for doing what you can to prepare yourself for the desired job and accept the opportunities given to you.


As the saying goes, “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Once you have received an opportunity, you work hard to keep it. Unfortunately, many are so busy looking to the next position that they never fully embrace their current ones. Chris Van Gorder briefly discussed a previous employee who seemed to do just that:


“I tried to help this one young lady who was so busy—she knew everybody, she could drop names like you wouldn’t believe. She was at every event. I’d show up, and she was at that event. And yet, what was happening was she was so busy looking for that next job, she wasn’t doing a very good job with the job she already had, here at Scripps.”


This is a common issue within the workforce today. Many people are looking for their next big promotion or their next big payday. While there is nothing inherently wrong with looking forward, it becomes an issue if it causes you to ignore where you’re at currently.


Van Gorder has this advice for aspiring healthcare leaders:


Spend time really doing a good job where you’re at. People will notice you if you’re doing a good job, and they will grab you and pull you out and give you those opportunities. If you spend all your time looking for that next opportunity, it probably won’t happen.”



Question: What are you working for today? How have you embraced your current position and what are ways you can improve?




Copyright © 2015 by Dan Nielsen –

America’s Healthcare Leaders –

National Institute for Healthcare Leadership –

About the Author

Dan Nielsen
About Dan Nielsen Dan Nielsen is the author of the books Presidential Leadership (2013) and Be An Inspirational Leader (2016). He regularly writes and speaks on the topics of Leadership Excellence and Achieving Greater Success, and is available to deliver keynote presentations or facilitate discussions for your organization. For more info, please visit or email Dan at

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