Turning words into action in 2018

Blog post by Colin Hung.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
– Martin Luther King Jr

I was in the midst of finishing the #hcldr blog I had started over the weekend and had almost finished it, when the following tweet came across my stream from Bernice A King – daughter of Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


This tweet literally stopped me in my tracks. I couldn’t get it out of my head. Ms King absolutely hit the nail on the head. We honor those who inspire us not by what we say but through what we do and how we act.

When I read Ms King’s tweet, I feel it’s clear that she is commenting on the current state of social engagement and activism. We live at a time when the act of liking, retweeting and posting is regarded (by some) as an act of affecting change. Like Ms King, I don’t believe that’s enough. Being part of an online social community is an amazing thing, but that in itself is not change the world around us. It is the start of the journey towards change, not the destination.

It has often been said that tweetchats, are nothing more than echo-chambers – a place for like-minded people to gather and complain about the way the world is, talk about ways it can be improved, and at the end of the chat everyone goes back to what they were doing before.

It seems fitting that on the heels of:

  1. Martin Luther King Day
  2. Bernice A King’s tweet
  3. The start of the New Year
  4. The last moderated healthcare social media chat (#hcsm was sunset this past Sunday night by Dana M Lewis @danamlewis after an amazing 9 year run)

…that we talk about what will drive us to take action in 2018.

So goodbye, 4hrs of work on the weekend…I guess the universe was telling me my original #hcldr blog idea wasn’t all that good. Instead, this week we’re going to be talking about something more important – what will fuel our passions in 2018 and what actions that passion will motivate us to take.

It’s been said that only 8% of people actually accomplish their New Year’s resolutions. I can attest that for the past 5 years I have been part of the 92%. I started setting 10 goals, then 7, then 5 and last year it was down to 3. Every year I would barely achieve one the resolutions I set for myself. It was a depressing exercise.

This year I decided not to set resolutions…a trend that seems to be catching on. Instead I decided I to write down 3 things that I was passionate about and then I made a promise to myself that in 2018 I would start by doing one thing each month that fueled that passion. As the year progressed I hoped to be in a position to increase that to one thing every two weeks or even once a week if things went extremely well. However, even if I only did one thing each month, I would be happy.

For example, one of the passions I would like to fuel in 2018 is being more of a connector within my personal and professional network. I love introducing people to each other – especially when one person might be looking for help and the other has expertise in that particular area. I also love putting people together who share a passion for the same thing.

In the past I might have set a resolution like “Be more active on LinkedIn” or “Attend at least 1 networking event each month”. But now I feel that I would have just set myself up for failure. Instead, I’m committing to working on connecting people at least once per month. That might be a networking event. It might be making an introduction via email. It might simply be reaching out to a few people that I haven’t spoken to for a while. I’m not going to beat myself up on what or how I do it. I just know that I want to do something each month.

This dovetails nicely with my work on #hcldr. One of things that keeps me excited and enthusiastic about the #hcldr community is all the amazing and wonderful people I have met through being the moderator/community builder. The way I turn the chats into real-life action is by connecting people who might never have otherwise met. The worst case is that nothing happens after the introduction, but at least both people will know that #hcldr is a place they can go to make connections. The best case is that the introduction ignites a collaborative relationship – one that results in a project, someone being hired, a co-authored article or a movie deal (still waiting on that one).

One of the founding principles of #hcldr was to use social media and the tweetchat specifically to spur action. The action I am best at and one I feel most passionate about is connecting people together. Admittedly it may be a small action, but in my mind it’s at least something of tangible value that I can create from the weekly #hcldr discussion.

Please join me on Tuesday January 16th at 8:30pm ET (for your local time click here) for the weekly #hcldr tweetchat where we will be discussing the upcoming year together:

  • T1 What tech or aspect of healthcare are you most passionate about in 2018?
  • T2 What problem in healthcare do you feel strongly enough about to spur you to action in 2018?
  • T3 What can be done to prevent #hcldr and other healthcare tweetchats from becoming nothing more than echo chambers?
  • T4 Is there something tangible that you feel you could create or change you can make in 2018 from your involvement in #hcldr?


“New Year’s Resolutions Are Bound To Fail. Try This Instead”, Carolyn Gregoire, Huffington Post, 28 December 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/new-years-resolutions-psychology_us_5862d599e4b0d9a59459654c, accessed 15 January 2018

“Just 8% of People Achieve Their New Year’s Resolutions. Here’s How They Do It”, Dan Diamond, Forbes, 1 January 2013, https://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/#7c922975596b, accessed 15 January 2018

“Why Jan 1 could be the worst day to make a resolution”, CTV News, 1 January 2018, https://www.ctvnews.ca/lifestyle/why-jan-1-could-be-the-worst-day-to-make-a-resolution-1.3741348, accessed 15 January 2018

“The Passion of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr”, Peniel Joseph, Newsweek , 4 April 2015, http://www.newsweek.com/passion-martin-luther-king-jr-319421, accessed 15 January 2018

“Point/Counterpoint: Twitter Is An Echo Chamber That Causes People To Create A Community Of Like-Minded Users Repeating Their Own Viewpoint Back To Them vs. Yes!”, Kelly Ahern and Emmika Gordon, The Onion, 13 September 2017, https://www.theonion.com/point-counterpoint-twitter-is-an-echo-chamber-that-cau-1819580308, accessed 15 January 2018

“Twitter accounts really are echo chambers, study finds”, Jasper Jackson, The Guardian, 4 Feb 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/04/twitter-accounts-really-are-echo-chambers-study-finds, accessed 15 January 2018

“Watching These 5 TED Talks Is Far More Valuable Than Trying to Find Your Calling”, Alyse Kalish, The Muse, https://www.themuse.com/advice/watching-these-5-ted-talks-is-far-more-valuable-than-trying-to-find-your-calling, accessed 15 January 2018

“Why Passion is not enough”, Alex Pirouz, Huffington Post, 6 December 2017, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-pirouz/why-passion-is-not-enough_b_5705791.html, accessed 15 January 2018

“How To Turn Your Health Care Job Into a Work of Passion”, Jon Mertz, Healthcare Standards, 12 April 2012, http://healthstandards.com/blog/2012/04/12/how-to-turn-your-health-care-job-into-a-work-of-passion/, accessed 15 January 2018

“A passion for health care”, Sue Schade, 22 December 2015, http://sueschade.com/2015/12/a-passion-for-health-care/, accessed 15 January 2018

“Does Being Passionate About the Work You Do Increase Your Chance of Success?”, Amy Rees Anderson, Forbes, 27 March 2013, https://www.forbes.com/sites/amyanderson/2013/03/27/does-being-passionate-about-the-work-you-do-increase-your-chance-of-success/#33f61b0e6809, accessed 15 January 2018

Image Credit

Martin Luther King Bridge – Kent Landerholm https://flic.kr/p/aqoj4r

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