"Someone is sitting in the shade today
because someone planted a tree a long time ago." (Warren Buffet)
Dr. Julie Silver is a giant among medical practitioners.
As an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, Silver has published several award-winning books and is the Chief Editor of Books at Harvard Health Publications, the consumer health publishing brand of Harvard Medical School.
But Silver is known for more than her accomplishments, she's known as an overcomer. At age 30, Silver found herself on the other side of medicine – as a patient instead of a physician – when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her story from surgery through radiation, chemo, and rehab is now the backbone of her identity.
Through cancer recovery, Silver found herself exhausted and depleted, with few resources for getting back on her feet:
"Returning to work and caring for my young children was very difficult," Silver says of that time. "I was not given rehab care and therefore had to rehabilitate myself. If I had been a stroke survivor or been in a car accident, I would have been offered rehab treatment. But, as a cancer survivor, I was left to figure it out on my own."
Silver says this experience, combined with loads of research touting the benefits of cancer rehab, prompted her to team up with others to reshape the recovery road. She and a team of experts created STAR (Survivorship Training and Rehab) certification programs for hospitals, group practices, and individual clinicians. STAR programs have empowered post-cancer treatment centers, improved life for thousands, and given legs to Silver's dream.
Pursue a Dream
Do you need the courage to pursue a dream in your life?
You have to believe a dream before you can see it come true. Every great achievement begins in the heart of one individual who took a risk and asked, "what if?" As Walt Disney once said, "all our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them."
Dreamers are people who don't let negative thinking discourage them, even when their vision is beyond their capabilities. In Silver's case, she started with a hope for better cancer rehab. But as her journey progressed, she discovered hospitals needed much more than information. They needed an entire training system.
"I quickly realized that [my colleagues] needed a lot more information and assistance than I could offer with a simple conversation," Silver said. "They needed to be educated about cancer rehabilitation and to implement protocols to deliver this care."
Share a Dream
One reason dreams die is that you never share them with others.
People who genuinely want to achieve a dream must talk about it! Frequently. Why? Sharing a dream aloud helps you believe in it more and to make necessary tweaks along the way. Sharing dreams builds momentum, inspires others to collaborate, and holds you accountable to a plan. And plans break visions into actionable steps while pushing you to gather necessary resources in realistic time frames.
Work the Dream
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
After you've done the necessary planning, it's time to work. When it comes down to it, cathedrals are built one brick at a time. So, the most successful dreamers aren't just people with bold ideas; they are people who follow through in ordinary moments.
Hard work isn't always fun, but success looks something like this:
Short-Term Tasks * Regular Follow-Through = Long-term Achievement
Sound difficult? Just remember, it can be hard to work the dream, but it can be even harder to work for someone else's dream. Do the work today and enjoy the results tomorrow!