A Philosophy for Growth: Progress, not Perfection

By Ally Pratt on February, 20 2019
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Ally Pratt

Working to streamline and improve decade-old processes in any industry involves preparation, adaptability, and steadfast dedication. When it comes to advancing health and human service delivery, we hold ourselves to especially high standards because our work can directly affect the quality of people’s lives and influence health outcomes. To support this mission, we celebrate a philosophy focused on progress and innovation.


Start with the Right Mindset


"What good is an idea if it remains an idea? Try. Experiment. Iterate. Fail. Try again. Change the world." – Simon Sinek


Cultivate a growth mindset. Focus on potential, not the past. Find what motivates you and hold onto it. Making a difference in the world isn’t supposed to be easy, so don’t let your perseverance crumble when things get rough. Remember that you are always in control of your own mindset, that you can change it, and that it has the power to propel you forward.


At Unite Us, we’re challenged with a variety of dynamic and shifting technical, societal, and otherwise-complex circumstances every day. “Solving” community health can seem daunting at times, but our focus on collaboration and communication takes a lot of the burden off any one individual and creates a culture of trust, creativity, and productivity. Being surrounded by a motivated, mission-driven team reminds me to stay positive and pushes me to work harder, even in the face of defeat. After all, you have to make mistakes to learn from them.


Embrace Failure


"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." – Albert Einstein


It’s easy to feel optimistic when you’re achieving your goals. However, it’s not always second nature to feel optimistic when you’re not achieving your goals. This is what separates people with a growth mindset from those with a fixed mindset. With a growth mindset, you feel rewarded by both the outcome and the journey. This allows you to love what you’re doing all the time (not just when you’re succeeding).


Humans make mistakes; it’s simply a part of being human. Another part of being human is the ability to be compassionate and build real, trustworthy relationships. If you work in the health and human services industry, you know the importance of that. We’re emotional, we can be moved by our instincts, and we can recognize when things need to change. We can use data to inform our decisions, but we aren’t limited by data. Comprehensive solutions combine both facts and values, and making mistakes is often the best way to determine the best solutions. More often than not, there is more than one “right” outcome. Don’t forget that failures often lead to the best lessons learned.



Set High (But Realistic) Goals


"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs


You can change the world, but you’re going to have to take risks to get there. Challenge yourself and allow yourself to be challenged. Don’t let perfectionism limit you or stop you from exploring new possibilities. Dive in! Moving the system as a whole and shifting the paradigm to create an evolved dogma requires new perspectives.


At the same time, you’ll likely need to boil your plan down into reasonably-sized tasks. It’s important to hold yourself to high standards, but it’s also important to give yourself breaks, manage reasonable expectations, and sometimes take a step back. By focusing too much on the details, you risk losing sight of the end goal. Try shifting your outlook from “how do I make sure I capture every angle of this?” to “how can I simplify this?” The world is full of different people and ideas – there is always a need for simplification and standardization. Take the time to look back at how far you’ve come – it may help you better assess where you’re going.


Healthcare and social service delivery is full of emotion. It's hard to know that you can't help everyone. Don't ignore your feelings. Emotion drives passion, fuels commitment, and stimulates dialogue and creativity. It can also silence new ideas, promote fear, and drain your motivation. Just as you remember how far you've come, also acknowledge how you feel about the journey and the process.


People are changing, life is unpredictable, and perfection is impossible. Trust in yourself and your process. Stick to your mission and run with it.


Our platform is designed to help people address all determinants of health. This is no simple task. We’ve found that in order to maintain a healthy, sustainable process, we needed to adopt a philosophy of flexibility, mindfulness, and growth. We’re constantly learning and evolving thanks to a culture of transparency, our hard-working team, and amazing partners. Thanks to you, we’re able to make a difference. Thank you for growing with us.

To learn more about how Unite Us is coordinating care in over 20 states across the country:

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