“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”  – Maya Angelou

Welcome to my first official post as NIRSA President. It’s been an honor to serve on the NIRSA Board of Directors during the past two years in the President’s track, but it’s quite humbling to actually step into the role of NIRSA President.

Many great professionals have served our Association throughout the years. I have huge shoes to fill—of course, at 6’9”, my feet probably physically fill up both Bill and Stacey’s at the same time; professionally though, I feel nowhere close. I’ve certainly learned from watching them lead over the past two years though and I hope some of their expertise has rubbed off on me.

THRIVE: To grow or develop very well

I’ve been blessed with so many great things in my life—amazing family, great friends, the perfect life partner, fantastic job opportunities, engaging colleagues, and wonderful students who have enriched my life and work. I occasionally take for granted that I’ve had opportunities to play sports; travel and explore parts of the world (especially underwater); work with and lead some great teams; contribute to organizations and associations that have provided me with opportunities that helped mold me, and allowed me to thrive.

Of course, life is not always perfect. I’ve experienced loss of family and friends, missed opportunities, health issues, job issues, the kinds of experiences that we’ve all faced. Through it all, I’ve been able to see past the bad and look for the good. I’m certain that my NIRSA family has done the same, either individually, collectively, or both.

To push through the icky stuff—as Paul Wesselmann, aka The Ripples Guy would say—and come out having learned something from it, that is thriving too.

THRIVE: To progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances

Sometimes, the icky stuff is the catalyst that teaches us to thrive. It teaches us to progress toward a goal despite circumstances. It helps us develop the resilience needed to be successful which looks different to everyone. We all have different personalities, goals, and experiences; but we tend to know we’re succeeding when we feel it. The theme for this year’s President’s Notes leadership blog is THRIVE. I hope the theme for this year will inspire our NIRSA family to work on our own wellbeing and help others on their wellbeing journey.

THRIVE: To flourish

Take stock of where you are now and envision where you want to be. What would you love to do, see, experience, or lead? Then, decide on one thing you can do to move in that direction. Step out of any rut, habit, or thought process that is keeping you stagnant. Maybe, by the time we meet in Boston for NIRSA 2019, you will have sung karaoke, gone scuba diving with manta rays, started a new job, spoken out against an injustice, or helped someone in need. Whatever you choose to do or be, do it with enthusiasm. Experience something new and join the Health and Wellbeing Revolution as our NIRSA family seeks to THRIVE!

Be creative in every dimension of wellbeing and be part of the journey. Focus on the positive ways that we can thrive in our work and in our lives. Over the next year I plan to explore ways to thrive in every dimension of wellbeing and hopefully encourage us in some small way to try new things, think new things, and be new things, all while helping those around us to thrive as well.

Wish me luck.

“If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather than dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities.” Barbara Bush

Post your stories and pictures on social media using the hashtag #NIRSAthrive and follow my journey as NIRSA President on Twitter! I want to feature your stories and pics as well in future posts so be creative and join the journey.

  • For more information, contact NIRSA President Ken Morton.