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Innovation and wellness: Meet Kevin Vermeer

Kevin Vermeer is the president and CEO of UnityPoint Health.

This past January, I filled Bill Leaver's shoes here at UnityPoint Health, transitioning to president and CEO. Though the position itself may have been new to me, I’m very familiar with the health care industry as a whole, having spent the past two decades working in this space.

But things are always changing. Every single day I show up to work, there is an opportunity for new approaches, growth and learning. I wish I could say that innovation comes easy; however, the reality involves a great deal of hard work, stress of the unexpected and fear of the unknown. Each can have a negative impact on one's health and general well-being, so it is important to know how to cope.

I recently shared with my teams an interview with Scott and Mark Kelly, two brothers who work as NASA astronauts. The Kelly brothers outlined seven steps for reaching huge goals, three of which stood out to me:

Execute in Small, Manageable Steps
As the old adage says, "Rome wasn't built in a day." Neither were you. Dream big, and then segment out step-by-step plans. Acknowledge the small wins along the way, knowing that good things take time. 

Take Risks and Challenge the Status Quo
An idea comes forth that's never been done before? Pursue it. Gently push against the status quo. Take risks, be bold and try things that may seem nonconventional. 

Do Things Because They Are Hard
Checking items off your to-do list just to get them done sometimes seems like the easiest way to keep moving forward. But just because it's easy doesn't make it right -- or the best way to propel yourself, your teams or your organization forward. Pushing through difficult situations ultimately makes everyone stronger.

When you're flexing your creative muscles, being creative or exploring new challenges, it's easy to get hung up on slow pacing, small failures and stress -- but don’t let it happen. We are all more capable and confident than we think.


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