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CW 63: David Hopkins

Batteries have a positive and a negative: both sides distribute power. Which side are you using when you interact with people? Are you building up with appreciation? Or are you hiding under the disguise of coaching and feedback? Host David Hopkins opens up this conversation.

Welcome to Bridge The Gap Contributor Wednesday, I’m David Hopkins. Happy August everybody. August is kind of that weird month. Don’t you think? It’s a month that is right before school starts, or school’s starting for you. You’re coming out of summer and you’re just, it’s a fun month, but it’s kind of that weird month that, you know, school’s starting back and you’ve got the fall coming and all sorts of expectations. This month, I wanted to talk about a little scenario I encountered the other day. I’m tired. I’m beat down. It was just one of those weeks that I had so many family conferences, employee conferences, phone calls, and meetings, and just that relentless drum of trying to get business done. It’s one of those weeks that you’re like, oh my gosh, is this really what I want to do with the rest of my life? It’s one of those things where it feels like you’re Atlas carrying the world on your shoulders.


And everybody’s little problem seems to find its way into your lap. Everything from dishes not being done and trash not being taken out to somebody said this, and somebody looked at me this way, all those things that as leaders we have to take on and figure out the bottom line and what the truth is and help coach to greatness after the fact. But trudging through the mud to get there is never an easy fact. And it was one of those weeks that I was just overwhelmed with everything that was on my mind and the responsibility of taking care of other people. And I really started looking hard at that. And then I got an unexpected text and I looked down going, oh no, what do I have to do now? Adding on just another thing to this week that it was already overwhelming in my mind.


And it said this, “Just wanted to thank you for what you do. Keep up the good work.” Wow. That simple little text changed the entire week for me. It’s about appreciation folks. So I’ve got a challenge for you. Right off the bat. Typically, I’m going to talk a little bit, but I really want to challenge you today as leaders, if you kept track for one week, do you appreciate more than you criticize? Okay. I know what you’re saying already. I can hear you screaming in your car at the podcast if you’re listening or you’re running saying David and I criticize because we want to get better. Okay. Let’s cut the BS folks. Tell me when you make a comment, is it positive or is it negative? Do this for me. Take a glass of water, fill it half full, leave it on your desk. Just do it for the workweek.


And when you give a compliment to a staff member, to a fellow coworker, to a family member, to another leader, pour a little bit in. When you make a negative comment or a criticism or a coaching, whatever you want to call it poor a little out. At the end of the week, I’d like you to look at the glass of water and see if you have any water to drink. Just like the people we work with. We need hydration. Hydrating is very important. Hydration feeds flowers and plants, gives life and growth. They tell you to drink eight glasses of water a day. Hydration is appreciation. I would bet the majority of us would not have any water leftover by Wednesday. And yes, we can put it under the auspicion that we’re trying to improve everybody. And if you don’t know about the problem and you can’t criticize it and critique it and fix it, that’s just natural, but truly boil it down to appreciation.


How much appreciation are you giving out? I went back through my text messages to coworkers and other leaders and found that I was not appreciating enough. So I’m trying to do a little bit more of that. I did some research on this. And do you realize that a one-year-old child hears no on average 400, 400 times a day. Boys growing up hear no eight times more than girls. I heard it and I know you have. You’re not good enough. Well, you’re just not qualified. We think you need more experience and ness. We’re not going to promote you this time. Creating moments that matter with appreciation is an easy, so easy fix to this problem. Because when you fix a problem, you just wound somebody. You don’t overwhelm them. You don’t underwhelm them. It’s just, well. It’s natural to solve a problem. It’s more powerful though and persuasive to say what you want rather than what you don’t. 


Just ask your significant other if they want to go out to dinner. Absolutely is usually the answer or yes, let’s do it. Then you follow it up with the question of where do you want to go? I don’t care. Doesn’t matter to me. You can choose. How about this? No, not really feeling that. And on goes that process. But when you appreciate and you become more powerful and persuasive in your modes of communication, you’re making people better, not the process. And when you make people better, they take care of the process. So I want to appreciate some people today. I’m going to take a little bit of time and I just want to appreciate the important people in my life. And I want to start with you. Yes, you, the ones that are listening.


I love when I get a message about something that you connected with, whether it being on LinkedIn or through Bridg The Gap network. That tells me that somebody is connecting with something I’m going through as well. Not only does it provide validation, but I love the fact that we have shared now something in common. And without you, I wouldn’t get to do a podcast. Speaking of podcasts, I’d like to thank two very important guys in my life, Josh Crisp and Lucas McCurdy. Chances are you’re listening to them on Monday. They had this bold mission to step out and start a senior living podcast. Now three years old and having known Josh and Lucas long before that started and their commitment to senior living, they’ve really stepped out of the bounds of normalcy and created a great network called Bridge The Gap where all people from senior living can get involved and make senior living better.


I want to appreciate Sara Mitchell, who, if you don’t know Sara, she’ll fill in from Josh and Lucas sometimes, but she’s the brains behind the organization. Sara in my books is one of those unicorns that you will find once in a great blue moon that makes all of us sound good, feel good, and is just a great person. She provides validation and commitment to a work that I have never seen before out there. I also want to appreciate Jerald Cosey, Cara and Christie, my co counterparts on Bridge The Gap, Wednesday podcasts. You know, the four of us get a chance to kind of come together, critique each other, help each other, build each other up. And I just wanted to say, thanks guys for receiving my calls and texts, encouraging me when I’m down, telling me to keep at it and providing with great, funny stories, as well as commiserating and be in positive to help me be my best. 


For me personally, there’s my three mikes, Mike Sizemore, Mike Donnely, and Mike McKinley. My trifecta of Mike’s. These are guys that I’ve encountered throughout my life that are individually specific to different organizations, but are overwhelmingly focused on customer service, focus on a guest experience, and focused on keeping it fun and doing great work. So I appreciate you guys. I recently made a new friend named Nick Hughes. Let me tell you Nick’s a young up-and-comer in healthcare markets right now. And if this is where the future of healthcare is going, then I am encouraged because this kid’s got drive and passion and commitment to seniors, like nobody I’ve ever seen. And I’m excited to call him my friend. I also want to thank the LinkedIn family that I have. And most importantly, my BTG Bridge The Gap ambassadors, what a rock and crew folks. If you’re not connected with them, you need to. They are constantly posting, constantly contributing, and across all areas of a market and senior living they are there to help. 


Whether you reach out and ask for advice, connect with their business, or just create another friendship. These are the stars out there folks. Go connect with them because I appreciate them so much. And then finally, I got to thank some people in my family. Alison, my wife, who pushes me to be my best self and still loves me when I fail. My son, Nick, who shows me there is nothing standing in your way that can’t be overcome. And my daughter, Kate, who loves so unconditionally was such a big heart. If I could love half as much like she does, I’d be a better person. So I just want to leave you with a little quote that I saw the other day that a friend of mine posted and it said, and this is from Jordan Lee Dooley. “I just want to remind you that your work doesn’t need validation to have worth.


You don’t need to feel the pressure to prove anything, be proud of what you accomplish and thankful for the privileges and resources you have to accomplish those things. But remember that the level of your competence or success is not determined by how many people see it or how loud you can be about it. It’s in how you show up and live it out when no one else watches or applauds. Be the best you can be, whether they see it or not. You have important work to do, but you have nothing to prove.” Folks we’re too busy chasing the golden coin or the carrot in front of us. Know that the work that we do in senior living is important. And even on those days when family members and staff members don’t see it know that you’re doing great work. So today I encourage you to go out, appreciate somebody right now, call, write, text, and then keep doing it.


Whoever that first person is that just popped into your head, that you should think, I need to appreciate them. Pullover to the side of the road, stop your run real quick and send that text real quick. Hey, I just want to appreciate you. And then do it again tomorrow. And pretty soon it’s going to get consistent and it’s going to become a habit. And by appreciating people, we can not only make the workplace a better area, but we can make the world better. So thanks for listening to this week’s Bridge The Gap Contributor Wednesday, please connect with me at, and don’t forget, go appreciate.

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CW 63: David Hopkins