By Heather Seftel-Kirk, FedHealthIT Magazine Contributing Author

This week we spoke with Jason McNamara, Director, Health Information Systems with Audacious Inquiry, LLC about the challenges of time management, the opportunity to give back, and his perspective of connectivity.

McNamara is an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University in the School of Public Health and a radio host on Military Network Radio. He is also Co-Founder and Commanding Officer of Squad Leaders, a non-profit (501c3) focused on transitioning veterans into civilian life and was formerly an Information Systems Coordinator in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Why get involved?

McNamara says his path started as a youth spent in foster care and the military provided an opportunity to change his course. His best friend, and co-founder, at Squad Leaders comes from a similar but even more challenging background, he says. “We started this organization because we understand the how fragile the veteran community can be, and because as veterans, we understand the challenges. We also understand that our journey is not unique. The military is infused with people just like us who 100 percent wouldn’t be who we are today without the military.”

Being involved, according to McNamara, is a circle of life, or, as he preaches to the students he teaches, about walking the walk and talking the talk. “It isn’t enough to say you support veterans, for instance, you have to take action to support them. It isn’t enough to say you want to be an expert in your field, you have to take action to become that expert.”

He says it is also important, while people pursue their expertise and distinguishing levels of success, that they remember that at the end, we are all the same, all connected. “Despite the ultra focus we have on distinguishing ourselves and separating ourselves by our accomplishments and expertise, at the end of it all, we have to learn to not be so serious about ourselves. We have to understand, and believe, that we’re all the same and we should all be working together and helping each other.”

How though does one get past the ‘New Year’s resolutions that never happen stage’ to make that happen?

“Have I taken action to align what I am doing with my goals?”
McNamara says the key is the ability to self-check, to have an honest conversation with yourself on a regular basis that includes the question “Have I taken action to align what I am doing with my goals?” He says any action, even if it turns out to be a step down the wrong path, is still a step closer to the end goal.

He says it is also important to understand that you can’t fight the current. “Sometimes it’s like riding a river, you can fight your path for a little while, but eventually life will push you back in the right direction. People need to recognize and listen to the signals and then be willing to go where they lead.”

The challenge, he says, in following through and being the person who talk about being, is to put words into action in a meaningful way. “Where do you want to go and how will you get there? How do you want to be remembered, both personally and professionally? What do you need to do to get there?”

Easier said than done?

McNamara says it’s all about finding time. He says the people in the industry who are setting the pace are also the people who have the ability to manage their time, who are thoughtful about what they are doing and how they are doing it. These same people, he says, will speak about meditation, either as a concrete process or from the perspective of spending five minutes a day consciously thinking about what they want to be tomorrow and what they need to do to achieve that today.

“I see a lot of volunteers, people who say they want to do something, who in theory support something, but then can’t actively engage. You have to find and make the time, or sometimes allow yourself the time, to do what is important.”

For McNamara and all that he juggles, finding the time can mean starting the day at 4am but he says the reason, and the result is worth it. “At the end of the day the world is small. The more we help one another, the easier it is to go down this road together.”




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