Keeping Promises, Uniting Passion With Purpose

How do you unite passion with purpose?

Practicing self-compassion is critical to combat the mental and physical fatigue present during this ongoing pandemic. The Commission for Case Manager Certification's CEO, MaryBeth Kurland, MPA, CAE, offers insight into keeping promises and uniting passion with purpose.


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How do you unite passion with purpose?

Have you ever broken a promise?

With my kids, I take care to only make promises that I can keep. Their trust in me is too important to overpromise and underdeliver. As a CEO, I carry that same high standard to promises made to my team. 

Does that high standard also apply to promises you make to yourself? 

I’ve been thinking about this question a lot since the Commission’s Case Management Week contest that asked the question, what is your “why” when you need to reignite your passion for the job? One of our winning answers spoke of making a promise to herself “to be a part of making the world better for tomorrow.” 

That statement is more than just a lofty goal; it includes some vexing specificity. It calls for a daily assessment and a call to accomplish something that improves life for someone, in some way, every single day. 

If I were of a glass-half-empty mindset, I would call that an invitation to break a self-promise on a regular basis. How could one possibly expect to make the world better for tomorrow, seven days a week? Fortunately, I live in the glass-half-full camp, and my mind has seized upon this as a brilliant means to stoke the fire of self-fulfillment and psychological wellbeing every day.

Most case managers are inspired to take on the role because of their passion to help others improve their health and well-being. In fact, our other contest winner said her driving passion was “making a positive difference in the lives of individuals who may be in the most difficult times of their lives.” Case managers guide clients through unknown territory every day, making sense of a health care system that is often famous for its complexity and barriers. If your daily goal is to make the next step for the client clearer, to remove one challenge, to make an important new connection on their behalf, or to show compassion and ease a difficult journey, then the passion for the work is reignited. 

This mindset is also an opportunity to focus on the wins. It’s easy to lament the hour spent waiting to get the right referral or to unwind a reimbursement tangle. But you can just as easily celebrate a referral made and a client’s relief that they can access the care they need. When you choose to celebrate the fruits from time and effort spent, you’ve also kept that promise to yourself to make the world better for tomorrow. 

For me, such a promise is also a reward because it offers a distinct sense of purpose. Research shows that purpose in life is connected to better health and longevity. It also enables us to find meaning in our experiences—both positive and negative—and is a mechanism for our ability to be resilient when stressful situations arise. Purpose helps us to frame the here-and-now in the context of the bigger picture so we can deal with challenges more productively. Research also has identified a virtual cycle in this resilience-to-purpose relationship; the better our ability to recover from a negative experience, the stronger the feeling of purpose over time. 

There’s one more gem hidden within this promise to make the world better for tomorrow, and it relates to our second contest question, what does “self-compassion” mean to you? There are days when the burdens are overwhelming, when the client takes two steps back for every step forward and when the defeats outnumber the victories. These are days for self-compassion. As one contest winner wrote:

Self-compassion means extending yourself some grace. Being kind to yourself. Knowing that you will make a mistake but use that as an opportunity for growth. Think of your mistakes as lessons. Take care of yourself, mind, body and spirit. Love on yourself.”

For those days, it’s all right for the compassion to flow to yourself. Your purpose remains improving the world for tomorrow; it’s accomplished by taking the time to nourish your soul and refresh your body and mind. Our second winner states this so well: “Self-compassion means accepting your faults and celebrating your victories. Supporting others without judgment while maintaining empathy, warmth and kindness.” Self-compassion is the action that fuels resilience—our ability to bounce back even when things go wrong. 

Practicing self-compassion is critical to combat the mental and physical fatigue present during this ongoing pandemic. Through the Commission’s “Push Pause” video series, I hope you take advantage of the opportunity to soak in encouragement and positive advice from experts offering brief tips on the topics of self-care, passion, purpose and resilience.  

I am grateful to the many case managers who took a few moments to reflect on their passion for the job and their definition of self-compassion and share their thoughts with us. 

 Article written by...
 MaryBeth Kurland, CAE, 
 Chief Executive Officer,
 Commission for Case Manager Certification


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The Commission for Case Manager Certification is the first and largest nationally accredited case management certification organization, credentialing more than 50,000 professional case managers and disability management specialists. The Commission is a nonprofit, volunteer organization that oversees the process of case manager certification with its CCM and CDMS credentials. Offering an extensive portfolio of certification and professional advancement activities, the Commission is the most active and prestigious certification organization supporting the practices of case management and disability management. For more information, visit and, connect with the Commission on facebook or follow us on Twitter @CCM_Cert.

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