I'm writing this late on Sunday afternoon of Labor Day weekend. It's peaceful and serene and the weather in the northeast is just about perfect. I'm sitting in a rocker on my front porch savoring a good cigar with my favorite dog at my side. He's working on his eighth nap of the day, and I'm enjoying the peace and quiet, reflecting on the meanings of Labor Day.

Labor Day, a celebration of work, in all its virtue, and those who toil.

Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer. I find my thoughts turning to summer. Ah, the feeling of sand between the toes; the aroma of food on the grill; the sound of waves breaking, kids in the pool, or a fishing line softly breaking the silence of a still lake. None of these evokes thoughts of meaningful use, ICD-10, or hitting one's numbers.

Although summer is a time of vacations and fun, most of us spend the majority of the summer working. Some love to work, and others pretend to. But for most of us, work is … well, work. Until we may have the good fortune to achieve some state of retirement, the trick seems to be in finding the right balance of working and not working, and keeping it all in perspective. Unfortunately, thanks to technology, some of us are more emotionally tethered to our work and less likely to have a clear “on / off” switch.

Sadly, as this summer was beginning, we lost a role model of balance. A quiet hero, in my book.

When he passed in June, much was written about John Wooden, the player, coach, and man. Wooden achieved a level of success rarely seen in the sports world before or since. He was the first person to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and coach. His teams at UCLA won 10 national championships in 12 years, including 7 in a row. He was a coach, mentor, and father figure to some of the best to ever play the game.

Yet, Wooden considered all this secondary to living a good life and being a good person. He was all about using one's gifts to fully realize his or her potential. He knew this sincerity of effort and dedication brings peace of mind and self-respect. Combined with an unwavering sense of compassion, this enables anyone to be a real success: a role model, mentor, and good human being, both on and off “the court.” A comforting thought.

Finishing my cigar as the pooch beside me begins to stir, I feel grateful for vacations, the opportunity to work, and the quest to keep it all in balance. And for our friends who are temporarily between jobs, I pray that they soon get the chance to return to work and that same challenge of balance. And I redouble my commitment to doing what I can to help them.

Jim Gibson has been in healthcare for 25 years. In 2002 he founded Gibson Consultants after several years in healthcare IT and group health insurance. Gibson Consultants is a national search firm specializing in healthcare IT companies. Like Jim, the other professionals of Gibson Consultants enjoyed successful healthcare careers before turning to executive search. Follow Jim on twitter http://twitter.com/jim__gibson or reach him at (203) 431-5729 or jim@gibson-consultants.com.