Gary Obreque

Gary Obreque
Episode 130

Join host Japhet De Oliveira as he connects with Gary Obreque, Human Resources Director for the Central Coast Service Area, for an engaging conversation about his upcoming trip to Egypt, the impact of mission work, supporting others in finding their purpose and how painful memories can shape you into a grateful person.
Libsyn Podcast
"I want to provide purpose to other people. I want to bring something to somebody else. That became clearer to me during my trip to Africa...that I do what I do and want to continue doing things for people."

Narrator: Welcome friends to another episode of The Story & Experience Podcast. Join your host, Japhet De Oliveira with his guest today and discover the moments that shape us, our families, and communities.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey friends. Welcome to another episode of the Story & Experience Podcast. I'm delighted with our guest today, and if you're brand new to the podcast, we have 100 questions. Not all of them, of course are answered, but the guest gets to pick between the beginning of them to 100 where they'd like to go, and they're bound questions that will open up their stories and experiences that shape them into the leader that they are today. So I'm going to begin with the first 10, and then I'm going to open the floor and let you choose the ones from 11 to 100 and where you want to go.

Gary Obreque: Sounds good.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, you heard his voice, you heard his voice. All right, so let's begin straight away then. Could you tell us your name and does anybody ever mispronounce it?

Gary Obreque: Sure, my name is Gary Obreque, and yes, people mispronounce it all of the time.

Japhet De Oliveira: Gary is very difficult.

Gary Obreque: Gary is very, yes, correct, Gary is very difficult.

Japhet De Oliveira: Obreque or Obreque?

Gary Obreque: Well, if you're really using the accent with it, it's Obreque.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, Obreque, nice.

Gary Obreque: But most people usually can't roll their Rs, so it's Obreque.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good, and where does it come from?

Gary Obreque: Well, my folks, so my mom is from Argentina, my dad's from Chile, so it comes from there. It's not necessarily, if you will, a typically Hispanic name, but my dad's side of the family, he has a lot of descendants from Turkey. So it's derived from a name in Turkey, it's Obrek and it's spelled differently of course.

Japhet De Oliveira: Does it mean something?

Gary Obreque: So yes, it means unconquered.

Japhet De Oliveira: Unconquered, well, look at you. All right. Unconquered Gary, all right. Gary, what do you do for work?

Gary Obreque: I am the Human Resources Director for Adventist Health Tillamook.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, okay, good. How long have you been in this role?

Gary Obreque: I've been here at Adventist Health for a little over two years, I'm coming up to two and a half years.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Oh, fantastic. Have you been in HR your entire career or...

Gary Obreque: I have, yeah. Well, for the most part of it, so I'm coming up to 12 years in HR. I'm a Colorado guy, so I started off in Colorado. But yeah, so it's been with Adventist Health in HR for about seven years.

Japhet De Oliveira: Nice, nice. Well, fantastic stuff. Thank you for that. So let me ask you a couple of practical questions. In the morning when you get up, Gary, what do you have? Water, coffee, liquid green smoothie, tea?

Gary Obreque: Ooh, yeah, good question. So usually when I wake up, it's depending on what my mood is that morning. Sometimes I go straight for the coffee, but oftentimes when I wake up I usually have my AG1 green smoothie. So it's not really a smoothie, it's a powder that, it's the supplement powder, but that's usually what I have when I [inaudible 00:03:06]

Japhet De Oliveira: And what does this powder do for you?

Gary Obreque: It just provides those much-needed vitamins here in the Pacific Northwest with all the cloudy and rain, but yeah, it's supplements.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great, that's great. All right, so where were you born?

Gary Obreque: I was born in Lancaster, California.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, and did you grow up there?

Gary Obreque: I grew up there up until I was about seven.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. So when you were a kid, what did you imagine you were going to grow up to be?

Gary Obreque: Oh, man, the most notable thing that I can remember in having conversations with my folks about what I wanted to do, I've always really loved mythology and Egyptians in particular, so I wanted to become an Egyptologist.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right.

Gary Obreque: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Have you been to Egypt?

Gary Obreque: I have not. It was at the top of my bucket list of places to go. I was supposed to go for my high school graduation, but it didn't end up that way so it's, yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Gary, Gary.

Gary Obreque: I know.

Japhet De Oliveira: Egyptologist, and you haven't been yet?

Gary Obreque: There are plans to go and actually there might be plans to go this year.

Japhet De Oliveira: I was going to say the next 10 years.

Gary Obreque: Yeah, this year, hopefully, but we'll see.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's good man, that's good. I'm excited for you. Are you an early riser or late night owl?

Gary Obreque: I think as I get older, I'm definitely not a late night owl, but I have never been an early riser. I prefer to stay up versus wake up early.

Japhet De Oliveira: And what's staying up to like?

Gary Obreque: Well, these days it's like 10 is late, but normally, I mean, normally I could stay up till 12, 1 and be fine the next day, but...

Japhet De Oliveira: But now 10.

Gary Obreque: Now 10.

Japhet De Oliveira: Boy...

Gary Obreque: That's like late.

Japhet De Oliveira: You're aging.

Gary Obreque: Yeah, I am.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's interesting. If people were to describe your personality, would they describe you as an introvert or extrovert or...

Gary Obreque: Yeah, great question. I think people would describe me as an extrovert. However, that's not what I am.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Gary Obreque: I think my time in HR and my positions have stretched me to live in that world of extrovert but innately, really, I'm an introvert. People would not say I am, but that's what I would consider myself.

Japhet De Oliveira: And not denial, this is truth.

Gary Obreque: That's the truth.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, all right, I'm teasing you, I'm teasing you. When you woke up this morning at a regular hour, what was the first thought that went through your mind?

Gary Obreque: Oh man, I have an eight o'clock meeting. That is what went through my mind and I need to, and after that is, I got a lot of things to do before then.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, all right, all right, hey, that's good. So here's the last one, a leadership question. Are you a backseat driver?

Gary Obreque: I guess it depends on what is happening in regards to what projects or what I'm needing to lead but often, no, I try not to be a backseat driver, but I also don't necessarily try to necessarily lead either. My leadership style is collaboration, we go together, but it just really depends on what it is I'm working on. Whether I choose to take a backseat and observe, because I would call myself an observer when I'm in any sort of leadership situation, whether it's a new situation for me or it's something that I've, I'm well-versed in, I like to hear other people's opinions. So if that's what means is a backseat driver, then yes, I guess I could be considered a backseat driver, but I do like to really take in what's happening before I choose to step in and lead or whatever it is.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. Hey, that's good stuff. All right, so floor is open. Which number would you like to go first?

Gary Obreque: Oh man, let's start easy. Let's start with the number 2.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, actually the first 10 I did.

Gary Obreque: Oh, the first 10 you did. Oh, that's right, oh, that's right. Okay, 11...

Japhet De Oliveira: Sorry about that.

Gary Obreque: No, that's okay. Well then let's go 12.

Japhet De Oliveira: 12, all right, what's your favorite movie or book of all time?

Gary Obreque: Oh man, I would consider myself a movie buff so this question's very hard for me as far as what movie I would choose, but the movie that just popped into my mind is Pearl Harbor. I love those movies, I've seen those movies 'cause it's in two parts, but I've seen them several more times than I can count.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Gary Obreque: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. What draws you into those kind of movies?

Gary Obreque: I don't know. I like those style of movies. I mean, I like war-type movies. It sounds a little, but I do like those types of movies.

Japhet De Oliveira: I'm in HR and I love war movies.

Gary Obreque: Yeah, exactly. Like I'm going to war every day, so it's like I can relate so, no, but yeah, I like those style of movies and so yeah, Pearl Harbor is probably top...

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's good stuff, man. I'm happy for you. All right, so that was 12. Where next?

Gary Obreque: All right, let's go 16.

Japhet De Oliveira: 16, all right. Tell us about one of the places you've traveled and why you want to go back? And it's not Egypt.

Gary Obreque: Just in case you thought it was.

Japhet De Oliveira: It is not Egypt. I recently had the opportunity to go to Africa with Adventist Health Global Missions.

Which country?

Gary Obreque: Kenya.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, nice.

Gary Obreque: Yeah, and the experiences that I had there, absolutely amazing. I would love to go back and see the work that's been done since I was there and how it's progressed and really get to go see some of the people that I made connections with while there. I would love to go back there at some point in time.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. Hey, glad for you. Mission is just next level, isn't it?

Gary Obreque: It is, it's amazing.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's life changing.

Gary Obreque: That's the first one that I've ever gone on and it's just like, with my Western mentality, I thought, hey, I'm going to do so good for these people and I'm going to provide so much, but really, they did for me...

Japhet De Oliveira: They blessed you.

Gary Obreque: Yeah, they blessed me. They gave me much more than what I could have offered them.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. And John sure does an amazing job with this, yeah.

Gary Obreque: Amazing.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Gary Obreque: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Good. All right, where next?

Gary Obreque: All right, 20.

Japhet De Oliveira: 20, tell us about something that you would rate 10 out of 10? That's like a 10 out of 10, what would that be?

Gary Obreque: Oh, man.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Gary Obreque: These questions are getting hard.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh [inaudible 00:09:31], Gary, come on.

Gary Obreque: All right, 10 out of 10. What I would rate 10 out of 10?

Japhet De Oliveira: It's a performance review. No, I'm kidding.

Gary Obreque: Well, they are coming up. All right, 10 out of 10, man. You know what, I'm going to say my mother's cooking. 10 out of 10, 100%. Home cooking, my mother's cooking, that's one thing that I do miss with not having them close by. Yeah, 10 out of 10.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, she will love hearing that. All right, that's great. All right, where next after that?

Gary Obreque: Let's go 30.

Japhet De Oliveira: 30, all right. Tell us about something that you're really looking forward to?

Gary Obreque: My trip to Egypt.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, so how long are you planning to go? What do you plan to do?

Gary Obreque: So we're looking at an agency that does, it's going to be 15 days total.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow, okay.

Gary Obreque: But there's seven of those days are going to be in Egypt.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, all right.

Gary Obreque: So we're kind of doing a little tour type of thing.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really good, that's really good. Is there anything in Egypt you absolutely have to do?

Gary Obreque: Oh, well, I mean the pyramids, I have to go see the pyramids.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah, and climb them?

Gary Obreque: Well, if I can, for sure. Whether I can make it up to the top, that's another story. But yeah, no, I would for sure love to see the pyramids and just, it's always been something that I've always wanted to see as a little kid. And I still remember it, I still have a whole bunch of books about it so that's, yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: I hope it works out for you this year.

Gary Obreque: I hope so too.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, all right, that's good. That was 30, where next?

Gary Obreque: Well, let's go my age, 33.

Japhet De Oliveira: 33, tell us about the best gift you've ever given someone else.

Gary Obreque: Best gift I've given someone else. I think the best gift, I would say selfishly, what I've given someone is the gift of me. My parents had me.

Japhet De Oliveira: Gary, that was a great answer. I mean, every answer is valid. I just want to say.

Gary Obreque: That's the one thing that I can come up with, I don't know.

Japhet De Oliveira: I'm just saying, Gary, every question you have and every answer is valid.

Gary Obreque: Thank you for validating.

Japhet De Oliveira: No, I just wanted to affirm that one.

Gary Obreque: All right.

Japhet De Oliveira: And that was the age, all right, so that was 33.

Gary Obreque: And that was, 33 years of gifts.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow, that's very deep.

Gary Obreque: Yes, absolutely.

Japhet De Oliveira: Gary, let's go to the next number.

Gary Obreque: All right, let's do 38.

Japhet De Oliveira: I've never heard that one. All right, 38. If you needed encouragement, who would you call?

Gary Obreque: My mother.

Japhet De Oliveira: So she's the best cook, you'd call her for encouragement, great.

Gary Obreque: 100%.

Japhet De Oliveira: And you're the best gift to her, all right, great.

Gary Obreque: You got it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, all right, that was 38. Where next?

Gary Obreque: Let's go, 42.

Japhet De Oliveira: 42, tell us a story about the background photo on your phone.

Gary Obreque: Background photo, I'll have to look at my phone, what's the background photo on my phone? Oh, yeah, so the background photo on my phone is a picture of an ocean with very green trees and a rock, a very big rock out in the ocean.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's beautiful. Did you take that photo?

Gary Obreque: I did take that photo, I did, and that was in Costa Rica.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, nice.

Gary Obreque: Yes, so Costa Rica has probably got to be my favorite place to go.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really? Next to Egypt.

Gary Obreque: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Just in case you forgot.

Gary Obreque: I usually go almost every year or every other year to Costa Rica, so family and I have been going for a while, but...

Japhet De Oliveira: How does Egypt feel about that?

Gary Obreque: Well, I'll ask it when I go.

Japhet De Oliveira: Good, yeah.

Gary Obreque: And the reason it's on my background, it just reminds me, reminds me of good times. And every time I look at it, I'm like, yeah, I want to go back there. That's my motivation like let's put in the work to go back there.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's pretty good.

Gary Obreque: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: I'm really happy for you. All right, that's great. Where next then?

Gary Obreque: All right, let's do 60.

Japhet De Oliveira: 60, oh, okay, so when in life have you felt most alone?

Gary Obreque: Oh, that one is deep. When in life have I felt the most alone? So I think the time that I've felt most alone has been when my initial move out from the house and out from the area that my folks and my family live. So I actually moved, so when I moved to Adventist Health, or when I got the job at Adventist Health, I started out in Adventist Health Portland. And at that time I was living in Glenwood Springs, which is where we're at now currently. And it was nice, it was a great time. I had my folks there, I had my family there, my siblings and all that sort of thing but I've always kind of been this person that just likes to go out and explore and experience new things, whether it's by myself or with company.

But I think during that transition and shortly thereafter, I haven't lived with my family, if you will, for at least seven years. So I think during that transition was probably the time that I felt the most lonely, if you will, just because it's something that I know I had, it just wasn't right there. So I couldn't go to my folks' house and have coffee or tea with them. I could call them over the phone, FaceTime, that sort of thing but there was something missing. Now I've gotten used to it and it's more routine, normal for me, but I think that was the time that I really thought like, well, this kind of sucks like, yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: So what advice would you give somebody, because this happens to lots of people, right? They move away for the first time and they get their own place and it's difficult. What advice would you give to help somebody with that?

Gary Obreque: Oh yeah, I think try to find those connections, and I think you can find those connections anywhere you go, but you have to seek them more often than not. You can get lucky and sometimes they cross your path and that's great, and in most instances, or some instances that did happen to me where they crossed my path and they so happened to just be there and I connected and that sort of thing but I think finding something that really brings you joy or that really there is a big interest that you have, you're going to find a community surrounding that. So I think if you just live into who you are and say, this is what I like, what be it, I think you're going to find a community that's going to be able to support you and you're going to be able to fill a little bit of that void that you would have of losing something. It's not going to replace it, of course, but it will help fill that gap.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Hey, that's good, that's good, I like it. All right, good, where next after that?

Gary Obreque: Oh, what was [inaudible 00:16:17]

Japhet De Oliveira: 60.

Gary Obreque: 60, okay. Let's do 65.

Japhet De Oliveira: 65, all right. Share one word that you could use to describe your entire past, then unpack that one word.

Gary Obreque: Oh gosh, oh man, one word to describe my past and then unpack that word.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Gary Obreque: So I think I'm just going to say, it might be cliche, but I'm going to say grateful is the word that I would choose. And unpacking that, it's just the events of my life have led me to where I am now, and I'm very grateful for that. I would say for what I've been able to accomplish from then to now, and I do want to make a point here where it hasn't just been me. There's been so many people within my life, my folks, my siblings, my friends, mentors that have guided me and then have trained me and different things like that so, really it's just grateful. I'm incredibly grateful for where I am, the people that I've met, including yourself, of course. But the people that I've met so far that have shaped me and guided me, and it's been a great ride. Of course it has its ups and has its downs, just like any other other person, but grateful is the word that I would choose.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, I like that word. It's a good word for everyone.

Gary Obreque: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's good. All right, that was 65. Where next?

Gary Obreque: 65, let's go 70.

Japhet De Oliveira: 70, tell us about one thing that you are determined to accomplish.

Gary Obreque: I'm not going to say Egypt, but...

Japhet De Oliveira: Because that's clearly working out quickly.

Gary Obreque: Exactly, exactly. One thing that I am determined to accomplish, there's a lot of superficial things that I do want to accomplish, but I think the thing that rises to the top for me, not so professional necessarily, but again, maybe cliche, maybe not, I want to provide purpose. And I want to have purpose, but I want to provide purpose to other people. I want to bring something to somebody else. And that became more clear to me during my trip to Africa, where the reason that I wanted to go to Africa was just to kind of do a mental reset.

Mentally I was at the place where I was like, okay, I don't want to do this anymore, I'm kind of done or I just want to make a shift somehow. And I needed some clarity on how to move things forward or where I wanted to go. And that was part of the trip or the main piece of the trip. But it became a lot more clear to me that I do what I do and I want to continue doing things for people. So that's, as long as I can accomplish that, or if I continue to accomplish that and bring something or some help or something to someone's life, make it easier for them hopefully, I think I've accomplished what I want to accomplish. And of course I want that purpose for myself, right? My purpose would be to help someone else.

Japhet De Oliveira: So the trip was great for you because it was a recommitment.

Gary Obreque: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: A resetting for you. Finding purpose is not easy, so I'm going to ask a follow-up question. How do you draw or pull out someone's purpose or help them discover their purpose? Do you have at least one go-to thing that you try to do or say or...

Gary Obreque: That's a good question. So it's also hard to draw, so to find purpose is also equally, in my opinion I suppose, it's equally as difficult to draw purpose out of someone else, but I think in order for you to do that, you have to ask the questions. You have to engage in conversation, and you have to listen. You have to actively listen to what that person is saying. And I think what is important to that person, whether, what's important to that person could guide you to whatever purpose they may or may not have. And sometimes, like me, what is my purpose? I mean, I don't know. Why do I do the things that I do? I don't know.

And I think you're in a constant state of trying to find the purpose. And so to answer your question in regards to how do I pull that from someone else, I think it's just they're sitting and asking those questions of what do you like? What interests you? What brings you happiness? What brings you joy? When you're the most happy, what are you doing? Is it helping other people? Is it doing whatever it is that you're doing. What fulfills that little piece that's like, oh, okay, this is a feel good. So I don't think there's one thing necessarily that I do, it's just more engaging in that conversation.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really good. I like it, I like it, brilliant. All right, where next?

Gary Obreque: I did 70?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yep.

Gary Obreque: Okay, let's go 72.

Japhet De Oliveira: 72, all right. Tell us about what you want to do when you retire, and then why are you waiting until you retire?

Gary Obreque: Okay. So this has been in the back of my mind for a very long time.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yeah? Okay.

Gary Obreque: What do I want to do when I retire? I want to have a coffee shop.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Gary Obreque: Oh yes, that is, if I could survive on having a coffee shop right now, I would 100% do it. The reason that I don't do it is it probably won't take me to retirement. So that's probably the reason that I'm currently not doing that but I would love to have a coffee shop.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, all right. So are you going to plan for that?

Gary Obreque: 100%, I already have a plan.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, okay.

Gary Obreque: 100%.

Japhet De Oliveira: Someday in the future.

Gary Obreque: Absolutely.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, when you retire, all right, good, good, all right, where next?

Gary Obreque: All right, 75.

Japhet De Oliveira: 75, do you remember the very first thing that you purchased with your own money? If so, what was it and why did you buy it?

Gary Obreque: Yes, so when I got out of college and I got my first professional job and I went through that, so I'll tell that one, I don't quite remember the first thing I spent my money but I distinctively remember buying a pair of sunglasses and I was like, this is my gift to myself. I graduated high school, I got my first job and it was a $500 pair of Hugo Boss sunglasses.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, my goodness.

Gary Obreque: Probably the wrong move of purchasing something like that but hey, I still have them. They're great. So they've lasted that long.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Gary Obreque: It's, yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, that's fantastic. I'm happy for you, that's good, you know, memorable.

Gary Obreque: Exactly.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, all right, good. Where next?

Gary Obreque: Let's see, 79.

Japhet De Oliveira: 79, oh, if you wouldn't mind, could you share a painful memory you wish you could forget?

Gary Obreque: A painful memory that I wish I could forget? I don't think I, so to answer your question, I don't think I would want to forget any of my painful memories to answer that question because I think those painful memories, that goes back to the question of one word, grateful. Those painful memories are a reminder for me of how I want my life shaped, or what I want to do or how I want to help people.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really good.

Gary Obreque: So the answer is no, I don't have one that I would want to erase.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's good, that's good. Good, well, thank you for sharing that. Good insight. All right, where next?

Gary Obreque: Let's go, 83.

Japhet De Oliveira: 83, think about your favorite childhood memory. What was it?

Gary Obreque: Oh, man.

Japhet De Oliveira: And I wonder if it involves...

Gary Obreque: It's not me being the favorite, no, I'm just kidding. All right, okay, favorite childhood memory.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Gary Obreque: The one that pops into my mind now is when I first learned how to ride a bike again. I don't know if many people would bring that one out, but I remember having the training wheels on and doing all that thing, and my dad being right by my side, grabbing onto the seat and me pedaling away. And we would do this over a week, two weeks, that sort of thing. And there was one time where I wanted to ride my bike. My dad said, okay, let me go get the bike, and he had taken the training wheels off, but at the time, I don't know if I didn't notice or what, but he did his normal routine, grabbed the back of the seat and we were going and he kind of just let me go.

And I started to pedal and everything was fine until I noticed that there was nothing there and I just ate it. There's the tear works and all that sort of stuff but I think that's the one thing that, now looking back on it, I was like, I'm kind of grateful where they allowed me to or he allowed me to put me in that situation and I had to go by myself. And at first I did, but then I started overthinking it, 'cause I saw the training wheels were there and so, it's a good metaphor for life. You have to sometimes fall in order to get back up and doing that sort of thing, but don't overthink things is kind of what [inaudible 00:26:05]

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. All right, last number.

Gary Obreque: Oh, last number. All right, let's go, let's go 99.

Japhet De Oliveira: 99, oh, all right. You're in HR. What is the most difficult truth that you've ever told?

Gary Obreque: What is the most difficult truth that I have ever told?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Gary Obreque: Told to myself or told to someone else?

Japhet De Oliveira: Your choice.

Gary Obreque: I think the most difficult truth that I've told to myself is it's not all about you. There are times where I get bogged down on an issue or whatever else crosses my desk, and whether it's me internalizing it or whether it's me kind of taking a problem on that's not necessarily my own and making it my own, sometimes I have to pause and tell myself, Gary, dude, it's not about you. It's not all about you. It's a situation that has nothing to do with whatever it is that's going on with you. So I think that's the most difficult thing that I've had to tell myself. It's just like, it's not about you. So let's move this forward and figure out how we can get to the best possible solution.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's a good word of wisdom. I mean, it's possible for anyone, right?

Gary Obreque: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: We can listen to a problem and suddenly think that it's actually, it's about us or our perspective on it.

Gary Obreque: Right, and it's not taking yourself too seriously. And that's the thing, it's like when people bring problems to you, it may not be a problem to you or it may not be your problem, or you may not think it's a problem, but it's important to them. So I think not making it about yourself and making it about the other person, whatever that is, it's important to them, so addressing their concern like it is important or like it is important to you is important.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, I'm going to ask a follow-up question and then I promise we'll wrap it up, but just a follow-up question is, you talk about having these difficult things that you have to say and not make it about yourself, how do you actually truly remove yourself from the scene? If you're drawn into it, how do you remove yourself?

Gary Obreque: Well, I mean, so how do I remove myself from the situation that's happening. So I have to internally turn off my own biases and stop and not jump to conclusions. When I first started in HR, that was probably one of the hardest things to do or that I felt that was to do when dealing with difficult situations, not jumping to conclusions, not jumping to any sort of bias that I may or may not have. And going back to the most simple of asking questions, really investigating and really trying to figure out what is the actual issue here? What is the bottom line here in what you're trying to figure out?

So by asking questions, you eliminate, in my mind at least, by asking questions, you start to eliminate your conclusions and/or bias that you're putting into your own head, saying, well, because this situation happened, this is why I think it happened. No, you don't think why it happened. Just simply ask the question and start to ask those questions. So I think that's the way that I remove myself from a situation where I've already made a conclusion and/or bias surrounding whatever the issue is.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. Thank you, Gary.

Gary Obreque: [inaudible 00:29:46]

Japhet De Oliveira: No, it's great. Hey, it has been a privilege to talk to you.

Gary Obreque: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: Thanks for sharing your stories about your mother and about yourself and no, no, it's great, it's great, I'm teasing you, I'm teasing you. But it's these kind of conversations between friends that we discover who we are, discover more, and we're all transformed by it so I encourage people who are listening to this to try the same, talk to their friends, ask good questions, sit down. We all learn something interesting about each other.

Gary Obreque: Absolutely.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, and we grow from it.

Gary Obreque: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: So, God bless you.

Gary Obreque: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: And take care everybody until we connect again.

Narrator: Thank you for joining us for the Story & Experience Podcast. We invite you to read, watch, and submit your story and experience at The Story & Experience Podcast was brought to you by Adventist Health through the Office of Culture.