Jason Whitney

Jason Whitney
Episode 116

Join host Japhet De Oliveira for an engaging conversation with Jason Whitney, Acquisition and Financial Analytics Executive at Adventist Health, as they discuss Jason's love for photography, the kindness of others, and his desire to change the way food is distributed in the world.
Libsyn Podcast
"I think one of the things that I can achieve, and I hate to say I'm getting older in life, but you reach that point where you start to think about things like health and well-being more than when you're 20, you don't think about that. You should, but you don't really. Well, now as I progress in life, as I look at my life and I look at achievement, it's things like, hey, I can actually live my life how I want. I can be as healthy as I choose to be, and that's within my control."

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.

Japher De Oliveira: Hey, welcome friends to another episode of The Story & Experience podcast. I'm here at Roseville, California and ready to record my new guest today. And if you're brand new to the podcast, we have a hundred questions. They progressively become more open, more difficult, more vulnerable towards a hundred, and they're about stories and experience that shape this person into the leader that they are today. So I'm going to begin with the first 10, and then I'm going to hand it over to you. Let's start with number one, which is, could you tell us your name? Does anybody ever mispronounce it or spell it incorrectly?

Jason Whitney: Absolutely. I'm happy to be here. My name's Jason Whitney and no one mispronounces it, fortunately, but I have gotten Jason Whitey on occasion.

Japher De Oliveira: Oh, that's good. That's good, Jason. That's good. Jason, what do you do for work?

Jason Whitney: I'm the acquisitions and financial analytics executive. So I play with a lot of numbers. I look at different transactions we do when we acquire facilities, say, we got Columbia Gorge this year, Specialty Bakersfield, and Montebello. So involved in any transactions we do like that as well as, again, playing with a lot of numbers, looking at our financial results or operating results, and making sure the organization knows what it needs to know about how we're doing.

Japher De Oliveira: That's fantastic. So you are involved in every kind of expansion, growth?

Jason Whitney: Yeah, yeah, it's quite a job. It's a lot of fun because it's looking at all the new things that are coming for Adventist Health.

Japher De Oliveira: And also keeping it undercover and under wraps.

Jason Whitney: Well, of course. You can never admit to it.

Japher De Oliveira: That's good. That's good. How long have you been doing this kind of work?

Jason Whitney: Oh my goodness. This is somewhat my second go-around. So I started this work back in 2010 doing business strategy. I spent five years doing strategy and mergers and acquisitions back then before heading out to Lodi and doing hospital operations there. And so this go-around, just came back about a year and a half ago, almost two years now.

Japher De Oliveira: That's great. That's great. Good. All right. Hey, tell us, where were you born?

Jason Whitney: Oh, I was born in Sonora, California.

Japher De Oliveira: Were you?

Jason Whitney: Yes, at our wonderful hospital there.

Japher De Oliveira: Oh, really?

Jason Whitney: Old campus, but that hospital.

Japher De Oliveira: Oh, that's fantastic. Well then, that's just a quick drive for you.

Jason Whitney: Exactly. Two and a half hours. I'll be there this weekend, and if we're lucky, there'll be a little bit of snow.

Japher De Oliveira: Oh, hey, that's fantastic. So when you were a child in Sonora, what did you imagine when you grew up to be? Acquisitions?

Jason Whitney: No, the first thing that I wanted to do when I was growing up, the first job I wanted, was the Hershey's Chocolate Factory was in Oakdale just down the road, and I wanted to work at the Hershey's Chocolate Factory.

Japher De Oliveira: Are you serious? Doing what? Tasting?

Jason Whitney: Well, tasting of course. Of course. You got to eat as much chocolate as you wanted, and so that was the job for a six-year-old.

Japher De Oliveira: That's great. So do you still like Hershey's?

Jason Whitney: I do have a little bit of a sweet tooth. And fortunately my wife does too, so we can really support each other in this.

Japher De Oliveira: That's very nice. All right, well that's good that you like Hershey's. I'm very proud of you. Tell me this, in the morning when you get up, first drink of the day, coffee, tea, liquid green smoothie, water? What do you do?

Jason Whitney: I don't do real coffee. I do fake coffee.

Japher De Oliveira: What's a fake coffee?

Jason Whitney: I have a powdered mix that's called Double Mocha. Well, mocha is coffee and chocolate. So what's double mocha is that just chocolate and chocolate? So it's probably as close to hot chocolate as you can get.

Japher De Oliveira: I see this Hershey chocolate thing's coming up.

Jason Whitney: Yeah. You see a theme here.

Japher De Oliveira: Yeah. That's great. And you have that every morning?

Jason Whitney: No, not every morning. I do try to limit myself until I have a break in the day and then I say, "Well, I haven't drank anything yet. Why don't I go find something?"

Japher De Oliveira: Oh, that's nice. That's nice. All right, brilliant. Yeah. Personality wise, if people had to describe you as an introvert or an extrovert, what would they say? And then would you agree with that?

Jason Whitney: They would call me an introvert and I would agree with that. I do enjoy being around people. Of course, I'm around people all day, but then when I get home in the evening or on the weekends, it's like, hey, let me just find some time to myself. Let me go work in the garage, putter, something like that.

Japher De Oliveira: That's awesome. That's awesome. Hey, that's great. All right, and then habits, are you an early riser or late night owl?

Jason Whitney: Oh, I am a late night owl.

Japher De Oliveira: Really? And what's late night for you?

Jason Whitney: Oh, I can stay up till 1:00 A.M. without batting an eye.

Japher De Oliveira: Seriously? Okay.

Jason Whitney: Yeah, that's no problem.

Japher De Oliveira: I should text you around one 1:00 and see.

Jason Whitney: Well, and my team, this is one thing I tell my team, I say, don't do this, but you will get email from me at midnight or 1:00 A.M.

Japher De Oliveira: Just ignore it.

Jason Whitney: Just ignore it. When you get in the office, you can look at it.

Japher De Oliveira: Yeah. That's fantastic. When you woke up this morning, late-ish I guess because you're 1:00, what was the first thought that went through your mind?

Jason Whitney: Oh, do I have to get up? As I said, I'm not a morning person. I actually had a 7:30 meeting this morning, so I was up even earlier than normal, but I am not a morning person.

Japher De Oliveira: Well, hopefully you don't have a lot of those and so that'd be good. All right, here's a leadership question and then I'm going to hand it over to you. Are you a backseat driver?

Jason Whitney: Oh, that's a good question. I really try not to be a backseat driver, and so the hard part is I do have an opinion about everything that goes on, and so the struggle is always when do I insert my opinion or not? I am thinking something about it at all times.

Japher De Oliveira: Hey. Oh no, I hear you. I hear you. I understand. All right, so floor is open, where would you like to go? What kind of number?

Jason Whitney: All right, well if that covers 10, my oldest daughter is 12, so let's go with 12.

Japher De Oliveira: What is your favorite movie or book of all time and why?

Jason Whitney: Oh, my favorite book of all time would have to be Lord of the Rings.

Japher De Oliveira: Oh, yeah.

Jason Whitney: Of course, phenomenal writing. My dad introduced me to it, and so I actually received his copy of Lord of the Rings and I would read it growing up, I'd read it like every year. And then it's great that this is 12 for my daughter. I introduced her to it. I asked her, "Hey, do you want to read this book?" And she, of course, turned me down flat and said, "No, I'm not interested." So I said, "Okay, well why don't I do this? You're coloring. I'll just sit in the room here and I'm going to read the first chapter out loud." And I finished the first chapter and I said, "All right, well, I'm just going to set the book here and you can read it or not, it doesn't matter." She came back about two days later and said, "I finished the book."

Japher De Oliveira: Oh no.

Jason Whitney: Yes. And so now she loves it as well.

Japher De Oliveira: Oh, that's fantastic. That's good. That's a great idea, reading the first chapter. It's so good. All right, let's go number 12. So where next?

Jason Whitney: All right, let's go to 21.

Japher De Oliveira: 21, all right. Share the best compliment you've ever received.

Jason Whitney: Well, the best compliment I've ever received. The best compliment I've ever received probably came from my time at Lodi. I was working with one of the clinical leaders there.

Japher De Oliveira: Lodi is the Lodi Adventist Health Hospital?

Jason Whitney: Yeah, Lodi Memorial. And, of course, I was there on both sides of COVID, but COVID played a major part of it. And so there was a lot of stressors going on and I was working with one of the clinical leaders and dealing with issues like you do. And she just said, "Jason, the thing I just absolutely love about you is you genuinely care about what happens here and you care about the people and you care about our patients. It's not just numbers to you." And it was just very touching to hear that and to know that that side came through and that, yes, I deal with numbers, but that's not what it's about. It's about the people.

Japher De Oliveira: It's a good community there.

Jason Whitney: Absolutely. I absolutely love Lodi.

Japher De Oliveira: Yeah. Hey, that's really great. All right, that was 21.

Jason Whitney: All right, let's go to 34. That'd be the next number in the Fibonacci sequence.

Japher De Oliveira: Oh, is it really? Okay. Tell us about a moment that a person's kindness made a difference in your life.

Jason Whitney: Yeah. Actually, I'd say that kindness made a dramatic difference in my life, was working with Bob Beeler. If you knew him, he did acquisitions up here, but prior to that, he was the president in Bakersfield. And I was up here at the time and I had sent some stuff to him that didn't go over too well. I don't remember exactly what I sent, but it didn't go over well. And as the president of the hospital with this analyst just sending him information, he could have ignored it or reached out to my boss and said, "Hey, get this guy in line."

His response was very different. His response was to say, "Hey, I know what you're trying to do, but it's not coming across well. Why don't you come down to Bakersfield for a day and let me show you what it means to work in Adventist Health?" And so his act of kindness, as president, he took an entire day with me. I showed up at 8:00 in the morning and I spent the entire day with him without a break until 6:00 P.M. and he walked me through the hospital, he let me sit in on their executive council, other meetings, hours of questions. And that changed my life and how I view the work that we do.

Japher De Oliveira: That's amazing. It's true actually living there, seeing it, being part of it really does change your perspective. Yeah. That's great. Oh, thanks for sharing that. Okay. Where next?

Jason Whitney: 42.

Japher De Oliveira: 42. All right. Hoping you have a phone. Not a phone. I'm hoping you have a photo on your phone. I know you have a phone. Do you have a phone, Jason? And could you tell us a story behind the photo on your phone?

Jason Whitney: Sure. I do have a phone. It's a nice rotary phone and I have a picture taped it.

Japher De Oliveira: Very funny. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Yeah.

Jason Whitney: I have a picture of my wife on my phone. It's a picture of a vacation we did a couple years ago to Florida. We got to go down there as a family. And it's meaningful to me because, one, my wife loves to travel, but it's always really important that we travel both someplace new. But these are also things that we do as a family and it really helps us create that connection and that closeness when we're able to do things like that, and get away from the day-to-day grind. It's amazing how much of a difference stepping back from what the day-to-day looks like and what that does to reconnect with people.

Japher De Oliveira: Yeah. That's beautiful. It is really important to spend family time, and going away is really good. Yeah. That's great. All right, where next then?

Jason Whitney: Let's keep moving up to 55. We're going to make these harder and harder.

Japher De Oliveira: All right. 55 it is. Oh, share something with us that frightens you.

Jason Whitney: Oh, something that frightens me. Spiders are top of the list right there. There's a spider, we'll just burn down the building. We can always rebuild.

Japher De Oliveira: Okay. Fair enough. Fair enough. So do you capture them or?

Jason Whitney: Oh no, I do not capture them. They either get stomped on. If I have to deal with it, it's going to get stomped on. Or best case, I don't have to with it and I'll just move.

Japher De Oliveira: Just move. All right, well, we're glad we moved here. That's good. So where next after that?

Jason Whitney: Let's go up to 67.

Japher De Oliveira: 67. All right. What's the best picture you've ever taken and why?

Jason Whitney: So again, I think that's a good question about what picture. I would go along with, and it probably is a theme here you see with my family, but when my first daughter was born, I started to really get involved more with photography. Of course, I bought a nice camera. I'd love to say that I still use it every day, but my iPhone has actually turned out to have a pretty decent camera, at least for my skills. So I don't know if I can point to one single picture, but the pictures that I enjoy taking are twofold. One, taking pictures of my family. And two, my wife loves flowers. Every time we go out somewhere and she sees a nice flower, she says, "Hey, Jason, take a picture of that flower." And so I'm starting to accumulate a collection of flowers on my phone, not so much for me, but because they're something my wife enjoys. And so that makes those pictures special.

Japher De Oliveira: That's great. Do you color correct them and adjust them all or you just keep them raw?

Jason Whitney: Yeah, no, you have to color correct them. You have to crop them. I got to check the focus. And some look better as a square and some look better as a 3:2 ratio or 4:3. Again, it all depends on the picture.

Japher De Oliveira: That's good. You're getting serious. That's great. All right, that's good. All right, where next then?

Jason Whitney: 72.

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

Jason Whitney: Yeah, I was actually just talking to Doris about this five minutes ago.

Japher De Oliveira: Were you?

Jason Whitney: Yes, when I retire. So I have a passion for education. I love Adventist education. And ever since college, I've always thought, hey, when I'm done with my career, I would always love to retire into college teaching. I would love to be an adjunct professor teaching just a couple of classes and probably business or something like that. And that would really be meaningful to me as a retirement job.

Japher De Oliveira: So do you teach a little bit now?

Jason Whitney: You can ask my team. Actually, I love getting new people on my team and being able to walk them through what we do, why do we do it. How does the job work? How does the role work? So I would say I do do teaching in that sense. I don't do any formal teaching at schools or anything like that.

Japher De Oliveira: Okay. Maybe you should pursue that. That's good.

Jason Whitney: That's a good idea.

Japher De Oliveira: That's a good idea. Not wait for retirement. Yeah, do it at the same time a little bit. It could be good. All right, where next?

Jason Whitney: Let's go 74.

Japher De Oliveira: 74. All right. Oh, what gives you hope? Oh yeah.

Jason Whitney: So I picked 74 because that's how old my dad is. And when talk about hope, we can't talk about hope without talking about my dad and looking at his life and what he's been able to accomplish and his resiliency. A few years ago, and I've told this story before, he ended up with a bad bike accident, ended up fracturing his pelvis and a number of other things. Through that, found out that he had lung cancer and things like that. And the way he has responded to that-

Japher De Oliveira: And just to clarify, he's okay now?

Jason Whitney: Yeah. He's okay now.

Japher De Oliveira: How long was that journey?

Jason Whitney: That full journey, it ends up going for a year or two by the time you work through everything.

Japher De Oliveira: And nobody would've known unless he had that bike accident.

Jason Whitney: Oh yeah, yeah. We look at it and say that was a miracle because you would never have known that he had lung cancer except for the fact that he had an accident which required him to get a full body CT and that identified it. And so just the way he lives his life, having gone through that and still living a life of gratitude and hope and he's still out there. Last time I talked to him, he was just saying, "Yeah, I'd love to get out and just go snowboarding one more time." He's 74 and he's saying maybe I can do snowboarding one more time.

Japher De Oliveira: Okay. Yeah, you don't need any more accidents.

Jason Whitney: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Japher De Oliveira: That's great that he has that spirit and the desire as well. That's fantastic. So he gives you hope.

Jason Whitney: Yes.

Japher De Oliveira: He embodies hope for you.

Jason Whitney: Exactly.

Japher De Oliveira: That's pretty good. That's pretty good. Yeah. Not all listeners would know that story, so sharing that's actually fantastic as well. That's great. All right, where next after?

Jason Whitney: All right, let's move up to 85.

Japher De Oliveira: 85, right. Oh, describe a role model you aspire to be like.

Jason Whitney: So I'd say I have a lot of role models in my life. I've been fortunate to work with a lot of people and be introduced to a lot of people and see amazing qualities. I'll tell you, the first role model that I had was Dr. Baker. He was my dentist in Sonora. And life has always been a joy to him. He always has a joke. And one of the things that I've just loved watching in his life is his ability to bring joy to any situation. And it's like it's easy to get beat down and downtrodden every once in a while, and he just had this great capacity to, nope, there's going to be joy, there's going to be laughter, there's going to be stories about hilarious things that happen and they could be terrible things that happen, but we're going to find the humor and we're going to find the joy in every situation. So he was actually the very first role model that I had looked up to.

Japher De Oliveira: Yeah. That's great. And do you feel like you embody that spirit as well?

Jason Whitney: I try. I really enjoy a good joke and especially dad jokes. To say that the one reason to become a dad is it opens up the world of jokes that you're now allowed to tell and it's phenomenal.

Japher De Oliveira: And what's the last one you told your 12-year-old? A dad joke.

Jason Whitney: Oh, my favorite dad joke with my oldest. It's definitely not the last one. It's one of the first ones I told her, would be what did the dog have for breakfast?

Japher De Oliveira: Okay. What did he have?

Jason Whitney: Woofles.

Japher De Oliveira: We're both dads, we laugh. It's okay. That's good. That's good. Hey, that's fantastic. That's fantastic. Does he know that he had such an impact in your life?

Jason Whitney: Yeah, I don't know if he's forgotten or not, but he is actually one that, I wrote him a card.

Japher De Oliveira: Really?

Jason Whitney: Yeah, when I was in school I wrote him a card and I thanked him for the impact that he had in my life and wanted to make sure that he was aware of that.

Japher De Oliveira: That's great. Do you still keep that art going of writing notes and cards?

Jason Whitney: I am absolutely terrible at writing notes and cards. Thank you for bringing up one of the failures in my life.

Japher De Oliveira: I thought we should probably raise that now.

Jason Whitney: That is one of the things that I know it's a good practice.

Japher De Oliveira: Yeah it is.

Jason Whitney: Even universally, it's like writing cards and expressing gratitude to people for what they've done is just amazing and I am just terrible at it.

Japher De Oliveira: There's other things that are great. We'll just focus on that. All right, that's good. All right, where next?

Jason Whitney: Let's move up one to 86.

Japher De Oliveira: 86. All right. Who was influential in shaping you to be who you are now and why?

Jason Whitney: So there's a few people, and we covered Bob. The two other people that I would really look at is Scott Reiner and Mark Ashlock, and they of course known in this organization. I started my career in IT, if you can believe it, of all places. I was like a computer programmer. I was doing that eight hours a day, that was my thing. That's where my college degree was. And I decided, hey, I want to get closer to the business of what we do in Adventist Health. And at the time, how do you move from IT into business strategy, operations role, something like that. Those two together, they had a combined role, and they were willing to take a chance on me.

And as you look at a career, there's always a place in a career at some point that someone needs to take a chance on you. And those are the guys who looked at me and said, "You have no experience in what we're trying to do, but we believe in you and so we're going to give you a chance." And that really, if it wasn't for them, I would've been-

Japher De Oliveira: [inaudible 00:21:06] door to prove yourself.

Jason Whitney: I would've been somewhere completely different.

Japher De Oliveira: Yeah. Was it a steep curve, moving?

Jason Whitney: It wasn't too bad actually. And part of that was because of the two of them. Mark, in particular, was a teacher hands down. I remember I'd go into his office and I'd ask him a question and he'd have me sit down and he'd spend 45 minutes just answering questions for me. And so his capacity as a teacher really made it easy because if something came up, they would help through that. And then once you teach it, you just make sure that you know it and you retain it and then...

Japher De Oliveira: That's great. That's great. All right. Where next, sir?

Jason Whitney: 89.

Japher De Oliveira: 89. What is the most impactful no that you said recently? And it shouldn't be a no to me. I'm not [inaudible 00:22:04]

Jason Whitney: Yeah. Well, I never told you no, I just told you we'd have to reschedule a couple times.

Japher De Oliveira: I know.

Jason Whitney: So what I would probably say is the most impactful no, and impactful may be stretching it for the situation, but I look at it, so we're in the middle of demolishing our house. We said-

Japher De Oliveira: Because of a spider?

Jason Whitney: Because of a spider, right. We had a spider. And it's like, nope, this isn't going to work. It's one of those things where you start and you say, hey, let's redo the kitchen. And then, oh, well then the flooring has to be redone. Well, we might as well cover that in the house. Okay, well if we're going to do that, we need new bookshelves and, well, we don't like that bathroom, and it kind of grows. And there's always something else that you can find to say, we don't like that, let's change it.

And so through that, with my wife and I working together, we've come up to a couple of places where we've just gone, no, that's not important. And I think the ability to say, no, we don't need to do that right now, is both a recognition of setting limits, but it's also a recognition where you can say there's a difference between pursuing perfection and saying my life has to be perfect or I have to have everything glamorous, and saying, you know what, life is amazing as it is, and I don't have to try to force change on everything that I see.

And that's probably why I'd say it's really impactful is that ability to say, you know what? It's good. I can have just as much joy if it is the way it is. Or I could go spend a bunch more money and my joy can still be the same.

Japher De Oliveira: That's good. Great perspective. Like that. All right, that was 89.

Jason Whitney: All right, let's make it an even 90.

Japher De Oliveira: Even 90. All right. Tell us about how you overcome a seemingly insurmountable obstacle.

Jason Whitney: So how do you eat an elephant?

Japher De Oliveira: Okay, yeah. How do you?

Jason Whitney: One bite at a time. And so I would say that's the insurmountable obstacle is... We get these obstacles in work, we get them in life.

Japher De Oliveira: Do you have an example of one that you did eat a little bit at the time?

Jason Whitney: Yeah. Man, as we look at challenges that we run into, one was, let's go back to COVID and look at our response at the hospital. Lodi was one of the first hospitals in California to receive a COVID patient. So remember there was a cruise ship that had COVID that landed in San Francisco? Somehow the COVID patients got moved to Lodi. And so we had two patients from that cruise who were COVID positive at the time, of course, there was no treatment, there was nothing. And so we were dealing with that.

And so we were ramping up the hospital and trying to figure things out. And part of it was, okay, we need more staff on the floors. We have nurses to take care of the clinical side, but we need other people to help. How are we going to do it? And we got on a call with all of our leaders, and I remember our president at the time asked, he's like, "All right guys, we need someone here this Friday. Friday night work all night with our clinical staff to make sure things are going smoothly. Who's going to do it?" There was just silence for a while. Then finally I said, "I'm going to do it." I took that first step, and after I took that first step, then it's like, okay, now we need someone Saturday morning and there was someone else, and now we need Saturday night and there was someone else and it went through.

And so it's taking that first step because the thing is, with hard problems, maybe you don't know the exact right answer, but do something about it. Because here's the thing, is you're going to get a week down the road, a month, a year down the road, and maybe you didn't get it right, but now you're going to be a year down the road and you're going to have more experience and you're going to know more about what's going on than if you just did nothing. So when you come across something that's insurmountable, do something. And if it's wrong, you can always change. But even in being wrong, you're going to know more to help you make the next decision.

Japher De Oliveira: That's great. We should [inaudible 00:26:23]. That's great. That's great. That's great. But real time. So it's good. That's great. I like that. That's actually really encouraging. And for people listening and for leaders thinking about difficult things they're in doing something. Because we can get paralyzed, right? Yeah. Yeah.

Jason Whitney: Exactly. And it's easy. Of course, I deal with numbers all the time. It's easy to say, "Hey, give me the next round of numbers." Break that down a little bit more, break that down a little bit more. We can always do that, but that can't be a substitute for let's go do something.

Japher De Oliveira: Hey, that's good. All right, you have time for two more.

Jason Whitney: Two more questions. All right, we'll have to go with 94.

Japher De Oliveira: 94. If you could change one thing in the world, Jason, what would it be?

Jason Whitney: Oh.

Japher De Oliveira: Oh yeah.

Jason Whitney: If I could change one thing in the world, I would actually change how we distribute food.

Japher De Oliveira: Interesting.

Jason Whitney: And here's the reason. Think about the last time you were hungry. How well was life going at that point? How well were you making decisions? How were you treating other people when you were hungry? And again, we're in America. Hunger for us is, it's transient, right? Hey, I was hungry for an hour, I was hungry for 30 minutes until I made it to the cupboard. But when you look at the impact that hunger has on people and their ability in life to be able to approach life, to be able to grow, to be able to do things, it has a huge impact. And so if in the world, I would love to be able to change it where we had a better ability to make sure that we could distribute food so that there wasn't the hunger in the world because that creates space in people's lives to make a difference in what they do.

Japher De Oliveira: That's great. I like that. That's good. You should go and line up for one of those contests and a model and then you can answer the question, how do you want to save the world? And that would be your answer. Great.

Jason Whitney: You know what, I tried that. Turns out I didn't even get past the preliminary round.

Japher De Oliveira: All right, last question. Where do you want to go?

Jason Whitney: Last question, let's go to 98.

Japher De Oliveira: 98. Oh, what is one great thing that you are capable of achieving?

Jason Whitney: Okay, what am I capable of achieving?

Japher De Oliveira: Yeah. One great thing.

Jason Whitney: Well, if you believe my mom, I'm capable of achieving anything that I set my mind to.

Japher De Oliveira: We all need a mom like that.

Jason Whitney: My mom has always been the biggest fan in my life and said, "Jason, whatever you want to do, you can do it." So for achievement, I think one of the things that I can achieve, and I hate to say I'm getting older in life, but you reach that point where you start to think about things like health and well-being more than when you're 20, you don't think about that.

Japher De Oliveira: They should, but.

Jason Whitney: You should, but you don't really. Well, now as I progress in life, as I look at my life and I look at achievement, it's things like, hey, I can actually live my life how I want. I can be as healthy as I choose to be, and that's within my control. Yes, I can always have trauma events happen or you can always get that one sickness, but there's a day-to-day health and things like that. That's my choice. It doesn't fall to someone else. And again, back to hunger. If I say, oh, I have craving for brownies or sweets or something, I have the Hershey's chocolate, that's a choice and that's in my control. And it's easy in the moment to lose sight of that and say, oh, I just need that, and if I have it, I'll feel better momentarily. Yeah, I will.

But there's an achievement to being able to recognize my life can go in these things as I choose. And I can always have momentary setbacks because I will always enjoy that brownie or that donut or that cinnamon roll. I do bake and so I make homemade cinnamon rolls. I enjoy these things. But there's agency there and it is a real achievement to take control of your health. And I'm proud to say, as of this morning, I weighed myself, I've lost eight pounds since before Thanksgiving. So I went through the whole holidays and actually had a net decrease, which is the first time ever in my entire life.

Japher De Oliveira: I do like the way you describe it, the net decrease. On my spreadsheet as I look at my weight, hey, from Thanksgiving to now, well done. Because that's a busy season of net positive up.

Jason Whitney: Exactly, exactly. It's a tough season, but it can be done. And I'd say looking at achievements like that are more meaningful to me than looking at grandiose.

Japher De Oliveira: That's great. Jason, thank you so much for your time. It's been a privilege to be able to hear some of these deep insights and wisdom, good challenges for all of us. I want to encourage people to do the same as well. Sit down with a friend. Actually, what are you drinking?

Jason Whitney: I just have water here.

Japher De Oliveira: Get a cup of water then or a cup of tea.

Jason Whitney: I will say, I went out to coffee this morning, and for going to coffee I did order hot chocolate.

Japher De Oliveira: I'm happy for you, man. I'm happy for you. But I encourage you to sit down with a friend, ask good questions. We both grow from it, we learn more, we become better beings for it. So god bless everybody and we'll connect again soon. Thanks again.

Jason Whitney: Thank you so much.

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