Perfectly Broken and Ready to Heal – Robin Youngson

“Every time I demonized those I wanted to influence, I met resistance.” This is the first point Robin Youngson shares in his TEDxTauranga talk: Perfectly Broken and Ready to Heal. “More people started to listen when I dropped judgment.”

Youngson is a physician and senior medical leader, whose journey to transform the patient experience of health care was sparked by a horrific accident his daughter was in that caused her to be in the hospital, immobilized, looking only at the ceiling, for three months. So little stimulation. So little compassion. So little humanizing of a patient.


Meredith and Robin Youngson

It began a quest for him. A radical commitment. To humanize caring in the hospital system. He and his wife, Meredith created a company called Hearts in Health Care and they struggled to create change. His worldview of his work, of patient care or human care, has shifted and expanded in his journey. His work and quest is resonant with the foundational philosophies of our work with Worldview Intelligence.

He and Meredith learned that logic and evidence does not help. The facts will not likely change someone’s mind because people are vested in their own worldviews. Non persuasion was more effective. “I discovered my greatest power was vulnerability,” he says. “It was through vulnerability that we began to open hearts and minds.”

They also discovered that casting themselves as experts on compassion did not work. They were confronted by a group of nurses who said, “I imagine you are here to teach us about what we have only been doing for about 3o years.” That reminded them, “Every doctor and nurse already has a depth of compassion. Our job was to draw it out; to draw out the wisdom and compassion that already existed in the room.”

They moved from a business model to a generosity model, bringing greater alignment between their views and how they are showing up in the world, and have been humbled by the generosity of the world. As an example, his book Time to Care is being translated into many different languages by volunteers.


Hearts in Health Care Lessons Along the Way – Powerful and resonant with much of the Worldview Intelligence work, philosophies and foundational premises

Finally he says, “We discovered that approaching the issues like a pathology only focused people on the problems where they blamed each other. So now we ask better questions, to help people share the very best stories of healing and connection.”

“All the strategies that didn’t work involve separation. All the ones that did work involve connection. The new world we were trying to build was already in the room.”

Youngson offers, “When we fight against what’s wrong we draw up the battle lines.Our protests, fights and campaigns are counterproductive because they serve only to separate us even more.”

Drawing the analogy between patient care and connection to health care, he says, “If I make a compassionate human connection to my patients it boosts their immune system, reduces their stress and pain. It is as powerful as medical treatment. As a doctor I am sometimes confronted by patients who are broken and have no hope. Compassion calls me to sit with them in their darkest hour. When I dare to hold the sacred space I see them crack open and begin to heal.”

“If we can take this gift of brokenness into our hearts we hear the call of compassion and suffer outselves to become more vulnerable, humble and generous. Everything we need is right here, within us.”

He ends with,  “Will you receive this gift? It is perfectly broken.” Well, will you?



2 thoughts on “Perfectly Broken and Ready to Heal – Robin Youngson

  1. This post lends itself directly to the work I do with school inprovement. How do we connect with teachers who have been doing this work for 10-30 years and help them become aware of the compassion they already have for children and help them use it in their everyday practice in urban areas?


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