Certain times in medicine are cause for celebration, like the medical school acceptance letter and graduation, Match Day, and completion of training, and landing the dream attending position.
Then there is the stuff in between. The highs and the lows. The times you feel appreciated and the times when you feel deflated.
Days turn into years and your life and career is on autopilot. Instead of excitement, you feel trapped.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
The most seasoned physicians can re-ignite excitement for the next season in their life and career with vision, planning and strategy.
Step 1. Clarify your goals. These can be personal and/or professional goals. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? What needs to happen in the next 3 months, 6 months, 12 months to set you on the trajectory to where you desire to be? Remember there are times when personal goals are more compelling than professional ones. An inspiring goal could be planning a major family vacation before the kids head off to college. It could be investing time in a hobby or other interest that you enjoy and had put on pause to pursue your career. The best goals honor who you are.
Step 2. Acknowledge all wins, personal and professional. Celebrate accomplishments, big and small. Celebrating small wins along the way keeps the energy high.
Step 3. Recognize opportunities for a new understanding and growth. In other words, stop being so hard on yourself and silence the self-critic. Rather than focusing on what didn’t work out, focus on the lesson learned. What new information, insights, or perspectives do you now have as a result of the experience?
Step 4. Exercise restraint. Where in the journey can you shift from complaining and blame to access to the positive energy of creative conversations that are life affirming.
Step 5. Support yourself. The journey in medicine is not meant to be walked alone. Yet, it’s what physicians do. The model in medicine promotes competition and comparison. There’s another way, a way that fosters caring, cooperation, and compassion. Look around. Who inspires you when you are in a career rut? Who motivates you to keep learning and living and enjoying the journey? The physicians who are enjoying the journey have people who support their success. Who is on your success team?
Use these 5 steps to help shape your experience in medicine.
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Blessings on the journey.