Welcome to another episode of Lessons In Life and Medicine. Today we’re talking about Clarifying Your Vision.

I meet doctors in many different arenas. I meet them in clinical settings, at conferences, and by referral. I am noticing a trend.

We are keenly aware of what we do not want in medicine. We talk about physician burnout. We talk about spending less and less quality time with patients. We know the challenges of the EMR and we are versed in the obstacles that keep physicians from achieving work life balance.

Then I ask doctors another question. What do you want for your life and career? What is your vision for yourself? That’s when they are less clear, uncertain, and some are simply vague.

Why is this happening? How come we are not focused on our current desires?

  • For one thing we’ve spent 4 years of medical school then another 3 or more years in residency training focused on our careers to the exclusion of everything else.
  • Then once we launch our careers, it is about the patients and the business of medicine. The climate in medicine has left physicians out of the conversation.
  • Third, we have fallen into the trap of leaving ourselves out of the conversation. It might just be that the last time we spent any time focused on our goals and creating an action plan was when we made the initial decision to become a doctor. How long ago was that?

It’s time to break the cycle. It’s time to bring real clarity to our careers so that we stop moving from position to position trying to get it right and instead become deliberate at creating our vision.

Here’s a way to get started. 

You’ll need 2 sheets of paper for this exercise. On one sheet write all the aspects of medicine that you do not want to experience in your career then set it aside. On the second sheet of paper write out what you do want to experience in your life and medical career. Be very specific. Here are some question prompts to get you started:

  • Who are your patients?
  • Do they arrive promptly for their appointments?
  • Are they satisfied when they complete their visit with you?
  • How do you want to feel as you walk out of the exam room?
  • What about your support staff and team?
  • How do they support your success?

You get the idea.

Add to this list and then explore what you would love to see in other areas of you life that will positively impact your career.  By the way, as you do this exercise do your best to suspend all doubt. Remember creation of your vision begins in your mind.

Once you’ve completed the 2 lists, you’ll go on a treasure hunt. The second list is your treasure map. Whether you are a medical student, resident, fellow or an attending physician, I invite you to search everywhere in your life and career to see how many items from the second list you can check off because they are already present in your life.  Then ask yourself what shifts or next steps could you easily make to bring even more of those items into your current position. After all why wait to live into your vision?

I love to hear about your experience with this exercise.  Email your highlights and revelations to Stephanie@NurturingMDs.com