How to Achieve Any Goal: The Carpe Diem Process Stage 1


Hey Guys!

I’m super excited to bring you a DIY mini Carpe Diem experience you can use on any goal, personal or professional, that you want to move the needle on. 

As most of you know from working with me or from the Doctor’s Crossing website, the program I use with my physician coaching clients is I use is called The Carpe Diem Process.

I’ve been using it to help my clients make signification career changes, but you can actually apply the framework to any goal that you have such as, starting a blog, getting in shape, doing artwork, writing a book, starting a business, or going on a bungee jumping adventure!

It doesn’t matter how big or small, if it’s a goal you want to achieve, you can apply the Carpe Diem Process. 

There are 5 stages to the CARPE DIEM process, delineated by the C-A-R-P-E. 




Preparation &


The DIEM stands for a question you ask yourself, “Do I Enjoy Medicine?” This question helps you determine if you want to stay connected to medicine (clinically or not), or do something out of the box, like become a cartoonist!

Let me know if you’re an aspiring cartoonist because I’m looking for one!

In the next few blog posts, I’m going to take you through a mini Carpe Diem Process you can use on any goal that you want to get out of your head and into action.

Today we’re going to start with Commitment. 

The commitment part is a statement you write about what you’re committing to based on a vision of what you truly want. 

Here are some examples of commitment statements:

Professional life:

I commit to finding a job that I look forward to where I can make a positive impact, have more autonomy and flexibility, and be well-compensated. 

I commit to finding work that is meaningful, where I’m learning new things and my contributions are valued. 

I commit to giving myself a chance to try out my business idea and see what’s possible for me. 

Personal life:

I commit to giving myself the time to use my creative talents in writing/art/music/baking/etc. in a way that is truly satisfying and enables me to expand and grow these talents. 

I commit to meeting a life partner and having a mutually enhancing, supportive, and joyful relationship. 

I commit to prioritizing my own needs while still being a great parent and spouse.

Years ago, while in practice, I made a commitment statement about my career. It wasn’t anything I did consciously, it just popped out.

I remember the day like it was yesterday. 

At that time, I was living in a house on a street called “Sugar Shack.” It was in a part of Austin known as Pill Hill because a lot of doctors lived there. I didn’t have one of the big fancy houses, but it was more than I needed. I had finally “made it,” with my own practice, a good income, and some furniture that wasn’t secondhand.

But that morning, I remember sitting bolt upright in bed and blurting out to no one,

I don’t care what I have to do, but I’m going to find a way to be happy in my career.”

Shortly after my impromptu declaration I purchased a book, You can be happy no matter what, by Richard Carlson. 

The title sounded so cheesy to me, and I felt kind of self-conscious buying the book at Barnes and Noble, imagining the check-out person was thinking, What’s your problem? Would you rather have my job? Get a life! (I think I might have liked a job shelving books.)

I can’t remember much about the book, but my commitment statement set me on a course that eventually led to my finding a career that I love, and yes, happiness. 

I asked Remy my cat, what he’s committing to now that he’s been furloughed as my virtual assistant who does virtually nothing. 

He told me, with more enthusiasm than I ever saw when he was “working” for me, 

I’m committed to finding the rare, yet elusive Amazon Jungle Bird and bringing it home, and getting my job back. 

I’d love to know what you want to commit to!

Here’s a key point, don’t miss this… to make a commitment statement, you do not need to know HOW you will do this thing or have a clear idea about WHAT this goal will look like. 

You simply plug your commitment statement into your GPS and this gets you out of the garage and rolling down the street. 

You’ll figure out the HOW as you move along and the WHAT will become clearer from being in action, not analysis. 

In case you missed it, here is a blog I wrote about not letting the HOW get in the way when you’re trying something new. 

Your first assignment, if you’d like to start the Carpe Diem Process, is to write down your commitment statement.

I like to call this your Big C Commitment.

To help your commitment be more than wishful thinking, you can shore it up with some Little c commitment steps. 

These steps are not about everything you need to do to achieve your goal, they’re to start you moving forward. We’ll get the detailed steps later. 

Some Little c commitments steps could be:

Dedicate one hour a week in your schedule to working on your Big C.

Let your partner or friend know that you’re making this commitment.

Reduce some of your obligations to free up time for your Big C.

Figure out how to get better sleep so you have more energy for your Big C. 

What Little c steps are going to be most helpful for you?

You can download a worksheet to help you with your Big C and Little c commitments here. 

Once you have your commitment statement, print it out and put it in a place where you’ll see it daily. 

When you see what you want reflected back to you, it’s like your mind is being given marching orders from the outside in. 

Your subconscious mind (internal GPS) naturally wants to fill the gap between where you are and where you want to go.  

It’s the Siri thing. The universe starts to calculate the steps. 

Keep your eye out for synchronistic events. 

And here’s another important point, sometimes these events appear to be blocking your way, but they can actually be redirecting you. A friend of mine was initially disappointed about a job opportunity not working out, but she was just taking the safe option. It’s time for her to stretch out of her comfort zone and do her own thing. The universe was actually saving her from taking a wrong turn.

Fear-based decisions limit who you can ultimately be and lead you astray from your true path. 

In the next blog, we’ll move on to the Assessment phase!

I’d love to hear what you’re committing to and hold that intention for you.  Email me at 

Let’s do this!!

Click Here to Get Your Free Commitment Worksheet + Template

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  1. Edward H. Wrenn, M.D. on June 11, 2020 at 11:35 am

    I already have a physician career coach and am part of a group getting leadership coaching, but I appreciate your blog. I plan to leave my group practice at the end of the year. I need to decide whether to go into the business of sustainable landscaping or find a job or consulting position doing health care sustainability. Could you briefly suggest any resources/ connections RE medical sustainability? Ed Wrenn, M.D.

    • Heather Fork on June 12, 2020 at 3:11 am

      Hello Ed! Thanks for being a reader of the blog. Glad to have you. I like your interest in sustainability. Those sound like two very different paths with a common theme that you are considering. I must admit, medical/healthcare sustainability is not an area I know much about. I did a google search and a number of articles came up, and then I saw mention of the UCSF Office of Sustainability. I might reach out to them and see what resources they have. You could also search on LinkedIn and see who comes up when you search on “Healthcare Sustainability” and see if you can connect with them. Good luck! Heather

  2. Richard Raborn MD on June 11, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    Systems not Goals! Refer to Scott Adams “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win”

    • Heather Fork on June 12, 2020 at 3:04 am

      Thank you for your comment and book suggestion Richar! Much appreciated. I agree that systems are hugely important! I like how James Clears addresses this topic in Atomic Habits. I also believe to apply a system, you still have to have an idea of what you’re wanting the system to help you with.

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"Heather’s approach was great! She would listen to me and helped me appreciate who I am."

I remember when she said ‘do your resume before our next meeting’, I was about to push back but she gently nudged me along and I’m glad I did exactly what she wanted me to do. We also did interview prep via Zoom and I was offered a great job in UM. She has continued to follow up even after I was offered this job, helping me with pointers about negotiating. I will totally recommend the Doctors Crossing and Heather to anyone feeling stuck like me and looking for a great coach! Thank you Heather!

- Modupe Oladeinde, MD

Family Medicine
Tim O

The coaching I have had with you has been life changing."

You helped me find the courage to seek out leadership positions and become a medical director as well as a physician advisor. I am grateful we crossed paths and am a different person because of it. You have inspired me to "believe" in spite of my inner skeptic. I consider you one of my most important mentors and am proud to also call you a friend. This says a lot given the apprehension I felt when I took a chance with our first coaching session. Even though I have already made a successful transition, I still value your ongoing mentorship and can enthusiastically attest that the value of your services is tremendous!

- Tim Owolabi, MD

Family Medicine
Lynette Charity

“I was at a crossroads in my medical career. I asked myself, "Do I stay or do I go?" 

I met Heather at the SEAK conference. She and I revisited this question.  Did I want to quit being medicine completely? She helped me to identify my needs, wants, and my vision for my FUTURE, not just in medicine, but in life!!!

She was able to listen to my "ramblings" about becoming a stand-up comic, lounge singer and voice-over actor and translate them into action steps.  I chose to become a composite of all of these. Now I am a more confident, healthier, happier person. I credit this in its entirety to the tutelage I have received and continue to receive from Heather.  She cares. She listens. She was there for ME.  She will be there for YOU!

- Lynette Charity, MD

Gail Miller

“I am forever grateful to Heather for helping me to recognize, I am more than just my M.D." 

Heather helped me understand that I am more than just a doctor and that my experiences in clinical medicine are valuable in so many arenas.  As a result I realized that there are other ways to use my background, still be able to help people and continue to challenge myself and grow.  To that end I discovered coaching - specifically health coaching.  I am on my journey becoming a health coach and truly loving it!

- Gail Miller, MD

OB/Gyn physician

“Thank you, Heather, for helping me transform my career, my faith and my life."

What started out as an initial thirty-minute consultation call turned into an amazing four-year journey that transformed my life, personally, spiritually and professionally. 

Heather helped me to discover my doing so, I discovered I still had a calling for medicine but it now came from a place of truth... wife and I are opening our first concierge medicine clinic in a community we love. I’m actually excited to have the opportunity to practice medicine the way I believe it’s meant to be, with a focus on the doctor-patient relationship and an emphasis on faith. I know if I had not reached out to Dr. Fork, my life would not be where it is at today.

- Steve Lapke, MD

Papillion, NE
Sue Zimmermann

“Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart."

She is incredibly knowledgeable about the range of careers available to physicians and provided me with advice and connections which I would not have found on my own.  From the start she encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try different things.  I was laid off unexpectedly in early 2017, and Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart and making decisions based on trust, not fear.  Now I am enjoying working part-time in a clinical setting in addition to teaching and writing.

- Sue Zimmermann, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon
Devki Patel

After months of struggling to find a non-clinical career that matched my values and passion, I stumbled upon Heather's website which truly changed my life."

Heather's insightful and personalized approach to career coaching made me think outside the box since she took the time to evaluate my personality, values, interests, and preferred lifestyle.

Through her encouragement, practical advice, and professional connections, I was able to find a non-clinical position at a state Medicaid agency that aligned with my passion for population health and serving low-income communities. In addition to her coaching sessions, Heather has built a community of like-minded physicians through her blog, and I feel honored to recommend her to friends and colleagues who seek to make positive changes in their professional and personal lives.

- Devki Patel, MD

Jay Macregor

Working with Heather ultimately helped me leave my job in corporate healthcare and find a path that was much more fulfilling."

My career was going reasonably well but I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling I could do better; or at least find a better long-term career fit.  

I was able to find a surgery job that better aligned with my goals and professional interests.  Additionally, Heather helped me start a consulting business which has allowed me to pursue a true passion: helping medical students, residents, and attendings surgeons navigate the challenges of high-stakes standardized exams.    

If you are reading this as a “Type A” surgeon who doesn’t think coaching is for you, I would encourage you to give Heather a shot.  I’m very glad I did!

- Jay MacGregor, MD

Colorectal Surgeon

“I gained the confidence in myself to develop an action plan that blended the best parts of my experiences and interests into a cohesive career." 

Through our work, I learned to trust myself to make good decisions for my own future – something I hadn’t realized I was struggling with because as an emergency physician, I make life-changing decisions with patients every day. 

By feeding my creativity and interests in other realms of my professional life, I’ve found renewed compassion for my patients and myself, making every shift an opportunity to actually care for people. Thank you Heather. I really couldn’t have made these changes without your help!

- Liz McMurtry, DO

Emergency Medicine Physician

The simple truth is - Heather Fork totally helped me change my life."

I never would have had the courage to make the changes I’ve made without her unwavering support, wealth of knowledge and commitment. 

When I first started working with Heather, I was downtrodden...I’d been practicing medicine for 20+ years and yet had never quite found my place.  During the first year I worked with Heather, I left the practice I’d been working at, and recreated an entirely new professional purpose.

I’m now an executive and leadership coach, a university professor, and a Brené Brown Daring Way facilitator, and I have never looked back.  I love what I am doing more than at any other time in my professional life and I credit Heather with seeing in me what I was never able to see in myself, until now.

Don’t hesitate, don’t doubt yourself, schedule your time with Heather as soon as possible- she can help you reconnect to your purpose and reinvent your life.

- Amie Langbein, DO

Family Physician
KB Karen Barnard Photo

"After 30 years in academic medicine, I wanted a career change but had no idea where to start. Medicine was all I knew."

I signed up for coaching with Heather and it transformed my life. She helped me get clear on what I wanted my life to look like. We reviewed my skills, values, and strengths. She instilled hope in me that change IS possible after 50 years! 

The outcome is that I have created a life I love! I practice endocrinology part-time and own a life coaching business! Coaching with Heather is one of the best investments I have made in my life. 

- Karen Barnard, MBBCh, MPH

Endocrinologist and Life Coach

"Heather was my source of hope during a time when I felt stuck and confused. She gave me the permission and confidence to reach higher than I believed I could."

After graduating from residency and starting a family, I lost sight of why I became a physician. I struggled to convince myself to stay in a career that was clearly the wrong fit for me and my family. My anxiety about work was at an all-time high when I reached out to Heather. She provided something that my mentors, friends, and family could not – rather than just offering career advice, she changed the way I think about my life so that I could understand how my career would fit into it. I realized I wasn’t ready to give up on medicine and eventually found a job in academic medicine. I finally feel that excitement for medicine that I used to feel when I was in training. More importantly, I feel like I can be the role model to my young daughter who may one day also face similar challenges between career and family. Thank you, Heather, for all your kindness, support, and skillful coaching! The experience was life-changing!

- Yuri Shindo, MD

Internal Medicine Physician
Camille Gardner-Beasley

"As a Physician, your personal and even professional needs are often overlooked. I learned how to prioritize my career goals by working with Dr. Heather Fork."

She taught me how to put into practice what I knew in theory, that taking care of myself was a priority. I learned to give myself permission to make the career choices that would give me the work-life balance I desperately craved and needed. The process of confronting fears and insecurities was a bit scary, but well worth it in the end. I am now a happier version of myself with a non-clinical job that I truly enjoy!

- Camille Gardner-Beasley, MD

Family Medicine
Anna testimonial

"After 10 years in outpatient family medicine I felt stuck and knew I needed a change but I didn’t know where to begin. Thankfully I found Heather and she guided me every step of the way."

She helped me carefully assess my interests, strengths and passions while also providing me with constructive changes to implement in my job search and resume. With Heather’s help, I just landed a fully remote UM position and I am also exploring coaching as well. Now I feel like the possibilities are endless and I’m excited for this next chapter in the nonclinical world! Thank you Heather for changing my life for the better.

- Ana Jacobellis, DO


"I'm truly thankful to have had the opportunity to be coached by Heather, she is not only a resourceful mentor but a wise and supportive friend. I'm honored to recommend Heather to all my friends and colleagues."

I had been a practicing Internist for 20 years when I reached a point when I needed to make a serious change in my career path. While I enjoyed seeing patients, I was not satisfied with my life-work balance. My job was taking me away from my family and left me little time and energy to do other things that are important and meaningful to me. I came across Dr. Fork's podcast; The Doctor's Crossing Carpe Diem Podcast, it is such an informative and enjoyable podcast for any physician who wants to do more with their career and life in general. Then I had the pleasure to get career coaching from Heather, it was truly an amazing experience. Heather has broad knowledge of all the different career paths that are available for physicians, she is so insightful and very easy to talk to. She helped me clarify my goals, examine my own mindset and definition of success. Together we developed a clear plan and actionable steps to reach these goals. I eventually made a career transition to a remote non-clinical position that allows me to do meaningful work which aligns with my personal and professional goals and priorities. 

- Abbey Awad, MD

Internal Medicine

"There have been a handful of people who have come into my life and changed it, and Heather is one of those people."

From the very first interaction with Heather, it became abundantly clear that she possessed a systematic approach and a methodology firmly rooted in my focusing on my goals and aspirations. Heather's coaching sessions helped me dismantle limiting beliefs and unearth the capable woman, mother, and physician within me. Under Heather's guidance, I began to dream again. I rediscovered my passion for writing, found the courage to share my stories, and even launched my own coaching practice. Today, I specialize in helping others conquer imposter syndrome and overcome burnout, empowering them to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives. Working with Heather fundamentally shifted my perspective and allowed me to show up authentically in every facet of my life, resulting in a profound sense of fulfillment.

I am deeply grateful that I can continue my work in the emergency department and serve my community as a physician as well as a coach. Working with Heather was a transformative gift that enabled me to rediscover my true self, find clarity in my life's purpose, and unlock my full potential. Through her guidance, I not only reignited the powerful, confident, and bold version of myself I had lost sight of but also realized the boundless possibilities that lay ahead.

- Maria Dominguez 

Emergency physician and coach