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

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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. 

Commitment

Assessment

Research

Preparation &

Execution

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 heatherfork@gmail.com 

Let’s do this!!
Heather

Click Here to Get Your Free Commitment Worksheet

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4 Comments

  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 https://sustainability.ucsf.edu/greening_the_medical_center/healthcare_sustainability_news1

  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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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 passions...by doing so, I discovered I still had a calling for medicine but it now came from a place of truth...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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