Welcome back to our mini Carpe Diem Process with actionable steps to help you make changes that really matter!
Today we’re on the Research phase of the Carpe Diem Process:
C – Commitment
A – Assessment
R – Research
P – Preparation
E – Execution
Before we dive in, I wanted to share another drawing for the assessment phase that was sent to me by psychiatrist, Dr. Tyson.
On side A: “The Stop Watch of Medicine,” Dr. Tyson illustrated his abject frustration with the pressure to see multiple patients on a rigid time clock. He is banging his head against the desk. The stick figure represents the hands of a clock, banging against the desk, as they make their way through the hours, one patient at a time.
On side B: “I Love Medicine – The Lucy Edition” Dr. Tyson is seeing patients who are coming by on a conveyor belt at a reasonable, and controlled pace. It harkens to the I Love Lucy episode in the chocolate factory where Lucy and Ethel are doing fine wrapping chocolates until the evil factory owner accelerates the conveyor belt speed and they go crazy trying to keep up.
The symbolism the mind can come up with in minutes to capture our experience never ceases to amaze me.
What have you seen in your drawings?
My mom told me she did a drawing. She’s mailing it to me but told me not to put it on my blog! She said the exercise was helpful and added, “Your readers should try it out if they haven’t.”
OK. On to the Research Phase…
This is where you get to do what I call “Lewis and Clarking.” You get to explore into unknown territory and make some discoveries about your interests, and also about yourself.
You can do it on your own or find a Sacagawea to help guide you.
The research involves exploring what will help you move from side A to side B in your drawing. The way is only limited by your imagination.
The research can be anything from reading to talking to people, taking a course, doing some nonclinical side work, shadowing someone, finding a mini apprenticeship, to spending time in an ashram!
Here are a few examples of testing the waters:
If you’re interested in working in one of the insurance sectors such as health, life, or disability, you can try out doing chart review to get a taste of the work without leaving your job.
If you’re interested in medical writing, you can take an inexpensive course and write some articles.
If you’re curious about being a coach, take a weekend coaching course and see how you like it. You don’t need to sign up for a whole certification program right out of the gate.
Research can be learning from others:
Speaking with other physicians who are working in jobs that you want to learn more about is a great way to understand exactly what the day-to-day is like and ask questions.
You can also arrange to shadow someone. I’ve had clients arrange to visit the practices of physicians who are doing a model of care that looked intriguing. This could be a weight loss or aesthetic program, an integrative practice, DPC, or something else. This may be for free, or for a fee.
Pre- COVID, attending conferences was a great way to learn more about specific areas of interest. Some of these venues are going virtual, so this could be an option.
Research can be reading, listening to podcasts, Googling, etc.
Whatever topics you want to explore, there may be some helpful books, podcasts, YouTube videos, or other content to expand your knowledge base.
The research/exploration phase can also be looking into what could make your current situation better.
What changes do you want to explore to improve your side A and move to side B?
When you’re in the research phase, you can use a simple technique to avoid losing clarity from information overwhelm.
Consider ranking your interest level on the things you’re exploring using a 0 – 10 scale.
0 – ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz. Boring!!
10 – I love this!!! Wild horses couldn’t drag me away!
Let’s say you conclude an informational interview with a physician working in pharma. How do you feel after this call? Is your excitement at a 9/10 or is it more of a 2/10?
Perhaps you take a mini-course in medical writing. You thought you were going to love this area, but it’s more of a 5/10. You decide that you want to explore copywriting instead.
Because clarity comes from action and not analysis, as much as possible you want to try out, try on, and get a feel for what you’re wanting to do, without taking a big leap or spending a bunch of money.
A word of caution – it’s natural during this phase to have your brain rain on your parade by telling you you have to have an A – Z plan for how it’s all going to work out.
Before you’ve started researching, a snarky voice says to you,
What do you think you’re doing? That’s never going to work! Or,
You’ll never make money at that. Stick to what you know. Back to the salt mines with your bad self.
This is such a common problem, I wrote a blog about the three-letter word, HOW that shuts your brain down – if you let it.
You don’t need to know the HOW at this stage. You’re in go-go learner mode. Give yourself the space to explore your interests without having to figure anything out.
The figuring out is simply steps and that can be done in due time.
Lewis and Clark had quite the adventure and lived to tell it. The worst that happened to either of them was when one of Lewis’s men accidentally shot him in the buttocks, mistaking him for an elk.
I trust that your exploration will also be a fruitful adventure with valuable discoveries, minus any such mishaps to your derriere.
We’re going to take a week off from the mini CARPE DIEM process to give you some time to do your research.
A big Thank you to Dr. Tyson for sharing his beautifully metaphorical drawing.
I’ll be back soon!