In case you’re new to the blog, I’m doing a mini Carpe Diem process to help you go from feeling stuck to moving the needle on what matters to you.
What’s the one thing you’d really like to change?
What do you keep thinking about, but putting off?
If this is something you’ll have regrets about later on if you don’t do it, l want to help you get started now!
You can use the CARPE DIEM approach. Here are the steps:
C – Commitment
A – Assessment (we’re here today)
R – Research
P – Preparation
E – Execution
In case you missed the first two blogs, the first stage was making a Commitment Statement about what you want to be different in your life.
Here’s an example sent in last week from Dr. Jenny Goss, OB/Gyn physician:
Jenny is a highly creative physician and traditional practice can feel like a rather confining box. Honoring who she is and how she’s wired is going to help her avoid going in unsatisfying and unsustainable directions.
At this point, Jenny doesn’t need to know how she’s going to fulfill this commitment statement or what the endpoint will look like. The “how” can be figured out later.
You don’t need to know these things either to make your own commitment.
Declaring what you want and making it visible on a daily basis will start programming your internal GPS with new software.
When what you want is jumbled in your mind with all the reasons why you can’t have it, confusion, rather than clarity, is the result.
Write your statement down, stick it up on the fridge or the bathroom mirror, or wherever you can see it, and read it daily out loud.
Start looking for little clues and events that your strong intention is helping direct you towards this goal.
The next stage is the Assessment phase. The assignment was to do a stick-figure drawing that illustrates where you are compared to where you’d rather be.
The two different sketches can illustrate your job, a specific setting, or simply capture a way that you are feeling about yourself and your life.
Below is an example sent in from pediatrician, Dr. Elizabeth:
On side A, Dr. Elizabeth is a very caring physician, but she feels a heavy burden and is exhausted by the demands of seeing patients. The EMR, the riskiness of medicine and not having flexibility are some of the things stressing her out.
A sense of security, benefits, a short commute, and liking some of what she does is keeping her in A.
She’d like to be on side B where she can contribute on a larger scale, learn, make an impact, and have more flexibility for family and fun. Having less worry and stress is also key.
She also wrote down what will help her move from A to B – less clinical time, nonclinical activities, and having better EMR templates.
It’s also common for certain fears and doubts to keep you on side A. These are often fear of failure, fear of making a change and being more unhappy, or losing income. There can also be big questions marks about HOW to even get to side B.
If only there was a clear path with bright green arrows from A to B and a money back guarantee it was all going to work out.
While I can’t offer a guarantee, I can offer you a simple way to get started and test things out as you go along.
Look at your picture each day and ask, “What is one thing I can do to start moving from A to B?”
It could be anything at all – a tiny step or a big decision. As long as your feet are pointing towards B, the little steps will take you in the right direction.
As you take these steps, you can see if you’re feeling better or more hopeful. Even feeling 1% better is moving in the right direction.
Now for the next step in the Assessment phase.
To dig into what you want to be doing on side B, you’re going to be looking at three things:
Conversations – what do you love to talk about?
Content – what is the content related to?
The Delta – what is the delta (change) you’re excited to make?
I want you to think about the kinds of conversations you enjoy and don’t get bored with. Who are you talking with? Why are these conversations energizing? These “conversations” can also be conversations you have with yourself, what your mind wants to chew on.
Then look at the content in these conversations. What are you talking about? What does your mind love to think about? Where does it gravitate towards if given free rein?
Lastly, you want to look at the delta or change that’s meaningful for you to make. What kind of impact would you like to have if you could affect something that mattered to you? Are you motivated to help individuals make a change? Systems? Is there a particular problem you want to solve?
I hinted in the last blog that I would give an example of why I didn’t end up having a sclerotherapy practice even though my drawing on Side B showed me doing sclero on a patient and being happy.
If I apply the above assessment step to this situation, it gives me a deeper understanding of why I was happier on side B, and how it foreshadowed my future career.
Conversations – In my side B, I’m not discussing skin with my patient, I’m listening to her talk about her life and what matters. Fast forward to my current work as a career coach, I love the conversations I have with my physician clients about what’s important to them in their career and life.
Content – I love all the content around the process of career transformation. From resumes to nonclinical options, from personality type to job interviews, it all interests me. I love the “hunt” of finding a great career.
Delta – (the change) – I definitely enjoyed helping patients change their skin for the better. Especially satisfying was seeing how clearing up a teen’s cystic acne could be life-changing. Yet for me, helping physicians go from feeling burned out and deeply disheartened to being happy in their career was ultimately the delta that most energized me. And I do not in any way mean to imply that helping patients is any less important.
Now it’s your turn!
Don’t worry if your answers to these questions about conversations, content, and the delta seem unconnected to anything financially feasible or practical.
The point is to keep learning about:
What energizes you.
What makes you happy.
What you love to learn and problem solve around.
These are clues to what connects you to your spirit, the very essence of who you are. If you allow these things to have a say, they will help you align with who you really are and by the laws of physics, you will be going in the right direction.
“A body in alignment with self follows its true path.”
One of Einstein’s lesser-known theories. (Or so I’d like to think!)
These exercises may seem simple, or even a bit childish, but the overarching goal is to help you cut down the noise and be able to listen to yourself.
If you’re not listening to yourself, who are you listening to?
There is a part of you that has a lot more certainty and knowledge about what it needs to be happy than you realize. Give that part of you the microphone, pen, and paper. Listen to it. Write down what you hear. Draw what that picture looks like. Keep asking that part of you what it needs.
The how can be figured out.
Making friends with uncertainty allows you to focus on the possibilities rather than the problems.
Here’s to Carpe’ing that Diem and living on Side B!
Next up… Research phase!
I’ll be back soon,
As always, a big Thank you to the physicians who shared their work, Dr. Jenny Goss and Dr. Elizabeth.
Find what you're looking for:
The Physician's Insider Guide
15 of the most common FAQs on physician career transition
Sign up below to get the resource to jump-start your career transformation! You will also receive the latest blogs and updates from Heather.