Adversary or Ally

Aug 01, 2022
Two people shaking hands, one in a grey sleeve and the other in black, against a yellow background.

In pre-med and med school, we are in the trenches.  We battle to reach the upper end of the curve and stand out as the best choice for the next step.


So much of what we learn in medicine is black or white, right or wrong, success or failure, yes or no.  It creates a mindset of extremes.  This way of thinking is exhibited in our politics, our religions, our stance on social causes.  In a time of so much polarization and conflict, most choose sides.  It’s us or them.  Who will win and who will lose?


When I encountered other docs who opposed my suggestions or way of thinking, I’d brace myself for conflict.  I’d search for and recruit others who supported my ideas and gave me ammunition to combat the opposing ideas.  


But all I did was fuel the fire of conflict.


Who are we really at war with?  


Insurance companies?  






After 15 years of win lose, where I won until I lost, 

I had to learn how to find the win win.

I watched a great Ted Talk on managing conflict by turning adversaries into allies. 

She taught me how to let go of the Us against Them mentality.

Instead, she taught us 3 lessons to remember.

  1. We have to become comfortable being uncomfortable.  Only talking to people who agree with us will not get us to the solution.  We must be willing to enter other people’s space. The enemy has the power to solve the problem.
  2. When we sit down to negotiate, remember they are human and have more in common with us than they may want to admit. Find what you have common to build a bridge and cross your divide.  Discover your human connection.
  3. Look for the win-win.  What can we both get behind?  

It helps to resolve conflict by trying to understand the other person’s perspective, whether it is a doc, patient or administrator.

Let go of Me versus Them.  

Understand the other person’s struggle.

Figure out how he or she could become an ally.



Ask yourself.

What are they thinking?  

What do we have in common?  

How can we both achieve what we want?


Physicians have largely lost our power by never unifying to battle insurance companies, hospitals and our government.  We have been divided and conquered.


Breaking Out of the Medical Mindset strives to pivot from competition and conflict and share new ideas and techniques that are different from school and training.  The BOOMM course teaches modules on the power of leverage, teamwork, collaboration and networks.  Because the ultimate truth is that we cannot do it all by ourselves.


We are our own worst adversary.  It is time to become allies to our dreams, our happiness and our future.  It is time for change.


What is the future, happy YOU thinking?

How can you achieve the life you dream of?

Are you ready to make a change?

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