Call me Doctor. I am proud to be a physician. I have worked hard, achieved, struggled and succeeded through 15 years of education and training and almost 30 years of medical practice and I am still here.
I am happy.
I am in the minority of doctors today.
During my 45 year journey, I have ridden a roller coaster of mental, emotional and financial peaks and valleys that have made me who I am today.
I have experienced light bulb moments that have shined a light in the darkness of being stuck, lost or hopeless. The most illuminating epiphany which changed everything for me may be shocking.
The mindset and habits that helped me succeed in medicine had become impediments for the freedom I yearned for and the change I require today.
I was stubborn. I stuck with what worked in college, med school and residency and enabled me to succeed. That was what I knew. That was how I won. Rinse and repeat. These habits and skills allowed me to graduate from private high school as valedictorian, from undergraduate as Magna Cum Laude, from medical school in AOA and complete my residency training at the University of Pennsylvania.
But those same habits and skills failed to help me create the life I yearned for and feel happiness as medicine became disrupted and doctors became devalued and workers in the assembly line of corporate medicine. Those same habits and skills kept me where I was stuck.
I needed crises over and over to shock me out of the hypnosis of certainty and fear in order to break out of my medical mindset which had become a boulder on my back. I was forced to learn a different way.
Before I could change the choices I made and the actions I took, I was forced to learn a different way to think. Expanding my mindset became the foundational truth for this platform.
Within medicine, I lived within echo chambers that surrounded me with the same circular thinking. Most of what I saw and heard was a closed vacuum of doctors and patients repeating the same mantras much like we watch and read on social media that supports what we think until our entire world only echoes the ideologies we have chosen.
But what if all I know and all I believe is not the future I want to live?
When I focused on how much I was paid, I felt like insurance companies were set on squeezing as much juice as possible from my lemon while repeatedly lowering the price of my lemonade year after year
The popular buzzword is physician burnout. We hear docs overwhelmed by their student debt while risking their lives to save patients in a pandemic and then being furloughed or fired by their hospitals or employers. Burnout implies we no longer have the passion or drive to heal our patients and for me, that is not true. Rather than burnout, I prefer suffocation, strangulation, or simply stagnation.
Do you feel suffocated or stagnant?
In order to break out of this crazy experiment gone bad. To jump off the hamster wheel of more work for less pay, less control and less hope, I began recording stories and lessons that helped me survive and thrive.
I learned that in order to rip off the grip of strangulation, I needed to release my own hand!
I had to break out of the way I thought, which was safe and which had helped me win the game of pre-med, med school and residency. I discovered that I needed to break free from who I was and what I thought in order to soar into the life I wanted to live.
In order to change my actions and increase my options, I had to first expand my thinking. Changing how I thought and how I acted allowed me to expand my vision of possibilities, my mindset, my skill set and my networks to expand the choices in my life and rediscover my happiness.
As I thought differently, I was able to act differently. As I changed my behavior, I altered my future. I expanded what was possible in my life.
I learned that IF I was not defined by a vision of my future, that aligned with my dreams, THEN I was left with living the memories of my past where I would remain stuck and repeat the same day, week and year over and over like a broken record. My own personal warped version of Groundhog Day.
If I did not change, I would continue to act and react the same way with the same result. If I wanted to change tomorrow, I needed to act differently today. But before I could behave differently, I had to learn to think in a new way.
I never knew this until I hung around people who were different from me and thought and acted in a new way from me.
The best way I could predict a different future was to write it. My brain could be a record of my past or a map for my future. In the battle between more of the same past and a different future, I choose a better future.
I choose change.
Do you want change?
I learned steps to improve my career, my life and my happiness.
I know this is not something doctors talk about.
Physicians are excellent at listening to patients, asking open or focused questions, examining for objective clues and providing a diagnosis and solution to their patients’ problems based on the years of knowledge absorbed and experience accumulated.
This space of invested practice and focused expertise not only provides unique value to physicians but can also create an island of guarded safety. I focused my entire attention and energy on serving others and being the best doctor possible.
We never discuss with each other what makes us happy or our challenges and frustrations. It was rare that I ever looked in the mirror and performed an analysis of myself as in depth that I did on my patients.
But I learned that there is immense value in discovering what makes me happy. By being happier with who I was and the life I lead, I discovered that I have become a much better doctor, a more seasoned communicator and a deeper human being.
The mission of BOOMM is to break the ceiling of stagnation so many doctors currently slam against and help you find answers, possibilities and new ways of thinking. To exhale all the negativity that pollutes medicine and inhale new ideas and choices so you can rediscover the dream when you first began the long-distance marathon of being a doctor.
Won’t you join us on this journey to a happier life?
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