Three months ago, I rescheduled my jury duty so I could take the week off with no scheduled patients, no surgeries and no on call duties. Now, it’s Friday of my week of jury duty and I am sitting at 10:45 A.M wearing a badge that says juror #23 and all I can think about is the 100 patients I have scheduled for next week and the five surgeries and I’m on call for both emergency rooms. The judge has informed us that this criminal misdemeanor trial should not last more than 5 days and he considers it our civic duty to serve with an accurate representation of our population, not just the retired and unemployed.
How am I going to reschedule all those patients on a Friday?
How can I think about my civic duty in this criminal case?
All I can think about is how do I get the hell out of here! This made me think about all the questions I ask myself.
What is my compass? Is it my work? Is it money? Is it my goals? Is it fun?
Is it to do what others want? Or to do what is safe?
To make someone laugh? To prove myself right? To teach?
The night before, my son frantically dumped his backpack out to discover his new Ipad was missing.
It was the second day of 6th grade where Ipads are more a part of class than a pencil and he was dumbfounded how he had lost his.
At 7:30 at night in the dark, we were retracing his steps through his middle school praying to detect it on a table or in an office.
No such luck.
I could feel his terror of not being prepared for the next day and getting detention.
How do I help him?
How do I make this a teachable moment?
With my kids, teaching is my North Star.
There was a time where the arrow of my compass pointed to who I thought I was and would be, to what was safe, or to where I could excel.
All through high school and college, I pushed myself in my studies because that is where I excelled rather than the fun, the money, or the risks. Now looking back, I regret not using my 13 years to make mortgage payments on an investment property rather than pay rent but money wasn’t my guide. I did not understand real estate yet. I had to learn to take calculated risks to succeed. I was laser focused on my next goal in my pursuit of medicine.
When I chose to live in Southern California rather than in Florida near my family, I began choosing what felt right in my heart. Friends make fun of me because I don’t check my phone as often as I breathe but I take it as a compliment that I haven’t let my life succumb to the control of a ding, heart icon, or electronic device.
Even though this annoys my wife that I didn’t see the text to pick up milk on my way home from work.
I choose to focus on the person in front of me rather than my phone.
At each stage of life, I find new questions to be my signposts along the way.
As I learned more about the power of questions, I changed my aim from “Who am I?” to “Who do I want to be?”
My latest questions include:
Is this worth my time or can I delegate it to someone else?
When I say no to this, what can I say yes to?
Do I see this problem as an opportunity to learn or do I stress about the struggle?
How could my situation be different if I welcomed my obstacle?
At 7:00 A.M. the next morning, my son and I were back at his school tracing his Find My iPhone trail with his principal.
The trail brought us to the library where his missing iPad must have been returned, because my son surely wasn’t ever found there. But, he learned a lesson and I was happy to be there for his smile.
That same day, the judge asked the jurors who wanted to be excused due to severe hardship.
When I shared my patient load, scheduled surgeries and being on call, the guy next to me whispered “That was a good one.”
I was lucky the judge thought so too.
I can only hope that as my question barometer continues to change,
That the questions free me more than strangle me.
That is why I created BOOMM.
To help you transform your questions from those that suffocate you to those that excite you.
What are the questions you ask yourself?