As a Certified Physician Development Coach, I’m often asked what a coach does. Coaches work from the belief that everyone desires a fulfilling life: one in which we consciously choose what we do and experience each moment fully. While that sounds great, achieving it in the midst of our hectic lives can be challenging, and that’s why many people choose to work with a coach.
Just like athletes, my clients get support, structure and guidance from me as their coach. But they do the actual work of discovering their goals and creating more fulfilling lives. If you’re a great self-starter, there’s a lot you can do to coach yourself.
Know What You Want as a Doctor
In seeking fulfillment, it’s essential to know what we want. Since the long, arduous road to becoming a doctor requires ignoring or postponing our desires, we often lose connection with them. It’s been said that the quality of our life is determined by the questions we ask. So ask yourself, what’s important in this situation? What would make a difference to me? Let go of how and focus on what you would like and you will more easily get back in touch with what would be truly fulfilling. Then you can decide how to make it happen.
A busy ER physician was hurt and angered when his staff complained that he was distant and difficult to work with. His first inclination was to respond in anger. However, when he asked himself what he really wanted, he realized that he wished that his staff saw him as the kind and caring doctor he was, and he wanted a harmonious working relationship with them. Using his creativity, he presented each person with a photo that represented a quality that he valued in them. From this, they realized that underneath his reserved demeanor, he was a physician who cared about and appreciated them. The tenor of the entire department improved.
Adjust Your Perspective
We often encounter circumstances in which we feel stuck, as if we had no choice in the matter. At these times, it’s helpful to examine our current perspective. An OB-GYN was overwhelmed as she attempted to create a timetable for the research that her residents needed to complete. Not having done research at this institution, she felt as if she was a tourist lost without a map. No wonder she didn’t know how to begin! By simply shifting her perspective and examining the task from the perspective of an explorer, many ideas suddenly seemed possible and she was able to easily construct a plan to achieve her goal. What would it be like to see your difficult situation through the lens of an explorer? A teacher? A child? What possibilities open up from those perspectives?
Lastly, consider one of your most precious memories. Most likely, you can easily recall the details – the sight, feel, and sounds all contributed to the aliveness and enjoyment of the experience. Unfortunately, we often skip over the moments of our lives as we rush on to the next one, without fully experiencing what we are living. So take a minute to really be in each experience – to feel your anguish, joy, or sense of accomplishment. By focusing on what you really want, opening yourself up to greater choice in each situation, and truly savoring the moments of your life, you may be surprised by how much fuller and richer your life will become.