A recent article in KevinMD, 10 telltale signs that you’re ready for a mindset shift, is a must read for any doctor interested in their wellbeing.
The 10 signs read like a description of just about every doctor I speak to – regardless of whether they are working on building confidence or working on their career direction.
To me, these 10 signs signal not only the need for a mindset shift but the presence of more fundamental issues relating to a disconnect with identity, meaning and purpose. To me they signal a need for coaching to help you reconnect.
Identity, meaning and purpose
Identity, meaning and purpose are highly motivating and incredibly important for our wellbeing and mental health. This was recognised decades ago by Viktor Frankl in his seminal work on Man’s Search for Meaning and is incorporated into the foundations of positive psychology.
So, in a sense it’s way more than a mindset shift that is needed – but rather a rediscovery of self.
A rediscovery of who you are that is bigger than being a doctor (or any other role you play).
A consideration of your values, and more deeply, a discovery of the unique contribution you have to make in the world – over the course of your life, and in each moment.
It’s about learning to listen to who you are and what you are needed for.
It’s tapping into the idea of serving others (rather than fixing or helping) – as taught by Rachel Naomi Remen.
While you can read the original article for yourself, here is my interpretation of 10 signs signaling readiness for coaching:
1. You have followed a path prescribed for you by the system and are really good at jumping through hoops set by others (read boss, college etc)
2. You have lost touch with why you go to work everyday and don’t have an internalised vision of what it means to be a doctor
3. You can’t remember the last positive feedback you had that you actually believed
4. You repeatedly seek approval from others but are unable to validate and approve of your self (no this does not make you a narcissist)
5. Medicine feels meaningless and you are considering leaving – but have no idea what for – and so you do more courses etc in a never ending attempt to find ‘the right thing’
6. You are searching for something outside of you that will make you feel fulfilled and don’t have a sense of being able to make your own fulfillment
7. Your feel guilty that while your life and career are going well, you still feel something is missing and your achievements don;t mean all that much to you
8. You continually feel like you are a victim to a rotten system
9. You are a master at finding the flaws and the negative and are unable to name your strengths or what is going well
10. “You lack the life skills and strategies to manage the inherent stress of caring for sick patients that will promote your wellbeing, so instead, you focus on the problems of the current climate in medicine.” – this one I’m keeping verbatim as it is perhaps the core of the solution
Coaching can help reconnect you with yourself
Whatever the starting point is for coaching – the presenting complain if you will – sooner or later the conversation taps into the need for rediscovering a sense of identity, meaning and purpose.
This I see as fundamental because once a person begins to connect more deeply within themselves then the way forward begins to emerge, often in unexpected ways.
That’s what makes coaching unique and so exciting. When you engage in your own self-discovery you are able to come up with answers for your self that nobody else could have imagined.
So this is not so much a mindset shift – but a giant world view shif that happens when you start looking through your own lenses.
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