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Aspirations for an Ideal Future in Medicine: Your Ideal Practice

We spent a moment last week dreaming about a positive future for medicine. Today, I want to bring it down to you as the individual physician to foster your ideal practice.  I will walk you through a few activities over the next couple of weeks for you to develop your plan.


It will be helpful for you to dig out your purpose in your career statement. If you haven’t written one in a while, you can review how to do that here.  Take a minute to reflect on it.


Next, an activity to get your mindset ready.  Make a list of 10 things you want. These can be big-picture aspirational ideas (world peace), experiences (travel across Europe by train), or tangible items (my favorite ballpoint pen). After making that list, we will add a little twist. Make a list of 10 things you want that you ALREADY have. It’s so healthy to remind ourselves that we already have something we desire. Comparing how one or the other list seemed to come to you more easily is interesting. It’s different for everyone. Nothing has gone wrong; you have a human brain. But we want you to be able to stretch your mind in both directions as you begin to plan for the future.


There are four parts of your mindset that, if left unchecked, can hold you back from a more ideal future 1. Small dreams and not unpacking the vision. 2. Fear. 3. Limiting beliefs. 4. Your inner critic.


Michelangelo is credited as saying, “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too big and we miss it but that it is too low, and we reach it." So, let’s tackle that first one today. I am lending you my remote, invisible magic wand. Wave it toward the future and get out your paper and pen (or keyboard) and start dreaming big.


What’s an ideal clinical practice for you?  What patient populations are you serving and where? Think geographically and building type – inpatient, outpatient, L&D, nursing home, the ED, home visits, homeless camps, etc. What percentage are the various encounters? Also include acute care, chronic care management, preventative care, procedures, etc.  What kind of staffing and other supports exists? Picture your day – what’s the flow like? Think about your team’s interactions and engagement—hours, days of the week, partners, etc. Think through the details. What things are you not doing?  How do you feel as you wake up and head to work? (If it’s not fabulous – work more on your dreaming, revisit your purpose in career statement, and remember your why.) Write it all down.


Once you have listed as many details as possible, you can consider each a separate goal.  Now, you are ready for the next step – unpacking the vision.


For the things you listed – write beside each one what it will do for you. For example, if one of the things you want in your ideal practice is 30% acute care, why do you want that? It may be one thing or multiple. “It will provide variety. It gives me some less complex issues to deal with. It helps me ‘catch up.’ “


You then can go a bit deeper. What’s important about variety for you?  “It keeps me from being bored.” What’s important about that? “It keeps me engaged so that I can enjoy it more.” What’s important about less complex issues? “They’re easier, and I can often give some quick fixes.” What’s important about that? “Easier cases provide my brain a little rest and recovery during the day.” “Quick fixes are nice because I like to see that I’m helping people more immediately.” What’s important about ‘catch-up time?’ “Again, some rest and recovery, I’m not behind, I have more meaningful time with patients, and I leave the office on time.” What’s important about that? I have time to work out and spend with my family and friends.  – Okay, you get the picture.


Usually, what you will see during this portion – is that several goals you have will lead to common parts of the vision.


Now write out the vision of your ideal practice in a sentence or paragraph. You can still keep your specific goals, but you will realize that you can achieve those same underlying desires through various means, giving you flexibility moving forward.


Over the next couple of weeks, we will tackle the fear, limiting beliefs, and the inner critic, as well as start developing a plan. 


Until then, Have a joy-filled week!  Tonya


My private coaching course for individual physicians walks you through detailed steps of ditching unnecessary suffering, protecting, and increasing your energy, and fostering your ideal future with me coaching you along the way. 


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