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Week 2 Benefits of Purpose in Career

We started our Purpose-in-Career series last week by addressing an emerging theme among some early-career physicians - “I’m not wanting professional fulfillment.” Hopefully, I created enough wiggle room to consider the middle ground for those individuals. This week we will review the benefits of revisiting or redefining your “why” behind your career choice.


Crafting or discovering and reflecting on your motivation for being a physician is quite empowering. As usual, I emphasize the importance of your mindset in navigating primary care. One of the most clarity-giving activities is looking through the lens of how your work is fulfilling the reason you’re here. Various benefits include (but aren’t limited to):


  1. Knowing your purpose helps you evaluate your role, activities, and actions. What aligns? What doesn’t align (energy robber alert!)? For instance, If part of your core purpose is to correct inequities in medicine, what can you do in your current position to make an impact? What do you feel required to participate in that bristles your core mission?


  1. Your purpose can be leveraged in excelling in prioritizing the never-ending “to-do list.” What are you ready to give up? What are you missing? What can you do for a short period until an appropriate solution arrives? If it doesn’t serve you or your priorities, whose does it serve – or what does it serve? Is that a good enough reason? Essentially, you navigate the various demands for your time, energy, and attention more effectively. It becomes easier to say “yes,” “no,” “not now,” or “not me.”


  1. Your personally designed mission reminds you to take charge of what you can and consider challenging what doesn’t seem negotiable. You’re no longer the victim of “doing all the things” while feeling empty – or worse, regretful.


  1. Your personalized purpose statement clarifies your goals – your compass while it also becomes your ballast. It keeps you upright through the rough patches of water that are part of the fullness of the human experience. You weather the storms better. You are grounded and know your direction. This affects your long-term and short-term goals.


  1. You begin to craft your own future and allow the naysayers to do what they do. There is less questioning of yourself. There is less over-reliance on external validation. The stakes of managing your reputation by wondering what others are thinking become less burdensome. Essentially – you have your own back. When people question my coaching choice -  the clarity of my deeply held conviction of how coaching is a critical part of facilitating the future of medicine, helping primary care docs thrive in their careers and enjoy the balance of life, especially in the academic incubator stage-  I am freed up to “let them be wrong about me.”


  1. Best yet – you are freed up to think, feel, and act in a way that you’re proud of, independent of what others think, say, request, and demand.


  1. And when circumstances are not within your control, you can put your brain on task to offer you the morsels of goodness. How does the activity, rotation, or job responsibility that you dislike align with your values, purpose, and goals? As detectives, we can often find some alignment to get traction in actually enjoying activities that we wouldn’t have chosen by viewing them through your “why” and “where.” And that removes that icky “victim” feeling.


Okay, hopefully, you are at least curious, if not excited, about designing or redefining your purpose-in-career statement, which we will tackle next week.

Have a joy-filled week!  Tonya

You can download my decision algorithm that shows you the importance of being clear on your values and purpose here


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