This is a guest post by Dr. Harvey Castro, an emergency room physician, Co-Founder of Trusted ER in DFW and the author of Success Reinvention. He serves as a consultant for several healthcare companies & promotes community healthcare as a medical correspondent for Telemundo & Univision.
Physicians are successful in society; we are at the top percentile of earners in the USA. By that definition, we are successful. By other standards, we are not always successful in our work life balance. Physicians are increasingly burning out and it is becoming more common to see physicians looking for alternatives in their work life and income. Physicians are increasingly branching out into different industries and having more of an entrepreneurial spirit.
Physicians are actively pursuing other forms of “non-traditional Physician” income streams. The question is why some physicians succeed at this and others do not. The answer lies on what I call “reinventing yourself”. The world we live in is rapidly changing. Now more than ever, so many changes are occurring. Sticking to “old ways” or not adapting to times will hinder your progress. Here are three obstacles that will prevent you from “Succeeding”.
You Don't Have A Strong Enough “Why”
Not having a strong enough “Why” can be a horrible problem that stops you from being successful at your goals. As a physician, it is hard for some to be motivated when you feel like you have already “succeeded”.
Let me further explain the importance of finding your “Why”. Consider your “Why” as the driving force to finding your purpose in life, your true calling or what makes you feel alive inside. If I want to change myself, but don't have a strong “Why,” that means I don't have a strong enough will or strong enough fuel to consistently carry me through the obstacles.
For me, being without food, being poor, and being on food stamps really pushed me through school and throughout life to excel to a higher level. So that's my overarching “Why”.
My strong “Why” helps me stay focused. When you know your life’s purpose, you are more likely to stay on task and deter from distractions. I am currently working on getting my MBA. Every time I'm tired or I feel like I don’t have the strength to go on my strong “Why” is what gives me the fuel, opens my eyes, and pushes me to get to the next level.
I think some people either forget their “Why,” they lose their “Why” or they may have not had a strong enough “Why” to get them past the hump. This may be a little harsh – please forgive me – but as a physician, it is tough for some to motivate yourself to “reinvent yourself”.
If you don't have a strong “Why,” then you can lose your way. Your “Why” is like your compass that navigates towards your true self under every difficult circumstance.
The compass is a good example. If you lose the compass, then you basically lose your direction and your drive. You're in a car, but you don't know which way to go. You don't have enough gas to even go forward because the “Why” has been taken away.
If you haven’t found your “Why,” then now is the time to discover it. If you think you have your “Why,” but you are losing focus, then you must go deeper. Once you have tapped into your deepest “Why,” you will never be steered away from your destiny and creating success ever again. Use your “Why” to find that work life balance, and work on ways to find that goal.
Another reason, I have seen in physicians not being “successful” is being resistant to change.
You Don't Like Change
I love this one. Why is this such a horrible mistake? I do not blame physicians for not wanting change. We have worked hard to become a physician and we do not welcome change often.
The aversion to change is so ingrained in our DNA. As human beings, this is the reason– and this could be another book – why so many people stay in bad relationships, remain single, stay unhappily married, with the wrong partner or in the wrong job. They prefer to keep the status quo, and to keep things the same rather than to go through the pain of change. As odd as that sounds, it is true.
One of the reasons you fail is because you fear change so much that you're willing to remain the same. You don't take the step to change or disrupt your current situation. Therefore, your environment, your daily habits or your daily routine does not change.
It's important to identify because if you're that person, then evaluate your job and evaluate your life status. It's important to challenge yourself. Every time you get comfortable, take time to assess whether you're getting comfortable and it's making you an unproductive person. On the flipside, figure out if you're getting comfortable because you love what you do. Perhaps, it's not that you don't want to change, but that you honestly feel that you are fulfilling your purpose.
Personally, I'm always thankful for where I am, what my job is, and for my life status. But I'm humble enough and ready. If life changes on me and something happens, I need to be able to accept that change.
For example, things are going great right now. I am loving Dallas. However, in the future, if an opportunity arises in California, New York or another country, then I need to make sure that I look at it from 10,000 feet high and say, “Do I want to do this? If I don't, is it because of a fear of change or is it because of something else?” If it's because of a fear to change, then maybe I'm making the wrong decision. Maybe the change is something that I would be more than welcome to do.
I would love to be in Congress. I would love to be in DC. With that said, I am getting comfortable in Texas within close proximity to my family, house, my dog, and my life here. Avoiding a future change may inhibit my success because I'm so comfortable. I caution people to not get comfortable with their lives and make sure that they reach out and accept change. The sooner they accept change and feel better about it, the more likely they're going to be successful.
Even if you are someone who has been afraid of change, you can transform your thinking. Begin to view change as a positive, exciting experience, and go after the success you want in life. The next reason is “being risk averse”.
Being Risk Averse
I love this mistake. No one ever talks about this, and it is so important. This mistake is being risk averse. What does that mean and why is it a horrible mistake that will stop you from being successful?
It's similar to experiencing the fear of fear of failure. If you are risk averse you avoid risks. You are so scared of having any risk at all that you prefer to not go down that path. Many docs do not want to take risk for fear that others might see them as failures.
Say you wanted to start a new business, but you're so scared of writing your name on the loan or using your own money that this becomes a barrier for you. Anything that may have risk attached to it means you're out. You, sadly enough, won't even move forward.
You're so focused on all the things you're going to lose or everything you're going to fail at. You're so afraid of being viewed as a failure that you never take a risk.
Do the most successful people have a different relationship with risk?
I think they do. This is a biased opinion but ER doctors, in general, tend to be the risk takers. They tend to be the one who takes more risks and jump into different “businesses”. I think the ER doctor can be like an adrenaline junky. Ready to go, pushing, not scared of failure, not scared of risk, looks at death in the eye, sees it, sees stress and is used to it.
I honestly think it's like the inverse that I mentioned about thinking negative, you always think positive. I think these people are simply not at all scared of risk, not scared of failure. I think it makes them a better person. I think it gives them the guts to move forward. It's gives them the oomph to say, “You know what, I'm not scared. I'm going to take this risk; I'm going to jump forward. I'm not going to think negative.” I think it makes a big difference!
You truly don't get to great success without being willing to take a risk. If you're playing small, you're selling yourself short. If you aren't going for big dreams and big goals, then you'll inhibit yourself on becoming successful.