You are a healthcare professional, and that, my friend, makes you special. I have worked with many of you and, in fact, I am proud to be one of you. I feel like I know quite a bit about you. You are that person that lays it on the line for your patients every single day, and for that reason I am certain that this is the stuff you are made of:
1. You have grit- that thing that couples your passion for helping others with your perseverance- and it serves both you and your patients well.
2. You have heart. You are superb at loving people through some of the scariest, most vulnerable times of their lives.
3. You have a brilliant mind with a penchant for curiosity, precision and innovation.
4. Your compassion drives you to work long and hard every day to comfort and ease all forms of pain and suffering.
5. You have a solid respect for science- for the genuine truth that reliably and consistently supports and guides your choices and decisions daily.
6. And, last but certainly not least, dare I say, you have faith. A deep inner knowing that there is a power, much greater than you, that often guides your hands, opens your heart, and even delivers miracles well beyond what you can explain with logic or scientific reason.
Each of these qualities are a tremendous part of what makes you great at what you do. And, in my humble opinion, they only represent a portion of your magnificence. The stuff that makes you truly stand out and that most positively contributes to your impact, is 100% unique to you, the person that is sitting there reading this right now.
What I am referring to is not what you do, how you do it, or what you have. It is more about who you are, how you show up, and how you connect with people. It's that which drives you and is important to you. This is what lights you up and brings you joy. You'll find it in the moments when you are swept up in a frenzy of energy, productivity, & satisfaction, with little notice of the physical, mental or emotional toll it collects.
This is that glorious thing that I call Really Living. You also might hear it referred to as Flow or Being in the Zone. Researcher and psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihályi, writes about this in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. He says that during these periods of flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life that is genuinely satisfying.
I'm curious. How familiar are you with this part of who you are? When is the last time you were so engaged in something that you lost track of time or forgot to eat or drink? If you had to measure, how much of your day is spent immersed in the things that evoke this kind of pleasure? Do you find yourself more likely to experience flow at work or when you are off the clock?
I ask you these questions because I believe that the answers will speak volumes. Most of us have experienced these moments, but likely haven't spent much time really reflecting on them. Today, I encourage you to do just that. Spend some time reflecting on one of these peak experiences in your life. Think of a time when time stood still, when your joy and enthusiasm for the moment was all-encompassing, and when your energy was through the roof. Notice what personal values were being honored in that moment. Remember what it felt like to be so moved.
This is the kind of work that is foundational to unearthing the stuff that truly sets you apart. That which, when fully embraced and prioritized in your life, will move you in the most meaningful & powerful ways. I know that you have a lot of amazing qualities, many of which match up perfectly with the description of the healthcare professional I described above. And, I am also quite certain that you are so much more. It may be, though, that some of your most special qualities, dreams, values, and even quirks may seem to fall out of what you currently see as acceptable or rational. Odds are, you are keeping these unique qualities, traits, and dreams to yourself.
This, my dear friend, is where I challenge you to push the envelope. Start studying your life and begin excavating the YOU that is at his/her best, the most fulfilled, engaged, and full of joy. Begin to notice who you are being during those times. How are you showing up? What is your impact? Make sure to notice how you may be currently suppressing this part of yourself, and ask yourself, "why". There is much to learn about yourself in these experiences. And this knowledge will guide you, inspire you, and perhaps even light a fire under you.
What will follow is an opportunity to find ways to invite that special part of you to show up in a more real way in your daily life. You'll find that, more often than not, it is your mindset rather than your circumstances that most directly impact your experience. What that means is that you won't have to actually recreate these peak experiences. You can simply show up in your regular daily experiences with a similar mindset to your peak experience- perhaps a similar respect for your core values, or attention to how you want to feel. You'll begin to figure out what it's going to really take to be that person that is lit up, engaged, and happy- both personally and professionally. It may mean you have to take some risks-ask for what you need, modify your schedule, find a job within an organization that shares your core values, or possibly even consider changing careers.
This may not be rocket science, but it does represent a healthy respect for the truth- the truth of what makes you rock! This is a journey worth taking, and I promise you, it will be a game changer.