Can Burned Out Doctors Be “Difference Makers”?

Difference Makers

The idea of being a “Difference Maker” sounds alluring, doesn’t it? It’s not only the extremely successful people we’re talking about – those who achieve cutting-edge results. It’s also those who go above and beyond, and are defined by the difference they make.

The world is full of “Difference Makers.” They can be teachers, volunteers at a soup kitchen, youngsters mowing the yard for an elderly neighbor. Surely, doctors would get a free ticket into the “Difference Makers” Club, right?

Not so fast…

It’s easy to say that we’re “Difference Makers” just because our jobs include helping and healing. But it takes more than that to enter the circle of the real “Difference Makers.” This isn’t a club you get into by default because of your title.

In the world of medicine, how can you make the grade?

Here are 5 simple ways you can become “Difference Makers” right now:

1) Take time to make sure your patient understands their treatment and options.

2) Say hello to the stranger in the hallway at the hospital. They may be visiting their dying mother or a sick child.

3) Thank your staff or the nurse taking care of your patient. It may be the sweetest thing they hear all day.

4) Compliment your colleague, your spouse, your child on something today. It can be the tiniest thing ever (“You always load the dishwasher so efficiently!”) but it will be well-received.

5) Perform a random act of kindness.

You’re probably skeptical. I know – I was, too. I was also burned out.

If you don’t think these things make a difference, ask your patients, nurses and staff. And try it to see what happens to YOU when you begin to practice this.

Here’s the thing – seeing yourself as a “Difference Maker” can be empowering, not only for those you serve, but also to yourself.

And when burned out doctors feel more powerful, we can help ourselves — and others —regain energy and passion in our lives, at home and at work.

This can mean anything from giving a talk to thousands of people about the importance of connection, forming a social network group to brainstorm ways of improving healthcare, or having a one hour chat with someone who is at the end of a very short rope.

Each and every one of us can make a difference. And everyone wins, including you.  Tweet: Each and every one of us can make a difference.

Hospital janitors who saw themselves as “Difference Makers” were found in the above-mentioned Forbes article to redefine their roles. How did they do this? By simple acts of offering patients fresh water or extra facial tissue. Something outside their job description. Something that made a difference.

William James said, “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. -William James

As you plan your week, what can you do to have an impact? It doesn’t take loads of time. Or even a big bank account. Share with me in the comments below.




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