How do you feel when you need to refer a patient elsewhere because their problem is outside your expertise?
I used to feel inadequate and think my patients would be upset with me. But time and again, they just seemed grateful that I was getting them to the right person for their problem. The only judgment in the room was my own – which probably comes from being a high achiever.
It got me thinking about why burnout is more of a problem these days for high achievers. How much is our own negative self talk adding fuel to the fire? Is it that we really aren’t enough, that we aren’t trying hard enough, making breakthroughs enough, accomplishing enough? Or do we just think we’re not enough?
We’re not robots. Medicine is not as exact a science as we want it to be. People don’t always respond as we think they should to our surgery or our medical treatment.
And that’s a problem.
When the negative nellies overwhelm us, the conversations we have in our heads are either going to support or sabotage us.
We’ve got to start believing that we are enough.
Cut yourself some slack, already.
Just like my patients who are perfectly okay with me not being able to perform a procedure outside of my realm of training, you need to be okay with not being able to perform miracles in the O.R., in the board room or at home.
It all begins by putting yourself first.
Here are 3 ways to remind yourself that you are enough:
1. Make a list of your strengths. Those strengths are your super powers!
2. On the same page make a list of your weaknesses. You can’t be great at everything. Love your super powers, accept your weaknesses and move on.
On the same page, make a list of ways you can spend less time and effort on the “weakness” category. Can’t bake a cake? That’s why God invented bakeries!
3. Acknowledge your “enoughness” every day. Positive affirmations (“You did great today.” “You are a loving parent.” “Your speech was amazing!”) can make the difference between feeling just okay and feeling awesome.
If you were coaching yourself, what would you say? What positive feedback would you give yourself?
True confessions time. Which of these is the toughest for you to do? Share your comments with me below.