Medical Career Overwhelm – Step One to Take Your Life Back

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

medical career take your life back crazy bus driver optMedical Career Overwhelm?
Here’s Step #1 to Take Your Life Back

When it comes to Having A Life
You have a Blind Spot

The funny thing about blind spots is you don’t know you have them … that is why they are called “Blind Spots”. This one is shared by virtually 100% of the physicians I have met … and many others who have chosen a medical career. This particular blind spot is a direct result of the conditioning of medical school and residency.

As a result of this blind spot …You don’t know where you are going
And you aren’t the one driving the bus
[...who is that clown anyway?]

I acknowledge that may be a little hard for you to listen to right now. Bear with me here because what I will show you in the next couple paragraphs is a Blind Spot you and I share with the majority of physicians I have ever met. Here it is …

You don’t have A CLEAR VISION of
How You Want Your LIFE to Look and Feel

In fact, you may have never had a clear vision of your “Destination”. This vacuum allows your Medical Career to take over. Your Medical Career becomes the driver of the bus … headed to a future you don’t control.

It’s like putting a clown at the wheel of your life. You never know where you end up. If you have ever asked yourself, “How did I get HERE?”, this blind spot is the answer to your question.

I call this a “VISION VACUUM”
Filling this Vacuum is the first step to balancing Your Life and Your Medical Career

A VISION VACUUM is when I ask you, “What do you want your Life to Look and Feel like?”

And you respond with:

“I don’t know what I want, I just know it’s not this  …”

“I am not sure what I want, but I know what I don’t want …”

“I have no idea ….”

“No one has ever asked me that before …”

If any of these are YOUR answer to my question I want you to know YOU HAVE BEEN TRAINED TO HAVE THAT RESPONSE.

body scan guided imagery audio

It’s a setup .. for two reasons …

1) Your medical career has trained you to put other people’s needs ahead of your own

With almost any medical career, the needs of your sick or injured patients will naturally come ahead of yours. There are lives at stake here. It’s not like you chose to work at the post office. In the setting of your medical career it is completely normal to put your needs last … to always be second fiddle.

You will then quite naturally put your medical CAREER  ahead of your LIFE. That’s when the clown starts to drive the bus, because your medical career doesn’t really care about the quality of your life. You may even be putting your medical career ahead of your family and your physical health.

You can have a great life and a medical career at the same time. AND it simply won’t happen with the clown driving the bus. You must put Your Life (and your health and your family) first. Take the wheel back from your Medical Career.

2) Physicians have a collective Vision Vacuum

When you were in medical school and residency … and you thought about what it would mean to be a successful doctor out in private practice … what was your VISION OF SUCCESS AS A PHYSICIAN ?

Most physicians (me included) will answer that question with just one word … “BUSY”

Think back. The private practice doctors you respected back in residency … were probably described as “BUSY” with no attention at all paid to the quality of their larger life.

I have asked dozens of doctors what their success vision was when they were back in residency and “Busy” is the universal answer. Unfortunately a Busy Medical Career does not naturally lead to a Fulfilling Life.

So with your medical Career behind the wheel … in charge, driving the bus …  and measuring your success by how BUSY you have become … is it any wonder we often suffer from medical career overwhelm and physician burnout?

Step #1 to Take Your Life Back
is Get Clear on Your VISION for Success

  • Develop a Clear Vision of what you want your LIFE to look and feel like
  • Then You Take Control and Head the Bus in That Direction

Here’s one way to get started.
Grab a pen an paper and write down your answers to the following questions. You translate your answers from thoughts into physical reality with the stroke of your pen. This can be the first step to making some very meaningful changes in your life.

  • If your current job and life is NOT what you want to be … where would you rather be headed instead?
  • What is your VISION for your Ideal Life?
  • What role does your Medical Career Play in this vision?
  • If you had a magic wand … what would you change about your Life and/or Medical Career first?
  • What are the top three items on your Bucket List?

As soon as you are CLEAR on where you are headed
You can begin to TAKE ACTION in that direction

That’s when you take the wheel from the clown and start driving the bus yourself. That’s when you begin to take your Life back from your medical career. And I encourage you to always think about your LIFE when you are answering these questions … not your Medical Career. Your medical career is programmed to always take care of itself. If we don’t concentrate on your Life, it tends to fall by the wayside.

Once you have some clarity on your VISION for your LIFE

  • What would be a good first step in that direction?

  • When can you take that step?

 PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with your first step on the path to your Vision.


If you are stumped by the questions in this post and would like your own clarity and action steps … 


Tags: Dike Drummond MD, Physician Burnout, Physician Coaching, physician stress