Physician Burnout: You don't get what you want in life ... you get this instead

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

physician-burnout-you-dont-get-what-you-want-in-life.jpgPhysician Burnout: You don't get what you want in life ... you get this instead.

Desire is an interesting and disempowering emotion. When you really, really, really want things to be different and you wake up the next day -- and it is exactly the same as yesterday -- well that is just disappointing to say the least. 

We all have desires, but longing - all by itself - is never sufficient to actually acquire:
- Possessions
- Respect
- Power / Autonomy / Money / A two week vacation or anything else
... except by luck or family obligation.

You can put your hands on your hips, stomp your feet and make demands, but only your mommy is likely to honor that "request" and have the power to give you what you want. And those days are long gone.

How does desire work in adults - and doctors specifically?

In an adult physician - working in a healthcare organization - what you want (your desires) are irrelevant. You can't simply want something new about your job into existence.

If you think you deserve something (like autonomy or respect or a scribe ...) and being a doctor means you have a right to this object of your desire, well that is just magical thinking and will only get you into trouble at some point.

body scan guided imagery audio

Here is a saying to live by:

You don't get what you want in life, you get what you TOLERATE. 

BTW, you know you understand the sentence above only when it stings a little bit (or a lot). Read it again - or ask a good friend or your significant other what it means to them - until you can feel the burn personally - before you continue reading this article. 

There is only one way to get what you want in life - stop tolerating anything less -- and DO something about it. 

I urge you to Raise Your Standards

  • Figure out exactly what it is you really, really want  
  • Take the new and different actions necessary to go and get it 

Without these two steps, you are wallerin' in a world of tolerations.
- At home you are playing a game of woulda, shoulda, coulda and probably find yourself completely stalled on your Bucket List.
- At work you are the captive of a job description that was created by an administrator who did not have you in mind at all when they laid down your list of duties.

physician-burnout-stop-tolerations-mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it-any-more.jpgIf there is some area of your life or practice where you are feeling stalled, frustrated, blocked from your highest and best use ... you always have the option to decide you are mad as hell and not going to take this any more.

Go ahead and get angry, just don't stop there. 

Einstein's Insanity Trap tells you that nothing will change unless  you channel that frustration into new actions.

Raising your standards and eliminating tolerations is the beginning of all change.

What are you tolerating now and when will you aim for a higher standard?

If you need any help generating answers to that question, show your significant other or a good friend this article and ask:
- Where do you see me tolerating less than I really want in my practice or my/our life?
- What are some things you see that I could choose to change that would make a positive difference? 


This is why we always recommend physicians have an Ideal Practice Description and be working a plan to build a more ideal practice. Without your IPD you have no target for your efforts.

This is why we also developed resources like the Manage Your Boss Worksheet so you know how to get what you want for a more ideal practice when you need the boss's permission.


And the shortest path to more of what you want in your Practice and your Life is to Stop Tolerating Anything Less.



What have you stopped tolerating that has made a big difference?
What are you ready to stop tolerating now?

Tags: Physician Burnout