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Saturday
Dec102011

Stop Asking Permission

Here's to the crazy ones.

When we talk to our physician readers at conferences or during coaching sessions, several themes keep coming up again and again: Doctors think they don’t have enough time, enough money or both.

When we coach them, we usually ask them “What could be a way out?”. Very often the response is – silence. Physicians are very often unispired when it comes to creative solutions to their own job frustrations.

Why is this so? We think that it’s the physician-mindset which is the problem. We, as physicians, have a permission-based approach to work. All our lives, we had to get permission for doing stuff: we had to get permission to attend a good high-school, a good college, a good medical school etc. After graduating from medical school, we had the permission to practice medicine as a resident, after the board exam we got another permission, then we go into a sub-specialty and we get yet another……you probably guess it: permission.

So whenever we ask our readers, friends and clients: “…you have passion xyz, why don’t you just try to make it a side-busienss?”, we usually hear: “because I was not trained to do that.” Which basically means: “nobody gave me permission.” Do you think Steve Jobs would have come up with the Apple empire if he had a physician-mindset? Do you think that Mahatma Gandhi was trained to be the leader of a peaceful revolution? Do you think that Richard Branson got permission from anyone to start his multimillion empire? The answer is of course – “No”. And why “No”? Because most of them were the first ones to do the shitake they were doing. There just was no one around to teach that stuff.

So what do these successful people have in common?

1. They had an idea
2. The courage to start
3. The self-discipline to follow-through
4. The abilities of an autodidact

You passed all those difficult hurdles, you went through medical school and you probably are used to busy and exhausting work of a healthcare setting. So it is very likely that you have the stamina to follow through. We also assume, you are a quick and autonomous learner. Moreover, as we know from our talks with many of you, you might even have an idea. It is cristal clear, what’s holding most of you back from just f*n doing it is: FEAR. You don’t yet have the courage to start. And we will change that.

Reader Comments (3)

i love the steve jobs infographic

Dont stop asking permission till after medical school!!!

I have gotten under to many Attending's skin asking the "crazy questions" and sharing ideas that seem a little to outside of the realm of "Permitted" MD thoughts and occupations.

Very good point though, thank you!!

Agreed on the "stuck inside the box" mentality of so many physicians. The ever present status quo for obtaining "permission" to climb the ladder and for even basic "needs" has caused much angst and resentment on my part. I have no love lost for this profession, and only do contract/locums work as tolerated. Not what I had envisioned as a long sought after and hard won profession. I ask myself daily, "what can I do to get out?". Then I look at the looming med school debt I accumulated, and have yet to get down to a manageable level. And anyone who asks about their beloved child going into a medical career, gets a decided "don't do it" from me.

Dec 19 | Registered CommenterJack Harris

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