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Wednesday
Jan042012

Making Things Happen As A Physician In Transition

Overcoming the obstacles between dream and reality.

You’ve thought a lot about leaving clinical practice and transitioning to a non-clinical career.  You considered starting your own internet business or writing a book or investing in real estate.  You thought you had a good idea at the time.  So, what’s keeping you from making it happen?   

As a physician, you’ve probably considered many great ideas—or dreams—about your future.  But those dreams have little value, if you don’t follow through and make them a reality.

If you have encountered obstacles in executing your ideas, you are not alone.  Countless ideas with the potential to transform lives—concepts for new medical products or models for new businesses—are probably conceived and misspent in the hands of talented physicians every day.  The ideas that move people forward are not the result of tremendous creative insight—or inspiration—but rather of masterful planning and management.

Successful entrepreneurs tell us that ideas don’t just happen by accident—or because they are great.  Whether you have a solution for an everyday problem or a bold new concept, you must transform your vision into reality.  Far from being some stroke of creative genius, this capacity to make ideas happen can be learned and developed by anyone. 

Success depends on making things happen

Whether you are in clinical practice or in industry, success depends on developing and executing new ideas.  You may come up with creative solutions to medical problems every day.  Unfortunately, regardless of how great your ideas may be, most of them will never happen.  Most ideas get lost or pushed to the back of our minds by questions and doubt.  As a leader in healthcare—and the leader of your life—you must learn to defy these tendencies.

You can develop the capability to make things happen

Some feel they need a push.  They are waiting for circumstances to force them to take action.  Others believe they need to have a lot of money stashed away, before they can “jump off” the clinical track.  Still others are waiting for “the right time” to pull the trigger.  The truth is there are practices that creative individuals and teams use to make ideas happen, time and time again.  And the discipline of execution can be learned.   

Organization enables you to manage and ultimately execute your ideas

In our world of information overload and constant connectivity, you must manage your time and energy wisely.  Otherwise, you will fall into state of what some call “reactionary workflow,” where you act impulsively—rather than productively—and simply try to stay afloat.  Everything in life can be approached as a project—and every project can be broken down into action steps.  Prioritizing each step can help us manage our energy and attention.  And the discipline of taking even small steps every day can help us live and work with a bias toward action. 

The forces of community are invaluable and readily available

Ideas don’t happen in isolation.  You must embrace opportunities to broadcast and then refine your ideas through the energy of those around you.  Have you talked to your spouse about your ideas?  What about your friends and business partners?  Have you appointed a "board of directors" for your transition?   

Execution requires a unique capacity to lead

Leading any sort of creative pursuit requires an overhaul of how we motivate others and ourselves.  The most admired leaders are able to build and manage teams that can overcome the obstacles faced in complex projects.  There is a mindset we must achieve to withstand (and capitalize on) the doubts and pressures we face along the way.

How to build your capacity to make your ideas happen

  • Clarify your core values and beliefs. Tap into your emerging purpose and passion.
  • Use change as a resource—and learn how to deal with your resistance to change.  Take advantage of change by “holding on” to your values, “letting go” of bad habits, “taking on” new knowledge and skills, and “moving on” with your plan for the next chapter in your life.
  • Achieve balance in your life, linking your purpose to selected roles and activities.
  • Manage your time to ensure you achieve what’s most important to you. 
  • Identify and overcome the obstacles that get in your way or hold you back.
  • Focus on your future, no matter what your age or circumstance. Tap into your special “gifts.”
  • Recognize the predominant themes in your life story—and your limits and constraints for moving ahead.  Develop and explore possible scenarios and make optimal choices.
  • Connect your dreams to realistic plans.  Develop new and exciting visions of your future—and connect your dreams to realistic action plans.
  • Create a learning agenda for renewal and sustained resilience.  Embrace learning as a way of being and achieving.
  • Engage a professional coach to help you achieve excellence in your life.  Be open to the possibilities as your coach challenges and supports you in finding your path and reaching your full potential.   

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