What doors do you want to open?
Write this down. Get clear. Think big.
Can’t close the doors? Let’s talk.
It easy to become a victim to circumstances be it your medical practice, the demands of your patients, or family members. Here our four basic skills that I assist private practitioners to institute into their lives, and into their medical practice.
Your practice isn’t making you crazy, you are making you crazy. The first step in changing anything in your life it to take responsibility for the choices you are making. Start using language that indicates you are in charge and empowered to make changes in your practice. If your schedule is crowded then choose to make some decision around how your patients are scheduled. Set clear limits with your staff about when, and where clients can and cannot be scheduled. Create a clear picture of the practice that you want to have, then begin to implement that design one step at a time.
This suggestion often startles physicians and busy medical practitioners. It is like speaking a foreign language to them. It has been so long since you slowed down, you no longer know what that looks like. Slowing down is about coming into the present moment and being fully aware of what needs to be done now, before going to next. It also means taking time to evaluate how you are managing things or how you are allowing your time to be managed for you.
You are getting the perfect outcome for the system that you have in place. What systems are not creating the outcome you want? Are you not creating enough income? What is your system for creating income? Where is it working? Where is it not working? Are you creating enough new patients? Are you retaining patients? Are you and your staff billing for everything that you are doing? What about your fixed costs? Could those be reduced? Insurance premiums? Supplies? Customer service? Time management?
Are you utilizing your team? You cannot do everything even if you think you can. Have your attorney, accountant, billing system, life coach, support staff support you in stream-lining and creating effective systems for your practice. Utilize these individuals and their expertise when making decisions for your business. You pay them to support you. Granted you must make the final decision, however your team can make decision making easier and smoother.
Utilizing these four tips you can take the insanity out of your practice. Take ownership, slow down, utilize your team, and analyze your systems to create a smoothly operating practice that you enjoy showing up for day after day.
Doctors are amazing human beings. Highly intelligent, motivated, service oriented, empathetic, and caring individuals that help others. Individuals that choose to become doctors, and then withstand the rigors to become one, seem too many of us to be super human, invincible. Yet, as we know doctors and medical professionals are all too human, and like most individuals over-time, stress, lack of self-care, and lack of support can impact functioning and not for the better. Life balance seems an impossible dream.
One of the hardest things I have found for many professionals and especially doctors to do is to consider the benefits of slowing down. By learning to slow down they can often accomplish more. Although counter intuitive it is true that if we slow down to the present moment and focus, we than begin to function at the speed of life. In slowing down we come present to what is important in this moment, and then determine what is to be next.
Doctors are in a unique position that if they are deemed human, then their expertise and advice might not be taken as valid or reliable. They might be questioned not only by patients, but by their own staff, colleagues, and management. Confidentiality is paramount for medical professionals, and often difficult to find today where electronic medical records make documentation more accessible to colleagues, despite HIPPA and standard ethical practices. For medical professionals even family and friends may be unreliable confidantes.
Meeting the demands of work, patients, staff, spouse, children, and parents can take its’ toll on medical professionals. Finding a balance in the work and home arenas while caring for oneself becomes an ongoing juggling act of responsibility.
If you are a doctor or medical professional consider these questions:
When was last time you…
Had a meal with your family?
Ate three balanced meals in a day?
Went on a vacation?
Turned off your cell phone and computer for more than a couple hours?
Made love to your partner?
Meditated, took a deep breath, took a walk, went to the park, watched your child play a sport, or went to their recital?
Had a meaningful conversation with a family member?
You didn’t work late?
You didn’t take work home with you?
Put yourself first?
You had fun?
Don’t remember? Maybe it is time to slow down to the speed of life, and find out what you are missing. Those may just be the things you value most.
Desire life balance? Let’s talk.
Every morning I laugh as my beautiful yearling filly, Desiree terrorizes herself. She is positive that there must be something of interest for her in the manure bucket! Her head goes into the big black tub, she shoves the plastic fork around, and pulls at the bucket until something tips over, and she scares herself. Off she runs frightened by her own self, and I laugh, thinking that is so silly that she keeps creating anxiety for herself. However, I do the same thing. I terrorize myself with thoughts of doom and gloom! What if…? Is one of my favorite anxiety mantras, and of course the “What ifs…” are too often not the positive kind. I end up terrorizing myself, and then dealing with the fear and anxiety I have managed to self-create. Not really the best life plan!
The secrets to helping someone create the life they want are paradoxically so simple to speak about, and so hard to commit to for the long run. You see when coaching is great, the answer appears so clear to you that you feel foolish that you even had to talk to your coach about it. In those greatest of moments, the coach says nothing. They simply help you slow down to the speed of life and hold a space for you to listen to your inner knowing.
A great coach will assist you in establishing life changing insights and awareness, and place them into regular practice. These insights, and awareness emerge from the following concepts.
Wisdom comes from within, not without, so listen to and trust your own sense of knowing. Too often we are in our heads or our hearts too much. We don’t become still, quiet and listen to what we know to be true for us. When we fail to do this, we make poor decisions, and become victims of our thoughts, emotions, and extraneous stimuli, like other people and messages in our environment. I am not saying to not listen to others. I am saying given all you know and feel wait until you are clear about what you know, you need to do for you.
Create clarity around what you value. It helps to be clear about what you value, and how you prioritize those values in determining where you want to go in life and how you want to get there. Values and priorities change over time so re-evaluating them periodically makes sense.
Be present in each moment then move on to next. Life happens in this moment not the past moment or the future moment so the key to living it is to show up now for whatever is before you. Too often we are somewhere else in our minds not considering the present moment thus missing it.
SLOW down to the speed of life. Busyness is our way of avoiding that which is most important in our lives. It is a wide spread addiction in our culture. If I am busy enough I don’t have to deal with my bad relationships, my intense emotions, my crappy job, or my failing business. Unfortunately, running at full speed keeps us from seeing and dealing with the truth of what is going, and then finding the answers to the challenges I need. By simply slowing down and attending to what is in front of me the answers begin to appear, and the solutions become self-evident.
Be gentle with yourself and others. Self-criticism and other criticism is often our knee jerk reaction. Letting go of judging ourselves and others is tough. It is so ingrained within us that we are rarely aware of all the ways we criticize inwardly or outwardly. Begin to pay attention to your thoughts and make a commitment to truth telling in a kind way.
Staying high on the emotional ladder may seem like a challenge, and certainly there are days that can feel challenging. However, we have some choice in how we feel, and that is often based on the story we decide to tell ourselves about our life.
Create life stories that work for you not against you. When things happen, we can decide how we want to look at them. We can decide it is the best things that ever happened or the worst, or somewhere in between. The word decide is the key. Deciding requires choosing, and choosing allows us to own our life, not be a victim of it.
Stay on the path-focus. Focus gets lost in life. We forget what we want to create, build, enjoy, or do in life, and well life just happens, and rolls on without us being aware that we can in fact influence our journey. Clarity regarding what we want and where we are going assists us in getting there. Continuing to course correct when our focus moves off our path ensures we don’t take any long-term detours.
Act from love not from fear. When we act from fear we are in fact reacting, not acting. When we act, we are choosing, when fear is involved we are reacting. When we take an action toward ourselves or others, an action of love moves us forward into the life we want to create. Our reaction to fear proports us into another place and we lose sight of what is important and what we want to create.
Therefore, the secrets of life coaching you to live successfully for resides in encouraging you to self-reflect, stay true to your own values, slow down, and become present to your current situation. Then proceed to be truthful, gentle, positive, and kind as you return your focus over, and over again to the life you desire. Acting from love take the next right step, and then the next, over and over again until you achieve your goal.
I would love to live like a river flows
Carried by the surprise
Of its’ own unfolding.
I love metaphors, and the quote above speaks to me. As much as I have worked to create the life I want there is still the surprise of how life unfolds, of the opportunities that present themselves to me, as I flow down this river of my life. The doors that open, and the ones that close. The wonderful people I have met. The teachers (metaphoric) I have encountered (not always wonderful, but necessary for my own growth). I have been astounded by the love and generosity of people throughout my life both in times of hardship and of success.
The river of life of my life has been periodically exciting, slow, tumultuous, and challenging as it has unfolded before me. There were times sitting on the shore made sense, and other times when paddling down the raging rapids felt like exactly the right thing to do. I would like to tell you that I have always made the best choice but all I know is that I have chosen, as the river of my life has unfolded, and there have been discoveries, lessons, wonders, and surprises along the way, never a dull and boring ride!
I have had moments when I wondered if climbing out of the river would be a good idea. Setting up camp, and just watching the river go by, and never wondering what is around the next bend. Yet I continue to choose to ride the river of life, to be surprised by its’ unfolding.
Are you sitting on the side of the river? Floating along at the river’s pace? Are you staying afloat through the rapids? Paddling against the current? Racing to get to the end? Whatever you are choosing, become aware of the surprises as the river unfolds. Be present to the gifts, the river brings you, enriching the moments of your life as it flows out before you.
Needing a life coach and wanting a life coach are two very different things. Everyone needs a life coach, only the wisest hire a coach. Wanting a life coach is about wanting to create a life that is better than the one that you have, and being willing to stretch yourself a little bit each day. Leaping tall buildings isn’t necessary, although you often find your super power while being coached.
So, you want a life coach? Good for you. Now who do you hire? This is the hard part, believe it or not, because becoming a life coach is easy. How do you become one? You start calling yourself one. A low bar to entry plagues the profession. However, not all life coaches are created equal! So here are some tips for hiring a life coach.
Explore your candidates’ education, training, and experience. Choose someone with training in psychology, behavioral training preferably a psychologist. In addition, to education in psychology, look for a coach with specific professional coach training and is credentialed as a life coach. I recommend Board Certified Coaches with a wealth of life experience are often great coaches. Coaches with life experience, life coach training, and an educational background in psychology are well grounded at a theoretical, conceptual, and pragmatic level as life coaches.
Have a conversation with your potential coaching candidates, preferably a coaching conversation. If it sounds like a sales pitch, keep looking. Find someone that will serve you fully as a coach. These coaches will give you a coaching experience not an enrollment conversation to truly help you in that moment without being attached to having you as a client. Good coaches listen, reflect, and ask questions. If you find value in the coaching conversation then find out the logistics.
If your coaching experience was valuable then ask the coach what it would look like to work with them. Life coaches all work differently so don’t look for the best price look for the best fit. Who will serve you best? Who will be kind and honest with you? Good service often comes at a higher rate. In hiring a life coach, cheaper is not better. Hire the best life coach you can afford.
Ask your potential coach, if they have a coach. Good coaches are self-development junkies. They are being coached, going to trainings, living life, and educating themselves on a regular basis. Hire a coach that is walking their talk.
Ask for references or read testimonials from the coaches you are considering hiring. Talk to others that have worked with this coach. What was their experience? Has it been beneficial for them? Have they had lasting results?
Sit quietly and ask yourself if this coach is the one for you? Will they let you find your way? Or will they try to direct you to their agenda? Find a coach that will sojourn with you on your journey, not take you on side trips that might be interesting but not really where you want to go.
In the end trust your own sense of knowing about hiring a coach. Stay true to what you know is right for you. Not what you think, not what you feel, but what you know is true for you. That is the coach you want to hire for yourself.