3 Easy Ways To Change As A Woman PhysicianJan 13, 2023
Ways to change as a woman physician can be a difficult concept for health care providers who want to focus on patient care and have career advancement. As a woman physician in the medical profession, the long hours and ever-changing work environment around us are normal. We are used to being flexible no matter what circumstances come our way. However, despite showing adaptability to the culture of medicine in our career paths, we are often left with the thought of how to make change happen.
Change Starts Within
My younger years were full of energy and the thought of taking a break from work hours was never an option. I strived for job satisfaction and to get everything done as soon as possible. This habit was part of my daily routine as a female doctor, but this led me to burnout, feeling lost, and eventually – being completely unmotivated.
Then ONE question popped into my head that changed everything:
“What would it take to change this situation and be the person I wanted to be?”
If you are wondering if you have burnout, pause for a minute and check on yourself. Read more about burnout HERE.
Feeling overwhelmed is not limited to physician burnout. Most working women I coach struggle at some point with burnout. In the first place, it’s important to be self-aware about your mental health. Be sure to take a break, embrace the silence, and enjoy some time for yourself. A few of the things that are a MUST for me are exercising, meditating, and journaling. When I routinely check in with my emotions, I am more likely to stay well and have a work-life balance.
Even though, at times, I do NOT WANT to feel all the feelings or think about anything at all!
The truth is that change will only happen if we orchestrate it. It starts within us. No matter how big or small a change can be, it will create an impact on our overall health and our lives.
Make a new practice of integrating one small step at a time. Here are a few small step ideas for you:
● Work on a mindset that will allow you to say no. (If you need help saying no, check out my YouTube channel HERE.)
● Develop brave, radical boundaries for your personal and professional life. (If you need help, check out my book, Brave Boundaries, HERE.)
● Don't go at it alone; build a strong female network to give you better support. (If you need one, check out my community HERE.)
I have learned when I am MOST busy, that is when I need the MOST rest. It may sound impossible, but the importance of taking a break and allowing myself to rest — even if it is a few minutes a day, is so important. It is okay for YOU to take time for yourself each day. This change has helped me to be more mindful, engaged, and productive. It made me a better physician and a better person. It has also lowered my risk factors for health conditions like heart disease.
3 Ways to Make Change Happen
While change can present unique challenges and a lot of work for most of us, the good news is that there are simple ways to make it happen with better outcomes.
1. Take the first step now.
Throughout my coaching career, when the topic surrounding change is on the table, the number one thing that hinders most of the women I coach is that they say, “but this is how I am and how I have been for so long.” In other words, they think they are too old to change or to set in their ways to change. Well, sister, I am here to tell you that some of the BEST changes I have made for myself have been made in my 4th decade of life!
If I can do it, so can you. I know SO many amazing women who have moved from burnout to thriving with large increases by UNLEARNING the thought, “I am too set in my ways to change.”
What fascinates me is knowing change CAN be possible, and being too young or too old CANNOT be a hindrance to making it happen. All it takes is taking the first step now. And what is that first step?
Making a conscious effort to LEARN strategies to change by joining me for my upcoming three-part webinar series: The Best You Yet: Three Myths to Unlearn to Take Back Your Time in 2023.
Sign up here and let us prove that being too old can never be an excuse to make change possible in our lives.
In the first part of this amazing webinar, Myth 1: I’m Too Old to Change, we’ll talk about how change:
● Starts with self-reflection;
● Happens with a grown mindset (vs fixed) mindset
● Starts with self-compassion over self-shame
● Relevant to our boundaries around toxic behaviors and people
● Connected with our thoughts (the most powerful determinant)
Remember — age does not define what we can and cannot do. Age is just a number. It does not define our potential. What defines our potential is the effort we put into taking the brave step to make change happen and our commitment and dedication toward achieving our goals.
The truth is, when it comes to making changes, it is never too late. We can all learn new strategies and make changes at any point in our lives. We can also learn new skills and capabilities, as well as create new habits to help us sustain all these incredible changes. Some of the most AMAZING teachers, physicians, and entrepreneurs I know, are women who started truly setting boundaries in their 50s! Why wait?
2. Change is being comfortable with being uncomfortable.
As a woman physician, I do not like discomfort; our jobs are stressful enough. Why would I want it to be MORE uncomfortable than working in an environment dominated by our male counterparts? Oftentimes, I find myself having to speak up and challenge the status quo, and it is so exhausting.
But here is the thing:
Most of the most important things in our life come to us on the other side of fear. We have to leave our comfort zones. It is natural to feel uncomfortable when confronted with the unknown and unfamiliar. Still, it is important to remember that change can only happen when we get scared, brave, and ready to fail. If you are thinking about the FIRST thing that needs to change for you to recover from burnout, do you find yourself anxious? Breathe, sister! Considering the potential benefits of making changes can help us feel less anxious and more excited about the possibilities that will come our way.
In the second part of my webinar series Myth 2: I’m Too Comfortable to Change, we’ll dive deeper into how change:
● Allows us to move past the feeling of being stuck
● Is uncomfortable
● Builds confidence
● Starts with channeling "30 seconds of bravery"
● Brings wellness outside of our comfort zones.
Being comfortable with being uncomfortable is all about being open to new ideas, new experiences, and the possibility of failure. It means taking risks, trying new things, and challenging ourselves in ways that may be uncomfortable and beyond our control. It means embracing uncertainty and having the courage to step out of our comfort zones and explore what is more beyond it. Change is about growth and progress. It's about learning and discovering. It's about creating something better. It is about YOU.
3. I am the system.
Women are strong. We are resilient. And when we find ourselves in an established system (that doesn’t work FOR us), we don’t allow our strength to show. We think it's simply a good idea to adapt to the system instead of adapting the system to work for us.
Most research shows in recent years that women physicians today feel helpless and burned out in the current system. I know the feeling. Every day, we are forced to accept a system that controls us and the situations we are in. That system seems to be the one that has the final say when it comes to making changes both in our personal and professional life. I tell you, this should not be the case. You are the system; we are the system. We have all the will and power to deconstruct them.
In the final webinar of the series, Myth 3: Can't Change the System, So Can’t Change My Situation we will break down the common limiting belief that there is no way out, that we simply cannot change our situations, and we can’t set the necessary boundaries to stay well. I created this webinar to teach you:
● How to empower yourself in the middle of systems;
● How to take control of your time despite what is going on around you;
● How small changes can make a large impact on your day-to-day well-being
The first step to do this is to recognize our strength to create change. We need to be aware of the power that we hold in our hands to make changes in our lives. We start by recognizing and challenging these systems that limit our freedom and our potential to make change within us.
We reflect on ourselves and proactively create and implement ways to work the systems, so they align with our well-being and boundaries and do not cause work-family conflict. By doing all this, we CAN create real and lasting change in our lives and ultimately have the power to take back control. We are the system, and we can make change happen.
Ready for Change
Are you ready to take back your time, finally break free from the myths about change that have been holding you back, and begin living the life you've always wanted? My upcoming three-part webinar series: The Best You Yet: Three Myths to Unlearn to Take Back Your Time in 2023, is what most women physicians need to make change possible.
Change pushes us forward; it makes us better and more resilient. It can be scary and overwhelming, but it can also be exciting and rewarding. Change is essential for growth and progress. It allows us to move forward and become more of who we are and what we are capable of.
If we change our attitude toward change, it sets us up for success. We can be positive and look at change as an opportunity to grow. We can make a plan that will help us create the changes we want to witness with our eyes.
Change is the only thing that is constant in life. We must embrace it and make it work for us. Change is beautiful and together, let us make it happen. (Sign up HERE for the webinar series you would not want to miss).
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