THE INVISIBLE PRIORITY
Do you ever wish that you could just get away from it all? Do you ever yearn for an island far off in some distant sea? Or perhaps it’s a cabin hidden away on the top of some remote mountain where you could escape from all the Zoom meetings, the departmental turf wars, the inter-team member conflicts – you know, the pressures of your everyday life? I suppose we’ve all felt like this from time to time. I know I have. It seems that we’re always in the throes of conflicting impulses. First of all, we want to be in the middle of activity and achievement. Then we want to seek retreat – to escape. At times, it feels that we’ve lost a sense of balance – which is important to everyone but is especially vital to physician leaders
This question is a bit esoteric, but it is practical: As physicians have we become impervious to the river of life moving through us? With all the unique, critical, and too often conflicting stresses we endure, is it possible that our timing is off? Our ambitions and the deeply ingrained urge to “perform at the highest level” drive our very being mercilessly until both our mind and our body demand rest and replenishment. Which, tragically, we rarely
Perhaps like very few other professions, our work and personal lives fuse and blend to the extent that there is little distinction between them. Periodically, we must have a respite of some type from our turbulent, rushing, pandemic pandemonium reality.
If you will indulge me just for a moment. Have you ever watched an old grandfather clock? The pendulum must swing both ways, an even distance in each direction, if it’s to perform its function satisfactorily. A simple, essential truth – one that is fundamental because of the relentlessly competitive and hierarchical culture of medicine – that is too often ignored, is the sort of balance we need in our own lives. We push ourselves too hard without adequate time for rest and restoring of the body and the mind. We buy into the highly regimented culture and lose our ability to see the “invisible” priority, ourselves
An expert coach can help clarify, amplify, and energize our commitment to ourselves, to our real Leader. The right coach can help us reveal and refine a masterful leader within and guide us to a process of optimizing our strengths, building our courage, and restoring our peace.
You don’t really need to escape – it’s not necessary to buy an island in the Pacific or a mountain in Hawaii to achieve a healthy integration of work and play. I imagine life could be just as hectic on your island or your mountain if you hadn’t learned and practiced how to achieve some inner mental peace.
Once we chain ourselves to this treadmill of excessive daily pressures, we think that we’ve got no time for clarity, quiet, or self-reflection. We simply have to take time if we want to be an empowered, fulfilled, and successful human being and physician leader. Otherwise, we’ll perpetually put others first – patients, staff, colleagues, bosses, loved ones – and then wonder why we feel overwhelmed, exhausted and lost in our careers and lives.
There is a process of transforming everything that we feel is holding us back. An expert physician coach can be an extraordinary asset in learning that process and following through on its methodology. We can learn to keep our minds open to turn from the pressures of the day to an inner calm within us. It doesn’t take a great deal of effort – but we need to know ‘the what’ we do and ‘the why’ we do it to shapeshift ‘the how’ and lead ourselves toward real solutions. We need to level-up our map of reality and understand our potential.
You can find the peace of your island or the peace of your mountain within yourself this day. You can become an empowered and centered physician leader. You can become recognized and rewarded for your capacity to lead others from a state of calm, confident self-trust. You can have all the rest you need right within you.
Teresa Dean Malcolm, MD, FACOG, MBA, CPE, CPXP, ACC, is zealous in her belief that an exceptional experience in clinical care, the human(e) experience, is achievable through meaningful and authentic relationships with others. She has served in executive positions, integrating people with process and purpose, and successfully aligning the ideas of the team with a compelling vision. She is a Certified Physician Development and Executive Coach. Her coaching philosophy, The Malcolm Method, is rooted in positive psychology, social and emotional intelligence, and strengths based leadership. Through thought-provoking conversations, she strives to deepen the awareness of her physician clients and further their actions, thereby helping them to thrive as they lead. Dr. Malcolm (known to her friends and family as Terri) is a loving wife to her husband, Nate. Together they have three charming boys, Nathaniel, and twins, Roman and Colton.