Blogs

Inspiration

IMG_0553

What inspires you? It could be a positive evaluation from your employer, watching your child’s first recital, or maybe a good cup of coffee in the morning.

Inspiration comes when you least expect it. It’s that unsuspecting wave of cold ocean spray as you stand at the edge of the pier on the beach. Inspiration can fill you with newfound confidence or an exalting influence. It’s usually something that makes you want to share it with the universe.

Today I got out of bed as usual at 05:00. I had my one cup of coffee, played with the dogs, did some chores, then quickly sat at my desk and started writing in my book. My story unfolded as I typed without hesitation or rest. I stopped to look at my watch and I was amazed to see it was already 11:00 a.m.

I missed breakfast! Feeling deprived of one of life’s simplest pleasures, I ran into the kitchen and grabbed a boiled egg, a cup of yogurt, and a glass of orange juice. Once satisfied and refueled, I took pen to papyrus.

What had suddenly sparked my inspiration? As I now sit with pen in hand, I realize it was the creative writing seminar I attended last night. The creative juices must have been flowing all night just waiting for an outlet – it found its way through my fingers pecking on the keyboard of my computer.

How many times have you felt inspired to do something great in your life? How many people have you inspired to do things they never dreamed of achieving, to become famous or successful, or to turn their life around?

The next time you’re feeling inspired, take a moment to thank that someone who inspired you to greatness. A whispered “thank you” is usually enough.

n.

Advertisements

New Year Planning

I went out for a morning run on New Year’s Day in the bitter cold. It was 36 degrees Fahrenheit as the sun began to rise. My purpose for the early run was to think about my plans for the new year as running provides me with clarity of thought. During this private time, I’m able to think and share my thoughts with the universe as I explore all the options ahead for me this year.

Planning has never been my forte but since starting my own business it’s very essential because of the importance of having productive time management. My livelihood now depends on my own drive, desire, and precious limited time. Planning gives me a chance to do all the things I really enjoy.

I don’t write down my plans to fill each hour of the day. Besides running, I find meditation a good way to plan my day.  I sit in my personal study and focus on the present moment. Being quiet and being focused on nothingness helps me tune out the noise. This allows me to consider those things that need my attention for the day. Then, as I begin my day, I find being focused on one task at a time is more satisfying and takes less energy to complete. At the end of the day I still feel refreshed and satisfied by what I have done.

The beauty of planning is that plans can change. Each idea you introduce into your life can bring forth another idea and another. The limitless opportunities begin to open up to you as you create the space in your mind for them. Think of this time as a window that you can see your world through – the larger the window, the greater the view.

I’m keenly aware that I now have an opportunity to do the things that bring me joy in my life. It’s no longer about placing other’s needs before mine, giving up family time for a demanding career , and feeling guilty for not doing more. I have a chance to help people who are shackled by work or life circumstances, teach college students with a burning desire to learn, write the novel that will hold you spellbound, play the guitar as Joe Cocker would have liked, and run to my hearts desire.

n.

 

 

The Principle’s Office

 I am sitting at my desk overwhelmed with work. The paperwork in the “Inbox” is stacked higher than the single envelope in the “Outbox”. There are four Styrofoam cups of coffee on my desk. Each cup of coffee is unfinished (Like most of my work) I stare at the screen on my computer as my achy fingers wait for it to download at the speed of flowing volcanic lava.

 The telephone rings. I look at the extension on the screen, and my heart sinks because I recognize the number from corporate leadership upstairs. Four seconds later I pick it up.

 The call is from the president’s office. He wants to see me immediately. It’s 4 p.m. on a Friday afternoon and that can mean only one thing. I grab my briefcase and stuff it with as many of my personal things as I can. I button the top button on my shirt, tighten my tie, and head down the hallway – all the while trying not to appear defeated.

 Thoughts are racing through my mind as I walk towards the elevator. The emotions now evoke the memories of my younger school days when I was called to the principle’s office a number of times. I wasn’t a bad kid – I was just bored with most of my classes. My disruptive behavior was a way of telling my teachers to teach me something more challenging. I was way past the multiplication tables – I wanted to launch rockets into space! The long dark corridor to the principle’s office only meant one thing.

 Once in the elevator, the only thing I could think of was – “When was the last time I updated my resume?” That was six or seven years ago. It was good enough to get me this job. I’ll dust it off and print out another one this weekend. Better yet, I’ll add a couple of details here and there and Bingo! I’m ready.

 Not so fast man of steel. A lot has happened in the past six or seven years. Technological advances have moved at light speed in the business world. That resume you have may not cut it. When was the last time you updated that LinkedIn home page? How about other media platforms people use?

 Are resumes a thing of the past? How much information can you load onto a couple of pages that adequately describes you and all your quirks? Unless you get an interview, how will they know that your true passion is to be the head of the company? What steps have you taken to become the transitional leader you want to become?

 Companies today are using social media to find out more about you than you care to tell. Remember those drunken birthday party photos you posted of yourself at the neighbor’s pool party? How many off-color jokes have you posted on Facebook, Twitter, or About.me? Believe me, if they’re out there in a “Cloud”, they’ll find them.

 Turn the tables in your favor. Remove the frat photos and replace them with photos of you and the family at home, on vacation, or maybe during a holiday function. Include photos of you when you volunteered at the homeless shelter or the food bank on Thanksgiving. Give them a true sense of your core values you can’t find in a resume. 

 Most importantly, be prepared for the interview. Preparation is key and dressing the part may seem “old fashioned”, but I think there are a lot of “old fashioned” HR people still out there. I often tell an old story that I think still has some merit.

 Driving into Austin, Texas for a night on the town, my older brother was telling my kid brother and me about an upcoming job interview. It was a position at an industrial fabricating company that pretty much meant a line job. Along with the position came great health, life, and disability benefits, retirement pension and stock options (in a Fortune 500 company!) It was an opportunity of a lifetime for him.

 I turned to him and asked him what he could tell me about the company and who his competition would be. He laughed at me and said he had this thing “in the bag”. He said there were about forty people interviewing for 2 positions. He had met several other potential employees at a preliminary testing session to qualify for an interview slot. Well, he made the first cut, which to him meant, “I’m in”. Was he confident or cocky?

 My kid brother, who was driving, turned to me and grinned. It wasn’t one of those I agree, but rather more of a “boy, is he in for an awakening” kind of look.

 Again I turned around and asked him the following questions; What are you wearing? What have you read about the company? Who is their Chairman and what is his vision? What is the company’s vision, mission statement, and are they fiscally sound?

 He looked at me with those big brown country eyes, bewildered, and awestruck that I dared ask him things like that given ALL of his experience. Yes sir. He had this thing in the bag.

 I couldn’t restrain myself and exploded with recommendations like wearing a suit to the interview, exploring the company via the Internet, and searching through YELP.com for employee comments. I even went on a limb and suggested he memorize the company mission, get a haircut and even a shave. He laughed the remainder of the thirty-minute drive and kept saying, “he had this in the bag.”

 We arrived at our restaurant destination, hungry and thirsty. We sat at the bar and ordered lots of food and drinks. During this whole time I noticed my younger brother had become rather quiet. He didn’t say much, and I was starting to feel bad for having laid into him so hard. We finished our dinner, had a few more drinks then headed to my kid brother’s condo for the night before heading out the next day.

 Months went by before I received a call from my kid brother. He was calling to let me know that our brother had gotten the job! I said to myself, as I started to feel like a big chump, “so he did have this thing in the bag.”

 And by the way, my kid brother continued, he wore his suit, memorized their mission statement, had a list of questions to ask them, and knew everyone’s name in corporate. I just shook my head and smiled.

 I reached the top floor and the elevator door opened. I walked into the president’s office and was greeted with a big smile by his secretary. She asked if I wanted something to drink, and I politely said no. I sat and waited five minutes while looking down at the floor the whole time. At 4:30 I was escorted into the president’s office. I thought, well this is it, and took in a deep breath.

 He came from around his desk wearing a big smile, shook my hand and proceeded to tell me how pleased he was with my job performance. As a result, he was promoting me to Senior VP of Productions. It took me all weekend to recover from the excitement of that Friday afternoon.

 Monday morning I held a meeting with my staff and thanked them for their support. I charted a path to another project that they fully supported. After the meeting, I quietly sat in my chair and gazed out the window. My memory about that Friday afternoon seemed so fresh.

 Not every trip to the principle’s office has to be feared for the worse. But just in case, a good second or third pair of underwear didn’t seem to hurt!

n.

Focused Leadership

I’ve worn glasses since the tenth grade. I got them because my grades started to suffer and someone figured out it was because I couldn’t see the homework assignment on the board. My first pair of glasses were blue tinted which fit the time era along with Nehru suits, long hair, and peace symbols.

Since then I’ve lost the blue tinted glasses, the hair, and outward peace symbols. As I do every morning, I went on my five-mile morning run today and half way through the trek I took off my glasses. I could see fuzzy trees and cars, hazy colors, and the sidewalk under my feet. I knew the course after running it for several years; the details were imprinted in my mind. As I continued to run something happened.

The course didn’t change, but I became highly aware of my senses. My sense of hearing, or lack of as my wife would argue, became more sensitive to the sounds of the oncoming cars, barking dogs, and crying children. I heard things along the way that I had taken for granted in the past, like my breathing, the muscles in my legs, and the sense of mindfulness.

When my breathing quickened, I sensed I was going uphill or running too fast. I checked my GPS watch, and felt for my pulse. Indeed, my running pace had quickened. I slowed down, focused on my breathing, and I was back at the pace I initially intended to run.

I began feeling lighter by limiting the distractions around me. I was no longer worried about other runners around me. I didn’t move from one side of the street to the other because I could no longer see the dogs up ahead, which were leashed, however I never needed to worry about them in the first place. I was running more efficiently.

The newfound freedom was invigorating. My instincts and senses had taken over, and it felt all so new. Then I realized – this is how I was at work. I was so out of focus by all the distracting conversations, phone calls, and loud noises that I lost sight of my patients in front of me. Had I taken my glasses off, I would have learned a little more about their ailments. I could have taken more time to feel, to touch, and to see up close their fear and angst of being in an emergency room.

As physician executive leaders, we need to use all of our senses to connect with the people we lead. We know the path down the hallways, stairs, and sidewalks all too well. We need to be keenly aware of those around us and feel the tension, hear the quiet whispers, and smell the immanent danger of an uncovered manhole.

I found that building relationships and taking someone in my department out to lunch every so often gave me a chance to get some personal feedback or the inside track of a new administrative initiative. The information helped me build a foundation for developing rapport with other executive leaders. There’s something that happens during a quiet lunch. While breaking bread together, people become more open to sharing and discussing, and more supportive of each other.

Connecting with your five senses supports the emotional intelligence needed to relate to others and with those you lead. Take off those crystal colored glasses, engage your senses, and show others your real self, your caring self. Leaders cannot lead unless others follow. Good physicians like good leaders, achieve success when they are followed, supported, and appreciated by others. Explore your innate sensory leadership qualities with an Executive Coach who can help you maximize your full potential and become more mindful of your true strengths.

Norbert Adame, MD

AdameMD Executive Coaching

FAILURE

FAILURE

            Defined as, the condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends. Whereas fail is defined as, to prove deficient or lacking, perform ineffectively or inadequately, to cease functioning properly.

The words carry such negative connotations yet we’ve given them more power than the stated worth. We have concerned ourselves more with doing rather than being that it has blocked our ability to experience. The act of being allows us to freely use all of our intrinsic abilities to learn, grow, and share experiences with others. The desired outcome is what we want it to be and that outcome is driven by the amount of time, effort, and desire we invest in it.

It’s conceivably true that the outcome was not the result we had desired, but does it really mean we failed. Literally yes, but it still doesn’t define who we are. It says nothing about character, values, or, inner strengths. Is says nothing to the fact that we stood back, assessed the shortcomings, took the initiative to change those shortcomings, and subsequently succeeded in our quest.

I can honestly say that I’ve had more successes than failures because what define me are my values. I’m a traditionalist who trusts and believes that honest, forward action contributes to empowerment and a sense of full self-expression. When we are honest with our abilities, focus on our goals, and are willing to take risk with zest and vitality, we are connected with all the other positive energy in the universe and move forward to achieve beyond anything we’ve experienced before.

So in the end, you’re not a failure. You’re just not there yet.

n adame

The World of 3’s

I live in the world of 3’s because remembering 3 key things a day enriches my life. I usually can’t recall the top 10 or 12 most common (fill in the blank). Three is more fun because I can challenge myself each day to see how many days back I can remember (most of the time more than 3!) So I’m going to share three of my favorites.

What do I want from my life?  productivity, growth, adventure

What does my career look like?  creativity, connectedness, service

What do I want to experience daily in my life?  spirituality, peace, harmony

Try it some time and see where your creativity takes you.

n.

Physicians looking for a career change

Breathe new life into your career through coaching.
Breathe new life into your career through coaching.

I’m amazed at how frequent this discussion comes up in casual conversations. It usually starts with “I’m tired of all the administrative red tape”, “I have no control over my patients”, “the patient expectations are unrealistic”, or “I can’t afford to keep my practice going”.

My question to you is, “do you really want to change your career, quit medicine, or simply re-define your priorities?”

You’re not alone. Even the best physicians out there struggle with this at some time in their careers. It’s a challenge because as you look back at all that you’ve invested into your career, you don’t want to let anyone down, especially yourself. Family and financial obligations prevent many of you from even considering another option. College education for the kids, a mortgage for that new home, healthcare issues, and an unstable economy make it even more difficult to even consider a career change.

I struggled with the same concerns. I took some time to weigh all the pro’s and con’s, talked to my closest friends, and in the end made my choice to taper out of medicine. It was a hard decision that required a change in mindset, our financial budget, and motivation to find those things that would bring me pleasure and fulfillment. While I miss the ER, I have found balance in my life and I’m re-energized to seek new learning experiences, new people, and a new career.

Find the light within you that guides you down the path of fulfillment and joy for your family but most importantly, for yourself.

Physician Burnout

It sometimes starts with difficulty sleeping as your schedule rotates from days to nights back to days. You find yourself just as tired after six to eight hours of sleep as your are with four hours of sleep. Eating gets to be a chore so you raid the refrigerator grabbing something quick and probably high in calories or worse yet, fat. The drive to work seems like a drudgery. Then, when you’ve survived the commute to work without an episode of road rage, your partner starts your shift off with “remember that patient you sent home last night with chest pain?” With your pulse racing and as that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach starts to grind, you notice the paramedics coming down the hallway with your next patient and you sneer at the guys who just six months ago probably saved your life by helping you restrain a violent patient.

Does this sound familiar? Hopefully not, but if it does then it may be time to pause and re-asses your priorities. The best time to change direction is before you crash.

The internet is gorged with advice on how to “prevent physician burnout” but I believe it’s not that easy. It requires a listening ear that can hear the subtleties and pick up the body language that gauge the help you need. Your spouse, partner, or best friend might be able to help. I found having someone who’s been through the experience and can listen with empathy is the best person to have. Take the time to explore your options before you make a drastic change. Especially take time to find the right person to help you through it.

Norbert Adame, MD