Monday, October 17, 2011

Clarity around your purpose and values

Author: Michelle Mudge-Riley, DO, MHA

What do you want out of life?

Working with doctors at all stages of their careers, I find that the most successful ones are those who have clarity on two fundamental things: their purpose, or what they want to achieve in life, and their values, or what they stand for. Knowing these allows a doctor to have the energy and self-awareness needed to pursue his or her goals and dreams in the face of obstacles.

When I ask other doctors to describe their purpose and values, most cannot do it. Between surgeries, or 80-hour work weeks, peer review and never-ending expectations, most doctors feel they have no time left over to consider what they’re actually doing in the larger sense. Imagine spending more than 50 years in career without ever thinking about what you’re trying to achieve and why you are set on pursuing it.

If you want a successful career and a fulfilling life, this is the time to get clarity on your purpose and values. Your purpose and values will help you to determine your success.

Here are the questions that I’ve found most effective in gaining clarity. They will help you define your purpose, what you want to create; they will also help you define your values, how you want to create it.

1. What three things are most important to me?
2. What results do I want to create?
3. How do I want people to experience me?
4. Which types of situations cause me to feel strong emotions?
5. Which values will guide my behavior?

Don’t worry if the right answers do not come to you right away or if you have to keep asking the questions until you find the ones that satisfy you. Although this may take awhile, I can guarantee that this will be one of the best investments of time you will ever make.

Why? Gaining clarity on your purpose and values will guide your entire career. When you are faced with a major career decision, referring to these two foundational strongholds will push you in the right direction.

By giving yourself the gift of clarity, you can make the good things happen and choose to put the bad things into perspective. In the bigger scheme of things, these bad things may not even be too bad after all. With clarity, you are in control.

About the author:

Dr. Mudge-Riley is a senior consultant for brokerage firms, health systems and large employers in wellness and health promotion and President of Physicians Helping Physicians in Richmond, Virginia.  She has spent the past seven years advising and coaching other doctors in their career by counseling physicians on business skills, assisting with compliance and risk management issues and mentoring in personal wellness and balance.  She has worked with hundreds of doctors and in various health systems located throughout the United States. To read more about Dr. Mudge-Riley, click here.

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