Physician psychology 101—a series of article are brought to you by Sydney Ashland & Pamela Wible, MD.
Resistance is protective energy that often derails us before we even really get started. It can be experienced from within or without. It is an energy designed to keep us safe. Much like gravity keeps us from careening into space with some half-cooked or dangerous plan, resistance keeps us grounded. Resistance not only protects us from moving too fast with something that hasn’t been tested, it often sabotages our plans to move forward with something exciting, new and invigorating.
The best strategies to move through resistance involve acknowledging its protective role and even thanking it for showing up. If a person is resisting your idea or playing devil’s advocate, the best response is to say, “Thank you for caring for me enough to be concerned. Thank you for trying to help and keep me safe from an adverse outcome. I will certainly keep this in mind as I move forward.” You are putting external resistance on notice that you see it for what it is and are continuing to move forward with confidence. Ask yourself:
How is resistance showing up in my life right now? Is it internal or external?
Do I need to slow my progression? Am I moving too fast?
How can I modify, slow or speed up my plan in order to move through resistance?
When we look at our lives honestly, we can often identify patterns of distraction that help us avoid what we most need to do next. If you are driving and become distracted, you increase your risk of experiencing an accident. The same holds true in our personal and professional lives. Distractions are fueled by the energy of urgency. I MUST attend to this first, or some catastrophic thing will happen to me. Distractions are fueled by the energy of the inner critic. What would it look like to others if I stayed on course? I really must attend to this urgent thing first, or others will judge me. Distractions are fueled by the energy of fear. Am I really ready? Maybe this distraction showed up and is a sign that I shouldn’t move forward. Fueled by the energy of survival vs. thriving, distractions can appear to threaten our financial security and ability to take care of ourselves. Yet distraction is chameleon-like. It can take on the energy of a true crisis, a way to reward ourselves, a warning of some kind. Distraction gives us permission to avoid our dreams, our truth, our internal knowing that says, “STOP. Don’t do it. You are about to sabotage your dreams yet again.” Ask yourself:
1) Do I have trouble staying on course?
2) Do I spend your time urgently involved in the needs of others and not myself?
3) Do I find myself in unnecessary high-drama situations in my professional and/or personal lives?
Are you self-sabotaging your best plans? Do you want to enjoy medicine but continually find yourself job hopping into clinics and hospitals that disrespect you and undervalue your contributions? Do you feel nothing you try is working and your life is passing you by? You may be in a cycle of behavior that continually recreates exactly what you DON’T want. Then when things go well, you feel uncomfortable and revert back to what appears to be a “stable” employment situation. Many doctors who want to launch independent practices inadvertently sabotage themselves by recreating big-box clinics in a smaller box. Physicians so often consciously or subconsciously undermine what they claim they want to achieve in their lives. Find out of you are at risk by asking yourself these questions:
1) Do I live my life in a cubicle that’s too small for my personality & goals?
2) Do I react impulsively instead of respond creatively to my struggles?
3) Do I continue to make fear-driven decisions in my life?
Identify your pattern: Resistance? Distraction? Sabotage? All three?
Answer the above questions honestly and then schedule a 15-minute session to review your answers and get professional feedback so that you can break through the cycles that keep you from reaching your full potential as a physician. Need help with business strategy? Contact Dr. Wible or join our ongoing physician teleseminar.