I've been stretching my limbs and spreading my wings in the big new world of outpatient clinic management and practice. I've had dreams and goals for 11 years that hinged on one simple accomplishment..... earn a PhD. I've looked forward to this for such a long time. After leaving Utah I was offered positions teaching and researching, which I turned down (am I insane?) ... and I don't think I have warred with a decision as much as I did with the single decision of my employment.
For the most part I told very few people. I had so much shame leaving academia and the research that I love so dearly. Have you ever felt like you need to defend yourself and your choices? Well I fight that feeling daily, largely by sharing nothing at all. If no one knows than there is nothing to defend. Do you ever feel this way?
I was listening to a recent talk from Dr. Brené Brown (if you haven't heard about her, I highly recommend a quick Google search), and she was talking about the topic of shame and the specific shame of feeling less than extraordinary. It resonated with me so strong. It has been insanely difficult to be working towards the goal of doing something special, something different, something important, only to be smacked in the face with the realization that I live an ordinary life... and boy did I cry about it. I grieved the death of a dream, the death of the picture I had of my life, and I grieved the life I wanted to have. I realize how extremely silly this sounds. What a first world problem.
I fought depression, not because I saw myself as something special, but beacuase I truly believe that I have a solution to a serious situation inside of me, and performing mundane tasks, and sitting in meetings solving nothing, felt like a death of my creativity and contribution to science.
The clinic I walked into needed significant improvement, which made matters worse. I knew how to teach. I knew how to research. I did not know how to manage and needed to learn new skills quickly. I needed to revamp in a huge way and it needed to happen asap. I needed (and need) a challenge! I need to look something in the face and feel like I can conquer it. I need to grow, however I was absolutely unprepared for the pain that accompanies growth. I am so thankful for the opportunities that I have because of my employer. They have been wonderful and so supportive. Even with fantastic support, it has still been super challenging.
In case you are going through difficulty in a similar way that I have been, or if this resonates with you at all, here are the words that I've been telling myself (I hope they help you too):
1) Breathe it out. It's just hard, not impossible.
2) Be extraordinary in the things that matter. Let go of the things that don't matter.
3) Be kind, it's extraordinary.
4) Be loving, it's extraordinary.
5) Notice details, it's extraordinary.
6) Build trust with others, it's extraordinary.
7) Be brave and face mundane tasks with a good attitude.
8) Don't question your decision. Roll with it and trust the reasons that led you to it!
9) Put your heart in the daily tasks...even if you have to fake it at first.
10) Do the things you can do: research, workout, teach... you love these things!
10) Keep the end goal in sight. Don't lose heart. Diligence wins in the end.
"Don't let the things you cannot do, interfere with the things that you can do"- John Wooden