It didn’t take me long to realize that surviving this long, tumultuous road to becoming a doctor would require more than “smarts”. This became very apparent for me in medical school where you endure unbelievable stress on a daily basis.
The downside of being a perfectionist is that you put a significant amount of unnecessary stress on yourself and if you don’t reach a certain level of success, you beat yourself up; at least I do.
In the beginning of medical school I was one stressed cookie! I was tired, dragging my feet, and my face was breaking out for the first time EVER! I was carrying the “weight of the medical school” everywhere throughout my body.
Luckily, I found a local aesthetician who not only helped to treat my breakouts (shout out to her…she said it was all from stress), but she also became my “soul coach”.
I would walk into a facial dragging my feet, overwhelmed from the burdens and my never-ending “to-do” list (hello, sleep deprivation) and after a 60-minute “session”, I would come out emotional refreshed, recharged, and ready to take on the day! Sarah, my aesthetician, has a phenomenal outlook on life and she has helped me to take a step back, breathe, and reflect.
“Alana, you are exactly where you need to be. Stop stressing yourself out so much. Trust the process.”
There were many times she would say things that I literally wrote down to read later because they were exactly what I needed to hear. Coincidence? I think not…
She has inspired me, and I am so thankful. Because of this, I wanted her to write a post to help you as you chase after your DoctorGoals because it is very important to take care of yourself and to learn how to overcome adversity. Enjoy this amazing and reassuring read.
– Dr. Trot
You’ve seen those posts, you know, the ones that say: Dream Big, Go Big or Go Home! Or Keep Calm and Carry On or Never Let Anyone Dull Your Sparkle! Those are great but trust me, in real life your gonna need a little more than a Keep Calm and Be Swag T-shirt to get ya through! I have complied a list of my top 5 Rules of Thumb:
1: Don’t Tell your Big Dreams to Small Minded People
When I figured this one out, life got a whole lot easier. What does this mean? So say since you were a little kid you wanted to be a firefighter. Not an easy job. When you got older you started taking the steps to get there. In your excitement you started sharing about your path to be a firefighter. Soon people started shutting you down, telling you it was too hard, you’d be disappointed, you wouldn’t make enough money or that you would never succeed so why not try for something easier.
Truth is most people settle, most people are living their own worst nightmares rather than their biggest dreams. Only about 3% of the world’s population are living their dreams and consciously making choices to better their life day by day! Why? Because hard work isn’t easy and that brings me to number two.
2. Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone!
So you’ve decided you want to be part of the 3%. Finding your comfort zone is a great thing, but consider that your baseline because nothing ever grows there! Eleanor Roosevelt said: Do one thing every day that scares you! No one ever said; Wow I am so comfortable and life is so wonderful and BOOM their AHA, Oprah moment happened!
The great stuff happens outside the box of where you feel comfortable! Just one step outside of your comfort zone is everything you ever wanted. Need an example? Here is one we probably never think twice about Flipping on the light switch…
Thomas Edison was the inventor of the light bulb. He was told by his teachers that he was too stupid to learn anything. He was fired from his first 2 jobs for being non-productive. As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. A reporter asked him, “How do you feel about failing 1,000 times?” He replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps”. Which brings me to number three.
Since we have learned that we are going to be on a long road, why would we choose the Debbie Downer path? That only makes life harder. Life is all about perspective. Looking at life in a positive manner is a choice! It may take time to train your brain to look at the bright side of life. But trust me, this will help you 100 fold! If life isn’t easy, one way for sure to make it harder is to have a negative attitude.
What we think we become. Like attracts like.
These are laws of the universe. Number 4 will explain this more.
4. If you associate with Eagles you will Learn to Soar!
If you walk into a room and you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room! Associating with people who have been down the path and have experience will only make you stronger and wiser!
Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers. But most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you! And on that note, get a mentor or two or three!
I have been helped through so many problems with the help of older wise women. I have a handful of women I go to for advice. I strongly advise against a paid mentor (because then it becomes more about the money and less about giving you neutral advice).
Usually it’s as easy as taking them out for a cup of coffee or a lunch date. I have found an hour lunch can change my perspective and get me going in the right direction again. These people push you to be your greatest, because they had someone pushing them to be their best too. Surround yourselves with people who will cheer you on. These people will remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing and more importantly they will remind you why not to do the same thing you’ve already failed at.
One of my mentors always reminds me to be gentle with myself and to reward myself for the work I’ve already done.
5. Reward Yourself!
This is a HUGE part of succeeding: taking a break for some you time!
Sometimes we have one goal and forget to breathe in between. Rewarding myself is a huge part of staying sane! It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to reward yourself either!
Some of my favorite things I do for myself are free, like: taking a bubble bath with candles, reading a good book, having a dance party with my kids and singing like no one is watching, taking a day off for no reason and with no plans, taking a nap, going to lunch with myself, going for a drive in the country like it’s a Sunday afternoon.
Whatever your guilty pleasures are, do them and do them often! I make sure I make time for myself everyday. Even if its just 30 minutes.
Remember you are on a journey, you’re becoming who you are supposed to be in this world. It won’t be easy, but if you use these tools it won’t be that hard!
Life is great, this is your choice. You’re learning, be gentle to yourself. Surround yourself with awesome people and one day you will look back and be so grateful you chose not to listen to the cant’s of this world. We will all be grateful actually!
You are the only you here on earth, no one else is like you, no one else has your gifts wrapped up in the package of YOU! So take your gifts, use them and share them with the world! Who knows what you can become if you have the right mind set, a positive attitude and the right cheerleaders along the way!