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Do You Hate Being New at Something?

boundaries comparison discomfort shame May 11, 2024

You aren’t supposed to be good at stuff you don’t know how to do.

There are so many many places that this comes up for physicians.

-Parenting your first child (even when you are a Pediatrician)

-Saying “no” when you have been conditioned to say “yes” your whole life and training

-Navigating YOUR emotions after a difficult patient encounter (or many)

-Learning how to make time for yourself for exercise, rest and play

Many of the physicians that I coach feel embarrassed when they find themselves struggling with these issues. We have been trained to mastery, to be experts, to the highest levels (yes Primary Care peeps, even YOU). So if we struggle with human stuff, like dealing with cranky toddlers, taking care of our bodies, or tending to our own emotions, we can often feel shame that we haven’t “figured it out.”

But if you have never lived with and raised a toddler, no amount of reading parenting books or being experts in childhood development substitutes for the challenges of living with and raising said toddler. Yes, you might have an intellectual leg up on non-physicians. But intellectual knowledge counts for very little as your mini-monster throws an ugly fit on the floor in the middle of Target.

If you have practiced medicine as an attending for at least 1 day, you have experienced the stress of having to figure stuff out. No training program could possibly prepare you for all of the words that patients will say, administrative craziness that will drop on you, or variable presentations of even common diseases. There is a LOT to figure out. And you’ll do it.

But as physicians, we also bottle so much of that fear and discomfort of learning stuff up. We don’t want to appear to not know the answers, because we fear that not knowing will make us appear incompetent. This is a real problem within the culture of medicine; but it then spills over into the rest of our lives.

We think we should know how to manage a double-booked schedule and overflowing inbox while keeping a clean house, raising gifted, clean and polite children and volunteering at the local animal shelter. Oh, and with a smile of course! And yes, training for a 10k.

You are so normal if you read that and want to burst into tears. We’ve been led to believe we should have it all figured out and that we’re failing if we don’t have those things, are struggling, are constantly overwhelmed and anxious, or aren’t happy. 

But let me tell you this.

Not one physician I have ever met has this figured out.

If they are happy and training for a 10k and have a clean house they have practiced boundaries, asked for help and decided what they would prioritize in their lives. That stuff wasn’t handed to them. They went and got it. Maybe they didn’t have to wrestle with shame or guilt, maybe they didn’t struggle as much with people-pleasing, perfectionism or lack of boundaries as much. But more likely than not, they DID and they DECIDED to make major changes. And, they got started, even if they struggled and fumbled and failed their way through.

Be willing to try and fail. Be willing to be dedicated to getting what you need in terms of support and help. You will need to invest time, thought, intention and probably money. Every important change you have ever made in your life has involved at least one, and usually more of these things.

But building the life that you want, with more time for rest, play, self-care, hobbies or whatever is important to you is worth your investment. Guaranteed.

Hi There!

I'm Megan. I'm a Physician and a Life Coach and a Mom. I created this blog to help other Physicians and Physician-Moms learn more about why they feel exhausted, burned-out and overwhelmed, and how to start to make changes. I hope that you enjoy what you read, and that it helps you along your journey. And hey, if you want to talk about coaching with me, I'm here for that too! I offer a free 1:1 call to see if we are a good fit. Click the button below to register today.

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