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“Enoughness” is an Inside Job

boundaries external validation negative emotions negative thoughts Mar 30, 2024
Enoughness is an inside job

Many Physicians I know and work with struggle with their self-worth. And it’s no wonder. After 4 years of medical school, and 3-5 years of residency, we’ve been dependent on external validation for at least 7-9 years of our adult lives. And most of us believed that we would be happy, fulfilled and relaxed once we hit attending-hood. 

How’d that work out for you? 🤣

And so it’s no surprise when we continue to seek external validation. Many of the Physicians I coach are waiting for a sign from their employer or their patients that they are “finally enough,” and can take a break, slow down, cut back, etc.

But if we step back for a sec, why on earth would your employers or our patients do that? If you look at it from their perspective, they see a hard-working, empathetic Physician whom patients love, and with a long wait list. They don’t want you to cut back. They want you to see MORE.

And you, the amazing, hard-working, empathetic Physician who is beloved by patients? You may be feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, undervalued, frustrated and resentful because there is no end point. There are always more patients, more disease, more demand. And no matter how hard you work, how well you work, how much you give, there is always a demand for more.

This sounds like a total bummer. But really, we need a change of perspective. 

Most of us have wanted to reach a place where we feel that we have done enough, where we feel like we have accomplished enough, where we can take credit, relax, and start enjoying life more. We keep looking externally, to our patients, our employers, and our families to get those gold stars, a month of paid vacation, and a clean slate when we return.

But it doesn’t work that way. 

  • There is no end of patients that need to be cared for.
  • There may be an end to some diseases/conditions, but no end to the number of new illnesses/injuries/ailments that will befall patients and bring them in to see us
  • High-performing professionals don’t get told to sit back and enjoy the spoils of their labor (and people complain when they retire, leave, etc)

The work of feeling that you are enough is an inside job. It’s a feeling that YOU create, by recognizing that you are a badass human who does a great job, flaws and all. Period. 

And once you recognize that you are enough, as is, you can choose to let go of what isn’t serving you.

  • Fixing all the things for all the people
  • Overworking, chronically, to make up for your inability to fix the system
  • Taking responsibility for outcomes that don’t belong to you (patients who won’t stop drinking, hospital going bankrupt, etc)

You are enough. You always were. But until YOU believe it, it’s really hard to drop the habits of overworking, overcompensating, and perfectionism.

So fill in the blank: I will be enough when __________ (hint: “I believe that I am enough!” is a great choice..)

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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