I have lately heard the phrases in the titles below and it made me think a lot about what we really need for a successful career in a surgical specialty (or any other), why it is so hard to achieve great results and how does our view on the process of our professional formation shape the learning environment and our results. And even more important, how does the work that we do impact society and our own fulfillment and happiness. For sure there are many things to say on the subject and different perspectives, but I laid down a few ideas that have been ruminating in the back of my mind and decided to share them here.
P.S.: I don’t lean into negative vibes, especially don’t want them on my blog, but please don’t worry- no matter the bolded titles, they are actually very small. After all… they are real reminders that hard work and the right mindset are key elements for success!
You work too much and you want too much!
If you aim too high, you will fail and if you make mistakes, people will laugh!
It is funny how people tend to offer us advices about how wrong or risky it is for us to do something just because they could not make it for themselves. Be very careful to not let others trick you that thinking small is safe, because it is very dangerous. Your mindset is the key to unlocking your potential. We are not equal. Different ways of thinking and approaches to problems bring innovation and move our society forward, but not all of them. You have to follow your why and chase your curiosity with persistence. Don’t let the mediocrity of an environment stop you from growing. Smart risks and uncomfortability are challenging the status quo, fear never pushed us forward! When people think that you are obsessed with your work, that’s when you know you are on the right track. Obsession is focused passion dedicated to a purpose with persistence. Make sure you are commited to your vision, chase the big dream and be brave to discover your potential with hard work at its finest!
I am a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. – Thomas Jefferson
You are not ready!
I don’t think we are ever ready for what life brings to us, in general, but we become ready by facing the challenge. Expose yourself to different levels of difficulty and professional challenges, this is the only way to stretch and grow. Failure is the foundation and the key to success. Own your mistakes and their lessons.
Do that project, write that article, present that poster because nothing happens without the first time and it is rarely smooth! :d
The system is shitty!
Give feedback and change things, but never use your energy to complain! There will always be explanations, excuses, circumstances that don’t favor us and sometimes unrighteous things done to us. That’s life! When you play the victim role you give away your power and you will not be able to create change and opportunities. You have to make the best of what you have and inspire others to overcome challenges and fight against what’s wrong! There will always be weaknesses and strengths in any system, you have to use the strengths and realize that true winners will always transform weaknesses into assets.
Find a mentor and be teachable, mold your environment and find your trusted tribe to create ripples of great inspiration! Be professional no matter what!
Don't Contradict me!
Just follow, the others turned out just fine!
Never be afraid to speak up, say what you think and wear you heart on your sleeve. Be flexible to learn and work in teams, but don’t ever compromise your values- neither for your colleagues, your boss, nor a promotion. This has its costs, but on a long term it makes others see you as the trustful, honest and authentic person you are. Make others see the value of uniqueness and diversity in the team dynamics and in the results of your work. Bring your skills on the table and filter information!
Don’t be afraid to express and challenge even your own ideas, especially to admit when you are wrong!
Don't waste your time with foolish hobbies!
Do you think dancing makes you a better surgeon?
Yes, I do. And it also makes me a more relaxed and sociable surgeon.
Free time, hobbies and time spent with the people we love- it charges us and helps our mind to clear up. You need to find something that centers you and I dare to say a hobby that takes you out of your mind. Whatever you will choose to spend time on, it is directly connected to you and somehow, will amplify the growth of the main skills that you use at work. What you love doing, brings more vitality into your life and helps you stay connected with yourself!
After all, searching for growth outside the known path is a trait that the successful ones have… This is part of developing our instincts and refining ourselves.
Invest in yourself and go take what you want! But never, ever, hurt others or push them down to go forward! You cannot create greatness without the help of others and especially those people who believed in your spark and nurtured your qualities. To create a successful career you need to create the best version of yourself and be a giver. This is the only way to inspire others and create a fertile environment for growth in our society. Successful people are the result of the respect and hard work that was given as a thank you to the time, values and lessons that mentors trustfully invested in their potential.
SURGERY IS MADE IN THE O.R.!
Learn to operate, don’t lose time writing and reading!
Many times I think about the importance of hands-on training and actively participating in the O.R.. I wonder what steps are safe for us to learn on a patient as residents and how can we be sure that what we have learned in our residency is enough to not harm our patients as young specialists, when we are still on the learning curve but we are not safely guided anymore. I don’t know yet how to build a safe efficient system for us and our patients. It will sure be a challenge if someday I will have to teach my own residents. But what I do know is that many hours in the O.R. are not equal to quality surgery, especially when we are on the learning curve. Action without a feedback doesn’t mean improvement. The presence of an experienced mentor is crucial and we need to read and learn as much as we operate, as residents. The surgical gestures are assimilated for sure during our residency, but the why, the surgical strategy, the decisions cannot be fully understood and offer our patients the maximum benefit if we don’t read. As surgeons, our gestures are so personal and intimate to our patients that there is no other option except excellence. If we are not sure, if we don’t take smart risks but also if we over appreciate our skills and the boundaries of the surgical act and the human body, the results are compromised. And there are so many factors that we have to take into account… only learning and reading can help us pursue excellence and make the best decision!
Also, I could never stop stressing the importance of research, of asking questions and investing in a creative mindset that multitasks. We need training on a daily basis to research, to feel the heartbeat of our specialty worldwide, to understand current problems and search for solutions. This is how we create value and pay it forward!
THE CLOCK IS TICKING!
Each of us has its own time to learn a certain skill, to grow. Not all seeds germinate the same or need the same amount of water or light. However, all flowers are beautiful! Please don’t compare to others and learn to trust and love your personal journey!
There is no bigger mistake than rushing… in the O.R. and in life! I will always think that there is a place and time for everything and everyone!