While medicine can be a fulfilling career, it is still a job, and as with any job, there are pros and cons. Sometimes the cons outweigh the pros and vice versa. At least, to me, as a trainee obstetrician and gynaecologist, there is a lot of pressure to conform to certain ideals of what a clinician should be with little leeway for creative adjustments. Medical schools are established to churn out the medical workforce, to plug in the current deficit of doctors in the healthcare system, and not for any other jobs. The system does not reward individuality or creativity therefore may not appreciate any departure from the prescriptive course.
I find just focusing on clinical work difficult, perhaps due to my “neurodivergent-ness”, in the sense, I am interested in just about everything about women’s health – the clinical, research, and social justice aspects, to the point that I appear less focused. To me, all of these three aspects morphed into a cohesive picture that I just could not ignore, and I have to do something about it, otherwise, it overwhelms me. It is a lonely place to be. And yet I know I am not unique.
Therefore, it is important to me to celebrate my success no matter how big or small. Celebrating my success is important because:
- It keeps me motivated in the ups and downs of life, in both my personal and professional lives. Because if I am expecting praise from others, I will not get one. The reality is that everyone is too preoccupied to care about me or you (to even gossip about you). Don’t just celebrate big milestones, but celebrate the little steps in between. If you had done a difficult but successful Caesarean section, pat yourself on the back. Be grateful for this milestone. If you had written your first scientific publication, reward yourself. If you had just submitted a small grant application, celebrate. Writing grants is difficult and very often involves late nights at the computer. I even celebrate when my annual leave application is approved.
- It creates opportunities for me in medically related fields or otherwise. Celebrating is not just about spending money. For me, it is also about sharing my achievements. It is not bragging if it is facts. Of course, there are ways to advocate for yourself without sounding boastful. It took a lot of reflection for me to put myself out there because I was so terrified of being judged by others negatively. The reality is that the world consists of a third of those who love you, a third of those who hate you anyway regardless of what you do, and a third of people who do not care. Also, “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter, don’t mind.” So go and post that photo on LinkedIn or Instagram. You earned the right to tell everyone about your milestone!
- I inspire and get inspired by others. To those who love you and see the benefits of your sharing, they get inspired. I especially love listening to and seeing successful women out there. They pave the way and show what is possible with hard work. When you view the successes of others with a positive mindset, you will be more willing to be open to strategies and tips that they might share.
Remember, if you’re not Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga, you don’t have a trail of Paparazzi to want to know what you’re about (Albeit Paparazzis have a different motive). My point is, if you want others to know about your achievements/ skills – tell them because people do not spend their time invested in you unless you’re famous or a person of public interest.
So be your own advocate! Celebrate you because if you don’t value your own accomplishments, why should others?
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