For most of us physician business owners, the beginning of a year is a time filled with hope and intention. “It’s going to be a(n even) better year. I’m going to be better at X, Y and Z”! we tell ourselves.
I mentioned previously that I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I have discovered them to be grandiose and difficult to achieve, leading to a sense of failure and self-flagellation when we fall short and find ourselves back to square one a month or so later.
What, if instead of focusing on these “ideal” outcomes, we paid more attention to the process… the journey? How would it feel at the end of the week, or the end of 2012, to celebrate your efforts even if you haven’t achieved the results yet?
Focus on the Process, not the Outcome … this was one of our core tenets in the Creativity and Personal Mastery Program (CPM) in which I recently participated.
I’m as guilty as anyone is talking about how the time is flying, how hectic things are. In my conversations with clients and other physicians, I note how often the words “stress” and “stressful” are used. Is this really how we want to live our lives?
A recent New York Times opinion piece touched a chord in me. Titled “The Joy of Quiet”, the article tackles the question of how to develop internal stillness, clarity and focus in the face of all that bombards us and chews up our time remorselessly all hours of the day. And in turn, experience peace and happiness. From the article:
“The urgency of slowing down — to find the time and space to think — is nothing new, of course, and wiser souls have always reminded us that the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time and energy we have to place it in some larger context. “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century, “and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” He also famously remarked that all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
When last did you really pay attention to your mental chatter … how your “monkey mind” speaks to you? Another of our CPM exercises was to spend a week listening to and even documenting, where possible, our mental chatter. I will share that it was, for all of us in the group and for much of the time, pretty ugly stuff — filled with judgmental, harsh, persnickety words. And yet, it is this mental chatter with which we largely construct our lives. It becomes our “reality” … How Things Are.
Let me encourage you to put aside your Big Resolutions and instead begin to pay attention.
- Notice how you speak to yourself. Be kinder. Judge less.
- Become aware of your beliefs and challenge their validity. Discover what is factually real and what you have made up.
- Be present to the process … all those little and big choices you make each day. Choose what matters.
- Ask yourself “Am I doing the very best I can in this situation right now?” Keep your focus there instead of on the future.
If you stick to these basics, I can guarantee you a 2012 filled with discovery and inner peace…even if time still flies by!