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Five ways to get more clarity on the next step in a medical career

During one of the most significant transitions in my clinical career, I looked at many options and possibilities. I felt lost trying to decide what the next 20 years would look like.

Many possibilities or job vacancies would pop up, making me wonder if that was the next step in the right direction or just another distraction. I would grab at any opportunity to start dreaming about a different role that might give me the work-life balance I wanted and allow me to make a bigger impact.

Over a period of 18 months, I looked at and seriously considered leaving medicine altogether, working overseas with an NGO, joining the cast of a reality TV show, being part of an expedition team to Antarctica, becoming a permanent locum doctor, working more in the lab or research, doing a Ph.D.….all of which are valid and exciting options….it felt overwhelming!

I desperately wanted greater clarity on where I was heading and the next step that I could take to help me get there. I knew that the more certain I could be about what I wanted the easier it would be to get there….but it felt draining trying to wade through the what-ifs.

It took me a while to achieve it, but here are five ways I got more clarity in my mind so I could make the changes and create the right path for me!

1. Acknowledge the present

Recognize where you are right now. It can be easy to ignore the current situation and not think about the problems or the issues. Taking time to think and delve deep into the current situation can be uncomfortable, but without doing this, there can be lots going on underneath. Journaling practices and sharing my inner thoughts with a coach or mentor have been a massive help to me. Less head in the sand and more time to think.

2. Find flow

Flow is that feeling of being immersed in a task and forgetting entirely about anything else. Once I understood the concept, I could start to see where to find this. I get this from many things: yoga, being in the mountains, researching, writing, listening, and supporting others. What are these activities for you? Do you have moments of flow in your current work situation? If not, where do you find it outside your work environment, and what about that situation or activity makes you feel completely at one with it? Exploring this can help decision-making become much more straightforward so you can bring more flow into your life.

3. A mindful mind

Creating mindful daily practices has helped me to maintain a clearer mind. Meditation is an absolute must for me. Starting to meditate daily was like someone had lifted a massive dark curtain, and I could see the light – sounds a bit corny, but it’s true. Finding the time to be still, sit with my thoughts, and not be judgmental of them allows me to start my day feeling clearer. Mindfulness is about being in the present moment and finding that stillness and pause we often desperately need. Many practices have been helpful for me to achieve this so I can approach any work or life situation with more focus and concentration.

4. Connect to your needs

Understanding and using my needs to view different options and opportunities helped me list my non-negotiables for future roles. The more you can cultivate an inner sense of intuition as to what feels right and what feels wrong and why, the easier it is to start saying no to things you don’t want to do because they will not be the best option for you. This is also helpful for managing relationships in your life that might be toxic. It can then make the question of ‘is my calling elsewhere’ easier to tackle as the distractions fall aside.

5. Trust that you are exactly where you need to be right now

Acceptance of the current situation is complex when life is challenging. Part of the acceptance process is realizing that you are going through what is happening to learn and grow, no matter how horrid and uncomfortable this is. This can be a massive challenge as there is a disconnect between what life looks like on paper and what it is in real life – and the guilt that we should be happy with what we have. Learning to trust that this experience is part of my journey and process has also allowed me to take the pressure of getting somewhere quickly and be open to what life can be like.

Are you looking for more clarity for your next career step? Would you like a clearer idea of where you want to head to? Do you want to find your true purpose so you can live your best life?

I work with my coaching clients to help them get greater clarity so they can find and create a flexible career they love. If you want to find out more about my coaching programs book a free discovery call


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