“Repeating and immersing ourselves in our best moments begins with remembering why we chose the medical profession.”
In a recent blog article, I talked about learning from dark moments in your medical career. But what about the good ones? The moments that are our best and affirm our choice to be in this healing profession can teach us just as much as our darkest moments. The question is: how do we walk through this clinical life growing from dark moments while seeking and amplifying the good moments?
Repeating and immersing ourselves in our best moments begins with remembering why we chose the medical profession. With so many hardships and challenges facing us every day, it is easy to forget why we decided to be in health care. That is why it is crucial to hold on to moments that affirm who we are, why we chose this, and the difference we can make. Such moments are what can sustain us through the most challenging times and can even be a personal defense against burnout.
Now let’s focus on remembering a moment that reflects “this is why I entered medicine … this is who I want to be or become”. I want you to think of that moment in your life when you felt like you were at your best. It doesn’t have to pertain solely to when you were working or acting in a health care environment: just think of a moment when you felt you were incredibly proud of who you were. Here are four questions that I want you to ask yourself as you think about that moment in your life where you were at your best:
- Where were you? Think about the circumstances and the environment that you were operating in at your best moment. Think about where you were and what was around you at the time.
- What were you doing? When it comes to your best-self moment, think about what you were doing that contributed to and rendered your best moment.
- What were other people seeing and hearing from you? Be mindful of the perspectives of others. When you were at your best, what did other people see in you? What did they say to you? How did they respond to your best moment?
- What was motivating you or driving you at that moment? Were you motivated by achievement? By kindness? By compassion? A cause? Your teammates? A patient you cared deeply for by understanding what they were really going through? Chances are it wasn’t anger, cynicism, or bitterness. Think about the things that motivate you to be your best self.
This is an essential exercise because reflecting on your best self can allow you to tap into those ideal traits in the future to more consistently show up for yourself and others in a positive way. A study has even shown that reflecting on your best self increases well-being, optimism, and positive impact. I encourage you to continue to use this exercise in the future as more positive moments begin to sprout up in your life. We often create our best moments simply by being the person we want to be, and simply remembering these moments will give positive benefits to help build a vision for a healthier you.
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Stefanie Simmons, MD, FACEP is the VP of patient and clinician engagement at Envision Physician Services. She served as University of Michigan/St. Joseph Mercy core faculty and coordinated collaborative care between APPs and physicians. Currently Dr. Simmons contributes to emergency medicine, high performing teams, and clinician self-care curriculum.