“And that’s why I probably shouldn’t do a residency,” I concluded and looked back at my professor for her reaction.
She paused and I couldn’t tell if she agreed with the list of reasons I had just rattled off or not.
“Sounds like you’re scared,” was all she said.
Scared!? Had she not listened to me? I had just listed poor timing, less financial compensation, increased work requirements, needing to take the boards early... and her reply was that I was scared.
After a long pause, she had me do an exercise… and I want you all to do it as you read.
Give yourself 20 seconds and try and spot every blue item you can in the room. You’re going to need to remember the items so try to make a mental list.
… Seriously, do it before you keep reading.
Okay, now after reading the next sentence, close your eyes and do what it says:
Close your eyes and recall as many red items in the room as you...
I had a feeling, but I couldn’t articulate it.
I had a blast, but I didn’t know why.
The projects were hard.
Sometimes they took years.
Many times they were frustrating.
The projects were critiqued.
I was critiqued.
But I enjoyed it.
As part of the Professional Rebellion, we help people complete a values exercise to determine what is most important to them. This provides a foundation to help them live a life and a career that they love. When we created a new version of this exercise, I had to test it out on myself. One of the questions asked me to think about the times in my life that I felt most fulfilled.
As I looked back on my career, I recognized that my deepest fulfillment came from when I was in a group of people seeking to solve a problem or to create something new. We would sit and debate, discuss, get frustrated, and have ideas. These projects were so big they frequently took over a year to complete. Day in and day out we struggled together to achieve small wins...
Yesterday started as what seemed perfectly. We’ve recently gotten a new Keurig at work and it has made me look forward to arriving early and making a cup. So, I came in early and watched as the Keurig brewed my coffee.
The water tank looked low as I hesitantly pressed the start button, hoping that I wouldn’t have to fill it before making my cup. It used all of the water except for a quarter of an inch at the bottom. I felt a huge triumph as I realized I was in the clear and my cup started filling. I narrowly dodged having to fill the machine.
I happily sat drinking my coffee until I heard a co-worker complain, “Ugh, no one ever refills this.” My triumph ended up being a crappy start to her day.
At work, we fall into one of two people- we are the type that refills the Keurig after we’ve used it for the next person or the type that fills it only when we have to refill it for ourselves. We are the person that...
This was no ordinary phone meeting. I thoroughly enjoyed it. What I thought was going to be another phone call about performance systems with a professional sports team turned out to be an engaging conversation about how to improve culture in an organization through your hiring process and through personnel development. But it ended in the most unusual way. I will never forget it.
“Phil, I know you are busy and I have already taken 45 minutes of your time, but can I ask one final question.... What books are you reading or what have you currently read that you would recommend?"
WOW! I was floored. This guy is at the top of his profession and was asking me what books I am reading. I told everyone I knew about this conversation and the question at the end. I am a huge subscriber to the leaders are readers concept. But this took my perspective to another level. I even discussed this question with my mentor. Why was this question so impactful to me?
1. The question showed humility
“Forty-seven days left!” she yelled after me.
Gosh, that felt good to hear. The day had been terrible and in attempt to restore some hope, one of my fellow teachers reminded me of the number of days until summer. But, I wasn’t just counting down days until summer, I was counting down my remaining days as PE teacher.
I shook my head as a mixture of happiness and sadness washed over me. I couldn’t wait to go back to PT school, but I didn’t want to leave the amazing people I had met while teaching. Deep down though, I knew leaving was the right choice.
The initial excitement of teaching had worn off and I found myself getting bored and frustrated faster. Playing games with my students and fellow teachers was fun, but I wasn’t sure if this was the career path for me. I didn’t feel challenged and was ready to try something new.
It seemed like everyday these feelings of dissatisfaction and wanting to leave kept...
One of my first jobs was as a banquet server for Marriott. I was only two weeks into the job when I was given a hundred dollar tip. I must have been destined for prosperity. I must have been a savant server. I must have avoided the learning curve of a new job. You’d think so, but the motive behind the tip was no where close to any of those things...
It was time for the sauce. A white creamy sauce for the chicken, a deep red wine sauce for the filet mignon and a clear broth for the sea bass. I loved the sauce part because it meant the hardest part of delivering the plates of food was done. The trays were so heavy that I couldn’t even smile while carrying them because I was so focused on not dropping them. But, the hardest part was over and each wedding guest had their desired meal sitting in front of them.
I asked each guest at the table if they would like me to drizzle sauce over their meal (and yes, drizzle- that was the official technique I...
She came in with this overflowing folder. Pages were sticking out of the sides and she had to rearrange it twice to prevent all of the contents from falling onto the floor.
“What’s that??,” I asked. I didn’t really want to know, but there was no way to pretend that the folder didn’t exist.
“IT’S MY POEMS!” she proclaimed.
Then I remembered that we had talked about how she wrote poetry during our last session. She had made me copies so that I could take them home and read them. There must have been forty pages and I could tell she expected me to read them before she came back at the end of the week.
For the rest of the week, after finishing my documentation, I read her poems. I wish I was lying when I say that I was annoyed by the task. Annoyed that she would expect me to read what was basically a book of nearly a hundred poems. Annoyed that I wouldn’t be able...
Instant panic. I woke up suddenly and immediately thought we are not ready! We are NOT ready! I knew there were still so many things to be done. Even if we finished them all, there was no way they were all going to work out correctly.
I exchanged emails with Jenna conveying my utter terror. She agreed, which offered no comfort. We weren’t ready.
Knowing that she felt the same, I sent an email asking if we should put it off another week or two. Then we’d be ready. Yeah, two weeks sounded a lot better.
But, she disagreed declaring, "We can’t put it off. We have to do this now!" Although I didn’t want to, I begrudgingly gave in and got to work.
Most would say I am at the pinnacle of my career. I am blessed to be able to consult with professional sports teams, businesses, and the US military. I’ve gotten to be on research teams who have changed the way we look at injury reduction in military and sport. But in spite of this apparent success from an...
I don’t like running. I don’t find it as enjoyable as some do. It is drudgery. It’s boring. It is monotonous. It seems to have no purpose. You run and end up right back where you started. Worse than running is running on a treadmill — talk about a rat on a wheel! The only reason I run is because of the fitness results it produces. But, that all changed this month. I ran (well jogged really and some would probably describe it as plodding) the first 5K I have ever enjoyed. I had a blast! Here is why this run was different.
I ran with purpose
I wasn’t running this weekend to achieve a goal or to get a good workout. I was running to support the son of a friend of ours who has cancer and is being treated at St. Jude in Memphis. The race this weekend was to support all of the great work that St. Jude does for children as well as community support for our friends. Having this purpose completely changed my perspective on running. It was no longer...
- Running had no purpose to me, until now.
I don’t think there is a job that exists that doesn’t have parts of it that people loath. In the case of physical therapists, it is documentation. I have never met anyone who said, “I really like that aspect of the job.” Yet, somehow there are therapists who find fulfillment in spite of this awful task. In the previous post, we talked about how having a purpose can help you get through the inevitable low spots in your career. Having a great purpose can also help you see through the mundane aspects of your job.
Larger Sense of Meaning
We tend to seek enjoyment and excitement at our work, but maybe we should instead be seeking purpose. In his book, Great at Work Morten Hansen describes his research on passion, purpose and work performance. He defines passion as “the feeling of excitement about your work” and purpose as “a sense that you are contributing to others and that your...