Take Advantage of Turning Points

May 9, 2024 | Coaching, Leadership

My friends in AA talk about the “gift of desperation,” meaning hitting a point where things feel bad enough to be open to a solution. It’s the meat of the first of the 12 Steps, which is about admitting powerlessness. Taking advantage of that gift profoundly impacts the trajectory of the alcoholic’s life.

There are turning points in all of our lives, even if less dramatic than that of hitting bottom with a substance.

Looking back, I am sure there were many turning points in my life that I either didn’t recognize or didn’t take advantage of due to fear or overwhelm or comfort with the familiar.

I am incredibly grateful that I had the willingness to take advantage of one in particular. Sometime in 2012, my life coach said to me, “Why have you never shared your burnout story publicly? It might help someone.”

My immediate response was pure panic. I’d left practice years before and, in truth, had been playing it safe as a freelance writer ever since. I spent my days sheltered in my home office, crafting other people’s thoughts onto the page.

My coach kept after me. Eventually, I saw that shame was the key impediment to doing something more personally meaningful with my life. That awareness did not feel good. Actually, it felt pretty rotten. And it was the impetus I needed to do what was uncomfortable: share my story, which eventually led to a new and wonderful career as a speaker and physician coach.

Thank goodness I was able to take advantage of that feeling of desperation, because the work I do today, helping women in medicine deal with the challenges of time overwhelm, is incredibly rewarding and personally meaningful to me.

Is there a turning point in your life that you need to take advantage of TODAY? Are you willing to walk through the discomfort of the new and different to get onto a different trajectory? What is the personal cost of staying safe?

If these questions bring you to a sense of desperation, good. Take advantage of the gift.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ]

Diane W. Shannon

MD, MPH, ACC

Diane Shannon is an award-winning writer, author, and coach. Since leaving practice as a primary care physician due to burnout, she has worked to support physicians in achieving their personal and professional goals and to highlight the changes needed to reduce burnout, improve career satisfaction, and protect the bidirectional healing power of the patient-physician relationship.

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Diane W. Shannon, MD, MPH, PCC

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