This is NOT going to hurt...
“Hello, I am the elephant in the room.”
This is usually my opening line when I introduce myself at Joyful Doctor events.
To clarify, this bold statement is not a derogatory self-loathing reference to my physicality, but more of an ice-breaking, self-effacing reference to the fact that I AM NOT A DOCTOR as I introduce myself to an audience full of doctors.
Despite the fact that I attend these events as Head of Joyful Doctor Coaching, when faced with a room full of medics, I almost always feel a sense of inadequacy and self-doubt about what I am doing there. Good old ‘Imposter Syndrome’ kicking in again – yep, we all feel it!
After all, it’s not as if I’m an award winning comedian and professional speaker like Adam Kay, a doctor who bailed out of medicine after years of what sounds to me like a horrendous and challenging time as a medic.
Speaking of Adam Kay (see what I did there?), I have recently listened to him reading to me his brilliant, Sunday Times Best Selling (no less!), book, ‘This is Going To Hurt …’ – via audio book you understand, he wasn’t round at my house or anything….sadly.
As I listened to Adam’s incredible - albeit common to junior doctors - story, I felt genuine relief that I never wanted to be a doctor, and a growing sense of admiration and gratitude for those who devote themselves to working in this revered profession.
I see that I have, in the past, without realising it, regarded doctors as being somehow different to, and greater than, me and the rest of the ‘normal population’. I saw them as ‘other’ than, sort of super-human…which is clearly ridiculous.
Not only is it ridiculous, but the more that the population at large see doctors as beyond-human, the more pressure doctors put on themselves to live up to that impossible status
Doctors are, first and foremost, human-beings, with the same emotions and feelings that all human beings experience.
The more I work with doctors, the more I appreciate the impact on their lives of the career choices they have made. In dedicating their working lives to medicine they have often given over their whole lives to it. As a result, I now look at the doctors I meet, with a mixture of admiration, and relief.
I deeply admire these tenacious, resilient and compassionate humans, for all that they face up to and deal with on a daily basis. I am so grateful for the work they do, in caring for the rest of us, often at great cost to their own wellbeing.
I can’t deny however, that I am also relieved that I never wanted to be a doctor, that I didn’t pursue a medic’s lifestyle for myself. The relentless working hours, the weight of responsibility, the impossible working conditions, the pressure of expectation from patients and their loved ones, and from themselves ... the cost of a career in medicine is simply immense.
In addition to admiration and relief, there is gladly now a third emotion at play for me when I think about doctors and that is…joy!
I feel joyful that my own career choices have led me to working with The Joyful Doctor….helping those who help others, supporting you wonderful human beings we call doctors, to do more of what you love, and to experience more joy, and a greater sense of compassion for yourselves, something all of us humans are worthy of.
By Julie Mitchell, Head of Coaching at The Joyful Doctor
In case you haven’t heard, Adam Kay will be joining the speaker line-up at our Joyful Doctor LIVE 2019 event in London on the 12th October. Tickets available at https://www.joyfuldoctor.com/joyful-doctor-live-2019-events and if you haven’t read Adam’s book (This is Going To Hurt) then please do as it is totally brilliant!
If you would like to find out more about 1 to 1 coaching with The Joyful Doctor, please visit https://www.joyfuldoctor.com/coaching