But What Other Work Can I Do?

One of the first questions that stressed doctors ask at the mere thought of doing different work is “But what else can I do?”

You might have said this too. I did.

“This is all I know. This is all I can do.” So you continue to be stressed, you continue to stay in a bad job, and you continue to be damaged.

What if instead you changed the question from “What can I do?” to “What do I want to do?”

If you’re not sure what you want to do instead, there are so many ways to find out.

You can discover what you really want through inspiration, which is incredibly powerful, but also through experience. “Boots on the ground” experiences.

And these experiences come in two flavors: congruent and incongruent.

Congruent experiences mean that as you go throughout the course of your daily life, be it at work or outside work, you experience what I call “pokes to get you woke,” things that get you excited, that bring you alive, make you happy. Who you are and what you want fit into the flow of what you’re doing. Those positive feelings are super-important--I challenge you to pay attention to them.

For example, my friend Doctor Lauren Powell, The Culinary Doctor, has a passion for healthy cooking. And this is in congruence with her work treating and preventing disease with healthy food. She has an amazing business, and Mondays that excite and motivate her.  Her personhood and work are aligned--they're congruent.

Now, incongruence is where your personhood conflicts with your current work. Me, I’m a writer. I love words. But in a busy day in clinic, my gift becomes a liability. I’ve been in practice for over 20 years, and I still struggle mightily to write a short progress note. That doesn’t feel good. One day I even found myself using the word “whilst” in a note. It was a cry for help! Who in the world does that? A writer.

In redesigning my work after burning out, I paid close attention to that negative experience, to respect that incongruence. Now, I spend my new Mondays writing. And I’m so much happier with my work.

If you need to create new work, and you haven’t yet heard a voice from heaven telling what you should do, use your positive and negative reactions to your daily experiences to help you uncover your desires.

Those areas of congruence and incongruence can illuminate how you truly desire to make new Mondays!



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