I am a big believer in evolution. Of the world, of the human being over the span of a life, of a professional career. As a current entrepreneurial physician and business owner, with a zig zagging career spanning more than 25 years, I'm acutely aware that to thrive, I must evolve.
When I was a kid, our family doctor was a crusty, opinionated, spry man who loved his patients and who'd given his life to his general practice. I recall him sitting at my brother's bedside for an entire night during an attack of croup, ready to do a tracheotomy if needed... as he later confided to my mom. He kept his practice going until his late 70s and I doubt if he ever reconsidered his decision to go into medicine. Even though I had not planned a career as a physician (but that is another story!), I think deep down he was my role model for a doctor.
Most of my readers know my story of career change, but you probably don't know that even now, my career continues to evolve. I recently took on a project as a consulting medical director to a company engaged in evaluating the impact of physician continuing medical education on how doctors' practices change after an educational program, and how patients are ultimately impacted by this new or refreshed knowledge.
Why did I embark on this project? Am I giving up physician coaching? Am I moving on from my business? These are questions I've been asked, and I've given them all some thought.
The nature of these questions signifies a fundamental assumption that, to be considered stable and sane, we must remained attached to "one occupation" and that if anything changes in that equation, we are surely about to make a move because we are unhappy.
I added this new patch of work to my career quilt because I spotted a fascinating opportunity - a chance to do things that I truly love, such as research information, analyze, and write. I'm happily reading clinical medicine again -- and being blown away by the advances since I quit medical practice!
And I continue to coach clients and consult with medical practices to improve their results and raise a kid and write this blog and ... I'm keeping my eyes open for the next opportunity that catches my fancy.
I'm here to argue that the contemporary career of an entrepreneurial physician can and perhaps should be a map of conjoined states -- it can contain clinical practice AND an Internet business AND writing a book AND taking on a consulting project AND inventing a clinical device AND protoyping AND manufacturing a new infant toy AND being part of a family and community.
Doesn't that sound more exhilarating to you than feeling stuck in one gear?
Isn't is time to shift that gear from "either ... or" to "and ... and"?