All of us have the talent and the power within us to achieve our Authentic Health Career. Along the way, we must overcome challenges including defeating our own demons. In his book The Motivation Manifesto, bestselling Author Brendon Burchard describes 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power (I highly recommend the book). One of the 9 Declarations is: “We Shall Defeat our Demons.”
Burchard describes one very common demon that gets in the way of our greatness and dreams as defiance. He calls it defiance because it stands in the way of our own will to advance in life. In a very helpful way, he gives defiance a shape and form that we can visualize and seek to destroy: a nasty 3-headed beast that often raises its voices within us. The 3 heads of the defiance beast are Doubt, Delay, and Division. I will refer to them as the 3 D’s.
We are all probably more familiar with these 3 D’s than we would like. One or more of them may be holding you back right now, as they are me, from pursuing or living your authentic career. Doubt can insidiously undermine us with internal voices saying things such as: "I am not good enough,” “I am not so sure,” and “What if.” Delay voices shout out, “Stop, this is not the time!” “You may get hurt,” “You’re not ready,” or “You may be embarrassed.” The third head of the beast, division, makes us suffer alone. Division inflates our ego to feel different than and separate from others, more special, stronger or weaker than they. Burchard describes the presence of division as most noticeable when it sparks our impatience, contempt or withdrawal. Criticism, nitpicking, and wrath become tools for relating to those stronger or weaker than us. Judgement is also divisive. Division can undermine relationships and create reasons for us to feel unsafe in them.
The D’s individually and collectively can cause us to make choices that don’t serve us well along our authentic path or make it more difficult to deal with obstacles or opportunities that arise. If they result in inaction, such as not even applying to medical school or not making an overdue job change, our doubts and fears can become self-fulfilling.
I find thinking of the 3 D’s in the form of a 3 headed beast helpful because we then don’t have to identify with them as being a part of us. They are just conditioned internal demons that, when they arise, as Burchard says, can be slayed with the sword of courage. With the sword of courage we can attack each head of the beast with its antidote:
Doubt can be overcome with faith. It has taken a lot of faith for most of us to have made it this far along our journeys. You have faith to draw upon. It can be faith in yourself, a higher power, your support system or in things working out. In his recent blog on faith, Rick Hansen shares helpful insights on sources of faith and how it helps us along our journey; “it helps you stay on your chosen paths, with confidence they will lead to good places. Faith fuels the hope and optimism that encourage the actions that lead to the results that confirm your faith, in a lovely positive cycle.”
“Heroism is taking action to do important things even when we are afraid.”
Delay can be overcome with action. Even if it feels like you have already delayed too long, it is not too late to begin to take action. I know sometimes the more you have delayed the harder it is. Often the story we tell ourselves to prolong the delay and avoid action just isn't true. Just remember that every journey has to begin with a first step and you can begin at anytime. For those of you who delay action because of fear, there is a helpful book called Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. Action helps you feel a sense of control, progress, and as mentioned, leads to positive, reinforcing results. Action helps you get “unstuck” and as I like to say “puts you in the flow of people and opportunities” that can help reinforce and advance you toward your goals.
Division can be overcome with love. Love for yourself and others. I encourage you to practice unconditional love for yourself and others and see the different sense of connection you have and choices you make. The love for others I am referring to here is the kind that provided the strength and courage to Dr. Martin Luther King and Gandhi to change the world. Like they did, as Burchard says, “love can cause you to be courageous to take actions that we would never take for ourselves.” You can tap into the love that fuels many of us to pursue health careers such as the love of our families, communities, social justice, science, or prevention and healing illness. You may also want to demonstrate your love for your higher power, if you believe in one, by fulfilling your authentic life purpose and career.
Throughout our health career and educational journey we will encounter many people and situations that give us chances to use the sword of courage to slay our demons. People or setbacks may cause the 3 D’s to arise or become more intense. You may encounter people who will tell you that you can't succeed in your educational or career goals. A devastating course grade, low GPA or lower than desired standardized test scores can also cause them to arise. While painful and discouraging, each of them provides you with an opportunity to practice faith, action, and love.
While the 3 D’s may never fully go away, the more we accept them when they arise, don’t identify with or fear them, and see them as a conditioned demon, the less power they have over us. We will continue to get better at overcoming them with faith, action, and love. We can also make friends with them as just familiar patterns that arise. When needed, remember to use your sword of courage. It may not always be easy. One thing that helps me is to remember a line from the movie We Bought a Zoo: “Sometimes all it takes is 20 seconds of courage.”
Are one or more of the 3 D’s holding you back from taking action to advance your authentic health career or believing you can achieve it? If so which one (s)? What will you do to begin to slay them? What has worked for you in the past? If you are comfortable, share your experiences and plans with me and others by commenting on this blog post so we may all overcome the 3 D’s and advance along the path toward our authentic lives and careers.
Hopefully this and other MyHCN blogs and resources will help you overcome the 3 D’s and take effective action in your journey toward living your Authentic Health Career goals.