Physician, What Hinders Your Vision? 10 Obstacles to Overcome

by Francine Gaillour, MD

in Aligning With Values & Purpose,Career Resilience & Fulfillment,Innovation and Entrepreneurship,Transformational Leadership

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We see things not as they are, but as we are. (This quote is attributed to several sources, including the Talmud).

Ever wonder what factors  limit your ability to see beyond today’s possibilities? Or what keeps your organization or practice from achieving the results you see other groups can meet?  Or what keeps YOU from moving toward the inspired professional life you dare imagine? Insights from author John Maxwell are worth contemplating—it’s likely you are the guilty  of clinging to self-limiting beliefs that hold you back.

From my own experience I can recall many situations when I was guilty of either thinking too small or just not thinking big enough.  Here are a few of my “duh” moments:

When I first applied to medical school, I was so unsure about whether I was “good enough” that in my application I used the “essay” space for a one-line explanation about my first MCAT scores [Personal Obstacle: “I’m not smart enough for this”; Reality: I was a straight-A college student with plenty of potential].

When I first thought about expanding into healthcare business, I carried the names and phone numbers for 4 key industry contacts in the pocket of my white coat for ONE WHOLE YEAR before I had the courage to call them.  [Personal Obstacle: “Why would they pay attention to me?”  Reality: I had some great ideas and an ability to communicate that several companies thought was pretty cool.]

When I developed my first program for physician leadership development, I researched dozens of resources on change and leadership and communication, feeling more anxious with each one.  [Personal Obstacle: “I don’t know enough to pull this off.”  Reality: I had a vision for a leadership development program that was unlike anything out there, and would soon be producing results unlike anything out there.”]

Ten Obstacles to Overcome

What is your personal obstacle to achieving your vision? One place to look for wisdom is John C. Maxwell’s Developing the Leader Within You. Adapted from his writing on Vision, here are Ten Obstacles between where you are now and where you could be:

Limited Leadership – Is there a lack of vision?  Or the ability to communicate and pass it on?

Concrete Thinking – Are you asking “Why?” more often than “Why Not?”  Are you continually examining the plan rather than letting yourself free to imagine “What if?

Dogmatic Talking – Are you listening too much to strong, dogmatic people (or the “Ya-but” voice inside you!) who probably know nothing!?

Fear of Losing – Are you letting past failure (i.e. experimentation) inject too much fear of risk?

Satisfied Sitting – Is your desire for comfort, predictability and security making you complacent?  After complacency, comes boredom!

Tradition Loving – Are the old reasons for doing it “this way” still valid?  What were the old reasons, anyway?

Census Taking – Are you wanting too much to be part of the crowd?  Are you waiting for a majority to embrace a vision before you step out in front?

Problem Seeking – Are you aborting a vision by presenting problems with no apparent solution?  Are you stalling by being a devil’s advocate?

Self-seeking – Are you limiting an organization or team vision because you are thinking only of yourself?

Failure forecasting – Are you “protecting” yourself or your organization by predicting failure and subconsciously sabotaging your efforts?

Now that you have some insights into your personal obstacles, I challenge you to ditch ’em and get moving on your vision.  If you need some help in identifying your obstacles or championing your own vision, please join us for an upcoming teleseminar discussion on tapping into your potential (see sidebar).

For more reading on developing the leader within you, I highly recommend all of John Maxwell’s books.

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