It is hard to believe I am already on day 41 of this crazy year long journey and even more crazy to think about how quickly I have built up a ton of self doubt. Lately the metaphorical mountain I set out to climb has been looking just a little insurmountable. My fear of failure has become so great it has seriously crossed my mind to just pack it in and call it a ‘good try’.
My childhood friend looked at my like I was crazy – she likes to tell me that I can do anything. I may have told her I didn’t really care that she thought I could do anything but then she sent me this:
And I was reminded of my motivation to run my first marathon. Yep, I thought I couldn’t do it but instead of being ready to lay down and say ‘okay, okay, you win. I can’t do this’, I turned around and basically sassed myself having the attitude of ‘I can totally do whatever it is I want to do’.
So what happened?
Well another friend of mine pointed something out to me the other day and it just clicked. I am getting too bogged down in the how. How am I going to manage this schedule? How am I going to convince an admissions board to look past some of those less than perfect parts of my application and admit me to medical school. How exactly do I expect my family to grin and bare the harder years and how exactly will I explain to my kids when I can’t make a play or performance because I have to work?
The reminder my friend gave me was pretty simple. Stop focusing on the how and focus on the why. At first, I have to be honest, I rolled my eyes just a little. The why changes nothing. I still have to accomplish the how. But after sitting with the why/how thought for a little while, it sort of clicked. First, the why is far more motivating than the how and is what makes the how worth my while. Second, focusing on the why could take me anywhere. It will keep me focused and it will remind me that if medical school doesn’t end up being something in my future, there are other avenues to accomplish that why. Which just means there is a little less pressure on the how. And lastly, focusing on the why is answering the question of the how. What is the classic question on every admissions application? Why do you want to do this? Many schools devote the entire essay portion of your admissions to this one simple question.
So what is my motivation?
I have thought a lot about this and it really boils down to others and myself. On the others front, I have the capacity and ability to show compassion and caring for other people. I have the desire and drive to make others lives just a little better where possible. On the selfish me side – I like to learn. A career in any healthcare related field will require constant learning and involves constant change and evolution. It will require some sacrifice. I imagine my children will accuse me of being a work-a-holic like we used to accuse my dad. But for my family it will not only provide financial well-being (important in any job that requires trading away your time), it will also show them that a.) hard work can get you places b.) you don’t have to give up on your dreams just because it is unconventional for someone in your life situation and c.) life is about prioritization. While my family is my primary priority overall, sometimes other things take priority over family game night. While I wish that wasn’t the case, I hope they will learn that I knew that was the case with any career option. Mommy working just has to mean time away – regardless of the job. I hope they will learn that it is okay to miss things here and there but for the right reasons. For me that means finding a career that is energizing and exciting.