Start Receiving Our Blog In Your In-Box Regularly

Providing content that inspires and informs doctors on how to thrive as micro-corporations!

Dare To Dream-Goal Setting For Physicians

Dec 29, 2023

Dream Big

Embarking on a medical career is a journey filled with challenges, triumphs, and continuous growth. As physicians, our days are often consumed by the demands of patient care, leaving little time for introspection and personal development. However, at SimpliMD, we believe in the power of dreaming big and setting ambitious goals that go beyond the realms of medicine. In this blog post, I’ll explore the art of goal setting for physicians, encouraging you to dare to dream and achieve new heights in both your professional and personal life.

The real issue is that it is hard to set aside time to dream together.

I recently spoke to a coaching client who shared the challenges he faced in finding a few hours of margin to achieve his goals. Balancing professional and personal obligations can leave you feeling exhausted at the end of each day. However, if you don't proactively pursue your best life, you may end up living reactively, which often falls short of your dreams. Don't let this happen!

The Reactive Life

Your world is full of distractions and it's easy to get caught up in all the noise. It's hard to focus on yourself due to all the time pressures, and it's also hard to find the space to proactively set goals for the future with your significant other. As you start your career as an attending physician, merge into normal humanity, and often begin family life it is easy to live in a constant state of reactivity.

The only way you can truly be successful is if you have a clear goal in mind and then stay focused on reaching those goals.

Given the constant demands of modern medical life, the mental drain of each clinical day, and then the constant pressures of home life, it’s hard to carve out any time to stop, think, and reflect. In many regards, you are happy if make coherent decisions before you collapse into bed and surf through your e-mail and social feeds on your phone each night.

Get Away

To thoughtfully create any personal or professional goals most of you will have to intentionally retreat from the normalcy of everyday life. There are many ways that you can get away from all the noise and focus on what you need to do. One of the best ways is by creating a space for yourself and your significant other where there are no distractions. This will allow you to completely focus on your life and well-being without any interruptions or distractions coming your way.

Our favorite place to go is South Haven, Michigan-regardless of the season. Check out our perfect weekend get away spot that we call Simpli SoHa here.

Involve Your Spouse

I agree with the Prudent Plastic Surgeon that physician couples should share their finances and with that in mind, this goal-setting retreat should inclusively both members of the household. Of course, if you are single it’s a little less complicated, but the value of the retreat is still critical.

Early in our marriage my wife and I would tap into our parents and ask them to watch our kids for a 24-hour trip to downtown Chicago (2 hours away from our home) where we could indulge ourselves a bit, talk and dream together, set some goals, and actually create our annual budget (goals and finances often go hand in hand).

Use A Guide

Every year we use the same self-guided questionnaire that I developed for this annual retreat. It is called “Dare To Dream” and you get a free copy here.

It is so much fun to freely dream, talk, and connect about our lives and those of our family. We like to write down our answers to the questions, and then file them away with the year marked on it. It’s fascinating to look back at those documents, as they chronicle the step-by-step development of our lives. We also complete our personal annual budget during this time because our finances have to be organized to support our goals. One of the elements associated with our budget is organizing our charitable donations. Our faith guides us to be generous to those in need. It brings us joy to choose organizations and causes that align with our passions. Later on, we can automate the distribution of those donations through our donor-advised charitable fund. If you don’t have a donor advised fund, check out Daffy here as a recommended DAF for you.

As the years have gone by and our finances have gotten more complex in connection to our family of 7, have had to gradually stretch out the time away to 48 hours, then eventually to 72 hours.

Expense It Out

Fast forward to the present, with 9 micro-businesses sprinkled in on top of all this, and it takes a full week for us to sort through our “Stillson Enterprise” and prayerfully discuss personal/family/business matters as well as create each of the associated budgets. The nice feature of this being a week away is that it is now covered as a business expense rather than a personal expense. As you hear me say all the time, this is just another nice aspect of having your own micro-professional corporation.

Retreat Preparation

As you prepare to get away, particularly if this is a new process, it will be beneficial for you as a couple to spend some time in mindful reflection and prayer about your lives. My wife and I find it helpful to pray together every night, so integrating this into our routine is quite easy (by the way, our prayer sessions are not lengthy). Additionally, as someone who enjoys running, incorporating prayerful meditation into my daily routine feels natural as well.

Regardless of your rituals and routines, take some time to prepare yourself for the retreat as it will make it more productive and enjoyable. For instance, this prep process would allow my wife and I to use the two-hour drive to Chicago to discuss the questions guide, and if we were really efficient—we would get the budget done before we got to Chicago. Then we could relax, take in the city, and casually continue to process and discuss any elements that needed extra time to develop a complete consensus together.

Often, it is the physician half of the couple who dominates and influences these conversations, given the demanding nature of their job. However, it is important to recognize that each member of a couple is equally valuable and their needs and goals should be fully considered. Decision-making should involve all voices, leading to consensus and taking into account the holistic needs of each person in the relationship. This is particularly important when the non-physician spouse also has a career or is a physician themselves. For stay-at-home spouses and loved ones, there is the risk to be undervalued when paired with a physician. Their lives, goals, and well-being are no less valuable and their needs merit equal consideration with conjoined personal life and professional goals.

I know when we had 5 children under 5 (yes it is possible) I had the far easier job of going to the clinic and hospital each day! The relentless job of managing our home and family was an incredibly valuable role and task that was masterfully handled by my wife.

Although the roles may be different, each person needs equally considered and valued in this process.

Areas To Reflect On While You Dream

  1. Be A Visionary Physician: At SimpliMD, we understand that being a physician is not just a profession; it's a calling. Beyond the clinical setting, what dreams and aspirations do you harbor? Whether it's advancing your medical practice, writing a book, or venturing into healthcare innovation, envision the future you desire and then set goals to reach that future.

  2. Define Your Passion Projects: As physicians, passion is the driving force behind our commitment to patient care. Extend that passion to your personal projects. What creative endeavors, hobbies, or side ventures fuel your enthusiasm? Identifying these passion projects can be the first step toward setting meaningful goals.

  3. The Power of Micro-Corporations: SimpliMD champions the concept of micro-corporations for physicians – a pathway to entrepreneurial success and professional autonomy. Set goals related to your micro-corporation, whether it's expanding your professional services, reaching a specific patient population, or enhancing operational efficiency.

  4. Balancing Work and Life: Goal setting isn't solely about professional achievements. Physicians face the challenge of achieving work-life balance. What personal goals can you set to nurture your well-being, strengthen relationships, or pursue personal interests outside the medical realm? Striking this balance is integral to a fulfilling life.

  5. The SMART Goal Framework: SimpliMD encourages the use of the SMART goal-setting framework – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Apply this methodology to your aspirations. Whether it's completing a project, attaining a certification, or launching a new initiative, make your goals SMART for enhanced clarity and effectiveness.

  6. Cultivating a Supportive Community: At SimpliMD, we believe in the strength of community support. Share your goals within the SimpliMD community and seek encouragement from fellow physicians who understand the intricacies of your journey. A supportive community can provide insights, motivation, and accountability.

  7. Embrace Continuous Learning: Goal setting is a dynamic process that aligns with continuous learning. What skills or knowledge areas do you aspire to develop further? Whether it's through educational courses, mentorship programs, or self-directed learning, embrace opportunities for growth and evolution.

  8. Celebrating Milestones: SimpliMD encourages physicians to celebrate not only the grand achievements but also the small victories along the way. Recognize and celebrate milestones, no matter how minor. Acknowledging your progress reinforces motivation and sustains the momentum toward your larger goals.

You Need A Companion & Coach

Dare to dream, fellow physicians, and let SimpliMD be your companion on this transformative journey. Through intentional goal setting, we can redefine the narrative of our medical careers, infusing passion, purpose, and fulfillment into every facet of our lives. As we strive for excellence in patient care, let us also aspire to create a life that reflects our deepest aspirations. The canvas is yours; dare to dream, and let SimpliMD guide you towards a future where your professional and personal goals converge in harmonious success.

Once you dare to dream, many of you have found it beneficial to invite a coach to come alongside you and help build your preferred future. If meeting with a fellow physician who can coach you once a quarter sounds helpful, then sign up here for SimpliMD coaching. You can also download my Free Guide For Doctors on Teachers, Mentors, & Coaches.