Inevitably, this is a time of reflection. We ask ourselves, what have we done? what are we doing? and where are we going?

 

That can be particularly important if, like me, you are middle aged. I’ve written about the mid-life transition previously (as explored by Carl Jung HERE) and one of the suggestions he makes is that this period is a time to look back and re discover passions, interests or activities that have fallen by the wayside.

I have both a professional and personal interest in this. I hear many of the doctors I coach share a deep need to discover or re-discover who else they are, in addition to being a medic (and this is the younger generation as well). Passions range from sports, writing books to painting pictures and many more. Of course, all of these outlets are incredibly important to give balance in our life and invest in our resilience, but I’m particularly curious about the ‘creative’ outlets.

Some research suggests that creativity plays an important role in our mental health, but what if we don’t see ourselves as ‘a creative type’ or ‘artsy’? And what is creativity anyway?

If ‘creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness,’ then I’m guessing we’ve all been pretty creatively inventive with the fridge contents over the last few days. For me, creativity is about producing something new, through experimentation and risk, through failure and surprising successes. This improvisation and problem solving is not the sole proviso of the Arts and I believe is an important part of us all.

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” Carl Jung

So, I encourage doctors I coach to invest in this part of themselves as best they can, with kindness and sensitivity. Some people are clear what their outlet is and just need time / permission to do it, others need support in re-discovering what matters to them, or at least what made them feel both relaxed and excited all those years ago.

Becoming REIGN Copyright Alexis Hutson

 

For me it’s photography. My creative arts degree and passion for photography got left behind 20years ago, but in 2018 I reignited this part of me. It has not been easy, and I will continue to struggle with finding space and peace to explore it. But I know if I don’t try, I’ll regret it. I even had the chance to take photographs at the Leaders In Healthcare conference 2018 and will be possibly sharing some of those images called Looking@Leaders in 2019.

But in the meantime, here is a photograph I took this year that still interests me. And here is my Twitter feed address to track what I’m interested in. @AlexisHutson1

What did you leave behind and what do you need to pick back up?

 

 

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Doctors are increasingly being asked to get involved in mentoring both formally and informally. But why do it?

I think Doctors like supporting other doctors. They like to pass on their experiences and help others to avoid mistakes and difficult situations they’ve encountered. The medical profession is a long career and there is a lot to learn, so the chance aid others is a powerful driver for most Doctors.

So what is it and why might Doctors be really good at it?

Mentoring is a distinct relationship where one person (the mentor) supports the learning, development and progress of another person (the mentee).” Julie Starr.*

Mentoring (and coaching) is different from training because it aims to ‘draw out’ learning rather than push in information. It aims at reflection and experimentation that leads to individual development, rather than at direct influence that leads to presupposed outputs.

Why could Doctors be good at it?

  1. Doctors are used to listening to people’s concerns and anxieties confidentially
  2. Doctors have a caring and empathic approach to other people
  3. Doctors are used to remaining objective and impartial
  4. Doctors are used to spotting patterns and making connections in problems

What can hinder Doctors being great mentors?

  1. Doctors are used to listening for clues that can help diagnosis – mentoring conversations require you to listen with an open mind and follow the mentee’s train of thought within a supportive structure
  2. Doctors are used to being in pressurised conversations where time is limited – mentoring needs to be free from rush and should give people time to think freely.
  3. Doctors are used to directing junior colleagues – mentoring is not about solving the other person’s problems, but rather enabling the mentee to explore their own solutions.

If you have access to a mentoring scheme through your College, Training Programme, Hospital or other organisation, get involved.

*Julie Starr has recently published The Mentoring Manual and references Gandalf/Bilbo, Dumbledore/Harry, Yoda/Luke and other famous great mentoring partnerships.

If you would like to talk over mentoring call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at

alexishutson@yahoo.com

 

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When was the last time you thought about what you want to achieve, for you?

When I first meet clients one of the first things we start to discuss is what they want to achieve. Some Doctors are quite clear about their goals; a job opportunity, a project to lead, or improvements to their GP practice for example. Others need more time to define the development they want to make through communication style or understanding the group dynamics in their team.

Either way, goal setting is crucial. It’ s hard because goals are often set for us with clinical / management targets or career progression tasks. Actually setting personal professional goals is much harder. The distractions of daily life and professional pressures can really get in the way.

That is why I think it is so important to spend time exploring, testing and defining goals. And it’s OK if they evolve because coaching gives you the opportunity to reflect and evaluate regularly. Sometimes this means adjusting your goal as your thinking depends and your experience broadens.

Last week a client said to me “Am I still on track? I feel I’m constantly distracted by the issues that occur in the here and now.” Because this client has a clear and specific goal, I could say, “Yes.” If you know what you are heading towards and you have a plan to follow, then the here and now can be harnessed to help you. By having a clear vision of your future and using your immediate reality as a stepping-stone, you can link now with the future.

To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.

Kolfi Annan