This post is prefaced by a disclosure: My son gave me permission! He is a current fourth year medical student. The most measurably challenging days are behind him and he is interviewing for residencies post-graduation in May. The medical school path is pretty basic: Year 1: Study the human body. Year 2: Study of what makes the body sick. Year 3: Rotations in numerous areas of medicine. Year 4: Preparation to spring into a residency program in a specified area of medicine.
The third year rotations provide valuable hands-on experience with patients and physicians. Physicians evaluate students after each rotation. As with many workplace evaluations, feedback can be cut and dried, offering nothing tangible for the student to use going forward. A few are more candid. “Please do not consider a career in radiology. You could not possibly sit still long enough!”
Last Spring my son received the most frank and valuable evaluation of his rotation year. He was working with a great physician who took an extra week to consider how best to discern and articulate the valued advice. The doctor no doubt understood the power he held to influence a future physician.
Physician: “You are one of the best prepared students to become a doctor I have ever encountered.” This was certainly gratifying and empowering to hear. He then added, “But do you think you could work on the package a little bit? Do you know what I mean? Like, could you shave every day and keep up with your haircuts?” My son laughed in agreement and understanding as he is somewhat of a free spirit. Marching to the beat of your own drum does not play well in all of life’s arenas.
I have used this experience to coach clients and employees and it seems to be resonating.
A few examples:
“You are a good nurse but you could be an exceptional nurse if you would be as considerate and dedicated to your fellow staffers as you are to your patients. Can you get your charting done in a timely manner so it isn’t left for someone else to do?”
“You could be a great leader if the measuring stick you use for others is the same one you use on yourself.”
“Your credibility as a great future employee can be won or lost by whether you project what’s important to the employer, rather than what’s important to you!”
“As you focus on all of the changes and improvements your employer and co-workers should make, do you realize that the real change must first be with yourself and your own approach to work?”
It’s about being and doing the very best you can and bringing it to your mission field. If Pablo Picasso was correct in stating that “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away,” so too was Seth Godin: As a result of the tsunami of pretty good (and the persistence of really lousy), the market for truly exceptional is better than ever…Work is a chance to do art…. If you can’t be remarkable, perhaps you should consider doing nothing until you can…Raising the bar is easier than it looks, and it pays for itself…..Stop settling for what’s good enough and start creating art that matters. Stop asking what’s in it for you and start giving gifts that change people. Then, and only then, will you have achieved your potential.”
As with all great gifts to the world, both tangible and intangible, the package is important. It sets the tone for all that comes next. You are a gift. What does your package say about you?
~ From the desk of Becky Morlok ~
Related post: The Unopened Gift
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