I’m a thinker. I don’t mean in the Socrates kind of way. I just mean that if you present me with a new problem my brain tends to go deep on it right away. I start thinking of nuance and options and outcomes and before I know it I’m underwater in data and ideas. This can be paralyzing for me if I don’t get back to the surface. See for reference: choosing a medical school, deciding to leave community practice for academics, and whether to get that full-back unicorn tattoo.
A long time ago (yet too late for me to be guided away from my light blue prom tuxedo) I figured out that two things bring me back to sanity: books and mentors. Books are magic. Long form deep dives into complex topics and situations, ideally written by people (much) smarter than me. No mystery there.
But, mentors are also magic and priceless. At some point I took on the remarkably easy but long overdue task of officially picking some mentors. I formally asked them to be on call for my own selfish benefit. Shockingly, all of them were delighted by the idea. Over the years, it has dramatically improved my life.
Mentors don’t have to be perfect. They just need more expertise, wisdom, or knowledge than you on the issue du jour. And, I think, you need to have a deep respect for them in some way.
This pandemic marches along. We are watching the people of medicine allow themselves to be servants, perform acts of heroism, and be tempted to ignore their own needs. If there is some part of your life that feels overwhelming, I’d encourage you to proactively find a mentor. It’s good for you, it’s good for them, and you deserve it.
If you need ideas for medical mentors to inspire you, we have some amazing candidates on our team. I believe that their approach to education literally saves lives, and I couldn't be more proud of the amazing content we crank out every month. Here's some of the best from August:
Be well! Until next time,