As a medical doctor, and I had plenty going for me.
Not only was I in a position to genuinely help others, but I also had job security, the ability to afford London rent(!), and the ‘respect factor’ that comes from having a traditional, well-recognised career.
But on the inside, I was dying – and I couldn’t understand why.
After 6 years of intense study, I was finally getting to practice medicine. I was supposed to be in my element.
Yet it felt like I was living some kind of double life. I was one person at work, and another home. There was so little synchronicity between medicine on the one hand, and my true interests, values and strengths on the other.
When that realisation hit me, it was a bitter pill to swallow.
So what did I do?
At first, nothing.
I tried sucking up the pain of internal conflict by powering ahead for a few years. But the signals that I might be on the wrong path only grew louder.
On a daily basis, I came home to my fiancé in one of two states:
I was drifting away from myself, believing there was something deeply wrong with me. Where was my sense of purpose? Why did I feel so lost?
It took a fair few powerful coaching sessions, painful conversations and soul-searching walks with my partner to start answering these questions truthfully.
Eventually though, I came to realise something.
Saying it out loud seems so obvious, but having done the inner work, my psyche sent me a message that hit me like a tonne of bricks:
*It’s OKAY if I don’t want to do this anymore*
Layers of anguish which had accumulated over the years simply fell away. I allowed myself to drop the self-torture, drop the guilt and embrace the freedom to choose my own way.
I was starting to feel a weight lift. The world opened up in front of me, and my mind raced with possibilities. I began to buzz with equal parts excitement and terror.
The only way through was to couple my reflective work with significant action.
And then I leapt – I ripped the plaster right off.
For me, that looked like handing in my notice without a job lined up (I’m the type of person who needs to feel the burn in order to move quickly).
But all that inner work and preparation paid off within weeks when I landed the perfect writing/copywriting gigs.
It was a joy getting to flex my creative muscles, which felt like breathing for the first time. Without the rigidity of protocols, I was allowed – no, encouraged – to think outside the box. I could get lost in the craft of writing, something I love to do. All while thinking, “They’re actually paying me to do this?”
(When work feels more like play, it isn’t work at all – life begins to feel more like a stimulating game than an endless battle.)
More importantly, though, I was coming to life. With things clicking into place, my loved ones started to comment on how I seemed more… myself.
Hold on, though. It’s starting to sound a like a fairy-tale. I don’t want you to think I’ve got it all made.
Here’s some more about me:
But hey, we’re all on a journey of growth 🙂
Every journey has ups and downs — it’s often after the downs that we learn the most. I wanted to break down 3 hard-won learning points from my own journey so far…
As humans, we’re good at convincing ourselves (and each other) that we’re someone else entirely. We’re the only species capable of acting, without actually being conscious that we’re acting.
Why do we do this? For one, facing the truth of who we really are can be confusing, unsettling, or both. While doing so opens the door to excitement, possibility and freedom, it also opens Pandora’s Box.
We’re all in relationship with everything that exists in our psyche. We’re in relationship with our partners, our pets, our houses, our jobs, even our identities. When I allowed my relationship with the identity of ‘doctor’ to disintegrate, it was an authentic moment for me. Not easy – confronting internal conflict never is – but authentic.
Core insight: Life is the process of picking up various identities to see if they fit, sort of like masks. Sometimes we’ll wear one, and everyone will tell us how fantastic we look. But this can become a trap. If we’re actually dying behind that mask, we risk feeling hollow and directionless for a long time to come. Identities come and go — like everything else in life – freeing us to put down our mask if we feel like it.
Having experienced what meaningless feels like, but what about its counterpart? That’s just it, nobody can tell us. I’ve started to embrace the idea that we each have to consciously figure it out ourselves. I believe it’s the price we pay for being a self-conscious animal.
But more than that, there’s beauty in this price we pay. To me, figuring out the meaning of our lives is the ultimate goal of our existence. And therein lies the paradox!
The meaning of my life is to continuously define – and redefine – the meaning of my life.
For this reason, it’s hard to explain why medicine didn’t feel meaningful to me. It’s easier to understand when someone leaves a more morally ambiguous career for a ‘nobler’ one. Social conditioning makes it harder to apply that logic in reverse.
Core insight: There are as many definitions of ‘meaningful work’ as there are people on the planet. So there’s certainly no need to get hung-up on definitions that have been spoon-fed to us. (This also applies to other concepts like ‘impact’, ‘purpose’, and so on). The ultimate freedom is the freedom to choose — and choosing what sort of life we want to create is the most important decision many of us will ever face.
If you’re like me, you were probably indoctrinated with the following formula:
Success = Stability + Hard Work
Our parents and teachers meant well, but they were fed a diet of industrial-age thinking by the generation above them. The trouble is, this formula doesn’t work to well anymore. The new formula, in my view at least, is this:
Success = Experimentation + Emotional Labour
The world needs more people willing to follow their curiosity, connect meaningfully, grow into their self-awareness, and basically come to life.
There came a point where I had to seriously confront the trajectory I was on. Who was I going to become? When I looked into the Crystal Ball, I didn’t like what I saw. Burnout, for one thing. But more generally, I simply didn’t like who I would likely become at the top of the proverbial ladder.
What scared me even more was that I couldn’t picture any alternative. Experimentation was in order. I had to figure out the vision by trying new things, while doing the challenging emotional labour.
Core Insight: We each have a powerful inner ‘Crystal Ball’ connecting our present to our future. If we don’t like where we’re headed, we have the power to change our trajectory at a moment’s notice. An important obstacle to doing this can be comfort. Chiefly, the comfort attached to our ‘default’ path ahead. But fulfilment can only be experienced by experimenting, and experimentation brings a lot of discomfort — this makes emotional mastery so crucial.
I’ve learned a lot from these experiences, but I wouldn’t wish them on anyone.
I’ve felt the pain of being disconnected from life. I’ve felt the pain of getting home defeated and deflated on a daily basis. I’ve felt the hopelessness which comes from looking to the future and not seeing anything compelling.
Everything changed for me when I came to see the ultimate truth: I have the power to change my destiny. I am the creator of my own life.
I would be honoured to walk alongside anyone on their own journey of transformation.
Here’s the current focus of my mission:
As a doctor, I’ve seen people die way before their time. I’ve seen people get struck down by incapacitating maladies in the prime of life. It became impossible not to absorb this irrefutable fact: life is short.
There simply isn’t time to waste doing what you don’t want to do, becoming someone you don’t want to become, or contributing in a way that doesn’t make you come alive.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive”
– Howard Thurman
That’s what I’m here to help people do. To bloom. In doing so, they will begin to spread positive energy in ways they can’t even imagine right now. They will inspire others and start making an impact in a way that’s authentic to who they are.
Most people don’t believe this is possible, or even that it’s something they deserve. We’ve been taught to equate the quest for fulfilment with self-indulgence or outright greed. And we’ve been told which causes are noble and which aren’t.
This social conditioning is leading people to hide from their unlived life. To become disengaged from all but the most escapist of activities. Then one day, on the doorstep of retirement, or during some other crisis-point, they look back with profound regret.
When it comes to what people deserve, it certainly isn’t that.
I believe no one should have to feel they are different people at work and at home. The bigger the difference, the bigger the problem. Each person has the power to remedy this, starting with their own life.
If you’d like to explore the possibility of working together in a coaching/mentoring capacity, head over to my Work With Me Page.