Graduating medical school is a significant accomplishment. It took consistent and persistent focused attention and action to reach that milestone. It demonstrates that doctors have the framework to create the success they desire for their lives. They already possess the foundation upon which to chart a course for a life and career by design. Here are 7 shifts in thinking that doctors must make to complement their solid foundation.

1. Doctors know that a medical career is a commitment to ongoing learning. The learning does not end at graduation from medical school. The learning continues beyond residency training. Most importantly the learning goes far beyond the mastery of medical information. There are people skills, financial management, and time management to name a few of the skill sets needed for a life and career that speaks to your soul.

2. For success doctors focus on the big vision. What is your dream? Where do you really see yourself in healthcare? What is the impact you truly desire to make for your patients? What does physician wellbeing mean to you? Once a medical professional gets clear about what they want their life and career to look like, it guides your decision-making.

3. Doctors develop the discipline to track your progress. Feedback is often a dreaded experience in medicine. It reminds us of medical school when we waited to see if we made the grade in order to move on to the next level. It brings back memories of sleepless nights as residents on a clinical rotation, receiving an average evaluation when you thought you had done well. One of the most useful tools a physician can develop is the ability to detach from the emotional impact of feedback and learn to use the lessons to catapult you forward.

4. Successful physicians don’t re-invent the wheel. While there are advancements in medicine, some things do not change. Once you’ve identified an area in your performance to streamline or improve, seek support for another doctor who is achieving the results in that area that you desire. Duplicate what they are doing, then re-evaluate your performance.

5. Successful physicians attract successful people. Every quarter evaluate the people you spend your time with and the conversations you are having with them. Are you feeling inspired and motivated to take charge of your life and medical career? Or, when you get together are you complaining about what’s not going well for you? You do need both sets of people in your life however you want the predominant amount of your time spent in inspiration and motivation.

6. Challenge the self-talk that contributes to your stress. As you look around your circle you may find that you are among the smartest in your group. You’ve made it as a doctor. If that’s the case, there is danger ahead because you may begin to believe the conversation and thoughts that you are having in your mind. Some of these conversations are the very reason why you are not where you desire to be. They are keeping you from moving into your next level. You are in a comfort zone and you don’t want to leave it. The thought of moving out means taking risks. Why take the risk when you have achieved so much already.

7. Invest in yourself through a physician coach. Successful people know that to continue to grow and advance to their next level they need the objectivity that comes from an outside source. Investment doesn’t stop after medical school as some doctors think. Instead of understanding the value of investing in yourself, you struggle trying to figure out the secret to success on your own, while looking to mentors in medicine to show you the way. Mentors in medicine are a great resource, but they can only guide you through what they know and have done. A physician coach is invested in your success. Successful doctors don’t wait for the right opportunity to show up and then get prepared. They stay prepared. Are you staying prepared for your next level of success? Do you even know how? Invest in yourself through a physician coach who will brainstorm with you, champion you, and hold you accountable to achieving work-life balance on your own terms. Just as successful medical offices have efficient and productive front desk teams ensuring the flow of patients through the office, doctors need supportive team members to ensure they remain productive and efficient in achieving their goals while keeping stress and burnout at bay.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Stephanie Wellington is an international keynote speaker, physician and coach of Nurturing MDs, equipping medical professionals to unapologetically own their value, recognize their strengths, and balance their life. Sign up to receive Lessons in Life and Medicine, your free weekly email of guidance and support at