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 Article #41-- Jan. 2013                                        

Why Doctor's Fail -- The Series #3

"Personal Self-Imposed Limitations
And Fixed Mindset"

If you don't recognize them, you have no opportunity to unleash them.

When you know both your potential and your limitations, you will have the highly regarded insight necessary to expand on your potential and unlock your limitations before you instinctively will develop a fixed mindset regarding your medical professional career.

The limitations you place on yourself are often unrecognized. Very often they result from your misinterpretation, judging yourself too quickly, fear of stepping out into no-man's land, and your inability to trust yourself enough. All of these reasons are the culmination of years of external negative influences such as parents, teachers, peers, among others telling you lies you assume are true.
This process hinders every decision you make in your life. It tears apart
your self-esteem.

A good example is the number of college students starting out in a premed curriculum, finding out it's too hard or too long of time in the education process, and changed their focus.

In my college class about a hundred started out in premed and by the last year in college dwindled to 19. I'd wager that almost all dropped out of premed for one of the reasons above. Those "I can't do it" feelings persist, but to a lesser degree in medical school and on into medical practice, at least until you learn how to trust yourself and your capabilities... and disregard naysayers.

The truth is you have the intelligence, desire for self-improvement, passion and power already built into yourself to become far more productive, considerably more valuable to everyone, and certainly more satisfied as a physician... but you just don't use it. It's a real kick in the ass trying to force yourself into believing you are far more capable than you give yourself credit for. So, why is it so hard to believe?

In college you are still testing yourself out--not yet creating permanent limitations. The tragedy is that by the time you are finishing medical school these self-imposed limitations increase drastically. You've increased your self-esteem but now are shielding it with fixed rules on how to avoid losing the self-esteem you've gained. Fear of failure is a profound reason for doing this, consciously
or unconsciously.

How to open your mind and dump your personal self-imposed limitations.

When you reach medical school, you've eliminated one set of personal limitations. Like those you felt in college, wondering if you would be accepted to medical school. So you know they aren't written in stone and can be overcome.

Never tell yourself you can't do something!

Because you need high self-esteem, continuous self confidence, and a grasp of the idea that you have no limitations, you must find a personal means of creating these attributes. There are no best answers about how to do this, but there are several alternatives that work for most doctors.

These are a few ideas to consider...

1. Create a support system for yourself: Your options begin with your family, those who are interested in guiding you and are capable of doing it. In college or medical school find a mentor or colleague who can listen to you and offer good advice, preferably older and experienced individuals. In medical practice you can do the same, even start a mastermind group process. You can't think of everything so hearing new ideas, thoughts, feedback, and advice from your peers is an excellent way to keep
yourself on track.

2. Acknowledge your own capabilities: You often already know what your talents and skills are, but most doctors discover many more hidden ones as they continue in their medical practice and career. You may have forgotten many examples of events, problems, difficulties, and situations where you actually made a huge difference in the outcomes. Give yourself credit for those times you were responsible for providing solutions to other people's problems, and may have never been recognized for doing it.

3. Keep an open mind: There are innumerable opportunities passing bye you every day that you don't recognize. Be alert for those at all times. They happen inside and outside the medical environment. Experienced older people all have regrets about missed opportunities... because they weren't looking. Make it a rule to consider all forms of advice, ideas, opinions, and afterthoughts while they are fresh in your mind. Take advantage of those who see with fresh eyes what you are doing that you don't see yourself... happens often.

A few thoughts about overcoming your self-imposed limitations for your consideration...

1. Remember, you are entirely responsible for everything that happens to you in life and in medical practice. Your decisions are the source of every problem in your medical practice and the source of every advancement and success. It's a fact that you can accomplish anything if you are determined enough, proven so often by thousands of career professionals. Failures are nothing more than an inspiration to start again.

Thomas Edison said that he didn't fail, he just discovered 10,000 ways that his project didn't work.

2. There is no commonality in the backgrounds of successful people to account for their successes. This includes childhood, education levels, age, ethnicity, nationality, gender, religion, conservatives, liberals, profession, or IQ. The secret is determination and persistence.

3. No small business in the world, including medical practice, can survive without some form of marketing and business system. Don't get the idea you can survive in medical practice based on reputation and word-of-mouth. Always assume that business, medicine, and life are in constant motion... and change often.

Expect and be prepared for trends that precede changes and make the adaptations necessary in your practice early in the changing process.


Self-limitations are best exemplified by medical doctors today in private medical practice, who refuse to acknowledge, learn, or use the small business knowledge available, including marketing knowledge that is readily available.

The greatest neglect today among physicians is that of underestimating their capabilities and what they can accomplish in their profession and life. By not learning to use marketing and a business system for their medical office, physicians leave an estimated one million dollars on the table during their
medical career.

Fear keeps us bound in our own little bubble of comfort zone created by ourselves. It prevents growth. It diverts real satisfaction and self-fulfillment. It destroys our creativity. It accounts for mediocrity and increasing struggle.

With self-imposed limitations most physicians today are in financial trouble with their practices to one degree or another, all because of self-limitations and fixed mindset about not needing to learn and use business principles. Any doctor who learns and applies those to his practice will rarely experience a medical practice financial disaster.

The author, Curt Graham, is a marketing and business expert, physician, copywriter, and entrepreneur. His focus is to provide information to medical professionals that will enable doctors to reach their maximum potential, fast. Discover how to escalate your practice income quickly.
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Professional Prods

photo of advertisement from 1940s of doctor promoting smoking Camel cigarettesYounger doctors have not experienced how much healthcare has changed over the last 60 years or so, even among doctors themselves. In 1958 we had about three antibiotics to use--Penicillin, Tetracycline, and Sulfa drugs.

We had no computers, internet, educational DVDs, credit cards, or present day technology to speed up our efforts, increase our educational training, or confirm our diagnoses.

We did have the advantage of having time to adapt to the changes that came rather slowly
in comparison to today. Old and new doctors are now being forced to implement changes overnight, while being severely hamstrung by outside forces that are reducing incomes
of medical professionals, hospitals, and associated supportive health industries.

Your entrepreneurial attitudes, creativeness, and increasing use of business and marketing strategies are the only things that will maintain the integrity
of your medical practice no matter what practice style you work in.

Continuous learning, prompt application of technology, a strong work ethic, and accepting the fact that you do not have any self-imposed limitations to stretching your capabilities far beyond what you ever imagined, all should be your perpetual passion for success.


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         © 2004 - 2015  Curtis Graham, M.D., All Rights Reserved.