1. Find your passion – , at Medical University, you truly love a particular area, so take it on and don’t hesitate to pursue it. If you are passionate about studying or helping others, take on this. Do not choose a profession for your lifestyle choices or the fact that you’ll get additional time off or earn more money. You’ll spend the majority of your time awake (and the majority of your sleep!) hours at work, so ensure that, whatever you choose to do, you truly enjoy it. Another advantage to this strategy is that when you are passionate about doing something, you’ll likely spend lots of time engaged in it. In his book “Outliers,” he writes, “Working on something is easier until you master it in a way you enjoy.” When you reach a certain point, those who excel in any field are sought after by other people to share their knowledge. Teaching others your expertise further increases your ability to effect positive changes. For medical students nearing the end of their medical university and who aren’t sure of their profession, I suggest not being afraid to make the wrong decision at first. I was a “late bloomer who struggled to pick the right field.” It wasn’t until my first few years as a medical doctor that I realised that anaesthesia was the right choice for me (see my blog in the archives about my reasons for choosing to become an anesthesiologist). Medical training programs are designed to make changes, so don’t fear committing very early in the process.

People who are successful set goals and set deadlines to achieve these goals. Goals must be focused and SMART (specific, measurable, and realistic). Sometimes, however, it’s not a problem to have “stretch goals.” Sometimes, they are referred to as BHAGs (big, hairy, audacious goals). These goals could occur when everything goes according to plan, and failing is impossible. 

2. Spend the time on your interests – If you’ve succeeded in gaining entry to your chosen field, ensure that you have your time and invest in it. At a minimum, you must set aside weekly time to read and invest in your interests. You should make sure to develop and maintain expertise in your area of interest as a starting point. For physicians, this means being proficient in the clinical setting. Once you have that covered, consider what areas of interest there are. more. participate in quality, leadership, research, or education. Participate in the national or international medical society, and supervise students, but most importantly, have fun and contribute to the community!

3. Find excellent mentors – I’ve been blessed throughout the journey of my professional career that I’ve had mentors who have provided me with vital, honest suggestions. Although it’s fun to set your goals as you devise the best way to achieve them, getting advice from people that have “done it all before” is crucial. The choice of a mentor is a highly personal decision and ought to be a self-directed process in most cases. However, there is a list of potential mentors available in certain departments. Some coaches and mentors need to be involved throughout their careers. Many mentors I trust provide me with honest, impartial advice regarding crucial choices. You can succeed without a mentor, just as you can complete a marathon without having a coach. But, very few people can actually run at their peak without one!

4. Consider people before you – The majority of people go into the field of medical practice to help other people. Sometimes, in the chaos of our lives, particularly as the pressures of work-family, mortgage, and work take their toll on our shoulders, it’s easy to be very focused on yourself. But very few people who have achieved success have ever prioritised their own needs over those of others. All successful people have been passionate about an issue and committed their time or energy to the cause. Trust is essential to building good relationships, and trust is crucial to successful outcomes. People who focus more on their surroundings and less on themselves develop trusting relationships with the utmost ease. Trusting relationships are essential to working as a team and achieving success. To succeed as a team and work as a cohesive unit, trusting relationships are crucial.

The most successful people have a positive environment with cheerful and enthusiastic people. When I started medical school, I was usually very critical of others until I began spending time with a close friend who would ‘call me out’ whenever I commented on somebody else. After a while, I concluded that the only way for me to maintain a relationship was by looking at others with a positive view. I’ve changed my mindset since then and have a wonderful friend to thank for it. Spend time with those who are innovating and are looking to make a positive impact on the world. Please don’t spend time with those who tend to be negative or are known to talk about or criticise others on their own.

5. Take care of your health  Maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and rest at least seven hours a night. If you do not take care of your health, “burnout” is inevitable, and you’ll become useless to those who depend most on your health (your family members, your patients, and your colleagues). Make time to pursue hobbies outside of work and take frequent breaks from work. The seven areas listed above are the primary lessons I’ve learned from my teachers and colleagues over the past 25 years. I wish you all the best of success in your career and will always remember that quote from Winston Churchill.