fbpx

When is Enough…. Enough in Your Career? 

Jillian Rigert, DMD, MD, insists that your worth is not measured by your CV. Read why.

December 2, 2022

When is enough…. enough in your career? 

We spend so much of our lives chasing a sense of doing “enough” and being “enough.” 

Though I anticipate it’s been years in the making, I feel like I woke up one day and just HAD enough… this time, it wasn’t in a hopeless way. It was more of an awakening and permission to stop running on the treadmill to nowhere. 

At first, I felt a wave of grief as I let go of the false illusions of what I thought life needed to be… of who I thought I needed to be. And then I transitioned into a period of rebirth as I reclaimed my own life. As I use these words, I think of Martha Beck’s interpretation of The Change Cycle, which may be referenced in her book “Finding Your Own North Star”.. Or via Google. I highly recommend Martha Beck’s work for anyone who is “Wayfinding”… Martha Beck’s Wayfinder program has been instrumental in my healing journey. But I digress… 

For today, let’s dive into “enoughness”… As I know many relate to the ride, I hope sharing my journey helps you to find your peace, too. 

First, the reflection…  

Throughout life, I’ve been judged for being too big, too small, too quiet, too loud, a dentist- but not a surgeon, a surgical resident- but not X type surgical resident.. and… OH NO… a female…. The list goes on and on… 

I was in the Air Force and jokingly was told I wasn’t “military enough” compared to other branches…

As a dentist, I wasn’t “doctor enough”, and after getting my MD, I still was not “enough” as I hadn’t yet finished a residency… “worse” (my brain would offer me)… I was transferring out of surgery. I had many internal judgments about myself at this point, none of which remotely sounded like being “enough”.  

After transferring from surgery, I specialized in Oral Medicine, so then I belonged in both dentistry and medicine…  or neither… studying a lot of both, yet feeling not “enough” of either. 

While sorting out where I belonged, I started researching full time in a role that combines my formal trainings. As a new researcher, I did not yet have “enough” publications…

Then, I contributed to more publications, but not yet “enough” first author publications…

Oh, by the way- which journal? What’s the impact factor? Nope, sorry… that’s not “enough”… AHHHH. 

As I currently dedicate myself to research, I have taken a hiatus from the clinic…

However, I constantly worry that if I am not in the clinic, am I doing “enough” for the patients? If I go back to clinic, it’ll take away from my time spent on my current research tasks… then, I may not have “enough” time… 

I allow myself to consider the potential. When I think about adding back a clinical role, I am enthused by the potential to add tremendous value to patients’ quality of lives, however the encounters would not translate to high RVUs compared to X surgeon or X high paying specialty… so, the politicalized healthcare system and the learned belief that money is a reflection of value provides me with the sense that I would not be adding “enough” value. And when I think of my value in this context, I wonder- should I do surgery, again? 

And then I pause as I hit that trauma response which leaves my mind and body flooded with an intense aversion to the thought of surgery, likely as a form of self-protection, considering that I left surgery because I developed SI. 

And as I sit in the storm of emotions, I acknowledge a key rumination that was deeply associated with my experience of SI – the belief that I was trapped in an endless cycle of never doing or simply being “enough”… That thought can lead to tremendous self-destruction if not challenged. So, here we are… 

It is here that I paused to challenge my thought pattern with a simple question from “The Work” by Byron Katie… “Is It True?” 

Is it true that nothing I ever did was “enough”? That I am not “enough”? 

No. 

The reality is that I had developed this deep internal belief about myself and then confirmation bias provided me the opportunity to find ways to prove myself correct. Without a sense of inner self-worth and inherent “enoughness,” I hyper-fixated on all the feedback I received that told me I was “too little” or “too much” – comments that often reflect the other person’s internal insecurities and values… and I believed them deeply because of my own insecurities. 

 

The reality is that I had developed this deep internal belief about myself and then confirmation bias provided me the opportunity to find ways to prove myself correct. Click To Tweet

 

And then BAM… I hit the wall… I HAD enough.

Stunned by the impact,  I sat in an existential crisis and, this time, instead of running for another accomplishment or diving into overwork in order to temporarily numb the pain of this emptiness… I sat. I observed. I silenced the mind. I decided… No. More. Spinning. Enough is enough.  

I stepped off the merry-go-round and started learning more skills in how to be still, silent, and process through all the emptiness. At first, it felt like a hole of darkness… empty, lonely, and cold. However, over time, this darkness turned into hope and the black hole was replaced by a blank, bright white canvas with limitless possibilities. I began to feel grounded as I picked up the paintbrush while surrounded by a vast array of paint colors… admiring the newfound lightness and excitement as I realized that I get to create the painting before me… a representation of my life and a vision board of hope and rebirth. 

And as I breathe in and prepare to put color to the canvas, I put my hand to my heart and remind myself– You are safe. You are whole. You are “enough.”

Breathe out. Long exhale. 

Breathe in and repeat. You are safe. You are whole. You are “enough.” 

Join me as desired and know that… at this very moment… You are “enough.” Now and always.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email opmed@doximity.com. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Find out what we’re looking for here and submit your writing, or send us a pitch.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Submit your own article now here.

Share

2 Responses

  1. Thank you for your authenticity. I am glad that you have redefined enough and found a way to just be. Enjoy. We are always enough. the rest is just like icing on the cake. Chose your flavors, sprinkles.. if you feel like it, for fun – but the cake alone would absolutely be enough.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This learning experience is powered by CMEfy - a platform that brings relevant CMEs to busy clinicians, at the right place and right time. Using short learning nudges, clinicians can reflect and unlock AMA PRA Category 1 Credit.

Of Interest

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

The Unhappy Physician

The Unhappy Physician

Daniel Paull MD explains why he thinks that despite what the public thinks, most physicians are unhappy.

Social Dissections

[SERIES] Social Dissections

Join us in a visual and audio show, where we host light conversations with some of today’s standout healthcare experts.

David Norris, MD, MBA

Negotiate as a Physician and Win

Catch this 8-part series, hosted by physician & business consultant David Norris, MD, MBA & produced by Dana Corriel, MD. Learn to be a stronger negotiator with these important tactics.

Brand Your Social Media Content in a Day

Doctors Exploring Social Media

Raw and real social media-related questions, discussed in a video collection, hosted by Dana Corriel, MD, over a casual – but fun! – virtual setting.

Olga Calof, MD

Olga Calof, MD

My philosophy of care is to personally connect with patients, so we can work together to understand their disease, how it should be treated, and how to modify lifestyle choices to live the best life possible.

Judith Hong, MD

Judith Hong, MD

A board-certified dermatologist who loves and teaches mindful art classes, dance, and Reiki.

Deborah Gutman, MD, MPH

Deborah Gutman, MD, MPH

I coach and mentor pre-health and medical students with a growth mindset for successful applications to medical school and residency.

Want More?

Be a part of our healthcare revolution. Don't miss a thing SoMeDocs publishes!

Disclaimer: SoMeDocs assumes no responsibility for the accuracy, claims, or content of the individual experts' profiles, contributions and courses. Details within posts cannot be verified. This site does not represent medical advice and you should always consult with your private physician before taking on anything you read online. See SoMeDocs' Terms of Use for more information.

follow us

© 2024 SoMeDocs. All Rights Reserved.

Soak up our content & grow

Earn CME

Drop your email address below and we’ll email you the link for earning CME (through CMEfy). Please check your spam folder if you do not receive our email. We’ll also add you to our Sunday newsletter, so you can earn more CME’s reading our content!

Support A Platform that Celebrates Real Doctors

For just $10 a month, you can help keep this openly accessible site available to all & help us sponsor in more doctors.

Interested in subscribing
to our unique content?

Interested in subscribing to our unique content?

I acknowledge that this site is not to be used for medical advice.

Play Video
Our Founder Answers Your BURNING Question

SoMeDocs

“Why should I become a member of SoMeDocs if I already have my own space online?”

Site SoMeDocs Logo, square

WANT TO STAY IN THE LOOP?

DON'T MISS A SINGLE CONTENT PIECE.