Doctor, Are You In Your Career Groove? Three Indicators to Look At

I recently spent a long weekend visiting my parents in Albuquerque and while I was getting ready for my daily morning walk, I heard a familiar voice blaring from their 3 television sets that reminded me how sweet it is to be in your “career groove.”

The clarion call I heard was this: “Come on down!”

The voice was Rod Roddy, side-kick to 83-year old master of MCs, Bob Barker, the 30-year veteran host of “The Price is Right.”

Every time I visit my parents I get my regular dose of Bob Barker (my parents are close to his age and are huge “Bob” fans). Plus I get to marvel at Bob Barker’s authentic energy.

Barker is a vivid and marvelous poster-gentleman for a unique human situation that few people achieve. What is that situation? No, it’s not the money. It’s something more significant:

Bob is a guy who is completely in his “career groove.”

What is a Career Groove and Why Should You Care?

So what exactly does it mean to be in your career groove?

  • For one it means you love your work so much, you can keep on doing it and loving it all the way into retirement and beyond.
  • And it means one more thing: what you’re doing is perfectly aligned with your natural gifts and talents. You bring your WHOLE self to work.

So, what does it matter to you or anyone if you’re NOT in your career groove? It matters foremost to you, and secondarily to your community.

Where are you on the “Joy-Meter?”

From my perspective, a lot of physicians and professionals live their life somewhere between “outwardly successful but not completely content” and “professionally constrained and wanting more.”

Life goes on, years pass, children grow up, you take vacations, you get a new car, you sit on a hospital committee, you go to a continue-ed conference.

I knew a physician once many years ago who at the end of each day would count down: “Only 11 years, 5 months and 3 days to go before I retire.” He took vacations and went skiing, had a nice family remarried . . . and yet he was sadlyresigned to the countdown.

Not being in your career groove doesn’t mean that you are experiencing a career crisis or even burnout—but something important is missing.

That missing element is this:

The opportunity to be MORE COMPLETELY engaged (body, mind, spirit) and more completely OF SERVICE to the world.

It is from that level of engagement that we experience pure joy.

“Career Groove Indicators” – See Where You Are

Here are three indicators to gauge how muchyou are in own Career Groove — and in a future article, I’ll share some thoughts on how to “get your groove back.”

Career Groove Indicator

Scoring: For each Indicator Statement score yourself as follows

  • 3 points: I am completely aligned
  • 2 points: I want to be aligned, and am in the process of taking steps now to be completely aligned
  • 1 point: I want to be aligned, but not sure of the next steps

Career Groove Indicator #1:

I look forward to every day and look ahead to the near horizon with a sense of optimism.

Career Groove Indicator #2:

I am developing mastery in some aspect of my work—mastery based on recognition of my passion, natural talents and gifts.

Note: your mastery can be in a clinical area, a leadership domain, a communication skill , a creative path, or something unrelated to your current work . Career Groove Indicator #3:

I have no regrets about the course my life is taking right at this moment and feel grateful for everything and everyone around me.

Note: One way to answer this is, What if you or a loved one were struck down; are you focusing your energy on what you care about most? What barriers do you want to remove, or conversations do you need to have, or actions would you take in order to feel “no regrets”?

What does your score indicate?

If you scored between 8 and 9: Congratulations! You’re in your career groove or heading fast in that direction. Find someone to mentor!

If you scored between 6 and 7: Your career groove is not far away. You know what to do next, so what is holding you back?

If you scored between 3 and 5: Your desire is strong, but if the “next steps” elude you, it’s time to seek outside help.

You might be asking yourself: But as a doctor, am I not already “being of service” to the world, and isn’t that “groove” enough?

The answer is No, Yes, and Maybe:

  • No, if you’re not spiritually engaged in what you’re doing,
  • Yes, if you are completely engaged, and
  • Maybe, if can bring your total repertoire of natural talents, strengths and gifts to work every day

So why not go for gold and “pure joy”?

In a future issue I will delve deeper into how to find your career groove and ways to get aligned. In the meantime think about what natural strengths, talents or gifts you were meant to share with world. Once you put these to serve, PURE JOY is the natural by-product!

Power Up Your Small Business – Transform With Technology

If you are a small business owner and you are looking to increase your ability to do more in less time, then harnessing the benefits of technology could be the answer. We take a look some of the ways your business can harness technology to help take it to the next level.

1. Automate Administration

Look to automate as much of your administrivia and backend procedures as possible. Start with any of the functions that are repetitive or time-consuming. Automating these processes will assist in reducing the amount of time taken giving you additional capacity to take on other functions. Typical applications you should consider are word processing and spreadsheet functions.

Using word processing applications allows you to set up templates, merge documents and create forms, or you can go one better and install software such as Microsoft Groove and create online forms. Email applications allow you to communicate quickly and easily using email

2. Formalise Finances

Installing Accounting applications, such as MYOB or Quickbooks, is a fantastic way to formalise your finances. It allows you to quickly and easily enter your financial information. It also allows you to work quickly and effectively with your accountant when it comes preparing Business Activity Statements, end of month financial reports and end of year taxation activities. This all helps keep your accounting fees under control. Another benefit is that you have the ability to create a raft of important financial reports, including cashflow forecasts, debtor aging, sales reports, etc which helps to provide vital information to assist in effective decision-making.

3. Corral Customers

Using software to establish a centralised customer database has enormous benefits for your business. Firstly, it keeps your information together, in one location, and becomes a single source of the truth. This ensures that your business is not at the mercy of one or two key employees and acts as a ready reference for new employees, enabling them to get up to speed quickly.

Having a customer database is the foundation stone for effective marketing. You will be able to analyse, profile and segment your customer database in order to better understand your customers, their needs and wants, which will enable you to better target and market to your customers and to develop new and improved products.

4. Open Online

Establish an online version of your business. A fully functioning e-commerce site is like having another branch of your business open. It allows people to research your business, your products and your services at their convenience. It also provides your customers the opportunity to shop from the comfort of their home or office, which could be local, national or anywhere in the world.

5. Master Marketing

Using online marketing techniques, allows you to design, develop and deliver marketing campaigns quickly, easily and much more cheaply than using traditional mail. Online marketing software allows you to automate campaigns at sign-on, for special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries, set up seasonal campaigns such as Christmas or holidays and can even automate the delivery of training and education programs.

6. Start Socialising

Use social media, such as Twitter and Facebook to market your business. These sites are a fantastic way to reach potential customers and to create a sense of community, which helps to create customer loyalty. Social media can also be used to build influence, improve your business or personal reputation and earn your customers trust.

7. Consolidate Communications

Implementing a centralised and online communications hub within your business enables you to gather your organisations communications in one place and provides ready access to all your staff members. Software such as Sharepoint can help consolidate all those important communications in one place. Documents you may like to include are standard operations guides, company policies, employee guides, Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines, memos, research papers, project information and status reports, meeting agenda’s and minutes – to name but a few.

8. Initiate Integration

Start to look at ways you can integrate these systems to make your life even easier. For example, you may want your online business automatically download transaction information to your accounting package, or your customer database to synch with your online marketing software.

Looking for ways to automate your business can help you to make your business operations, faster, easier and simpler. They can also provide additional capacity into cash strapped businesses with limited resources.

Continue to look for opportunities to power up your small business.

Small Business’ and Microsoft Office 2007

When you start up a small business, one of the questions you need to address is what software is essential to my business? As a small business consultant, I have seen many companies, owner managed businesses and sole traders start up and be faced with this question, invariably linked to very scarce capital resources. The main purpose is to get software that can quickly sort out complex data and unburden the computer with the help of a fast processor in a stable manner.

Although there are other software suites available, available in a number of versions, Microsoft Office provides the essential applications and is the most commonly used. For business purposes, the options open to you are; Office Standard, Small Business, Professional or Ultimate.

Microsoft Office Standard 2007:

The entry level for Office, this version includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. These are the basic essentials of most businesses, a word processor (Word) a spreadsheet (Excel) a presentation package (PowerPoint) and a combined email, calendar/ diary, address book function (Outlook).

Microsoft Office Small Business 2007:

The Small Business version includes all the above applications with the addition of Publisher 2007 while the Outlook version includes Business Contact Manager, which helps you to organise all your business contacts, rather like an rudimentary CRM system. Publisher is a desktop publisher package, designed to help you create publications and marketing material. In fact, this can really help you to save money. You can create your own letterhead, business cards and compliment slips and print them off as required, rather than go to the expense buying several hundred from a commercial printer.

Microsoft Office Professional 2007:

This version includes everything above and includes Access 2007. This database is invaluable if you need to handle large volumes of data and want to make it relational, such as contact lists, orders and stock. It includes templates of common applications and is reasonably easy to use.

Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007:

Probably a bit over the top for a start up, comprising as it does, all the above applications with OneNote 2007, Groove 2007 and InfoPath 2007 as well. OneNote is an extremely flexible application that allows you to keep unstructured notes in a series of tabs. For example, if you are researching product lines, you could keep screen shots, URLs, and competitive information, all in the same place. When the business is larger and can justify a server, OneNote is an invaluable area to let your employees keep ideas and brainstorming thoughts.

Groove is another application that is really designed for use by a number of people on a network. It helps you to keep common files in one place and notifies those people who need to access them when there are any changes to those files. InfoPath is an application that allows you to create forms used to gather data which can be used in conjunction with databases or online. As the forms are based on XML, they have extensive applications in Ecommerce.

Of course, every business has different needs, so you will need to choose the version most applicable to your requirements.