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!