How do you make important decisions? Do you go by your gut, some sort of defined process, or perhaps a combination of the two? When we’re offered an opportunity to participate in something that seems amazing, it’s almost always associated with a cost. That cost is time. Every ‘yes’ is accompanied by even more ‘no’s’.
In today’s episode, we take a look inside a real coaching session that addresses just this scenario. Our client is a physician who wants to develop a decision-making process so that he can derive meaning from his professional life and not take on projects or jobs that on the surface sound intriguing but may end up draining rather than fueling him.
Josh Russell MD is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Urgent Care Medicine and is double board certified in Palliative Care and Emergency Medicine. Apart from his clinical practice, he is a writer, educator, entrepreneur, and trivia enthusiast.
Want to re-spark the joy in your practice, get home on time, or just unstick what’s feeling stuck? Start here to learn more about 1 on 1 coaching. You’ll be glad you did.
Episode highlights and session notes
General topic for the session:
Derive meaning from my professional life.
Why is this important right now?
“I overextend myself in a lot of different capacities. I’m just enthusiastic about a lot of things and fall prey to the planning fallacy where I think I can take on a lot more than I can and then I end up a bit over-committed. So if I can figure out what is the most meaningful for me to pursue then, or at least some heuristic of determining what the likelihood of deriving meaning from it is, then I think I’ll be the most satisfied.
And I’ll also be less at risk for taking on projects that are. Not gonna be meaningful or not gonna be rewarding.
Develop a screening question or questions for when I get excited about a project or opportunity so that I can decide whether it’s a hell yes or a no. Here’s what it looked like in real-time…
Question: What are the common threads in the projects in your life that have had longevity and durable joy?
- Personal growth
- Opportunity for creativity
- Continually progressing
- Build on what you’ve built so far
- Relationships, collaboration 1+1=3
- Be surrounded by fellow creatives
- Financially rewarding in a way your time is valued
- Physically sustainable (don’t want to travel)
- It’s got to be fun or at least have the opportunity for that
Question: What are the common threads in the projects in your life that have NOT had longevity and durable joy but seemed exciting when you said yes?
- Totally unsolicited
- Extra clinical shifts
- Extra unwanted stress – need to have insight on what the job is like
- Intuition, spidey sense that this is going to suck
- Doing it just for external merit.
- Distract from other things passionately working on, will this create a lot of no’s
The Josh Russell Hell Yes or No Screening Questionnaire
- If no one knew you did it would you still do it?
- If I had $10 million in the bank, would I take on this project or opportunity if I didn’t get paid?
- Is this opportunity getting me closer to my idealized version of myself or a path to being a miserable son of a bitch (based on past experience)?
- Will this take disproportionate time that leads to family neglect?
- Take stock of bandwidth. Do I have room for this or will I have to throw something out?
- If I were asking myself advice on what to do, listen to how is it being described, am I being fooled by fools gold?
- What are the potential upsides and downsides/risk-benefit beyond just opportunity costs to the other projects I’m working on??
- Take a beat and don’t answer right away. Sleep on it!