Undergrads: I’ll be happy when I get into med school.
Med students: I’ll be happy when I get into residency.
Residents: I’ll be happy when I’m an attending.
Attendings: I’ll be happy when I retire.
99% of physicians have the ‘I’ll Be Happy When’ disease

Here’s how to fix it:
Source = my experience coaching 500+ docs, teaching at HMS, and practicing medicine for 20+ years. Plus I was a CMO for about a month :)

Step 1: Awareness. You need to recognize that I’ll Be Happy tomorrow means I won’t be happy today.
Step 2: Part of this awareness is looking retroactively: If you weren’t happy as a med student or resident, what makes you think you’ll be happy today?
Step 3: Get over conditional happiness. We have this fantasy that when our external state is X, our internal state will be Y. Couldn’t be further from the truth.
Step 3 continued: The goal is to get to a place where despite what’s going on around us (read: healthcare dysfunction,) we’re able to maintain happiness. No matter what stage of our physician journey we’re in.
Step 4: Recognize that at one point in your life you dreamed about being where you are today. Wake up. Appreciate what you’ve accomplished. Let yourself be happy today.
I call this the ‘I’ll Be Happy When” malady and so many physicians I’ve coached struggle with it that I wrote a book on the topic, Mindful MD. Get your copy here:
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