Know Thyself.

Know Thyself.

One of the most difficult tasks I face as a coach and consultant is helping doctors better understand what it is they want and who they want to become. It’s also the most rewarding part of my job. Erich Fromm said, “Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become who he potentially is.”

I’ve spent private coaching days with hundreds and hundreds of doctors and small business owners from all walks of life. Often, these clients walk out of the room with an entirely different mindset and clarity of thought, able to implement new strategies with renewed energy and enthusiasm. They leave with a vivid image of what they want to achieve in life. Sometimes, however, doctors struggle to “give birth” to themselves. They can’t see their own potential.

I’ve been doing this long enough to understand the difference between the doctors who quickly double or triple the size of their practice, those who expand confidently and open new locations, hire more doctors, see a bigger vision for their world and achieve goal after goal and those who are stuck. Would you like to know the secret?

The doctors and clients who are able to achieve so much more than their counterparts in much less time are all very realistic about who they are, where their strengths lie and are completely honest with themselves about what that means in terms of chasing down their goals. They understand other people and human behavior not because they are more gifted, more charismatic, better leaders or recipients of good luck, but because they have taken the time to get acquainted with themselves.

They are able to work backwards from their goals and list 50 ways their own biases, tendencies and weaknesses will get in the way. Then, they never go there. They go around.

By knowing yourself, you can do the same. Spend some time this week somewhere quiet. Go for a hike early in the morning. Sit and watch the sun come up and ask yourself these two questions. “Who am I and what do I want to do with the rest of my life.”

The smartest and most successful people on the planet have extremely clear answers to these two questions. Everyone else cannot know and understand others, cannot leverage and organize human capital to achieve big things and will never understand why because they don’t understand themselves.

Worked at Burleson Orthodontics. Attended University of Missouri–Kansas City. Lives in Kansas City, Missouri.