Shhhhhhhh(eesh)! I am confessing my sins. As part of our mentoring discussions we try to keep one another honest & in-check with, what seems to be, integrative health professionals’ innate flair for over-delivering. Name someone right now from another health modality that spends as much time on researching & working up your patients as you do. Name another kind of health professional who makes themselves as accessible as you do to their patients. See, I know
your type. And feeling like a donkey (in many regards) but especially as in the context of this evocative picture, is not something that happens just once in your career, which you learn from, adjust your load, and never repeat. I should know, I’ve had a bit of a donkey year, myself 🙄
Our old mate, Albert (Einstein), said, “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”
I think, for health professionals (at-times) over-endowed with care mixed with an infinite curiosity (for answers), we can find ourselves with quite the ‘heady mix’, an excessively heavy load and on a slippery slope of over-delivering. This manifests in different forms at different stages of our career. I’ve talked about some ‘so-common-I-wish-I-had-a-dollar-for-every’… ways practitioners over-deliver in the clinic before. But for those of us that are seasoned practitioners, we master the basics…no sharing of personal mobile phones or even email addresses, clear communication with clients about appropriate times and means of contact, we even commit to taking some time out for ourselves and our own wellbeing (Wowee watch us go!! Physician Heal Thyself!) but often we just find new ways to over-deliver. They sneak in and up on us. It takes us a while to realise we’re back in a familiar place of dangling donkey feet in the air, over-burdened by our load.
But perhaps we should think of this as Process (a lifetime one of becoming wise, like the other guy said) rather than a pathological problem.
And as we near the end of another year, a very taxing year for many of us, take this opportunity to pause, process the strengths and limitations of our practice model over the last 12months and adjust the load so we can proceed towards an ever more sustainable practice.
Because people need practitioners like us; full of care and curiosity, not overloaded donkeys who can’t go anywhere or carry their own load, let alone anyone else’s.
Got some tips you can share about healthy boundary setting for health professionals? We’d love to hear them 🙂