Change Your Identity Today

By | June 25, 2014

usmle id

Change Your Identity Today

Don’t wait for tomorrow

This is essential if you want to become the future you. Up until this point you have wanted to become a doctor. That has been your primary goal and has given all of us a powerful identity as pre-med students and then medical students. For the last 4+ years, we have built behaviors around becoming and functioning as medical students and before that it was aligning our lives with the desire to go into medical school.  You are about to accomplish this goal.  It is now inevitable. You will be a doctor.

We need to work on your identity and prepare, in advance, for this step to reduce the likelihood of the common identity void that occurs once this title has been bestowed upon us and our mindset is still stuck in the rut of being a medical student. Now is the time for your uniqueness to shine through.  Create a significant shift towards a new identity that will put you above all the other medical students (in your class and across the country).

Keep in mind that to accomplish lofty goals, we sometimes have to ‘fake it til we make it.’  There is some significant psychology behind this idea, but it truly breaks down to a simple positive feedback loop.  This starts with a change in mindset (thought) prior to actually achieving a particular position, residency spot or any goal for that matter. The shift in identity comes from deeply believing that the thing you are striving for is possible to achieve. And more importantly, possible for you to achieve!

The goal is to match into the specialty of your choice. To do that, you will need to change your identity because [Surprise!] residency committees do NOT want medical students. They desire residents with clear goals and aspirations. Clarity is Power! Once you are clear and confident (or appear to be), there are very few people that will stand in your way and most of them will either step aside or desire to help you accomplish them.

Achieving clarity and a change in identity is easier than you may think. We have the benefit of living a very goal-oriented life up until this point that has strengthened our character, given us powerful validation, and contributed well to our current medical student identity.  That being said, we need to think outside the box and DREAM a little. What is possible? What can YOU achieve? What do you want out of medicine? Or better yet, what do you want from life?

 Use your answers to the previous questions to consciously shift your mindset and create new goals. A simple example would include eliminating repetition of common phrases that we have all said thousands of times like “I am going to medical school” or “I am going to be a doctor.” Transition to statements like  “I am going to be a successful emergency room physician and live in Manhattan” or “I am going to become one of the country’s most respected Thoracic surgeons who trained at Cedars Sinai.” Fill in the blank with what you truly want to become. Remember, the goals you create are based on the future you with skills galore.  Jim Rohn, business philosopher, once said, ” Set the type of goals that will make something of you to achieve them.”

***Write down the goal or new identity*** The act of writing it down affirms it in your mind and allows you to begin to act in a way that proves without a doubt that you deserve it and will accomplish it.

Once you have a final goal/aspiration assume the new identity and set up your future to be congruent with accomplishing this goal.  As stated before, this will make residency interviews relaxing and eliminate stress because you not only have clarity and your new identity but your actions and speech also confirm your resolution to achieving your specific goals.