Change, accept or leave: wisdom for physicians who feel stuck

Often in coaching sessions, a client will bring to the session a problem or obstacle in their path forward. In life, challenging situations can make us feel stuck and unable to move. We find ourselves remaining in relationships, jobs, or patterns that no longer fulfill us.

Years ago, I came upon a powerful mantra: “change, accept, or leave.” This wisdom shifted my focus from my problems to the possible solutions for my problems. Often when faced with a difficulty, we forget that we actually have choices.

We can decide to attempt to change the situation. It might mean we have to change our behavior or perspective. It could involve having that intimidating conversation with a boss or partner, asking them to make changes. Going this route requires us to be willing to make a request (possibly new territory for us) and be prepared for the aftermath. Things may fall apart, or we might just get what we want.

Sometimes after taking time to ponder our conundrum, we do not think we can change, or we realize the situation or the other person will never change (regardless of what they might say). We are now left with two other options: accepting or leaving.

We can make the decision to accept our circumstances. Acceptance requires surrendering to “it is what it is.” Staying in this space might involve adding stress-reduction exercises to our day. It may mean keeping an unfulfilling day job while working on our true passion on the weekends as we save money or figure out a plan. It could mean seeking therapy to learn how to cope with someone who will remain a part of our life. It could mean partnering with a coach to expand our view of ourselves and what we want to create in our life.

Lastly, we can leave. We can set down a boundary or block a number. We can quit a job or move out of state. We can end a relationship.

By no means are any of these three choices easy. They will come at a cost. We must ask ourselves, what price are we willing to pay? Each choice also opens up possibilities and potential; are we open to that?

Deepti Gandhi is a family physician.


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