Leadership is a function of questions. And the first question for a leader always is: “Who do we intend to be?” not “What are we going to do?” but “Who do we intend to be?” ~ Max DePree

This is a tougher question to answer than it first appears. When confronted by this question, most students default to a medical specialty. I’m going to a pediatrician. While medical specialty is indeed an aspect of that question, but how will you define yourself relative to all the other pediatricians? One might also say, I’m going to an educator (or a researcher). That might be an aspect that separates you from someone who is purely clinical, but does even that capture the essence of who you are (or will be) as a doctor?

Let’s look it a a different way.

You are 82 years old and have completed a long and meaningful career in medicine. You have had a distinguished track record of achievement and impact, and are beginning to write your memoir to pass down your message. Consider the following:

  • What is the title of your memoir?
  • What is the take-away message of the memoir?
  • In your memoir, describe how you cared for patients in your own unique way.
  • In your memoir, describe how you positively impacted those around you in your own unique way.
  • In your memoir, describe what you would be most proud of.

So, what kind of doctor will you be? This is not an easy question to answer. You are called upon to define for yourself, a unique and an authentic vision of you as a doctor at your very best. You are called upon to walk the path towards becoming that doctor. In that process, you will find meaning, you will serve, and you will have the courage to lead.

(For an exercise to help you reflect and gain clarity, click on the following link)