Purpose and Leadership

What kind of doctor will you be?

No, really…we’re talking about beyond choosing a specialty. You will gain a lot of knowledge in medical school. However, the most important things to your professional and leadership development are the not the answers, but in the questions. 

  • Do you have goals for your career?
  • Do you connect with a strong purpose?
  • Do you know your strengths?
  • Do you know the kind of network that you need to build?
  • Do you have a vision of yourself as a doctor practicing at the peak of excellence?

What are the questions that you should be asking yourself?

What kind of doctor will I be?

How will I show up for others?

How will I contribute?

Some Background About the Framework

Your ONE wild and precious life…

This is YOUR life. What is the unique way that you will contribute unique talents? How will you live your one ‘wild and precious’ life?


Know your meaning and purpose…

Studying “external knowledge” isn’t going to differentiate you. What will make the difference is when you understand your meaning and purpose. Very few people know their meaning and purpose. It’s easier not to think about it. However, you need to think about it; everything you want to accomplish begins with this. This journey towards meaning and purpose is the story of your life. The real work is within.

The TWO “halves” of your medical education


Education has two “halves”. There’s the half that deals with the “HOW”. For example, how do I do an H&P? That is the domain of knowledge and skills. Medical school is full of knowledge and skills.

Meaning and purpose deals with the “WHY”? This is the work on the “inside”, the work to build your identity. You’re not going to be graded on the “Why”. So you ignore the “Why”. You can only do that for so long. Without a clear sense of meaning and purpose, you begin to lose your connection with what is meaningful in medicine.

You need to know both the “HOW” and the “WHY“

The THREE domains of meaning & purpose (and leadership)


One develops meaning and purpose through an internal process of reflection. What are the questions that I should be asking myself? There are many questions, but there are three “domains” that these questions align with.


The first domain is the intrapersonal domain of “MEANING” (SELF). (What kind of doctor will I be?)

The second domain is the interpersonal domain of “COMMUNITY(TEAM). (What is my way of leading and influencing others?).

The third domain is the extrapersonal domain of “PURPOSE” (SYSTEM) (What impact will I have?).