For a New Position
May your new work excite your heart,
Kindle in your mind a creativity
To journey beyond the old limits
Of all that has become wearisome.
May this work challenge you toward
New frontiers that will emerge
As you begin to approach them,
Calling forth from you the full force
And depth of your undiscovered gifts.
May the work fit the rhythms of your soul,
Enabling you to draw from the invisible
New ideas and a vision that will inspire.
Remember to be kind
To those who work for you,
Endeavor to remain aware
Of the quiet world
That lives behind each face.
Be fair in your expectations,
Compassionate in your criticism.
May you have the grace of encouragement
To awaken the gift in the other’s heart,
Building in them the confidence
To follow the call of the gift.
May you come to know that work
Which emerges from the mind of love
Will have beauty and form.
May this new work be worthy
Of the energy of your heart
And the light of your thought.
May your work assume
A proper space in your life;
Instead of owning or using you,
May it challenge and refine you,
Bringing you every day further
Into the wonder of your heart.
–John O’Donohue, from To Bless the Space Between Us
I know Labor Day is not about doctors, but I’m thinking about all workers and how we each relate to our work. I discovered the poem above earlier this summer and loved it. Rereading it this weekend, it resonated even more deeply and I shared it with some friends. Since taking on a new leadership role about 20 months ago, it feels like I have really lived into these aspirations, as if the cosmos has held this blessing for me a while already. I was primed for the call; I summoned every skill and insight I already possessed; still the learning curve has proven steep. And no success is achieved alone! The steady, honest, and loving support I enjoy from so many humbles me beyond expression.
Our practice recently welcomed new physicians and staff, and I will soon share this piece with the whole team. Even for us veterans, it never hurts to look at our everyday work with new eyes, as if approaching it for the first time.
I hope O’Donohue’s words above speak to you in your chosen vocation, even if your occupation does not fulfill all of these lofty ideals (it’s kind of a lot of pressure to put on a job). I wish you work that is much more meaningful than stressful. If that’s not the case, I hope for you an effective and peace-giving way to reconcile this and find great meaning elsewhere in life.
And I thank you for the work you do, whatever it is.