Bringing your full self to work is a purposeful strategy for flourishing. This may also allow you to connect more deeply with patients and colleagues.
As a doctors and strengths coaches, we’ve spent years coaching others and reflecting on our own strengths.
Rachel: One of my strengths is individualization. I’m intrigued with the unique qualities of people and do my best to understand my patient’s perspective. This allows me to customize my approach to each patient and give personalized care, known as personomnics.
Charlene: I’ve always connected with the fact that everyone has a story, especially when it comes to my patients. Learning about my strengths as a relator to others is what makes me connect with this. I love connecting with my patients and hearing about their journey and what brought them to see me.
Healthcare professionals who make time to learn and leverage their strengths find more value and meaning at work. They have an increased sense of wellbeing: people who use there strengths are three times more likely to report an excellent quality of life. So, take time to learn your strengths.
Authenticity as a quest for self-discovery
The word “authentic” is described as the essential component to living our best self. The journey toward realizing our full authentic selves includes being an effective colleague, team member, and/or leader, and also applies to being a healthcare professional. In a world often defined by conformity and external expectations, the pursuit of authenticity and meaning in our work is a profound journey. In its ultimate form, the authentic clinician is able to recognize and apply the unique perspective, talents, strengths, and life experiences of themselves and their patients to achieve personalized and empathic care with each patient as as individual.
Authenticity requires recognition and acceptance of our strengths. It encourages us to recognize and harness our inherent strengths, empowering us to apply these strengths in practice. This process that’s marked by self-discovery is a pivotal step in the pursuit of authenticity. It leads to the profound realization that our unique perspective reflects our strengths and how we navigate the world and also applies to patients.
Strengths awareness: the key to defining authenticity
Professional and particularly leadership development readily applies a strengths-based approach to defining authenticity. The strengths-based approach to leadership development is used as a catalyst for understanding and nurturing the individual’s unique strengths but also those of their team and colleagues. This approach fosters an environment where individuals are encouraged to be authentic, contribute in ways that align with their strengths, and are both recognized and appreciated for doing so. In this nurturing environment, empathy thrives. It’s the recognition that everyone has their unique strengths, and everyone’s perspective is valuable. The acknowledgment of unique strengths helps individuals find a deeper sense of meaning in their work.
Strengths reflect values, values reflect purpose, purpose reflects passion = authentic clinician
The search for meaning in work is an intrinsic pursuit. It’s not just about the tasks we perform; it’s about the impact we have on the world around us. When we operate from a place of authenticity, we’re more able to effectively apply our strengths to living out our values to provide purpose to living our passion. Once our values and passions can be expressed in purpose we can live out our calling beyond just a vocation.
Exercising authenticity in clinical practice
Ultimately, the strengths-based approach enables clinicians to become better practitioners. By operating authentically and leveraging strengths, they develop a deeper connection with patients, giving care that goes beyond standard procedures and is imbued with a personal touch.
This process allows for the application of strengths in practice, reminding us that everyone has a story and every patient brings their unique perspective into the clinic. As healthcare professionals embrace authenticity and utilize strengths, they create a space where both patients and clinicians connect on a profound level, sharing a common journey toward understanding and empathy.
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This piece expresses the views solely of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of any organization, including Johns Hopkins Medicine.