At a young age, I decided I wanted to become a doctor. My dad was an oncologist, and it was common for strangers to recognize my last name and tell me that he had saved their family members’ lives; I wanted to have that same impact on others. So, I worked hard and succeeded throughout high school and college, and after getting a great score on the MCAT, I attended Baylor College of Medicine. Each step along the way seemingly affirmed my career decision, and I was on my way to saving people’s lives!
But soon after getting married during my third year of school, we found out my wife, Emily, was pregnant, and for the first time, I questioned this career path. I met her while leading mission work in college at Tulane, an experience that brought out the best in me. Leading a group of college students to serve the people in the isolated mountain villages outside of San Pedro Sula, Honduras was incredible – I was more passionate and motivated than I’d ever been before. I was on fire!
But I was not on fire during medical school. It wasn’t just the stress that every other student experienced; it almost brought out the worst in me. I resented other students who seemed to have it easier, and I looked for opportunities to criticize the curriculum. That negativity only hindered my success in school. After a lot of reflection, I decided to leave medical school, a decision that was affirmed by aptitude testing that told me the career of a physician would have been a terrible fit for me.
Even with that affirmation, though, I have had many weak moments of giving in to doubt and regret – I gave up such a reliable career for providing for my growing family, which has made it even more frustrating when I’ve been distressed with my jobs. In 2018, about four years after leaving medical school, I was at the lowest point in my career – I found myself once again looking at the results from my aptitude testing with no idea what I should do and how I would provide for my family.
That’s when I came across Angela Duckworth’s Grit, and I’m so thankful I did. Instead of stressing about the next 30 or so years of my career, I focused on how I could get better at that moment. I didn’t know where it would take me, but I knew that I needed to have the right mindset for my career and my family. I knew I needed to work towards becoming the person I was while leading mission work in Honduras. And I knew there was so much more I needed to learn to be the best I could be.
So why did I decide to start the On Your Mission blog?
After reading Grit and other similar books, I learned so much that has had a great impact on my career. And with my joy in coaching and impacting others, I realized I could help people to learn from these lessons and my experience. My hope is that they will improve their mindset to find greater motivation and joy with their work but also question their career plans sooner than I did.
And why “On Your Mission”?
To me, the phrase “on your mission” best sums up the mentality you need to succeed, whether it’s with your work, family, or hobbies. It’s the singular focus on accomplishing the task at hand, the motivation and determination to thrive. It’s focusing on your craft, striving to get better each and every day, and not shying away from adversity. With my writing, I hope I’ll help you to discover your own mission and what you need to do to thrive.