To achieve greatness in my career, I have to sacrifice a balanced life?


This is my second week of Scholars, so I’ve only partially explored the Vault so far. I’m going to start by stating my impossible goal and question first so these don’t get lost in the rambling that will likely follow:

My impossible goal: I have mastered my subspecialty training with flying colors, and I did it while honoring my own well-being, my marriage, and my motherhood.

Question: What self-coaching strategy should I focus on first to start moving beyond the current/past version of myself and gaining traction on the path towards the version who is living my impossible goal? I’m feeling overwhelmed by my current thought models themselves as well as the abundance of self-coaching resources available to begin finding clarity.

Ok, now the rambling:

Without getting too in the weeds with details about my job and situation – basically, I’m a physician in subspecialty training, which is quite demanding of my time and energy. I also have two wonderful little children and a husband I really want to spend time with, as well as practice some modicum of self-care on the regular. I also dream of the day I can have hobbies again too. I was “criticized” by my program director today because I didn’t know one of my patient cases “inside out.” He is an excellent doctor, a world-class proceduralist, holds an extremely high standard for himself and those he trains, and I respect him very much. However, the way I have been interpreting his feedback of me lately is “I’m not doing enough. Not nearly enough. He wants more of me than I am able to/willing to give.” He will often say things like “you can see this work as a job – clock in/clock out – that’s fine. But to be a real expert, you really have to know everything” and he likens this training to becoming a professional athlete or special-ops agent. This type of thinking is rampant in medicine. I find myself very influenced by his models – positively and negatively. He is both inspiring of big goals and triggering of my most negative self-talk.

I want to be good at this job. I want to be a great physician with excellent skills, but I don’t think I’m willing to give up the other things I care about to become that. Or at least I’m having trouble seeing a way around “sacrifice” as the path to being really good at something while still being a happy human. In the day-to-day, I find myself working hard (50-60 hr weeks, not including uncounted study time after hours and on weekends) but not fully genuinely committing to giving “110%” because I’m teetering on the brink of burnout more often than I’d like to admit. My brain is going nuts at the moment, so I’ll just do a download…

What I’m willing to give is not enough
Nothing I do will ever be enough
I can’t do more – I have kids
To be great, I will have to sacrifice the other parts of my life
If I choose a balanced life, I’ll never be great – I sacrifice standing out in my career
I can’t be all-in at work without giving up my life outside of work
The kids won’t want to snuggle you forever
They’re only little for a short time
They’ll be big in a blink of an eye and you’ll have missed it
I’m trying so hard, but not getting any credit for the effort I am putting in
There’s just too much to learn and too much do
I don’t have enough time and energy to do it all
This is not a reasonable goal while raising young kids
I’ve bitten off way more than I can chew
I can’t be trusted because I don’t know everything “inside out”
I shouldn’t have pursued this fellowship in the first place
I shouldn’t want to just “clock in/clock out”
A job you just clock in/clock out of = mediocrity
Mediocrity = the worst thing to be, not good enough, nothing special, unworthy (this toxic thought has followed me around for a long time)

Any guidance on which self-coaching strategy/curriculum to use to start cracking this open would be so very appreciated!