Every day I write out my major goals in the morning. The reason I do this is to ensure that every day I start by reminding myself what’s important so I seize opportunities and take action in the direction of my priorities.

I run a number of companies that serve doctors to assist them with their careers, their wealth, and their well-being. Four years ago I decided that something needed to change in the medical profession. I didn’t know exactly what, but regardless I began writing a goal every morning to, ‘Evolve the status quo of the medical profession.’ For two years I would write this every morning, not knowing ‘how’ I would achieve it. But I persisted because I knew it mattered.

Three years ago I began researching the impact of stress on doctors, because I was seeing it become more and more of a problem. The results of my research were shocking; 87% of doctors are over-stressed, stress leads to depersonalisation, emotional disconnection from the patient, and depersonalisation leads to increases in major medical errors.

Despite ‘first do no harm’ underlining our profession, the way we are being as doctors is causing us to harm our patients.

But I still didn’t know how I was going to evolve out profession.

One year ago I was speaking to all the graduating medical students around New Zealand about well-being, and I was reminded of the Declaration of Geneva, our modern day hippocratic oath. Suddenly it became obvious how I was going to evolve our profession; the Declaration of Geneva had nothing in it about doctor health and well-being. My research was conclusive, doctor well-being is critical to providing the best standard of care, so I decided that if I could get it included in the Declaration of Geneva then it would cause our profession to take notice and action and we would become a better profession; we would evolve.

I began a petition and I began lobbing the World Medical Association to include doctor well-being in the DoG. This led to the WMA inviting me to present to them at their annual General Assembly in Taiwan about this. I presented on October 18 to a working group set up to review the DoG. There was unanimous support and on October 19 they presented the change to the WMA ethics committee which also supported it unanimously. It will now go through public consultation then it will be presented to the WMA General Assembly in October next year for ratification.

I could hardly believe it; after four years of knowing I needed to evolve our profession, and having started out with no idea ‘how’, I had gotten to the point where I could influence the value-set of our profession in a positive way.

This process has highlighted to me two key points:

  • When you believe in an outcome enough, you don’t need to know ‘how’ at the start

  • When you hold an intention consistently for long enough, you will find the ‘how’

If you are not achieving what you currently want to, consider these questions:

  • Have you started out with the how, not with the outcome?

  • Have you changed your focus too often so you haven’t executed well?

There’s that old saying that we overestimate what we can achieve in a year, and underestimate what we can achieve in a lifetime.

Playing the long game is the only way to make sure that lifetime achievement bucket counts.