I’m Feeling… What?

file2441282849782The healthcare system is under pressure. Doctors, hospitals, and pretty much everyone else in healthcare today, are trying to adjust as best they can. Organizations are changing; but willingly or reluctantly, changing can create intense emotions. Healthcare leaders across the country are feeling the stress. Me too.

The small firm that I have had the privilege of leading is being transformed from a relatively unimportant part of our provider system to a mission-critical nerve center for population health management. For over four years I’ve been helping to shape the vision and manage the change, but about a year ago I realized that, for several reasons (none bad), I was probably not the best fit for the new leadership role being created. I was open with my boss about it back then, and he’s been great.

Fast forward to now. A new leader has been named. An insider, she’s smart, experienced, powerful and, very importantly, kind. We’ve always gotten along well. Now, I’ll be working for her in a narrower (but still fairly large), clinically focused role. My former direct reports will become my peers, and I’m relocating in the building and switching to a new assistant. But here’s the deal – even though I knew this was coming, even though I know it’s the right thing, and even though I started it – I am having an emotional response for which I was unprepared.

It’s hard to describe other than to say that I’m a little out of sorts. Taking my own advice, and that of my psychologist friend Tony Ferretti, I’m trying to work through my feelings, but what exactly am I feeling? Certainly not full-on embarrassment, shame or humiliation, but maybe awkwardness? Is “awkwardness” a feeling? Must be. Also uncertainty and a sense of disequilibrium. How’s this going to work out? What comes next? Mild sadness and sense of loss for sure, and more than a little bit of wistfulness for what could have been. I could have been the leader, if only a few things were different. I think that about sums it up.

This isn’t a career disaster by any means and working through my feelings won’t be a terrible ordeal, but I am trying to be intentional about it. When my friends ask how I’m doing, I reply honestly, and they’re helping me with their listening ears. Same with my new boss, and for that matter, my old boss too. [some career advice – if possible work only for kind people.] I’m a thinker, and thinking through my situation in the context of the Christian worldview is helping me to keep events proper perspective. Finally, I’m praying and trusting God and his Holy Spirit to create in me a good attitude and a cheerful countenance.

All in all, things are fine. I am very blessed, but resolving emotions takes time. Don’t ask me why; that’s just how we humans are made. So I’m giving myself time to get “back in sorts.” Meanwhile I’ll keep pressing on, showing up, doing what needs to be done, smiling and living the dream!

If you’re human, you’re probably struggling with some emotions yourself, maybe ones that are much more severe or intense than are mine. Don’t ignore them, suppress them, or give in to them. Rather identify them, and begin the work of resolving them productively. Give yourself time to heal, but show up and do what needs to be done. Trust God.

Let me know if I can help.

Pete

Comments

  1. Bravo to you for being clear about what you are not, and being proactive about protecting your personal integrity. You took a stand, and with that comes inherent emotional adjustments. The good news is that making those adjustments will yield personal growth. We are never more clear about who we are than when life compels us to take a stand. Good will surely come of this, for you are most powerful when your head, heart, and soul are fully aligned. Sounds like the perfect time to redefine “living the dream”.

    • Peter Weiss says:

      Hi Linda,
      Thank you for the encouragement. More will be revealed as God sees fit, and I intend to keep living the dream regardless.
      Pete

  2. Pete, good for you in being transparent and open enough to share your thoughts and feelings. I’m certain that God has a plan for you and as you continue to sense and follow his calling more will be revealed. As we’ve discussed in our work on the book, identifying, experiencing, expressing, and closing our emotions enable us to grow in our life. Be patient with the process and remember Jeremiah 29:11-13.

    • Peter Weiss says:

      Thank you Tony. Of course God has a plan, and it’s a good one, but I wish he’d send me an email about it.
      Pete 🙂