What Now? Questions to Ponder After You Have “Achieved it All”

It’s easy to make life into a checklist. 

  • Degree
  • Furry Baby and/or Biological Offspring
  • Stable job
  • Loving relationship(s)
  • Home

The line items are tangible and feel concrete and attainable. But what happens after you check each one off?

How do you measure success then?

Do you change to a certain number in the bank account or IRA? 

Do you expand the size of your garage, family or purchases?

Do you upgrade your upgrade?

Then what?

Can you ever really have it all?

I recently was coaching a fellow physician who from an external perspective “has it all.” She’s at a prestigious academic center as an awesome sub-specialist. She had done all the things on her checklist but had come to me because she felt stuck, undervalued and unfulfilled.

When I asked her the question, “What do you really want in your life?”, she felt a sense of panic and gloom then answered, “Am I just selfish for wanting more? For not being satisfied that I achieved my goals?”

And so the same thing I asked her, I ask you, “Maybe it’s time to redefine success. How would you set up your checklist now?”

Would it include more quality rather than quantity of things or people in your life?

What if you prioritized measuring joy and fulfillment rather than achievements?

Could pieces of your list actually be taking away instead of adding happiness?

You get to decide what is success

It’s totally ok to want nice things and to check off tangibles on your list. What’s not ok is sacrificing your life’s purpose (which is what ultimately brings you happiness and satisfaction) to pursue them. 

It’s also not ok to let yourself pivot once you have reached those goals. You change, life changes, goals get to change too.

We all have to course correct every now and again. One of the best questions to do this is ask, “Does the life I’m living align with my values and who I am at my core?”

I’ll leave you with a mantra: External validation is nice, but _____ makes me truly happy. 

Fill in that blank with whatever makes the most sense to you. And then prioritize the heck out of it! 

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Errin Weisman DO

Errin Weisman, DO is the self-proclaimed wellness guru on Authentic Medicine. She is a life coach, podcaster and fierce advocate for wellness in medicine. She faced professional burnout early in her career and speaks openly about her story in order to help others, particularly female physicians and working moms, know they are not alone. Dr. Weisman wholeheartedly believes to be a healer, you must first fill your own cup. She lives and practices life coaching and medicine in rural Southwestern Indiana, loves her roles as farmer’s wife, athlete and mother of three.You can find out more about Dr. Weisman on her podcast Doctor Me First, her website truthrxs.com or hang out with her on social media @truthrxs. Her podcast is “Doctor Me First”.

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4 Responses

  1. PW says:

    My wife and I have come to the conclusion that the key to happiness is 7 dogs… more or less.

    • Kurt says:

      Who does the walking? :-). We had 6 indoor felines. Our house was perfect for it as there was one door to the main living area and bedrooms. Cats had the tiled kitchen, wood floor all seasons room that was bright and sunny and the large linoleum floored basement. They all had their own personalities and I remembered watching TV in the basement and I’d be petting a cat in each hand, one would be in my lap, one at my feet and one wrapped around my neck. Only disadvantage was the 60 to 70 lbs of dirty cat litter every week. They’re all gone now after living pretty long lives. My favorite Ragmuffin made it to 21. Wife got all their cremains in a cat shaped canopic jar in her casket when she passed. Now I’m petless and can leave the interior doors open

  2. Arthur Gindin says:

    I agree. We all have to define SUCCESS IN OUR OWN TERMS! I failed to do that!

  3. Rick says:

    Personally, I don’t give a damn about goals or achievement. My needs are simple. I want to got to work each day and enjoy my day. Enjoy my staff. Enjoy my patients. Then I want to go home and relax.
    If I had to mentally/psychically check boxes, I’d be a mental case.

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