As many of you already know, my husband is an orthopeadic sports medicine surgeon. He is a gem and that isn't because I am biased...well maybe a little. As we have transitioned our family and made adjustments in our careers to reflect health and wellness not only for ourselves but also our community, Chris has continued to be consistent in using his gift to offer alternatives to patients fitting for his/her diagnosis and lifestyle. His ability to contintue to do that in a surgical specialty in today's health care climate is nothing short of miraculous. Miracles aside, it is truly his commitment to what he calls the Four Responsibilities that allows him to continue to be a SOARing surgeon, husband and father. This guest blog is a gift to me, but really to all of us. Learn more about the other Dr. Dolan MD here. Enjoy.
I believe I have four responsibilities as an individual. These responsibilities are a commitment to self, family, community and profession. It is important to note that these responsibilities and commitments are in order of importance.
1. Commitment to Self:
Most of us would acknowledge that if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t help others. Actually all of us have heard this explained multiple times. We take it for granted when the flight attendant tells us that if the cabin changes pressure during flight oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling and make sure to place your own oxygen mask before helping others that are traveling with you. This is the same responsibility to self that we should all consider addressing. While most would acknowledge this, not all of us follow this practice. Many of us don’t know boundaries and often please and oblige others, sometimes at our own expense. I am very guilty of this at times and when it gets bad it leads to a crash. A person much smarter than me taught me the importance of commitment to self. Many times my wife, Carolyn, has let me know when I’ve let this commitment slide and my physical, emotional and mental health and family suffers as a result. We are all human and do our best, and I work at making this obligation to myself a priority. Applying my wife’s personal life message to the commitment to self has resulted in a happier healthier life for me, and I believe for those around me as well. Her approach to health is “Eat Well. Move Well. Sleep Well. and Soar on” By eating “real food” and not processed “food like” substances I have improved my health immensely. I no longer take reflux medicine or over the counter pain and anti-inflammatories, as a result of simply eating right. Moving well, in the form of exercise, doesn’t happen without a commitment to self. Time for exercise and fitness needs to be at the top of the “to do list” not an after thought if all the days work gets done. In a perfect world, I carve out and protect the time for cross fit, basketball, jogging or biking in the morning and on the days I do, I feel energized and good throughout the day. The more I move the better I feel. We humans are animals, we aren’t plants. We should be out moving, like we did when we were kids. Sleeping well makes all of it possible. Carolyn has helped me get better about sleep and leads by example with deliberate actions to improve sleep. Some of these are no or decreased caffeine intake during the day. Decreased screen time at night. When possible setting a routine sleep time. A good night’s sleep is key to taking care of ones self. You can’t have a successful day without a good sleep the night before. As an orthopaedic trauma surgeon taking call and team physician traveling with college teams, sleep gets disrupted. After these episodes if I don’t work and commit to catching up on sleep, the next week is not as successful as it could be. “Soar on” involves living your life with purpose and connection. There are many different ways to describe this that include challenging yourself to try new things, strengthening bonds you already have, making new friendships, helping others, “sharpening the saw”, and enjoying life to the fullest. You can see that if a full commitment to self is met in this way, its hard not to soar and succeed.
2. Commitment to Family:
Most of us, I believe, strive to place family above all other matters in our life. Sometimes we get caught up in chasing success or outside obligations at the expense of the people who know us the best and care about us the most. As parents, I believe the most important role we play is that of mother or father to our children and my wife and I are a team. We have been married for fifteen years, and we have taught our children to love and respect themselves first and that their siblings are the most important people in their lives. We do our best to model this by putting family first. Carolyn has committed to family by helping all of us learn about the importance of nutrition, sleep and movement to our success. I am privileged to be able to coach my children’s basketball and baseball teams and the family has been blessed with health. It’s cliché to say it, but my best memories aren’t great days at work or fun times from college they are trips and time with my family. As parents we model the behavior our children will have when they grow up.
3 and 4. Commitment to Community and Profession.
While every one of us may not have religion as a central focus in our lives, as a Christian and medical professional I feel drawn to contribute to a higher purpose and something bigger and more important than self. I have always taken pride in being part of the community where I practice and representing my profession as an orthopaedic surgeon. I was born and raised in Reno, Nevada and have had the good fortune of being able to return to practice orthopaedics where I grew up. I feel that I have demonstrated that I have successfully met the four responsibilities. I enjoy contributing to the community and volunteer as Team Physician for multiple local high schools and the University of Nevada. Through the University of Nevada School of Medicine, I have made a commitment to education. I serve as Clinical Assistant Professor for medical students, the Family Practice Residency and the Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship working directly with the residents and fellows. These volunteer roles enrich my life and make my job incredibly rewarding and enjoyable. My belief in meeting the responsibilities of these four commitments helped shape the GBO mission statement.
We at GBO pride ourselves in providing exceptional patient-centered care by listening to our patients and educating them about their treatment. GBO is committed to the health and well-being of our community through our service, dedication, expertise and involvement. We value your family and ours.
I believe everyone has the ability to SOAR and focus on meeting the four responsibilities is the best place to start.
Remove. Replace. Restore.
Remove: the feeling that taking care of yourself is selfish. Placing work above family. Sedentary disinterest for the place you live.
Replace: with making your health and the health of your family a priority and putting forth an effort to connect with your neighbors and community.
Restore: Health. Well-being. Purpose. Passion. Connectivity. The ability to soar and succeed.
Books I highly recommend for success in meeting your four responsibilities and succeeding in life:
SOAR into Health – Carolyn Dolan
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
Dr Carolyn Dolan DPT, Cert MDT, MSHN
Where physical therapy, nutrition and lifestyle meet, because how you live your life determines whether or not you soar. Inspiring action with information so you can reduce pain, optimize healing and improve function naturally during recovery from injury, surgery or painful condition. This is a website for the open-minded; obstinate need not apply.