Commentary

Spring is the time to celebrate growth, create a vision of the future

Orthopedic surgeons are generally recognized to be successful in life as demonstrated by personal and professional accomplishments. The profession selects out individuals who have developed personal independence, a strong work ethic and the life skills for teamwork and leadership. Early in the process of becoming orthopedic surgeons, we accepted opportunities to become educated and train where selected, then tried to make decisions about our desire to create the life we had been working toward. In a healthy way, we created a vision for our future years from the end of formal training to the development of a mature practice and life.

Anthony A. Romeo, MD
Anthony A. Romeo

Whether you appreciate the season of spring from a religious perspective or as a reflection of the renewed beauty of nature, the season symbolizes rebirth and new life. In the spring, it is not unusual to hear fellows, residents and those in practice for a few years refine or redefine their thoughts for the future. Many PGY4 residents have received fellowship match results. Current fellows are finalizing plans for their first “real job.” Many orthopedists in their second year of practice are preparing for the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery exams and may question if now is the time for another opportunity.

Have a clear vision

Having a clear vision of the future can tremendously influence our choices and decisions. Many people settle into a routine that becomes the fabric of their lives. Orthopedics is stable, and it is not uncommon for peers to find their niches in the first few years of practice. However, our professional personality also attracts risk takers, innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders – people who have a perpetual internal “motor” to learn, grow and change. This behavior can be at odds with the tranquil life and decisions many find themselves part of as they balance personal desires with the priorities of family and peers. Unfortunately, what makes some people happy may not be as fulfilling to others, especially if there remains an unmet inner drive to take risks, innovate and strive toward continued excellence unmet in routine activities. Even within a circle of a steady and predictable life, it is important to pursue opportunities to renew life, to celebrate new growth and to create a vision of the future that not only has integrity for priorities, but also provides an opportunity to continually improve ourselves. As Steven Covey noted, to live a fulfilling life requires us “to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy.” How we define each of these areas is different, but all are in the present implying an ongoing effort.

Take risks

Successful people take risks, not frozen by the fear of failure in decision-making. Taking risks stimulates creative energy and innovative ideas and encourages change in positive ways. Doing the same task over and over is valuable for accomplishing certain tasks, but it can stifle learning and the ability to perform new tasks. Taking risks stimulates passion and helps to avoid burnout. Taking risks forces one to use all their skills, resources and abilities. Taking risks opens your eyes to new opportunities and ideas that may have been previously avoided or missed. Taking risks stimulates growth of spirit, mind and in the most valued relationships where true success in life is found. The energy and desire to take risks are embodied in the spirit of the spring, a time of re-awakening of the inner drive that makes you who you are. Some risks are small; some risks are much greater and potentially ill-advised. However, taking risks is about living life, not sitting on the sidelines watching others participate.

The ability to change may seem insurmountable. However, the seed for the desire to change is the vision that what you are doing today is not what you want to do tomorrow. At first, it makes sense to try to accomplish your vision within the same environment that has brought much success and stability. However, your vision may not be shared by others, so decisions need to be made, potentially challenging the faith of those around you. The first step to change is to decide, preferably with your loved ones, that you will not accept to live someone else’s vision. As Steve Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life ... have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Feel the energy

As spring is now upon us, it is time to feel the energy of a life worth living, based on personal passions and priorities. If necessary, make choices that lead to the change you envision. Creating a vision is critical as everything in life is created twice – first in your mind and then in reality.

Appreciate all you have in life, especially the most precious relationships. Hopefully you are fulfilled exactly where you are today. But if not, remember life is about the choices we make or don’t make, and the worst emotion to manage may be regret. Do not fear failure for failure is not an endpoint, only another brief stop along the journey in life. You must make a choice to take a chance, or your life will not change. Spring reminds us that change can energize passions and provide much beauty to our lives.

Disclosure: Romeo reports he receives royalties, is on the speakers bureau and a consultant for Arthrex; does contracted research for Arthrex and DJO Surgical; receives institutional grants from AANA and MLB; and receives institutional research support from Arthrex, Ossur, Smith & Nephew, ConMed Linvatec, Athletico and Miomed.

Orthopedic surgeons are generally recognized to be successful in life as demonstrated by personal and professional accomplishments. The profession selects out individuals who have developed personal independence, a strong work ethic and the life skills for teamwork and leadership. Early in the process of becoming orthopedic surgeons, we accepted opportunities to become educated and train where selected, then tried to make decisions about our desire to create the life we had been working toward. In a healthy way, we created a vision for our future years from the end of formal training to the development of a mature practice and life.

Anthony A. Romeo, MD
Anthony A. Romeo

Whether you appreciate the season of spring from a religious perspective or as a reflection of the renewed beauty of nature, the season symbolizes rebirth and new life. In the spring, it is not unusual to hear fellows, residents and those in practice for a few years refine or redefine their thoughts for the future. Many PGY4 residents have received fellowship match results. Current fellows are finalizing plans for their first “real job.” Many orthopedists in their second year of practice are preparing for the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery exams and may question if now is the time for another opportunity.

Have a clear vision

Having a clear vision of the future can tremendously influence our choices and decisions. Many people settle into a routine that becomes the fabric of their lives. Orthopedics is stable, and it is not uncommon for peers to find their niches in the first few years of practice. However, our professional personality also attracts risk takers, innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders – people who have a perpetual internal “motor” to learn, grow and change. This behavior can be at odds with the tranquil life and decisions many find themselves part of as they balance personal desires with the priorities of family and peers. Unfortunately, what makes some people happy may not be as fulfilling to others, especially if there remains an unmet inner drive to take risks, innovate and strive toward continued excellence unmet in routine activities. Even within a circle of a steady and predictable life, it is important to pursue opportunities to renew life, to celebrate new growth and to create a vision of the future that not only has integrity for priorities, but also provides an opportunity to continually improve ourselves. As Steven Covey noted, to live a fulfilling life requires us “to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy.” How we define each of these areas is different, but all are in the present implying an ongoing effort.

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Take risks

Successful people take risks, not frozen by the fear of failure in decision-making. Taking risks stimulates creative energy and innovative ideas and encourages change in positive ways. Doing the same task over and over is valuable for accomplishing certain tasks, but it can stifle learning and the ability to perform new tasks. Taking risks stimulates passion and helps to avoid burnout. Taking risks forces one to use all their skills, resources and abilities. Taking risks opens your eyes to new opportunities and ideas that may have been previously avoided or missed. Taking risks stimulates growth of spirit, mind and in the most valued relationships where true success in life is found. The energy and desire to take risks are embodied in the spirit of the spring, a time of re-awakening of the inner drive that makes you who you are. Some risks are small; some risks are much greater and potentially ill-advised. However, taking risks is about living life, not sitting on the sidelines watching others participate.

The ability to change may seem insurmountable. However, the seed for the desire to change is the vision that what you are doing today is not what you want to do tomorrow. At first, it makes sense to try to accomplish your vision within the same environment that has brought much success and stability. However, your vision may not be shared by others, so decisions need to be made, potentially challenging the faith of those around you. The first step to change is to decide, preferably with your loved ones, that you will not accept to live someone else’s vision. As Steve Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life ... have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Feel the energy

As spring is now upon us, it is time to feel the energy of a life worth living, based on personal passions and priorities. If necessary, make choices that lead to the change you envision. Creating a vision is critical as everything in life is created twice – first in your mind and then in reality.

Appreciate all you have in life, especially the most precious relationships. Hopefully you are fulfilled exactly where you are today. But if not, remember life is about the choices we make or don’t make, and the worst emotion to manage may be regret. Do not fear failure for failure is not an endpoint, only another brief stop along the journey in life. You must make a choice to take a chance, or your life will not change. Spring reminds us that change can energize passions and provide much beauty to our lives.

Disclosure: Romeo reports he receives royalties, is on the speakers bureau and a consultant for Arthrex; does contracted research for Arthrex and DJO Surgical; receives institutional grants from AANA and MLB; and receives institutional research support from Arthrex, Ossur, Smith & Nephew, ConMed Linvatec, Athletico and Miomed.