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Escaping our Over-Planned Lives

January 14, 2024
by Mark David Siegel

Hi everyone,

In our over-planned lives, it’s hard to escape the almighty schedule. My workdays are crammed with conferences and meetings, patient care, and hours spent churning through emails, my Epic Inbox, and residency applications. I try to preserve time to exercise, study, read, call Mom, and eat dinner with Heide, but free time is elusive.

Last Thursday and Friday we had a PCCSM retreat at the Saybrook Point Resort, courtesy of our Chief, Naftali Kaminski. We had lectures and workshops led by Drs. Benjamin Mba and Aba Black and experts from InspireCorps. We explored our personal and work identities; reflected on cultural competence and humility; talked about our heroes, challenges, and successes; and practiced coaching techniques, including an emotional side that was new to me. In typical Yale PCCSM fashion, we ate incredibly well (those scallops!).

I was initially skeptical, especially since my job already pushes me to think about culture, coaching, and workplace psychology. But I underestimated the value of time spent with colleagues I thought I knew well—but perhaps not as well as I’d thought— in a setting that allowed us to show a vulnerable side that we physicians tend to hide.

I left the retreat with a deeper appreciation for the depth and kindness of my colleagues, feeling empowered to tackle pressing challenges like creating a more nurturing workplace. Most importantly I was convinced by Naftali’s assertion, which I’ll paraphrase, that to solve problems, we must begin by investing in the team.

Finally, the retreat showed me how important it is to shed the shackles of our over-planned schedules, to think freely, and to nourish the relationships that create meaning in our lives.

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone. I’m going out for a hike before the snow squalls come.


P.S. What I’m reading and listening to:

Submitted by Mark David Siegel on January 14, 2024