This my 19th year as leader of a medical practice and I consider myself at the half-way point of this incredible journey. 

Throughout the years, I have noticed some significant changes in my leadership approach, as well as my appreciation for serving my team and my community.  I know I am more emotional than I used to be; more transparent, more present, and certainly more in tune with our mission and purpose than ever before.  

This has been a challenging week. I am currently in the 11th round of making the biggest purchase of my life – a 5,000 square-foot facility with a 30-spot parking lot and lots of room for future expansion. At this moment in time, I am feeling like a dried-up raisin, both emotionally and physically. 

SO, I have decided to take this day for soul care.  I recently had the opportunity to speak with John Eldridge after reading his new book, Get Your Life Back. This book is a must-read! He says that being high level leader takes tremendous heart (courage, passion, love). And if our heart is dried up, we cannot effectively lead.  

  • Stop!!! Acknowledge and assess the health of your soul (your heart).
    • Write down what you are feeling (exhausted, burned out, defeated).
    • What are your limiting beliefs? (The economy is just too bad…)
  • Drink in Beauty
    • Give yourself a day or an afternoon off. Turn everything off.
    • Take in your surroundings;  palm trees, clouds, mountains. 
    • Meditate (three big breaths…quiet). Pray a prayer of gratitude.
  • Get Perspective
    • What is true? What are the liberating truths? (The opportunity has never been greater in this economy.)
    • Think long-term. You have felt this way before and got through it. This is a speed bump, not a cliff.
  •  Re-Focus
    • Define your goal or destination. 
    • Take one step forward at a time.
    • Adjust. 
    • Ignore the noise. As John calls it, “Benevolent Detachment.” Take care of your soul with influence that will encourage you and help you on your journey. 

Today I have done exactly these four things. I can’t tell you how much better I am feeling.  My muscles are more relaxed, my headache is gone, my mindset is going back to one of abundance vs. scarcity.  And I feel clear about the long term goal: Have a permanent, long-term facility that we can grow in, and transform the lives of our team members and community.  

I have to consider what could have happened had I not stopped and done this “Soul Care.” I could have made a catastrophic decision, based on run-away emotions. I could have pulled the plug on the purchase.  I could have wasted all the time and effort we have put into this deal.  Our future could have become insecure,  our staff could have lost their enthusiasm for this “future city” where they will be encouraged to grow and build a future.  Now, THAT is scary!!!!!  

Grateful to be on this journey with you,

Dr. Matthew Harkness

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