What is Thanksgiving?

Photo by CatLane/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by CatLane/iStock / Getty Images

Over the past 20 years or more of my life as a surgeon, I have spent many of them, if not most, in the hospital taking call, operating on injured patients, or rounding on patients who all agreed that no day is great to be in the hospital, but especially on this holiday. Fluctuating between burnout and survival, I would show up to Thanksgiving dinner, express thanks to my family, and do my best to demonstrate my gratitude.

For the past 5 years, I have been learning and sharing loads of life improvement strategies. One strategy I have started practicing more recently is saying thank you instead of sorry.

Both statements are an expression of politeness.

Sorry is an expression of regret.

Thanksgiving is the expression of gratitude, and there are many things for which I am THANKFUL.

Thanksgiving is also a celebration of the harvest, so I want to thank those who have significantly contributed to what I have grown and produced. I will focus on the last several years.

**Thank you to Paul Hiller for sharing my vision that surgeons would greatly benefit from The 8 PRACTICEs of Highly Successful Surgeons, SurgeonMasters peer-mentoring strategies, and education in skills seldom taught in surgical training - such as wellness and burnout prevention.

**Thank you to Ryan McGinty of Oil Can Marketing for providing me the support and expertise to create a marketing and publishing strategy that is personalized, growing, and measuring our progress. Ryan has helped me grow from struggling to publish one blog per month to having multiple blogs per month and way less stress doing it.

**Thank you to Ed Abel, my Business Advisor, for being an awesome guide to growing a business, as well as creating greater self-awareness, providing outside perspective, acknowledging my strengths, and making huge progress through short-term and long-term goals to address my weaknesses. He has allowed me to stay in charge of my life, business, and surgical practice while making huge progress as a writer (previously challenged with many writing blocks), a podcaster (old guy learning new tool), and public speaker (nurture over nature as an introvert), just to name a few.

**Thank you to the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), founder Bruce Schneider, my many coaches and peer coaches, and a community of amazingly supportive people. You have helped me recover from years of “not good enough” and burnout caused by a training and health care system that is excellent in so many ways, but is too negatively driven and not sustainable for many of us surgeons. I have done some awesome things demonstrating to other surgeons that it is not too late to learn new skills and that our passion for performance improvement in all areas of life and practice can be restored.

**Thank you to so many other surgeons for providing me encouragement and support allowing me to see that others find value in what we are doing. Our list of collaborators has grown to over 50 surgeons on our blogs, podcasts, web-conferences and programs.

**Thank you to the hundreds of surgeons and other health care professionals that have participated in Surgeon Consulting, Meetups, Web-conferences and other presentations while I continue to practice my many growing abilities such as communication, teaching, and providing feedback that offers opportunity (not obligation) for improvements or adjustments.

**Thank you to so many role models and providers of outstanding programs that are making an impact in the healthcare industry such as Dike Drummond, MD and  ZDoggMD.

I am thankful to be taking part in expanding this audience.

**Thank you to hundreds of the patients that have allowed me to continue to provide Hope, Care and the best of my many growing abilities as a practicing Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeon, while establishing my work / life rhythm with my wife and children that is lifestyle-friendly and sustainable. I have produced hundreds of healed bones, thousands of restored activities, and millions of words of encouragement and support.

**Thank you to my wife Kate for more things than I could possibly fit into a blog. Thank you for being so patient and understanding considering how strange all of these things seem compared to the overworked, introverted Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeon that you married. We are still in production of several future compassionate and self-sustaining adults.

At this time of year, it's important to take a step back and get some perspective. Too often, we get caught up in the day-to-day details that can blind us to what's most important in life. Be mindful of everything you have to be thankful for and rather than apologizing for how difficult life can be, say “thank you” for that which you are grateful!  

From all of us at SurgeonMasters, we wish you a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving!