This is in some ways the hardest post I’ve ever written but in other ways the easiest too. Any eagle-eyed followers will have noticed some subtle, yet huge changes in my social media bios and ‘About Me’ pages. All I have done is take out two letters but in doing so I have changed the direction of my life. What are those two letters? G and P. 
Yes, I am no longer a General Practitioner. This may sound like a surprising and erratic thing to do but it isn’t. It’s an accumulation of five years of decision making and realisation that life is precious and short and I should follow my passions and my heart.
I loved my time as a GP. I will look back with gratefulness for all it gave me; the challenges and the pleasures, the skills, opportunities and the true privilege of being a part of my patients’ lives. I know that I did the very best I could for them at all times.
It’s funny the direction that life can take you in. Ten years ago I was hardly doing any exercise and wading through life with three tiny children in tow. Over ten years I’ve come to realise that the benefits of leading an active life are immense and far outweigh those that I could offer with my prescription pad. I’ve developed a love for writing and using my medical knowledge to help others become active and to break down some of the barriers that prevent them from doing so.
I’m at my happiest when I’m leading a group of women on a run, women who never thought they could do that! When I write a blog post about getting active and receive feedback from people telling me it has helped them. When I’m using my medical skills to shape the women’s health curriculum for a global running network. I know I’m having a bigger impact through this work than I could have done in a morning clinic.
When I turned myself into the observer of my life, it was obvious to me that I had to make a decision. To truly do what you want to do and be successful at it you need to devote time and energy to it. If I’m doing something, then I’m doing it properly. The path was clear. It was time to refocus and to be brave. Yes, this decision has taken all my courage, support from those close to me and a very big leap into the unknown. Financially it doesn’t make sense but we all know there’s more to life than money.
I will remain Dr Juliet and registered with the General Medical Council so you can be sure of my credibility but I will not have a licence to see or treat patients.
I do hope you will come with me on my journey as I grow my blog and spread the message championed in my book Sorted: The Active Woman’s Guide to Health, which Bloomsbury published last year, that there’s no barrier to activity that can’t be broken down. My desire and drive to help women through running has found a wonderful home in 261 Fearless, where I’m working on ambitious global projects and also leading the network in the UK. It’s a cause that stands for all I believe in; inclusivity, equality, community, friendship, health and joy. It’s growing rapidly and deserves my time and energy.
Your support means so much to me. Thank you. It has led me to this point so let’s go forward together. Hanging up my stethoscope and donning my trainers has given me a feeling of liberation and I can’t wait for tomorrow and the next day and the next …
Have you made a big step or change in your career? Do you want to follow your passion but feel too afraid? I’d love you to share with me.
Photo credit: Horst von Bohlen

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  1. Wow. I admire you. I read this as I hit an all time low with my job. Even before this I dreamt about giving it all up but, even now am not sure that I am brave enough. I know that happiness and health is more important than anything and even though my balance has tipped far too much the wrong way I am unable to be radical. Go you. I will do anything I can to support you with 261 but you will be great and do a really great job. X

    1. So sorry to hear this. Take your time and start building a plan B so the leap doesn’t feel so huge. I will do anything to support you too. Thank you for your vote of confidence – it means a lot. xx

  2. Wow this is just brilliant. It is so hard to give up something that you’ve worked your whole life to achieve. Particularly when it is so integral to your identity. But when you realise your happiness, and the happiness of so many others you will help lies somewhere else you’ve got to be brave and make that leap! I think you’re completely inspiring. Looking forward to following your new journey xxx

  3. This is brilliant Juliet – there’s so much life to live and so many things to experience, so why not follow your passion? I’m on a career break from paediatric training while building up an acupuncture practice and just generally actually spending time being normal and doing school pick ups etc. It’s both scary, yet brilliant. I feel as doctors we tend to think we have to do the same out whole lives and it’s viewed a bit strangely if you find your passion has moved …but most other people shift around job sectors without this hang up. For my first couple of months after taking the break I felt so liberated and happy, finally living life on my terms bit also dipping back in to locums when I wanted.
    Anyway – I love hearing how other medics are making another path for themselves, its so inspirational and keeps my resolve that I’m doing the right thing!

  4. I’ve just got a new job in South Wales as a first step towards leaving a career in Finance. We’re buying a small holding and hoping to develop a running and coaching business so that in the next few years my wife an I can work together and get people active. Totally agree about the satisfaction of helping others see the pleasure that can be had when running and personally I can think of no better place to do that than the Brecon Beacons!

  5. A very brave and courageous desision to make.
    Life is for living and I wish you well in your choice.

  6. Awesome! A big decision Juliet but undoubtedly the right one. You are a such an inspiration to me and many others to keep active. I was just listening to your most recent podcast and dipped into your book for advice after finding out I had mild anemia last week.
    I’m at a pivotal point career wise too with our return to the UK from the US next month! It’s all rather daunting but exciting too. I intend to follow my passion too.

  7. Well done Juliet! You are an amazing inspiration and incredibly supportive. 261 Fearless is enabling me to follow my new found passion too. Who knows where the path will go, but it is definitely exciting x

  8. Well done Juliet for being so brave. I always knew you would make a fantastic GP, but it is clear from watching you grow over the past few years there is so much more that you will achieve in the future. All the best! Angela x

    1. Thanks Angela, really kind of you to leave a comment. Funny how life changes and I’ve become so aware how short it is and very driven to fill it with what makes me happy and inspires me. Part of that is helping others achieve things they didn’t think they could and discover the joys of an active life xx

  9. Good for you! After my brush with the big c I’ve gone from being a school business manager to a self employed gardener! Definitely more active! Even though I’ve pretty much had to give up running due to injury, I cycle now, and of course several hours digging and weeding helps. Good luck x

    1. That’s a big change and as you say, much more active, which is a really positive health move. I was digging and weeding at the weekend and was such more exhausted than after a run! Good luck to you too and thanks for your encouragement.

  10. Looking forward to following you on your new journey. You have made such a difference in peoples lives, mine included. There is way more to come xx

  11. I admire you Juliet for this life change – so easy to get stuck in a rut. You are right, life is short and we need to follow our dreams as much as we can. Good luck! Xx

  12. Exciting times ahead Juliet. It all sounds wonderful. My move wasn’t as brave, but four years ago I left my full time/pensioned/holiday and sick leave paid job to go freelance. I work just four days a week now and my commuting time has been more than halved. There is less money coming in but gaining a bit more balance and control has made huge changes to my life and I have no regrets about making the jump. Good luck Juliet and I’m looking forward to following your journey.

    1. Your move sounds just as brave and it’s wonderful that it’s been successful; I’m sure that’s due to your hard work. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment Jackie x

  13. You were a great GP, my GP, who I credit with picking me up and dusting me off. I’m not surprised you have taken this direction, I often felt you were frustrated that you couldn’t do more to help people from behind your desk. Thank you for what you did do, and well done, just go for it life is indeed far too short. And if you fancy starting a running group in Lancaster!

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