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