The Good Doctor

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THE GOOD DOCTOR by Dwayne Castle

I don’t watch a ton of television but one of the shows that I’ve enjoyed following is called The Good Doctor starring Freddie Highmore.  It follows a surgical resident, Shaun Murphy, who happens to have autism.

I watched a recent episode and there was a conversation between two peripheral characters, both of whom are dealing with cancer. The stated point of that particular story line was that cancer is their identity. That’s who they are. Cancer patients.

This is only a television show but it’s a perfect underscore to the line of thought so many people live by, in which we “become” that thing which has happened to us. Whether it is a traumatic sickness like cancer or a life altering accident, negative words spoken over us, or some form of victimization, I know too many people who have allowed those things to define them. The unfortunate consequence is that this line of thinking significantly limits the potential for a productive, meaningful, and fulfilling life.  

When the wrong things dictate our thought patterns, they affect how we live our lives. Instead of recognizing our created value and that of those around us, we take the hardship that has come our way and allow it to cause us to hyper focus on self and circumstance instead of focusing on the people around us and the life that lay ahead.

That type of focus has the nasty side-effect of sabotaging our relationships- on the job, at home, and in our communities. It robs us of the fulfillment that is possible even in tough times and it robs those around us of our very best.

My wife has been dealing with cancer for nearly 13 years. You wouldn’t know it by spending time with her because it’s not who she is. Cancer isn’t her identity, it’s just a thing that she currently has.

When she was diagnosed, and during the surgery and recovery, and during her follow ups, it obviously comes up. When she is taking her medicine or keeping an eye out for recurring symptoms, it’s on her mind. But it isn’t the thing that she allows to define her. It doesn’t dictate her attitude and demeanor.

She is so much more than a “cancer patient.” She is an amazing wife who works hard building a great marriage. She is a great employee on her job who is very mindful of her customers and co-workers. She is a Nana who loves to make cookies with her grandkids. She’s a wonderful friend who looks out for others. She’s a missionary, sharing love with people both locally and around the world. She is the most amazing woman I’ve met, not because she is fighting cancer but because she is living life.

No matter what you are going through, that isn’t who you are. Don’t give those things more power than the inconvenience they’ve already caused. Do yourself and the world around you a solid and recognize that you were put on this planet for a purpose and that purpose isn’t voided because bad things have happened.

Today, I want to encourage you to move beyond the things that have crippled your drive to truly live. Look at the people around you and find ways to focus on them and their needs. Focus on what you can do, which by the way, is much more than you think. When you do all of that, your issues certainly don’t go away but their negative impact tends to shrink and your impact on the world around tends to grow, as does your joy of living.

Dwayne Castle is the author of The Relationally Driven Approach, and the owner of Relationally Driven, LLC, a coaching and training service geared toward helping businesses and individuals to overcome the issues that adversely affect our workplaces, communities, and homes. If you would like to see changes in your life or business, feel free to reach out for a free consultation or visit www.relationallydriven.com for more details.