“Physician, heal thyself!”

This ancient proverb isn’t just for doctors. It’s for all of us who sometimes need a reminder that we should be following our own advice, and that what we are telling or teaching others to do is exactly what we should be doing ourselves.

That’s where I am right now, and what I’m preparing to do about it makes me feel vulnerable and exposed – because I’m going to be exploring and sharing in print some things about myself that I never have before. And if I fail in what I’m attempting to do, a lot of other people are going to see me do it. But I’m willing to take that risk.

During my first trip to Uganda in 2011, I kept a journal, and I continued writing in it after I returned to the United States. My plan was to turn that writing into a book, and I’ve been working on it off and on ever since.

I’ve been back to Uganda once more since then, and I have another trip planned for the near future. I’ve accomplished – and written – a great deal since that first trip, but the book still isn’t anywhere near being completed.

That brings me to the “heal thyself” part. Through the coaching I do, I’ve helped people to write full-length plays, start their own companies, discover new careers and callings, and accomplish things they’ve never done before and never imagined they could do.

So shouldn’t I be doing that for myself?

What I’ve decided to do now is follow the Dream Coaching program that I use in coaching others. I’ve been through the program several times with someone else as my coach, I know all of the lessons and practices inside out, and I already use many of them to guide my day-to-day living. So I know that if I follow the program conscientiously, I will finish and publish the book that is now just a dream.

There’s another occupation-oriented saying that comes to mind, although it references lawyers rather than doctors: “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.”

That might describe me right now, too, especially since one of the reasons for working with a coach is the accountability factor. Most of us are more likely to get things done when we’re accountable to someone else, rather than just ourselves. When I’ve got an actual deadline, rather than a self-imposed one, I know my writing projects – other projects, too, for that matter – will get done. Deadlines of my own making are too easy to ignore or change. Or they slip down in priority when other, seemingly more urgent or important, matters come up. And that’s one of the dangers of coaching myself.

The way I plan to counteract this is to use the deadline of my weekly column for accountability. For each of the next ten weeks, I’m going to do one of the ten sessions in the Dream Coaching program, and I’ll write about my progress in my column for that week.

This will help keep me in action and accountable. But that’s not my only reason for doing it.

People tell me every so often that something in one of my columns inspired or motivated them, and I’m hoping that will happen now, too. You may not be writing a book, but there may be another dream you’d like to work on while I’m working on mine. Something you’ve always wanted to do, or something you started and abandoned long ago. Something, perhaps, that’s been in the back of your mind for a while, or something you’d like to do someday – when you have more time, more money, more information, or whatever you think you need in order to accomplish it.

Feel free to spend some time this week deciding on a dream you’d like to pursue. As I write about working on my own, I hope you’ll start working on yours, too. At the end of the ten weeks, we’ll have much to celebrate. Not only in terms of what we’ve accomplished, but in the confidence, strength, and satisfaction we’ll have acquired along the way.

And isn’t that just what the doctor ordered?

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on May 2, 2013.
©Betty Liedtke, 2013

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