Permission to change your mind

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By Jo Braid

Today I want to share a personal story, with the theme of permission to change my mind, based on reasons that I like.

Sometimes there is this unsaid expectation that once we commit to something we have to go through with it. This is so common in medicine, the training at university, the “stream or speciality” we commit to, the committee we have volunteered on, the research paper we said yes to, and the list goes on. 

My commitment was to attend the Doctors Health Conference in Adelaide at the end of next week. A varied and interesting program, with opportunities to meet doctors from around Australia with a focus on doctors health. A quick trip away for 2 nights to Adelaide. Fun.

It is also the end of the school year, the kids only have a few weeks to go. My youngest is performing in his first nativity play and I would have missed the performances if I went to Adelaide. I had worked around by asking for a special entry to the dress rehearsal but it wasn’t going to be the same. 

My husband has busy days operating on Fridays and there are extra pressures all round when I am away! And finally, my tennis coach has organised a ladies tennis day which I had FOMO about missing out! Many of these opportunities came up AFTER I had booked my trip to Adelaide.

So I thought about the balance of what I really wanted to do, and what I was ok to “let go”….and self-coached on the topic. And firmly decided I would switch my conference attendance to virtual, gift my gala dinner ticket to the organisation, cancel my hotel and flights and be present for my family, school play, and tennis time with friends. I liked my reasons for this change in plans and didn’t make a big deal of it. 

An earlier version of myself might not have let this go so easily. I may have considered the commitment to the conference as final and fairly unchangeable. And yet this time, the decision was easy and I’m glad I backed myself to change my mind on staying in Orange and working around the conference as best I could. 

This comes up in coaching sessions and maybe something you can relate to in your life. Is there a situation recently where you have changed your mind, liking the reasons for doing so?