Those who are successful in their careers often are not only talented but also willing to outperform their peers. I’ve written previously that it is hunger that drives our will to succeed. We see that the willingness to sleep less and work harder often translates to more wealth and success.
These exact traits can be seen in politicians, celebrities, and innovators. One celebrity whose image reflects this hunger is Taylor Swift. I am by no means a fangirl/fanboy, but am absolutely an admirer of her drive. I state this as an older professional whose career trajectory was completely opposite of the stardom and fortunate that Taylor has generated in her career. If anything, understanding the progression of her career gives us a model to follow, no matter what profession we are in.
To say that Taylor Swift is talented would be an understatement. She is a musical prodigy whose range of skills include songwriting, production, performance, and entertainment on the big stage. Ability to this degree is rare. Geniuses like her only present once every decade, but doctors and medical professionals are a dime a dozen. Think of how many classmates in your medical class went into your specialty, and think about how many medical schools there are that place students in your specialty—a lot.
If you are fortunate enough to have talent in your profession, consider yourself lucky. You can potentially get very far in life. If you are only blessed with average talent in your profession, you can still succeed. No one is ever condemned for mediocrity, but skill can really get you far.
As Malcolm Gladwell describes in his book, “Outliers”, many leaders of their profession not only possessed talent but also lived in the right place at the right time. Bill Gates was skilled in computing, but he also had access to mainframes that allowed him to nurture his talent.
Taylor Swift definitely had the hunger to become a star long before she was known. In her early teens (age 12), she convinced her parents to drive down to Nashville from Pennsylvania so that she could find someone who realized her gift. She would knock on doors of producing studios to find someone who would listen to her mix tapes. Rejections certainly came by the hundreds before her talent was realized. Taylor eventually convinced her parents to move to Nashville to immerse herself with the music scene.
She perfected songwriting from absorbing the experience that others offered her. She spent her early teens writing hundreds of songs in her bedroom. Taylor Swift nurtured her talent by positioning herself among the musicians that she wanted to become.
In order to sustain your success, the service that you are providing has to be what people want. For Taylor Swift, her music delivered a message of common struggle that most teenagers experience. She has kept her public image clean from scandal, which reassures parents to allow their kids to listen to her music and attend her concerts.
As a physician, your delivery of care needs to target your intended audience: patients. You must treat them with care and compassion that you would care for your own family. Specialists need to treat their referrers equally well—the last thing your primary care physician referrer wants is for a specialist to work on their patient without any feedback or updates. Keep them in the loop, and they will continue to treat you well.
The final point to understand is that your success depends on what your goals are, and how long and hard you plan to stick to your game plan, and even a bit a good fortune. Talent, drive, appeal, and hard work—take the wisdom of Taylor Swift into consideration, even if she may be half your age.
(Photo courtesy of Jana Beamer)