Why should surgeons learn about confidence? In our training we focus on competence. We learn the technical skills and knowledge needed for success. One of the surgeons who trained me used to say that a good surgeon has the trifecta of head, hands and heart. I have always tried to live up to that model. I strive to maintain my knowledge and to educate my patients so that I can provide up to date, well informed care. I am careful with my operative techniques and make sure that I keep my hands skilled. But the heart is harder to define. I used to think it was all about empathy, being able to care for my patients and to be compassionate. While those are important attributes, I have come to realize that a big part of having a heart that will allow me to be a great surgeon is courage. I need to have the courage to admit when I don’t know something, to ask for help when I need it, and to own up to my mistakes. This courage and vulnerability gives me heart.
Courage is critical and the pathway to courage is confidence. And is important in all professional domains. While other professional women may not rely on their hands the way I do, they will use their heads and need courage. Optimal performance is a combination of competence (the head and for some the hands) and confidence (the heart). Competence we learn in our training and with our continued education throughout our careers. Confidence is not commonly discussed in many professional trainings but luckily is a skill that can be learned at any age. Let us help you to improve your confidence so you can have the heart to help your patients.
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