Making your life as an artist (we are all artists!)

PUBLISHED ON  June 10, 2017

WRITTEN BY  Roni Zeiger

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  • Roni ZeigerWith a more reliable link this time: ,
  • Roni ZeigerHi folks, we're looking for a new teammate at Facebook, to be Director of Health Partnerships, Social Good. Warning, you might have to work closely with me :) ,
  • Roni ZeigerRT : 7yo: you know what I love? Me: what? 7yo: that every pencil has an eraser attached. It’s like the world expects everyone to make mistakes. That’s pretty cool. ,
  • Roni ZeigerRT : Took care of a homeless gentleman who sleeps in a park near my house. He asked to get discharged before 10am. I asked him why. “Because I volunteer to walk dogs at the animal shelter and I have to be there by then.”,

A friend gave me Andrew Simonet’s Making Your Life as an Artist, and I was delighted because I secretly want to run an art studio where we make art about health and life. Turns out, I’m already an artist, you probably are too, and this little book is a gem.

Keep the focus on why you’re really doing what you do. Here’s precious guidance from this little book:

I think of careers like scaffolding, those metal and wood structures you put up when you are building a house. The scaffolding is important. Pay attention to it. But it is not the house. If you focus all your efforts on the scaffolding, you end up with a lovely scaffolding and nowhere to live. Your career is not your work; your career supports your work.

On your vision and how to actually achieve it, Andrew offers this:

Make the dream bigger, and the steps to get there smaller.

Put yourself out there and find co-conspirators. In my view, this is key both to making your dreams come true and having a ton of fun along the way:

Once you have a strong articulation of your mission, lead with it. Let people know why you do what you do, and more people will connect and partner with you.

Have you put your mission, your professional purpose, into words? Write it down. Use pencil, because it will change, plus then you won’t feel pressure to get it perfect. Then tell the world! How else will people know they’re supposed to work with you?

Making your life as an artist (We are all artists!)

Andrew did actually write this for artists, but it’s for all of us who need to create something. At the link above, you download a free PDF copy of the book, or buy a copy for yourself or someone you want to inspire or thank.


Why I still see patients

PUBLISHED ON  September 11, 2016

WRITTEN BY  Roni Zeiger

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With my wonderfully full career in the digital health world, I’m often asked if I still see patients to maintain my clinical skills or my license or to “keep my hands in it”. The other day I realized the answer is quite different than that.

Every time I work in the urgent care clinic, I get to walk into a bunch of rooms, briefly introduce myself to a patient or family, and then hear fascinating details about someone’s life. It’s up close and personal and intense in a way that goes deep, but it happens only moments after meeting each other.

I thrive on intimacy. There’s just nothing more interesting than people, their complex needs and challenges, how our needs and challenges overlap and sometimes conflict, and of course how we can collaborate to better understand and address those needs.

The privilege of working as a clinician gives me a front row seat to that intimacy and I hope it helps keeps me grounded and focused on what’s most important in everything I do.

Eye contact

PUBLISHED ON  January 1, 2016

WRITTEN BY  Roni Zeiger

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The other night at bedtime, my 11 year-old daughter shared with me, “you’re lucky you grew up before smartphones.” She was lamenting that many of the people she wants to interact with, old-school style, are consumed by their phones.

Yesterday after a waiter took our order at a restaurant, my 8 year-old son said, “it seems like he doesn’t like his job.” The waiter had struggled to keep up with our order as he pecked his way through the order entry system on his device.

No surprise, this made me share with my family how the waiter’s experience reminds me of what it’s like to see patients these days. Clinicians yearn for more eye contact and more opportunity for empathy. We wish we could be more present. We’ll recover this in 5 or 10 years, maybe via inconspicuous scribes peering in through our Google Glass or when value-based healthcare frees EHRs from being mere billing tools.

I expect we’ll be getting back our eye contact with waiters sooner than with doctors, as order entry for food and drink is evolving more quickly than order entry for meds and scans.

I’m optimistic about all of this, except for the all the kids my daughter wants to talk to. Here’s to more innovation to keep us looking at each other and learning from each other.