Last night I was very tired. Not just physically tired, but mentally exhausted, emotionally weary.
But I couldn’t sleep. For an hour, I tossed and turned, tortured by a haunting question:
Is It Worth Sticking With This?
I could have chosen ease and comfort instead of struggle and frustration.
I could have been an adult heart surgeon instead of opting for the more demanding and delicate choice of treating sick children.
I could have joined the staff of a corporate hospital, enjoyed a steady and substantial paycheck, and made the occasional donation to charity. Instead I chose to try and build a structure that would be centered around charity and use creative ways to get funded.
I could have turned a blind eye to the financial problems faced by most families who had kids with heart defects and delivered my services to the 5% who could afford treatment. Instead I went about finding a solution, raising funds from various efforts.
I could have enjoyed a career built around academic achievement, professional recognition and surrounded by a network of peers who are admired and respected. Instead I opened myself to criticism and even ridicule by getting involved in online selling and writing ebooks.
I could have made stature and status my primary goals. Instead I answer questions that ask how I am different from the slew of scammers and con artists that rip off gullible victims on the Internet.
Suddenly, I’m tired of it all!
- Tired that progress is so slow.
- Tired of feeling like I’m always holding out a ‘begging bowl’ for contributions.
- Tired of having to ‘defend’ what I’m doing – because it’s so counter-intuitive.
- Tired of the risk that a decade’s hard work and goodwill could easily be destroyed – by gossip and innuendo.
- Tired of being perceived as being ‘less of a doctor’ than someone who spends all day in a clinic or hospital.
After restlessly agonizing over these realizations, I must have dropped into a slumber.
When I awoke early this morning, the first words that came to mind were ones I had heard spoken by an accountant at a fundraising workshop for non-profits that I had attended a few years back.
“When I look at the rows and columns of figures on a spreadsheet, I do NOT see numbers… I see the faces of the children I am working to help!”
What a powerful vision! To see the purpose of your work in the day to day drudgery that makes a dream come true.
My sub-conscious must have dragged that vision statement out from the cob-webbed attic of my mind, presenting it as the inspiration and encouragement I needed to get up and going today – and for as many days as it takes to achieve my ambitious goals.