Defining My Worth

The dictionary defines worth as high value or merit.
Value is the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.

This weekend I saw a story on Instagram posted by a radiologist that I follow. The caption read, “…what you do does not define who you are.”

I paused. I took inventory of myself.

Many of the conversations I have are about my work. In my personal life, I often talk about my passion for caring for people in our communities and the patients that they may become.

I talk about cancer. I encourage physicians and patients to take back their leverage and the art of medicine. I am passionate about making sure patients are cared for as individuals and not based on generalizations.

I thought about many of my friends that are physicians. Radiation oncologists, radiologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, surgeons, and other physicians sacrifice over a decade of their life to have the privilege to take the Hippocratic Oath.

Nurses, technologists, lab techs, therapists, and others working in medicine have sacrificed a part of their life to care for people in their most vulnerable moments.

We made a conscious choice to do something that allows us to care for another human, so why is it bad to define who we are by our work?

I performed a Google search. 537M results indicated why my work doesn’t define who I am or my worth as a person.

I may not be as smart as Google.

Or the thousands of expert coaches trying to help me see that I can define my worth and value in the way they believe is more meaningful.

However, I know each time I touched a patient and saw them smile, hug me, or say thank you that it reminded me that I made a small dent in the universe. I had an opportunity to make someone else feel seen, understood, heard, and connected.

That is why I chose the world of medicine and cancer.

To have the privilege to help someone in their journey through medicine. To help alleviate the fear, the anxiety, the confusion, and the stress. Make a complicated and fractured trip through care as smooth, simple, and easy as possible.

I went into this profession so I could make an impact on people. Patients. Physicians. In my community. In my state. In my region. In my country. In the world.

I am sure there are many ways I can define my self-worth. I am positive I can calculate my value beyond my work.

I responded to the physician and told her, ‘thank you.’ “Thank you for all she does for patients, for radiologists, for medicine. No matter how she chose to define herself, I appreciate the sacrifices she made to dedicate her life to caring for patients. Thank you for saving lives daily.”

There are plenty of ways we can choose to define our lives. Our worth. Our value.

I choose to define myself by impacting those humans touched by medicine and cancer.

An impact that I measure at the N of 1.

Please email your comments, thoughts, questions, or ideas to me directly at You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.


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