As healthcare professionals we can sometimes overcomplicate things. But solutions to some of the problems that get in the way of achieving goals – and achieving life balance – can come from the most simple experiences.

Take, for example, my “slime” experiment. I got eight little takeaways from that exercise…takeaways that I carry in my medical practice – and my coaching practice.

Do you remember the slime craze? If you have children of your own, or children in your life, then you probably remember it well…that slippery, gooey version of Silly Putty that every kid wanted to make.

My kids campaigned non-stop until, finally one day – in my usual “researcher” fashion – I looked up a recipe online and we hit a local craft supply store (and spent a small fortune) for the ingredients.

It was a total failure.

We tweaked the recipe…

Failed again.

No less than five attempts and we were still failing.

We all know the adage:

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”…

But this was getting ridiculous.

We regrouped, I went back to the internet and found a new recipe – that looked much more complicated – and we agreed that we’d try again another day. It was time to move on to something else.

The next time my kids saw their nanny they were more than happy to share our failure!

“I made slime with some other kids a couple weeks ago,” she said. “There’s a secret ingredient…shaving cream.”

Now we were at a crossroads.

Did we go back to the craft store and get the new (probably expensive) list of ingredients? Or did we trust her experience and stick to our original recipe with this little – tried and true – “secret” ingredient?

She had evidence of her prior success…photos of the other children playing with slime they’d made from scratch.

Well, to cut a long story short, we went with our nanny’s recipe and…


It got me thinking about the more difficult challenges we face in our life when we’re working towards achieving goals at work and in our personal lives.

Here were my takeaways…

  1. It’s important to step out of your comfort zone and try new things.
  2. When you want to embark on a project, take the time to sit down and really think about it. Be realistic. Vet your information, think critically about the costs (whether that means an investment in time or money…or both) and the desired outcome.
  3. If at first you succeed, try, try again…but…
  4. If you want something different you’ll have to do something different. Sometimes you’ll have to admit that your method might not be the right approach. Be willing to let go of how you “thought” things would work and be open to tackling the problem from a new angle.
  5. Be willing to go back to the drawing board and do more research…but…
  6. Don’t be afraid to take a break if you get in over your head, you’ll avoid burnout. Give yourself permission to step back and regroup when. Giving yourself that space will probably help you find a new approach to your challenge, and help in achieving goals that you have set.
  7. Get help from a mentor or coach. Trust people in your life who have had real experience solving a similar problem, or know how to talk you through finding the solution. Don’t place too much faith in your “internet research” if there’s someone in your life who can identify with your challenge and tells you, “Here’s what I learned when I hit a roadblock in solving a similar problem.”
  8. And most importantly: don’t give up.

I encourage you to pay attention to the little life lessons you’re being taught in your day-to-day life…they can have broader applications in your professional and personal life.

If you’d like to learn more about how to achieve your personal and professional goals, or help your team fulfill their goals, please contact me.

And I’d love to know if you’ve learned any interesting life lessons from a surprisingly simple experience…

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