Thousands gathered this past weekend to celebrate Father’s Day. A father is a daughter’s first love and a son’s super hero. It is said that our lives are framed by our upbringing- the way that we watch both our parents interact with each other as well as how they treat their children. The ultimate goal of balancing home life, work, and personal obligations is no easy feat.
Dr. Lateef Opabola is a board-certified anesthesiologist. He is of Nigerian descent- and attributes his success to his father’s work ethic, his mother’s prayers, his wife, and his children. The road to medicine was far from easy; however, his intentionality, resilience, and determination allowed him to accomplish this goal.
“I think there are hurdles, and I think it’s important to acknowledge those hurdles. But I also think it’s important to not allow those hurdles to define you or slow you down.”
While speaking to him, it reminded me that I too had a checklist for my life. It was all planned out. Unbeknownst to me, life does not always go as planned. It does not have to be your demise, and it certainly does not have to be your end. As a matter of fact, the twists and turns can become more rewarding than what you may have planned for yourself. Trust the process.
The intention of becoming a physician began with a volunteering opportunity in his youth and continued on as he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Florida. He wasn’t new to this lifestyle of hard work as he grew up with a father that required him to work when others played during their free time. Like many college students, his studies took a temporary backseat his sophomore year. He describes his undergrad graduation as one of the “saddest days” of his life as he thought his quest to medical school was over.
Fast forward to 2019, he is specialized in Cardiothoracic anesthesia, a husband, a father of 3, and a leader in the medical community. There are over 1 million active physicians in the US in which anesthesiologists make up less than 50,000 as of 2018. As we our raising the next generation to become future leaders and professionals, it’s essential for them to know that a reroute is not failure.
Raising a family while providing care in the medical world requires there to be a unique balance between prioritizing the needs of your family while fulfilling your role as a provider. When asked how he’s able to balance the two? “I embrace the now.” The idea of working countless hours now to create the life you want when you retire is the norm. But in doing that, we miss out on the priceless moments to be there for both our partners and family as a whole.
As working professionals- we want it all. As we’re striving to get it all, we can’t forget about the people in our lives that we are doing it for in the first place. When we’re doing well in our personal lives, we are able to be better for those that we are caring for.
“We’ve got a responsibility to live up to the legacy of those who came before us by doing all that we can for those who came after us.” Michelle Obama
Jim Collins: Good to Great
Atul Gawande: The Checklist Manifesto
Karl E. Weick; Kathleen Sutcliffe: Managing the Unexpected
This segment of Parler: Table Topics was brought to you by contributions from Dr. Lateef Opabola.