Confessions from a Primary Care Physician: Why Staying Comfortable Makes Me Uncomfortable

Crispy Confessions

Confessions From a Primary Care Physician: Why Staying Comfortable Makes Me Uncomfortable

Instead of dreading change, we can anticipate times in our lives that require adjustment and find joy in them.

I have a confession to make: every major move I’ve made had much to do with stepping outside my comfort zone. At the various forks in my road, I made life-altering changes that were initially hard to accept and process, such as:

  • Leaving Iraq to move to the U.S.
  • Putting down roots in Michigan and then relocating to California
  • Leaving my boys to return to work
  • Leaving behind a successful family medical practice to build a new one

While these disruptions required a major adjustment to my mindset, I was able to find more freedom, inspiration, and confidence in myself.

Embracing change is about accepting the unknowns and that can be stressful, scary, and extremely disorienting. But change can also spark powerful imagination. Albert Einstein was famous for saying, “Imagination is everything,” and who am I to argue against that? His quote resonates with me, because it gives me a sense of courage in embracing how I see my future.  With every change, I seem to trust my imagination more, and this helps me move forward with more hope and less worry.  

Since we all face changes, I have some confessions that you can learn from, so that you can become more self-aware and resilient when you’re faced with life’s many forks in the road.  

Avoiding a stationary life

I can trace my life’s changes back to having a repetitive routine. It’s easy to get complacent when you’re used to familiarity. To expand my soul and creativity, I need some variety. I realize that when I find myself becoming more and more complacent, that is when I know I need to seek change.  

Not caring about what other people think

Failing is not such a bad thing; it’s how you grow. Not all of your decisions will lead to positive growth, and that’s OK. Instead of making decisions based on what other people think of you, make changes because you want to make them.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

In my current practice, I’ve felt stagnant, and this comfort zone almost became a personal shield protecting me from the outside world. If I were to continue here, then I’d hold myself back from seeing a different angle or perspective.

I want to use my influence to foster and positively impact a larger community at my new practice, to give myself new challenges as a physician. I also want to use my public speaking skills to connect with bigger audiences and meet people outside my industry. If I just stayed put, I would not be able to grow beyond my comfort zone.

Change can be exciting and build confidence

I’m confident about starting a new practice because I think I’ll have more autonomy to make the best decisions. Having said that, I do not expect all my decisions to be correct, but that’s all part of growth. I’m proud of myself for moving on and taking a major risk.


When you face changes, and accept the challenges that go with them, you’re gaining more experience. You’re gaining more confidence and realizing when you need to grow in a new way. While the change itself may not always be positive, you should look at the things that go wrong as micro ways of learning and improving. The process of changing might feel uncomfortable, but the more comfortable you are with it, the faster you can grow in a positive direction.

Reyzan Shali

I’m a primary care physician, board certified in Internal Medicine, and practicing in the San Diego area. I’m a mother, wife, sister, aunt, and friend. But first and foremost, I’m a proud Kurdish daughter of two great Kurdish parents from the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

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