The Big Plunge

The Big Plunge

Anees B. Chagpar, MD, MPH

Sep 05, 2010

I’m really not the astrological type, but I found my horoscope today interesting . . . “You are in a position right now that is making you nervous. You are like a diver on a high platform looking over the edge. Jumping off is certainly going to be scary, but deep down, you know that after you take the plunge, you will be fine.” As many of you may know, I recently accepted a new position as Director of the Yale Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital... this is a big move for me, but one which will be really exciting and energizing... truly a big plunge!

I’ve been thinking a lot about change recently... it’s always a little scary – moving out of one’s comfort zone into uncharted territory. But with this risk comes great potential reward – the chance to really make a difference, and to help build something spectacular! Whether this occurs in the context of a career change, a novel therapy, or an out-of-the-box concept for an innovative research project, we all need to take a plunge every once in a while... just make sure the water is safe down below, that you know how to swim, that there are people around to help in case of emergency, and then... GO FOR IT!

It’s this kind of adrenaline rush that not only keeps us motivated as oncologists but allows us to advance the field forward. Think of all of the huge advances that have been made in oncology – they’ve all been the result of highly innovative thinkers who took a risk to challenge the status quo. They all took a big plunge. Could you drown? Absolutely... Could you hit your head on the bottom of the pool and die of an intracranial bleed? Yup. But you know what? If you sit on the sidelines, and watch others dive, you’ll never experience the sheer rush of making a really huge splash!


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