It’s time to be honest with ourselves – Dr Ashlea Broomfield

Nothing will change unless we do. Unless our attitudes do. Unless our current strategies do. Unless we are willing to.

I have been involved in leadership positions of some sort or other within the GP and medico-political landscape for a few years. I was exposed to the landscape unknowingly during my entire training.

It can be really disheartening.

I have seen bright-eyed, excited, passionate and extremely positive colleagues take up leadership positions with fervour. A year or two later their adjectives change:

Burnt out








We are all to blame. We are tough on each other. We are outwardly critical of our leaders. We are obstinately frustrated at our professional organisations.

Because we remember…

We remember the events. The AMA/RACGP conflict on GP vs. specialist MBS rebates. The RACGP/ACRRM split. The RACGP losing the training program. The RACGP in financial distress. The events leading up to and resulting from the dissolution of GPET. The National Terms and Conditions for the Employment of Registrars. The organisational behaviour of GP corporate giants. Our own experience of training, exams and mentorship.

We should be critical of hierarchy. It promotes accountability. We should remember past traumas. It helps to avoid committing the same mistakes.

But what about our own mistakes?

I know I am guilty.

I am guilty of allowing someone else’s opinion of persons, people or organisations to cloud my own.

I am guilty of entering a meeting with a preconceived notion of what an organisation’s agenda will entail.

I am guilty of criticising decisions made within organisations without knowing all the context.

I am guilty of having discussions with colleagues that sustains, rather than counter acts negativity.

I am guilty of allowing past events develop into a pattern of prejudices which are unhelpful.

For me, I have realised it is time to let go.

Let go of the preconceived ideas, notions and a proclivity to presumptively act based on those past experiences or other people’s memories and emotions in relation to them.

Let go of my own agendas, whether that be organisational or personal.

Let go of the angst.

It is time to engage in the open plane of possibility.

Open to the people who previously annoyed or irritated me.

Open to the organisations who I previously thought did something wrong.

Open to the ideas, thoughts and actions that are different or in conflict with my own.

Open to promoting positive ideas through positive actions and positive relationships, even if that takes a whole bunch of self control to do so with someone, something or some organisation that was difficult for me in the past.

Open to displaying this through all interactions. Formally at meetings, in emails, during the ‘in-between’ conversations and on social media.

If we can engage with openness to others, openness to change and openness to wonder, excitement and new opportunity – we will be in a much happier and better place, professionally and personally.

Because to successfully change our external environment, we need to look to our internal environment. Be honest with ourselves and be open about what needs to change.

9 thoughts on “It’s time to be honest with ourselves – Dr Ashlea Broomfield

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  1. Brilliantly written Ashley.
    A real lesson and might I add a free psycho analysis lesson for us!
    In order to realise where you are going, it is important to know where you are coming from.
    The mentality of ‘not taking responsibility and blaming everyone else for everything that goes wrong’ is often the starting point to cynicism and all the other brilliant points that you raised.
    There is an African saying that says, “the problems of the cola nut are often in the cola nut itself.”


  2. This is a brilliant article Ash. I love your idea of ‘promoting positive ideas through positive actions and positive relationships’. I strongly believe in the concept of being radically open-minded, accepting past errors and transgressions, mending broken relationships and building a positive future by candidly assessing our present and striving for mutually acceptable goals.


  3. Brilliant Ash Broomfield!!
    I particularly love your final sentence “Be honest with ourselves and be open about what needs to change”.
    The late,great Stephen Covey wrote:
    “Seek first to understand, then to be understood” This philosophy is a grounding one and it certainly opens one to put self aside to learn and understand before passing opinions.


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