The Physician Philosopher Podcast
3 Doctors Who Changed Their Life Through Physician Coaching
Given that this is the 100th episode of this show, I thought it would be pretty cool to share the stories of those who have listened to this podcast and had their lives changed as a result.
And today is doubly-special, because The Alpha Coaching Experience (ACE) is finally open again. It’s been six months since we opened the doors last, and we only open the program twice per year.
So, instead of me telling you about the impact ACE has had on doctors, I thought I’d let three doctors who have gone through the physician coaching program share their stories. Here’s how they overcame their situations to create the time, financial freedom, and mindset shifts they needed to practice medicine on their terms.
Dr. Michael Hersh’s physician coaching story
Michael is a doctor who works in his dream field of gastroenterology. Married with two children and living in Chicago, he loved his life. But despite all his success, he noticed a feeling that something was missing. He had everything he’d always wanted, but he was overwhelmed and stressed by the workload and waitlist at his GI practice. Then he heard me talk on a podcast about coaching.
He joined a beta test I ran for physician coaching, and was initially very skeptical – more so than most. He thought he didn’t have anything in common with the other physicians in the group, that coaching seemed weird, and his ultimate goal was to just save as much money as possible and quit medicine.
Instead, I offered to talk to him one-on-one. About that call, Michael had this to say:
“In that conversation, you showed me that there may be some faulty thinking there – that I could actually still be a doctor and be happy. And then you asked me a pivotal question (and I talk about this question all the time). You specifically asked me, ‘If you don’t do this, what will change?’ And I think in that question, you opened up a possibility for me.
What was holding me back was the idea that I didn’t have the ability to change.
I thought I already had all the things right. And so if I already have all the things and it’s not making me happy, then then what’s going to make me happy?’ That’s when I signed up for coaching.”
After a year in coaching, Michael made the decision to become a coach himself.
“Previously, my whole identity was medicine. As I went through ACE, I started to discover there was so much more to me. I thought about how there are a million physicians in the United States, and so few coaches. We need more voices in the physician coaching space, telling our stories and resonating with other people. To show others that things can be different. We can blow the lid off and change the lives of physicians.”
Physician coaching with Dr. Shazia Latif
Dr. Shazia Latif is a board certified pediatrician in Rhode Island. After 15 years at her practice, she had great relationships with her colleagues and staff and thought she would work there until retirement. After the pandemic, though, a change in the EMR her practice was using quickly made her job untenable.
Shazia said, “Changing EMRs in October 2020 rocked our world at our office. I’d be charting at six o’clock in the morning, still charting at eight o’clock at night. A switch had been flipped and all of a sudden my life was spiraling in all different ways. Work-life balance, time with family, time for self, time for my patients. It was just all gone – like a typhoon hit my life.
It took months to even begin thinking about leaving, and I found The Physician Philosopher podcast in the summer of 2021. I spent several months listening and re-listening when I would go on walks.
So when I finally reached out to you, it only took about 3 seconds after we talked to decide I wanted to participate in ACE physician coaching.
I’ll never forget the discussion I had with you when I was slowly letting go of my job. I was overwhelmed with the ramifications of what was happening in my life, with my job, having a hard time with the whole concept of what my patients would do if I left.
You said, ‘That’s not your responsibility. Just like you have choices, they have choices, too. They can choose to stay at this practice and try out a new doctor, or they could choose to follow you, or they could choose some third practice or a different alternative.’ And that, for me, it sounds so simple, but that for me was really eye-opening. It allowed me to further let go and make the right decision for me, which was to leave the practice.
ACE was just absolutely incredible and I’m the better for it.”
Dr. Daniel Shin’s physician coaching experience
Dr. Shin joined ACE after realizing that his life in urology wasn’t everything he thought it was cracked up to be.
“When I started ACE, I was a surgeon giving about 125% in my day-to-day. I also had a two hour work commute, so you can imagine that there wasn’t much time left over for things like coaching.
But I was at an impasse in my career. You know, I felt very roadblocked mentally, and I was having a hard time figuring out how to balance everything. Between the job, the side gigs, and my family and I, I knew that I needed help. Coaching has helped so many other people, so I basically just decided I was going to make time for it.
I write about personal finance and think about things from a lens of investment and return on investment. Coaching is something that was a significant expense, but I looked at it as investing in myself from an educational standpoint. As physicians, we think nothing of spending $300,000 for our medical education. When it comes to working on your mindset and making these massive shifts and steps forward in your life, I think that spending money as an investment in that change is well worth it.
Halfway through ACE, I went from giving 125% to closer to 100%. I was still working between probably 40 and 50 hours a week, but I made that change. It was an incredible weight off of me. I had more time for everything.
What you can expect from physician coaching is a safe space to explore these impasses and roadblocks and then to basically workshop and try to figure out how to get beyond them.
My major breakthrough in coaching through ACE was that I gave myself the license to change my life.”
Is ACE physician coaching right for you?
There are two important questions when it comes to practicing medicine on your terms…
What would it cost you to be in the same place as you are in right now, a year from now?
And what would you do to guarantee that you’re practicing medicine on your terms a year from now?
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