The Physician Philosopher Podcast

TPP #27: Getting Clear on Your “Why”

The psychology behind our relationship with money is so interesting. How we view money can make or break our finances.

Larry Keller

It’s so easy to look at money and feel like we’ll never have enough or that we aren’t able to make the money we need to get where we want to go. People can have a negative number in their bank accounts or even a million dollars and they can both have those exact same thoughts.

Did you know our relationship with money is actually all about mindset? If we don’t think we’ll ever have enough money, then we won’t, no matter how big the number in the bank account gets.

Keep listening to learn how you can change that money mindset and learn how to have a healthy relationship with your money!

Today You’ll Learn

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  • Why your money mindset can change your finances for better or for worse.
  • How to escape that negative money mindset (without changing the number in your bank account).
  • How to view money as a tool that will get you where you need to be.
  • And more!

Episode Resources

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What if I told you that everyone always asks about what they need to do and how they should do it, but these aren't the right questions. Keep listening to learn about the question that might lead to the answer you're looking for to get off that treadmill.

This is The Physician Philosopher Podcast. I'm Dr. Jimmy Turner, anesthesiologist, personal finance blogger, and life coach for doctors. The Physician Philosopher Podcast teaches you how to create the life you deserve, one thought at a time. Start before you're ready, start by starting, start now.

Hey, hey, hey everyone. Welcome to episode number 27 of The Physician Philosopher Podcast, where we take an uncurated and unapologetic look into physician life. Today's thought is this, if you aren't clear on your why, the how, and what, do not matter. Your why, is what will allow you to enjoy the journey.

All right, everybody. So, I'm just going to be real with you for a moment. Every coach who is worth a lick of salt has a coach of their own. Basically, the best coaches not only coach their own clients, but they have a coach of their own too. And the reason for that is that coaches don't stop being human just because they understand coaching tools, and it turns out that humans are going to be human. Our minds need management regardless of where we are, and how far we've come, and this is really the process of coaching.

And I like to explain this to my clients, it's like running a marathon. They're like, "Oh my gosh, I've been working on this. We talked about this last week and it's still coming up for me." It's a process of unlearning and relearning, unlearning and relearning. And it takes repetition, it takes practice, and just like running a marathon, you're not going to see me going out and signing up for a marathon tomorrow, because I don't really run a lot, the most I ever run at a time is probably three or four miles, I could not go out and run a marathon. But if I started practicing over, and over, and over again for months, I would be able to do that eventually.

And coaching's the same way, we have to unlearn our old neuronal pathways, they are very well slicked, we're used to going down them the way that our thoughts lead us, and we have to unlearn those pathways, and then learn new ones, and constantly relearn them, constantly teach it to us again. And that's when the real work really comes in, rinsing and repeating that unlearning and relearning process, that's coaching.

And so, this podcast episode is going to be an example of that in my own life. I'm going to be real with you. I'm going to tell you where I'm at, where I've been. It's something that I still continue to struggle with to this day. It's something that I've coached on. It's something that I've coached other people on, and it's something that I have to be coaching on myself, frequently.

So, it goes against every set of advice that's out there. If you listen to business podcasts, what I'm about to do is just sacrilege. You're not supposed to admit that you have problems, you're supposed to speak and teach from this place of having already conquered something. And instead today, I'm going to walk you through something that I continue to struggle with. And my friends, that's just not the case here. I'm not going to give you something today that I've conquered, it's just something that I continue to work through, and something that I hope that you'll benefit from as well.

So, for years, I had no idea that I struggled with what is called an arrival fallacy. And I actually talked about this in episode five. And in it, I have this quote, and I'm going to quote it again, because this is where the arrival fallacy, that term, comes from. So this is how Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, who's credited with creating that term, arrival fallacy, defines it. Arrival fallacy is this illusion that once we make it, or reach our destination, we will reach lasting happiness.

So, for example, my attention is often focused on the next goal, the next achievement. Typically for me, it's a business related goal of some kind, and when I achieve that goal, I received this hit of dopamine from finally arriving at the destination. I'm a bit of an arrival fallacy junkie where I constantly look for the next thing to provide that happiness that I'm looking for.

And just like any other addiction, the high from achieving those goals are really not long lived. It does not really do much for you, and it does very little for providing long-term satisfaction, which may explain why I constantly have this need to fulfill this arrival fallacy, to get that next hit, to continue to create, to continue to produce.

And for a long time, I've pretty much been in that space, where I just don't know how to fix this, and so I just keep creating, I keep producing, I keep searching for accolades and achievement. And what this produces is really ultimately a never ending to-do list. It really feels like a treadmill, no matter how much I get done, no matter how much I do, no matter what I accomplish, there's always something else that's on the list.

And so, I have this partially managed through creating a few different things. I have created a very intentional schedule and that has helped me deal with this to some extent. I no longer really struggled with that anxiety and overwhelm from wondering when I'll get something done because it's on the calendar, so I continue to have success with A Priori Planning, or planning on Sunday evenings, my week. And that way I don't have to worry about, "Oh, when is that one paper going to get written?" Or, "That one podcast going to get published?" I know when it's going to get done because it's on the calendar. So the anxiety and overwhelm that used to come with that, that piece has been dealt with. I still am in a really good place with that.

But the piece that hasn't really been dealt with is like the end game, the arrival, this idea that when I accomplish X, Y, or Z, that I am going to be happier than I am right now. And that's ultimately a lie, and it's not really something that's true. And you'll hear it say that there's no, there, there, in other words, when you get there, you're going to find out that you're not any happier than you were. And so really the point, or the purpose is to enjoy the journey and not the end game or the goal. And yet, that to this day still seems to be really, really hard for me. I continue to struggle with that idea of enjoying the journey along the way.

I do think that I've finally wrapped my head around where the real problem is, and why this is happening, and what's going on in my head that prevents me from truly moving forward and out of this. And what I've come to realize is that the problem is that I have a hard time with this because I'm focused on the "what" of my business. Focusing on the what, what needs to be done for example, is never ending. There's always something to be done, something to be produced, and someone to help.

Many of you probably relate to this if you have a business of your own, if you don't, you probably relate to this as a physician, listening to this podcast, and all of the various things that you have to do at work, the committees, and book chapters, and papers, and teaching, and lectures, and whatever you have going on in your world. This never ending list, and no matter how much you get done, it just keeps on coming. It's why it feels like a treadmill. You turn the speed up to get more work done, and guess what? Doesn't matter. You're going to have to keep running. You're not going anywhere.

And so, focusing on the what of my business has produced this arrival fallacy. So, I've come to know this quite well. This thing is like a monster in my closet, it's there every night when I go to sleep, it's there in the morning when I wake up, and it's something that I really try to wrap my head around, like, "Why do I continue to struggle with this? Why can't I be present with my kids when they want to do something? Why am I thinking about what I need to get done when I'm supposed to be hanging out with my children?" That's not where I want to be, my friends. That's not the space that I want to be in. Why can't I enjoy being still?

So, for example, here are some things that I've often felt needed to be accomplished for The Physician Philosopher to truly hum, for this business, this machine to do its job. I need to make content. So, I need to publish two podcasts a week, Money Meets Medicine, and The Physician Philosopher Podcast forever. That literally could go on forever. If we do two podcasts a week and there's no finite time on that. And so actually what I'm probably going to do at some point is say, "Hey, for two weeks of the year, I'm just not going to produce a podcast. I'm just going to take two weeks off." And you know what, in any other field, I would tell someone else if I was coaching them, that sounds really healthy. But for me, for some reason, that's not acceptable. So, I'm going to have to start working on that.

Other things, social media interaction. The notifications that go off for Facebook, or Instagram, or Twitter, or whatever. Talk about an addiction. That is a great way for your phone to constantly need to be in your hand, and another thing that needs to get done. Various projects, redesigning the website. Yes, my friends, I'm sorry, the ugly, thephysicianphilosopher.com website is going to be going away. But that's another thing I'm working on. Writing books, creating videos for ACE, or the Alpha Coaching Experience. I've got meetings for my business. There's always things to be done.

And so, all of these are attempts to answer the question of, "What needs to be done?" The what of my business. And this sends me further into another problem, which is the how. How do we get all this stuff done? And so, I answered that question previously with a bit of the A Priori Planning, this idea of having intentional weeks, and maker tasks, and manager tasks. I think that tool has changed my life, the anxiety and overwhelm I used to have, they're just not there anymore. So, it's helped a ton. And I talk about this in episode seven, for any of you that want to check out that tool too. I think it's extremely helpful. It's one of the tools that most of my clients say just was fundamental in changing how they operate day to day, week to week, and the happiness, and lack of anxiety they now have.

So, I also started answering the how question in other ways, like, "How do I delegate tasks to other people in my business to help solve some of these what problems?" The time crunch that I have, this treadmill that I'm on. And fixed the problem with me being the bottleneck in my business. So, for a long time, basically the reason why my business wasn't growing is because it was dependent upon me to get things done, which is why I always felt I needed to get things done because the business had potential to grow, and I couldn't get there because it was waiting on me to do something. So, that's why I started delegating, hiring people, contractors, to help accomplish the mission of this business.

And after solving those, what and how issues in my business, to some extent, things did get better. They got better for a while, but yet, I still continued to struggle because of that treadmill phenomenon. I still felt when I was with my kids or my wife, Kristen, that I would be focused on other things. And Kristen would oftentimes say, "Hey, where are you? You're not with me right now. You're here, but you're not here." And my kids would say, "Hey dad, can you put down the phone?" I felt like that just stereotypical dad in the movies who is disconnected, and it says that family is important, but then doesn't make a priority for it in their real life. I just felt this was not where I wanted to be. And I'm starting to really finally understand what the problem is.

So, what is finally allowing me to deal with this problem is steering my focus away from the what and the how, and learning to place it back on the why. And part of what's led to this is I'm reading this book by Simon Sinek, and I'm a big fan of him. So, if you don't know who that is, he's got a couple of great books, Leaders Eat Last, is one that I love to talk about. And the one I'm reading right now is, Start with Why.

Sinek's take on this is, essentially that most businesses start with the what and the how, and don't really talk about the why. And instead, good businesses start with the why. And so when it comes to The Physician Philosopher, I've been pretty clear on my why for a long time. So, I was really happy to hear that aspect of things. So, the first why that The Physician Philosopher exists is our call, our mission, why The Physician Philosopher's here, is simple. We're trying to help as many doctors as we can create the life they deserve, one thought at a time. And we do this through basically teaching personal and financial freedom. So, personal freedom and financial freedom. Personal freedom through coaching, financial freedom through online courses, and coaching, and the blog, the podcast, online content that's free. So, we do it in a variety of ways.

When we started recreating the redesign of our website, we started figuring out that we really needed to hone in on that why. And so through that process, we were able to really do that. In other words, we want to equip all of you with the tools you need to take back the control in your life. Many doctors don't feel like they're the captain of their own ship, they feel like autonomy has been stripped from them by administrators, bureaucrats, insurance companies, patient satisfaction scores, electronic medical records, you name it. And our job, our mission, our call, our purpose, our why at The Physician Philosopher is to help doctors fight back. It's to empower the doctor to fight back, to gain control over their life, the freedom, to become the captain of their own ship again.

And so, this clarity really helped us focus on that. And yet I still felt like there was a problem in my own life. The Physician Philosopher is doing well, it's doing really well, better than I ever could have imagined. And yet personally, I was still struggling with an arrival fallacy. And so, the reason is that I've always been so focused on helping other people, it's what I love to do in life, that I've often done that at the expense of my own family, and even at my own expense.

So, the solution to this was diving into my personal why. The business has a why, and then I have a personal why as well for running the business. And my personal why for starting The Physician Philosopher was to create financial freedom and autonomy in my own life. It's one of the reasons why I encourage other doctors to start side gigs, it's because it helps provide some of that freedom to cope part time, to take a step back, to have a little more leverage, to get to financial freedom faster.

But by filling all of my time with the what and the how issues of my business, I created this environment that is really this never ending list of to-do items. And so, moving forward, now that I'm remembering my why, that autonomy and freedom of my schedule, to hang out with my family, to have free time with my kids, to play board games, to go outside, to go for walks, and read books, to watch some Netflix, because by the way, that's okay. I know this sounds ridiculous probably to some of you listening to this. You're like, "Man, this guy's just a machine." I do, I get a ton of stuff done, I'm incredibly productive, but at what cost? It's just not worth it.

And so, I'm going to be unapologetic about this. My family deserve to be one of the things I say, "Hell, yes." to which means I need to start saying no to other things. Now, I haven't figured out that piece, that's the what and the how, I'm not going to focus on that right now. What I'm focused on is my why, and this is all going to allow me to not be thinking about the things that my business needs to have done, and I'm going to focus more on the art of sitting in silence. I just started noticing that even when I was doing mundane tasks, like taking a shower, or working out, or driving in the truck, or whatever, I constantly had to have music on, or podcast, I constantly needed to be stimulated or doing something, there was no time in the day that could be wasted, because there's always something to be done.

And now, I've been practicing, I've started practicing how to sit in silence. How to just give life a moment. That's where creativity comes from, if you don't have those moments, creativity can't happen. And so, in fact, by not focusing on my why, the what, and the how of my business weren't even possible, to some extent. I'm going to practice being still, particularly with my kids, and staying present, I'm going to put my phone down.

So, for Lent, I decided to give up my phone from 5:00 PM, basically when I'm done working for the day, until my kids are in bed. And so, if you call, or text, or email me, or Slack me between those hours for the next month or so, I'm not going to answer. And that might become a permanent thing. I really am very serious about focusing back again on my why, and my why is my kids, it's my wife, it's my family, it's my time. And ultimately that's what I want to be doing. That's the reason I started this business personally.

Now, the business still has a call. It still has a mission to help as many doctors as we can create the life they deserve, one thought at a time, that still exists, and it's always going to exist as long as The Physician Philosopher's around. But I can't forget to take care of myself because it's like the analogy that we often give, with the plane and the flight attendant who comes on and says, "Hey, if oxygen masks drop, put yours on first so that you can then help other people, because if you don't and you pass out, you can't help other people."

So, in order to help other people, in order for me to properly fulfill the purpose, the why of The Physician Philosopher, I have to personally fulfill my family's why and my why outside of the business. And today friends, I'm being honest with you. It's a little bit raw, but this is something I'm currently working on. This is a work in progress. I am a work in progress, but that's what coaching is. It's this process of unlearning and relearning new things. And so, I'm in the midst of that right now. I've been in the midst of that for 35 years. And ultimately this episode may prove to be more helpful for me than it is for you, but it's something that I needed to get off my chest. I wanted to be real about it, and hope that it gives you pause to think about what your why is.

So, as you think about that, what are your goals? Why do you want them? Why are they so important? Why is failure at that unacceptable? And what are you willing to do to make sure that why happens? That could be a why for your life at home. It could be a why in your career, or a physician side gig, or entrepreneurial effort that you're building. Just remember that life isn't about the what or the how, it's about the why.

So, today's thought is this. If you aren't clear on your why, the how and the what do not matter. Your why is what will allow you to enjoy the journey. So, until next time, my friends, start before you're ready, start by starting, start now. I'll see you next week.

My dad, Dr. Jimmy Turner is a physician first, personal finance blogger, and a life coach for doctors. However, he is not your physician, or your life coach. He also isn't a financial advisor, financial planner, or accountant. Anything discussed in this podcast is for general education and entertainment purposes only. Life coaching is not a substitute for therapy, medicine, or medical treatment. However, if you're a doctor looking for a life coach, you can reach out to my dad, at [email protected]



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