The Physician Philosopher Podcast

TPP #29: I Drive a F***ing Corolla with Dr. Lil Surprenant

At The Physician Philosopher, we are all about helping doctors live life on their terms. In this episode with Dr. Lil Surprenant – one of our Alpha Coaches in the Alpha Coaching Experience. Dr. Surprenant’s story touches on coaching, divorce, and how her car emboldens her to say “no” to things that don’t measure up to her why.

Today You’ll Learn

  • How to say no to things.
  • How coaching helped Dr. Surprenant decide to leave fellowship.
  • If you should consider coaching as a physician side gig.
  • And more!

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Jimmy Turner: If you think coaching is going to be your jam is so much fun. And I really think we're just at the beginning. I think physician's coaching position is crazy effective. And next level,

Jimmy Turner: This is the physician philosopher podcast. I'm Dr. Jimmy Turner, an anesthesiologist online entrepreneur and life coach for physicians. 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 everyone. Welcome to episode number 29 of the physician philosopher podcast, where we take an uncurated and unapologetic look into physician life and physician entrepreneurship. Today we interviewed Dr. Lil SuperNet. She is awesome. She's an internist 17 years as a hospitalist before transitioning recently, and actually spent 10 years being a client of a coach herself before she went back, got her training. And she now works as one of our amazing alpha coaches in the alpha coaching experience. So I'm super excited for you to listen to her story because she is truly unapologetic about her life as a physician. And I think that she stands as an amazing example of what that looks like.

Jimmy Turner: Dr. SuperNet has been impacted by coaching in a lot of ways. And in fact, she shares a lot of that with her, from her time making a tough decision about leaving fellowship, to going through divorce and a variety of other topics. And so I think you're going to get a lot from this episode from perspective of another alpha coach. So if you want to hear her best advice and why she drives an effing Corolla, you'll have to stick around until the end. All right. Let's dive into today's interview with Dr. Little SuperNet, super excited to have you on the physician philosopher podcast. Welcome to the show.

Dr. Lil Surprenant: Thank you so much, Jimmy. I'm super excited to be here. This is my first real podcast that I've been on.

Jimmy Turner: Yeah. I feel honored and humbled all at the same time. I know you're amazing, but they don't know a lot about you. So take a minute and tell us about yourself and your background. Catch us up on where you are now, where you came from and any details you feel like would be important for listeners to know.

Dr. Lil Surprenant: Sure. What I would have told you two months ago that I'm a long-term, I am hospitalist, but actually just made a switch to outpatient. But my background is I'm a small town, South Carolina girl, and I went to med school at university of South Carolina and trained for internal medicine at university of Utah, which was an awesome, very different experience for me and practice hospital medicine here, there everywhere, and a bunch of different programs, big hospitals, small Utah, South Carolina, North Carolina, and ended up back and talk to her Ana. I'm currently married to my second husband. They happily, so have two boys aged 10 and 12. And I'm also a license, which you're very aware of. And that's part of the reason I'm talking here. Some fun things about me that I don't think, you know, after I finished residency, I took a year off, not totally off, but bought an RV with my ex husband. And almost before locums was a thing. It was starting to be a thing, but I found a look on topless job and actually made less money per hour than the travel nurses. Totally didn't care. And I basically just worked enough that year to eat through the bills. And then we like traveled the Western part of the country and like hike and camp and feed as much as we possibly could before I started real life, it was kind of fun. It was all that.

Jimmy Turner: Yeah. I actually didn't know about your South Carolina ties. I know that you're in South Carolina now, but in terms of growing up there. So Kristen, my wife, she grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. And so she's an Irma yellow jacket back in the day. And so she's from South Carolina too. And we both went to college in South Carolina is how we met. Yeah. What's a super small school that no one's ever heard of called bearskin college. Hey, small world.

Dr. Lil Surprenant: Yeah. Actually a girl I graduated from high school, went to her school and graduated promotion probably before your time. But yeah,

Jimmy Turner: Before my time on young whipper snapper. So, all right, so you found your way, you said you became a life coach, right? You coach into the alpha coaching experience and are an amazing coach there. Our clients love working with you. So I want to learn a little bit more about what your journey was like. And really, I think a fundamental question that a lot of people ask about this stuff is like, why do busy doctors decide to become a coach? How did that happen? Why did you decide to do it? What's the background there because a lot of people are like, wait, you had to pay how much and train for how long to become a coach. Why would you do that?

Dr. Lil Surprenant: My wife was generally so much better. Like almost looked like a different life in divorce, which is a very good thing for me, found a new husband, which I wasn't really even looking for. I lost about 75 pounds really felt like a different person. So I wasn't really needing a ton of coaching, but I like the podcast world came up and I somehow found Katrina Ubell. She is one of the original physician coaches and I didn't really need to lose any weight, but I thought, I mean, her coaching, her podcast is amazing for free content. I was like, wow, I want to join her program. I really need to lose any way, but I actually would like more of this. So I ended up getting from Katrina to Brooke Castillo the life at school and listen to that podcast. I joined scholars, which was a natural next step. And I was just jazzed about this next level coaching and self coaching. Like I had not done a lot of that in all the pitching years I was coached, but I didn't really coach myself learning to really self coach, I think made it seem possible. And probably also just seeing Katrina do it like, Oh, physicians can be coaches and it's a thing. And so I joined certification and finished a couple of years ago and I've been coaching primarily doctors ever since. And I love it. It's the most fun thing ever.

Dr. Lil Surprenant: Yeah. I think that's definitely, like you said, a longer story, a longer journey than I think a lot of people take. But I think in terms of the construct of it, it's pretty similar to a lot of people's stories where they were in a certain place, they needed coaching and they found coaching super helpful. And then at some point they met somebody who was a coach who happened to be a physician and you're like, Oh, I could do that. And then, you know, it kind of turns the light bulb moment on. And I think it's something that we're seeing become more and more common, which is really cool because some more physicians out there that have coaching skills, the better it is for other doctors, better just for our patients, the better it is for everybody.

Jimmy Turner: So that's the coaching side of things. But you said earlier that you worked 17 years as a hospitalist, and then you recently made a change.

Dr. Lil Surprenant: That's partly a pandemic thing. And partly just, I was actually really happy with my group happy being a hospitalist. So 0.6 and they gave me benefits and I probably worked for one of the best hospitalist groups. So it's not unhappy at all, but this opportunity came up and this is actually the long courtship to get me to come over to a particular outpatient clinic. It's a transition clinic. So it's most closely affiliated with the hospital. It's for patients who are complicated, get discharged from the hospital, don't have a primary care. And then we actually keep the patients who don't have funding or have funding, but are very medically or socially complex. It's a place where the patients that would kill a primary care physician's day, we keep them all and we have time and resources and expectations that we'll spend sometimes two hours on a follow-up like I did yesterday. No, it's not coming in as great a system. It's a really luxurious place for the patient. I mean, what they need to do is make use of it, which is often the difficult thing. But, you know, I worked for a really, I think, wonderful nonprofit hospital system that actually does have a mission and really put some resources behind that.

Jimmy Turner: Yeah. So what's your FTE now that you changed jobs?

Dr. Lil Surprenant: It's 0.5 and yeah. And that was a whole wrangle. Like I had a lot of internal drama about, because my choice was one or 0.5, like it could, I want it to 0.7, five. And so I had a lot of internal anger about going to 0.5

Jimmy Turner: For the people listening out there who are thinking about making a change, they're thinking about going part-time and thinking about changing their FTE or looking at their options. How did you make that decision? What kind of helped you crack that code?

Dr. Lil Surprenant: Well, I mean, I think the biggest thing that is the drama is knowing you're going to see a smaller paycheck, even running the numbers. And I can see rationally that it's fine. I have non-clinical income. I coach have a successful practice. I have a whole lot of other things, but just knowing that I was going to see some pain on the paycheck, a huge thing. The other thing that people will want to think about from a practical standpoint, but I actually already done this a few years ago when I went part-time on the hospital side, I actually had a period before the 0.6 where I was technically 0.5, but really working 0.75. And so I had the benefit drop to one of the really important thing is I lost this ability insurance. Can we regroup when I went part-time about four years ago, three years ago. And so I had to make sure before I was willing to make that quit set, I got private disability insurance. So just a little practical things like that was a big deal three years ago for me. And thinking through that.

Jimmy Turner: Cool. And so you were hospitals for 17 years now, you switched to this transitions clinic. And so I'm curious both in terms of your coaching topics, like what niche you really like to coach and then do you still coach hospitalist? I mean, I know you coach every kind of document after coaching experience, but in your coaching world, the entire world, in which you coach, what's your favorite topic to coach

Dr. Lil Surprenant: And I do, I coach every sort of physician and I do coach some hospitalists, but I coach everyone and we have so much more in common than we have different physician coaching positions. I really love to coach on creating your own satisfaction at work. I've done that personally over the years, like very actively and it's often such low hanging fruit, changing that mindset and figuring out things that make work personally more satisfying. That's one of my favorite things to do.

Dr. Lil Surprenant: Yeah. And I think that's so powerful because so many people when they want to get coaching, because they feel burned out and they've lost that satisfaction or they're overwhelmed at work. They think that coaching is going to somehow allow them to like magically change their situation at work. And it's actually that mindset piece exactly what you said, like flipping the script and then actually finding more satisfaction because of the narrative that we're telling ourselves. And then that's available to you without changing anything at work. Now you can choose to make changes like you usually want to change and I'm going part time. It's not that we're against people making changes that fit their life's dream, but you don't have to make a change to find real help. And so I think that's super cool that you like that I've found the same thing in my own life and in the clients that we coach. And so you mentioned a little bit about like how coaching personally impacted you, has that changed since you've become a coach in terms of your view on coaching or is it the same as it was when you were a client? Like, what are your thoughts about coaching now that you have both perspectives?

Dr. Lil Surprenant: I think one going through coach training and then more than that is like actively coaching. Other people make my own self coaching, my own personal development and happiness, like so much better. It's like I'm practicing this skill all the time. So I think even more of coaching I've always found it very valuable, but now I'm like on super steroids with it in terms of the value I see in it for me personally. And then of course for clients,

Jimmy Turner: Yeah. Coaching is one of those things I think is Soren. Kierkegaard is talk about like the leap of faith and it's totally one of those areas in life where everyone comes on a skeptic and then after they take a leap of faith, jump into coaching and like, I'm so glad that I did this value is just obvious and there. And I completely agree. And my background, personal finance blog, or a personal finance podcast, or you mentioned your journey of getting the 0.5 FTE and the mind drama around seeing a lower paycheck. And one of the things that we like to teach these off coaching experiences about non-clinical income and the potential to build businesses and, or financial literacy as this always played a part in people's freedom. And so I'm curious if you feel comfortable sharing, but nonclinical income coaching in this situation, how has that impacted your family, your decision to go? Part-time like just your life in general?

Dr. Lil Surprenant: Well, I mean, it's definitely allowed me more flexibility even before I was coaching. I was 0.6 hospitalists and that was fine, but because of financial decisions I've made over the last 10 years, cause I'm a financial, personal finance person too, not a blog of it. Like I'm into it. Yeah. I'm a money nerd. But then the next week to go to 0.5 on an outpatient job, which is just less money at this particular kind of job, having a consistent coaching income and having that in place as part of like my written financial, like how is this going to look once a month? Gave me the flexibility to say, yeah, I can do 0.5 and I can take Thursdays off and it's going to be great.

Jimmy Turner: I'm curious, having gone that journey, would you encourage other doctors to pursue a clinical encounter?

Dr. Lil Surprenant: Oh, for sure. It doesn't have to be coaching. Of course. I mean, that's one of the things that haven't been through a lot of stuff and live a long time and kind of, it's like, Oh, it doesn't have to be coaching. Doesn't have to be real estate, which I've done some to you at some rental properties. I had another business that was not successful, but there's just a million ways to make nonclinical income. And I encourage people to really think about what they're interested in and figuring out how to make money with something that's of interest because you know, it's a big time commitment and there's some financial commitment. Coaching is fantastic, but I wouldn't do coaching with the starting thing of, Oh, I want to make money. So maybe I'll be a coach. I mean, I think it should be like, Oh my God, coaching is amazing. I think I would love to do that. And then the money will follow.

Jimmy Turner: Yeah. I think that's really Sage advice. Having people find their zone of genius, if you will hope whatever that happens to be. And then hopefully there's some profit potential there and there's some natural skill as well. But finding that side gig sweet spot is what I'll have to call it. It's different for everybody. And they might be coaching. It might be online courses could be some other kind of online income. It could be real estate. It could be medical surveys, a medical expert witness work. There's just so many different kinds of businesses. And so I love that. You're pointing that out. What would you say to other doctors who are considering becoming a coach? Let's say, yeah, I've thought through all this my entire life, and this is kind of my experience, which is why gravitated coaching is. And people always came to me for advice, like since, as long as I can possibly remember. And so I gravitated to coaching for that reason, but let's say this person figured out, okay, it's not about the money. I just really like coaching. I think that would be a fun thing to do. What would you say to a doctor who's considering coaching as a form of,

Dr. Lil Surprenant: Oh, I would say yes. Definitely. If you think coaching is going to be your jam, it's so much fun. And I really think we're just at the beginning of position coaching, as I think in five years, it will be super common. I think almost everyone it'll be an AR like collective lingo that positions get coaches. Like that's part of what makes a healthy career. I mean, I'm biased. Of course I think positions coaching position is like crazy effective and next level. And so yeah, if someone actually wants to coach, I think the door's wide open and I think this is going to be just bigger and bigger over time.

Jimmy Turner: And the idea of physicians can't agree more. You've all had coaching that was with another doctor and person that was with someone else who's not in medicine. I felt like half the time I have to explain like what the words are that are coming out of my mouth, if it's about work. Cause we live in a different language, but yeah. Okay. Very quickly, this kind of mantra is taking place in both the physician philosophy now of coaching experience, like living life on your terms. And so I'm excited to ask you, but give me an example of one way that you live life on your own terms and like any hacks or tips or tricks that you might give someone else to do the same.

Dr. Lil Surprenant: Okay. I'm going to give you the one is just like, for example, I live life on monitor. So I made this schedule and I made my schedule and I decided I want to take Thursdays totally off. And they're very luxurious. But part of the reason I got to Thursdays is because there's a dance class on Thursday morning that I really love to go to. And I'm like, yeah, I'm going to design my whole schedule around that. And it's fun. And then my other thing that I think may be more actionable for people, not the specific words, but I have a mini mantra and whenever I'm feeling twitchy at work and by work, I mean like clinical medicine, when there's any sort of like autonomy issue where I feel like somebody's putting pressure on me, I think to myself. And sometimes I'll say now that I'm actually, I have more freedom.

Dr. Lil Surprenant: I think to myself, I drive a Corolla. I do drive a Corolla. I live in a very modest house, which I keep my fixed expenses, flexibility. But that mental armor I'm like, know it's basically just means you can't hurt me. You can ask me as a hospitalist. This actually happened a few years ago to take out the trash to the engineering place. Like you can ask. And I get to say no. And part of the reason I get to say no is I love it. There's so much power in just having that ability to say, no, I love it.

Jimmy Turner: I love that answer. You do have that freedom. And you do have the ability to have the ability to say no to stuff. And like you're not trapped in a lifestyle. That's it? When you get to that point and you have that freedom, then you have something else come along side of it, which is the autonomy to say no. And people ask you to take trash to the engineering department because that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life for the record. Let the record show engineering department. I take my trash out myself.

Jimmy Turner: If people want to reach out to you, how can they do that? If they're interested in coaching on your website as well. Awesome. Well, Hey, thanks for taking the time. Thanks for taking us through your journey.

Jimmy Turner: All right, everybody, that was a ton of fun talking to Dr. Surprenant. And until next time, my friends, start before you're ready start now.

Disclaimer: My dad, Dr. Jimmy Turner is a physician first personal finance blogger and a life coach for doc. However, he is not your position or your life. Could you also, isn't a financial advisor, financial planner or accountant. Anything discussed in this podcast is for general education and entertainment purposes. I have 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 our, my [email protected]

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