The Physician Philosopher Podcast

TPP 42: How To Fall Back in Love With Medicine

In coaching we spend time diving into what thoughts you are having and how these are driving those feelings. Why? Because your feelings determine everything you do in life. When you construct thoughts that create negative feelings you limit yourself. 

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In today’s episode you will learn the secret to falling back in love with medicine and how your mindset can lead you to the balanced life you are looking for. 

If you are a doctor looking to find the financial freedom you need to practice medicine however you want, make sure you sign up before the clock strikes midnight Pacific Time tonight, June 14th.  In the Alpha Coaching Experience we teach physicians how to master The 3 Pillars to Physician Freedom, including how to master their money and mindset so that they can design their ideal life. To enroll go to thephysicianphilosopher.com/alpha.


Today You’ll Learn

  • How to reshape your thoughts about medicine
  • Why your mindset matters
  • The secret sauce to falling back in love with medicine
  • And more!

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What if you could learn how to question everything? What if you could choose to reshape your thoughts about medicine? And what if I told you that this was the key ingredient to creating a job and a life that you love? Keep listening to learn more. This is The Physician Philosopher Podcast. I'm Dr. Jimmy Turner, an anesthesiologist, online entrepreneur and creator of the Alpha Coaching Experience. 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 42 of The Physician Philosopher Podcast, where we take an uncurated and unapologetic look into physician life, money and mindset. Today's thought is this. Every belief we have is a mental construct that can be challenged. That includes all of the mental constructs we hold about working in medicine. And before we dive into those mental constructs, which is honestly, it's one of my favorite episodes to date, I love talking about this sort of stuff, I want to make sure that you're aware that the enrollment for the Alpha Coaching Experience ends tonight. So the day that this episode drops, June 14th, at midnight, Pacific, you can no longer enroll in the Alpha Coaching Experience.

So if you're a doctor looking to find financial freedom, you need to practice medicine however you want, make sure you sign up before the clock strikes midnight, Pacific Time. In the Alpha Coaching Experience, we teach physicians how to master the three pillars to physician freedom. We have a unique solution, a unique method to teaching doctors how to find the freedom they need, including how to master their money and their mindset. They can design their ideal life. So to enroll, go to thephysicianphilosopher.com/alpha. That's A-L-P-H-A. The link is also in the podcast player that you're listening to right now. So if you go to the description for the show, link's in there, just click it. It's good for you. Closes tonight, midnight, last chance.

So speaking of coaching, people often ask me what coaching is all about, and truly the root of it is finding the thoughts that lead to how we feel. Now, you might be wondering like why I'm placing an emphasis on how we feel, and the reason why is because in coaching, we teach something called the motivational triad. The idea is this. The motivational triad is what motivates us to do everything in our life. Everything we do in our life is motivated by feelings. So we're either trying to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and to do either of those things as efficiently as possible. So the three parts of the motivational triad are pain, pleasure and efficiency. Right?

And it consists of these three things for a reason, because that's what drives everything. If you'd think about it, it's the reason that we drink alcohol. It's the reason that we get on our phones when we're bored. It's the reason we have sex or eat food. It's the reason that we take a new job or we stay in a job that we don't like. We might take a new job to try to feel better, because the current jobs burning us out and we don't like the way it's making us feel, or we stay in a job because we're afraid that if we go to a new one, it's going to be even worse. We're trying to avoid more pain.

Everything we do is related to the motivational triad, but how we feel in these situations comes from a couple of things. It comes from your experience, the stories that have led up to how you think and perceive the world, but it really comes down to your thoughts about the situation that you're in. And so your thoughts lead to how you feel, which is why, if our feelings drive everything, we could focus on the feelings, or we could actually be putting a bandaid on something you're treating the symptom, or we could go treat the disease, which is the thought that's leading to the feeling that you're having. And that's what coaching is. It's causal coaching. We don't focus on what you need to do to accomplish X, Y and Z, although we have plenty of that in the Alpha Coaching Experience, plenty of processes and step-by-step guides for financial and mental freedom if you will, your mindset work.

That said, even though those tools exist, really diving into your thoughts and doing the coaching is the secret sauce. It's the ingredient that fills all the gaps that are left. So in coaching, we spend all of our time really diving into what our thoughts are and how they're driving our feelings. Because again, all of these feelings come from thoughts. So I'm going to give you an example. I had a client that I coached one time who was on a tough inpatient week of medicine and was basically told by their kid, "Mommy, I really don't like it when you go to work. I hate it when you go to work." Those were the words that came out of the kid's mouth.

And the mom, the physician interpreted this as "I'm a bad mom. My kid thinks that I'm not here enough. I'm not present enough. I'm not there. My kid's saying that they needed me around more often," and that thought, the interpretation of those words that came out of their kid's mouth and thinking that they're a bad mom produces tons of mom guilt. And for any moms who are out there, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Believe it or not. There's dad guilt, too. I've experienced this when I leave to go to work.

And so what happens when you have that thought is you have this mom guilt, and then what you start doing, the result of that is you start looking for more evidence that supports that "Yeah, I am guilty mom. I'm not around enough. I really... I'm a bad mom." You start looking for more evidence to support the thought you've had. And so it just becomes a cycle where you're like, "I'm a bad mom." You have mom guilt. You look for more evidence that you are a bad mom. Then you have the thought I'm a bad mom, and it becomes this repetitive vicious cycle where you just judge yourself as a mother or a father, depending on your circumstance, and look for more evidence that that thought is true. Yet, the words are the same. Kids said, "Mommy, I hate it when you go to work."

And so I pointed out to this client, I said, "Hey, why are you making it mean that? Couldn't it mean anything else? Couldn't you interpret that differently?" "What do you mean?" I'm like, "Well, give me an example of how you know that's not true." She's like, "Well, I don't know." I'm like, "Well, do you have other situations in your life where your kids say they want to see you even though you're around a lot?" And she laughed and said, "Yeah. Actually, I was on vacation recently and I was there the entire week, no work. And when I went to the store, one of my kids was like, 'Hey, I don't want you to leave.'"

I was like, "Oh, that's interesting. Right? Why do you think they said that?" "Well, apparently because they want me around," she said. Right? And so like, it was this beautiful thing because I was like, "Oh, so maybe those exact same words could mean, 'Hey, by the way, you're a fantastic mom,' and the reason that your kid doesn't want you to walk out the door is because you're amazing. You're an amazing mother. So why not tell yourself that story? Right? That seems like a very different story to tell." And when I asked her, "Do you believe that? Do you think that your kids believe that you're an amazing mother?"

She said, "Yeah, I do." And immediately, it changed everything. Right? Mom guilt was gone. Now, she's in a space of contentment and she's looking for examples of when her kids have told her that they want to see her more often, even though she's around all the time, as examples or proof of the fact that her kids think that she's a great mom. So my point is that the same words can come out of your child's mouth. The thought that you think about it, what you interpreted it as, what you make it mean, is going to determine how you feel, and those feelings will lead you to mom guilt. Right? And the actions that ensue there, "Oh, maybe I need to go to part-time or leave medicine. Maybe I need to do X, Y, or Z because my kid doesn't see me enough because I'm a bad mom." That's one set of results or actions that might come out of that, first thought.

The second one might be, "Maybe this is all fine. Maybe my kid just loves hanging out with me, and I just need to be an intentional mom, continues to do what she's doing." And all this applies, of course, to dads. I can't speak for everybody, but for me, my kids are like, "Hey daddy. Why do you have to go to work?" I'm part-time now. They still say the same thing, by the way. Just to give you more example of this, when I was working full-time, they were like, "Hey dad. I hate it when you have to go to work. Hey dad. I don't want you to leave."

I'm part-time. I work less now. They still say it, and the reason why is because I choose to think I'm a good dad. I'm an essential dad. I coach my kids' soccer team. I show up at gymnastics. I have deep, thoughtful conversations with them, and when they have a hard time, I slow down and have talks with them. I try to be a good dad, as best as I can be with the abilities and moments that I have with my kids, but the words that come out of their mouth, they're still the same. "Daddy, I don't want you to go to work." And it's like, "Sweetheart, I've worked two days this week."

So what we think about things determines how we feel, and when we recognize how we feel, that motivational triad that I talked about at the beginning, motivates everything else that happens in our life. You'll start to realize, "Oh, maybe I need to start focusing on my feelings, and maybe I need to start focusing on the thoughts that are causing my feelings." And I gave examples in other episodes about people cutting you off and how you define that moment and what you make it mean. If you think that they're a jerk and they clearly don't care about you or your safety and they cut you off, you're going to get mad. But if you're like, "Hey, maybe they just didn't see me. Maybe their kids are yelling at the driver in the front seat." I've definitely had three kids in my back seat yelling at me and shifted lanes and found out, "Oh gosh, there was a car there that I didn't see." There's a thousand reasons of why that could happen. It doesn't have to be that they're a jerk. Right?

So what you think about things will determine how you feel. And so when you wrap your head around that, until you learn that your thoughts really do lead to your feelings, you'll focus on your feelings and the things that you need to do instead of focusing on the real issue, which is your thoughts. And that's what brings me to the idea for today, this idea of challenging mental constructs, because these days I'm all about challenging everything. There's no thought out there that's not potentially on the chopping block. I examine them all, and I encourage all of our clients in the Alpha Coaching Experience to do the exact same thing.

The reason for this is that we confuse thoughts and facts. So this often happens when a thought becomes a belief. So a belief is simply a thought that you've told yourself so many times that you believe it, and when a belief comes firmly entrenched, oftentimes your belief is so closely held that it feels like a fact. It feels like truth, and so we stop challenging it. And this is when doctors start to feel trapped or stuck in their job. They feel like there's nothing they can do because that's just the way it is. It's the status quo. There's nothing they can do to challenge it, and so they don't, but we can challenge it. We can challenge all of it. Any thought is up for consideration.

I'll give you an example, and I talk about this sometimes in some other podcasts, but I love talking about time because I think that time is the ultimate currency. Right? It's the only thing that you get a finite amount of. We all get 24 hours in our day. We don't know when the clock's going to end. So time is super important, and we have all sorts of thoughts about time. Right? So in America, we had this thought that the 40-hour work week for nonmedical people is normal. That's the reason why nurses do 10 fours or they do three twelves, which is 36 hours, but still, it's around 40. It's the reason why most other professions, they have a nine-to-five. That's eight hours, times five is 40.

All of this comes from a mental construct that 40 hours a week is a full-time job. That's what a full-time job looks like. Despite the fact that in Europe, it's often 30, it's often less. And in medicine, we don't even think it's 40. We think it's 60. The average doctor works 55 hours a week and 15 hours of that is charting, 40 hours of that is, at best, patient care. So in medicine we've accepted that 55 to 60 hours a week is just the way it is. There's no other way it could be. And then if you're not working 55 to 60 hours a week, you're not working full-time in medicine.

I think that idea is ridiculous personally. It's a harmful thought, and I completely get it, where you got full clinics, administrators tell you how many patients you need to see, what your RVU goals are and that determines how many procedures you need to perform, plus the 15 hours of charting that you have to do, but is it really true? Does a doctor have to work 50 or 60 hours a week to be full-time or to be a real doctor? I've heard people say that before, like, "Oh, you're a part-time doctor. You're not a real doctor."

I would love for you to come work with me clinically or to talk to the residents that I teach and tell me that I'm not a good doctor. It has nothing to do with how many hours you work. Now, is there an hour below, which you probably don't keep your skills? Potentially. I'm not saying that's not true. It's definitely not 40. It's definitely not 30, and in fact, we don't really even know what that number is, but we have these ideas. We have these thoughts about having to work a certain number of hours in medicine. Why can't we work less?

And in fact, if we recognize that money is built by providing value, why don't we work on trying to provide value in less time? In other words, getting the pleasure, the financial gain is efficiently as possible. It's a motivational triad. Right? We're trying to make the money in as little time as possible, and being an entrepreneur has taught me that. So I now work 10 to 20 hours a week in my business and bring in as much revenue from my business as I do as an anesthesiologist and I work less. I actually work less and make more now. That's possible. It's a possible thing. You just haven't ever thought about it potentially.

What if we challenged... This extends to, for example, residency. Right? So I'm going to say something here, and if you don't know how Europe works, your mind is about to be blown and you're probably going to be pretty mad, and you're going to have an opinion about this. I'm just going to state facts, and you're going to have thoughts that come up that you think are just true, but they're not. They're just thoughts. So in America we have work hour limits for our residents, 80 hours, and we all know that there's some specialties, neurosurgery, general surgery, where they clearly go over 80 hours almost every week, but 80 hours per week is the work hour limit. The reason this supposedly exists is because that's the best way for them to get their training, and if they work less, they wouldn't get the same training that they would otherwise get, but is that really true?

Did you know in the European union, in the UK and other countries in Europe, that their work hour limit is 48 hours? I didn't misquote that by the way, it is 48 hours. It's almost half of what we work in America. And you know why? Because they have a different mental construct. Now, when they did that, when they went from 54, or 56 hours, whatever it used to be, down to 48, people lost their minds. "Oh, they're not going to have enough training. They're not going to be good doctors. They're not going to have enough time in the OR learning surgical procedures," all of this other stuff, but those are all just thoughts. Right? There's no reason you can't cram more surgical time into those hours and spend less time doing other things that aren't as important that you don't need to know as much about, but we all just accept, "Oh no, if you work less than 60 or 80 hours during residency, you're just not going to learn your craft. You're not going to be as good at what you do."

I'm not saying that's true. I'm not saying it's false. I'm just saying that's a belief that many of us hold, and that in Europe, they work half as many hours. Now, their training is prolonged a little bit more and they start a little bit sooner, but again, that's a construct. Why don't we start sooner? Why don't we prolong things if you start sooner and finish at the same age? Now, they're going to be people listening who think there's just no way you could become a surgeon or whatever, and only work 50 hours a week in residency. I just want to point out that is a thought and you might believe it so strongly that it feels like a fact, but it's a thought. And if you can learn to challenge even those most deeply entrenched thoughts that you have, you will learn how to start to escape a lot of these issues and potentially even fall back in love with medicine, because that has to do with mental constructs, too. Right? It's a really interesting thing, and I can go on and on about this. Right?

Another mental construct about time. So a lot of people work full-time in medicine, and then they get to an age and they're like, "Oh, I finally saved enough money. I'm going to go part-time, Coast FI." Some people are coast financial independents. You get enough and you just basically bring home less, but you also save less, so you have the same amount of money. You just let your money continue to grow as you work, or they go part-time, or they hang it up altogether. They retire at an age, 60, 65. And have you ever thought about the fact that it seems a little backwards, that you spend all of your years where you have the physical ability and the health to be around your kids when they're young and to travel and to do all those other things you want to do someday? Right? We keep putting it off. "Someday, we're going to do this."

And then by the time that you can actually do those things, the kids are grown. They're off to college or maybe married with kids themselves, and you now have the financial freedom to actually hang out with them, but they're not there anymore. Or you have the financial freedom to go and travel, but then you're older, so you're more likely to have medical problems. Why don't people work part-time when they're younger and then work full-time when they get older? I'm not saying when you're 70, but when you get older, if you could learn to save money, you could actually do that, and that's what I do. So I'm 35, and as an example of this, starting in July of 2021, I'll be working basically Thursdays and Fridays each week for 49 weeks of the year. I'll either have the entire week off or be working Thursdays, Fridays, the vast majority of the time.

There's a few weeks in there, I have some pain calls. It's a week of call, but those other 49 weeks, I'm only going to work Thursdays and Fridays. And you know why? Because I have three kids and they're 10, seven and four, and I'm not willing to miss their childhood. Now, I'm not saying work full-time that you're missing your kids' childhood. That's not what I'm saying. We all get to decide what we think about our circumstances, but what I have decided to do is to go part-time early, and I love practicing medicine. It's not because I don't like medicine. I'll probably go full-time after my third kid has grown and out of the house. Once she's gone, I will probably go back and work more than I do right now, and the reason why is because I love medicine, but I also love my kids and I don't want to have to choose.

And so I'm able to coach my little boy soccer team. I'm able to go to my little girl's soccer team where my wife coaches. We both played college soccer. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying you need to go part-time right now, and then work full-time later. I'm just pointing out that there are different ways to do things, and that's a possibility, but until you accepted the mental construct that you have to work full-time now and then go part-time or retire later is just a mental construct and you can challenge that and think differently about it, you're never going to. So you have to have your mind opened up to these possibilities.

What I'm trying to say is that the secret sauce, if you will, to falling back in love with medicine is challenging your thoughts so that you can find the balance you need to be living your ideal life. And this is why we teach the three pillars to physician freedom inside of the Alpha Coaching Experience, because if you can master your mindset by figuring out what thoughts are going on in your head, which requires coaching by the way, and then challenge those thoughts, you can produce very different feelings, very different results in how you show up in your life, including living a life you love, fall back in love with medicine, but it requires taking a deep dive into your thoughts and challenging them. I mean the mental work that needs to be done is so important, and this is honestly truly the best way to get meaningful results.

I'll actually give you an example of this outside of medicine, outside of coaching that I do for most of my life. I grew up in a family that liked NASCAR. I didn't like it. I thought it was super boring. I hated watching races. I love cars. So I did end up liking cars and part because of that, but I've never liked to watch NASCAR. I think it's boring, but one of my fellows recently introduced us to Formula 1 through the Drive To Survive show that's on Netflix. I highly encourage any of you to watch it. It's actually super interesting, explains the background and the drama around the sport. And so I've really gotten really interested in Formula 1 since then.

For those of you that don't know how Formula 1 works, it's the top echelon of racing in the world. It's open wheel racing, happens in Europe. There are 20 drivers. There's only 20 drivers in the world that make it to this level. So basically, it is extremely rare. And so getting in this level, although it's next to impossible, truly these are the best drivers in the world. And we're watching the show the other night, and I thought it was really cool that one of the drivers pointed out. They basically said, "All of the drivers out here have the same level of skill. You don't make it to this echelon of driving if you don't have this kind of skillset. So skill is not really what separates the best drivers. What separates the best drivers is their fitness and their mental toughness."

And I thought it was so cool to hear someone at the top of their game, and what separates him from other drivers is his mental toughness, his mental constructs that he has. And this probably explains why every single Formula 1 driver has a performance coach whose sole job is to work on the driver's physical and mental thought work, to produce confidence behind the wheel. They even interviewed somebody their job, they do nutrition, workouts, meal prep, routines, and they also work on their mental space, their headspace, their thought work.

And they interviewed one of these performance coaches, and they said, "What do you think is the most important part of your job?" He said, "I would say that the most important part of my job is the driver's headspace, because if they're in the right place mentally, they can do their job." And they said, "The physical parts, they are important. It's the basics of what you need to get ticked off in order to be able to do this job, but I would say when it really comes down to it, a confident, happy driver is more likely to perform well." So in other words, the thought work for the driver is the most important aspect of what those coaches do, and I'd say that coaching for physicians is the same exact way. We absolutely have to master our money. We have to know the A to Z in terms of how we're going to get to our plan, to put the gas in the car of living our ideal life by mastering your money. We have to do that.

But that in and of itself, that's like the physical fitness for a driver. They need to have that. That's not really the most important part. Working on both, the gas that you put in the car and the destination, getting to the destination of your ideal life, super important, but if you don't do the mindset, honestly, it doesn't matter. The secret ingredient to find a contentment, to battling burnout, defeating imposter syndrome and arrival fallacies is your mindset. Hence, why mindset is the first pillar of the three pillars we teach in the Alpha Coaching Experience. It's the most important one. So you might come in for the mastery of your money. You might come in because you want financial freedom, and you know that our program is going to teach you about personal finance and that our coaches are amazing, but you'll likely stay because of the mindset work you do with our coaches. That's just how it works. You come for the money and you stay for the mindset work.

Your mindset is what will allow you to fall back in love with medicine and to find contentment and allows you to challenge all of those mental constructs that medicine has about your time and about every other aspect of your job and any other feeling that you might be looking for in this life. So if you want to learn more about how to master your mindset and to find the financial freedom you need to create a life that you love, make sure to join us in the Alpha Coaching Experience. Enrollment ends tonight, June 14th at midnight. It won't be open for another four months. So make sure to tell your friends who you know that would benefit about the three pillars to physician freedom, where they can learn it, and the coaching involved to help you master your money, your mindset and to design your ideal life.

You can enroll by going to thephysicianphilosopher.com/alpha, and if you want to hang out and you want to get the free content on The Physician Philosopher Podcast on Money Meets Medicine podcast, that's completely fine, too. We'll be here when you're ready to invest in yourself and to take that deeper dive into the coaching that you need. Today's thought is this. Every belief we have is a mental construct that can be challenged and that includes all of the mental constructs we hold about working in medicine. So until next time my friends. Start before you're ready. Start by starting. Start now. I will see you next week.

My dad, Dr. Jimmy Turner is a physician, 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 thephysicianphilosopher.com.



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