Cultivating Vulnerability- Superhero Complexes, Burning Capes and Asking for What You Need

(Repost from Thriving Physicians Facebook group)

Today, continuing the Permission slips deep-dive, take the previous exercise a step further. Go back to the list of needs you made two days ago. If you haven’t made your list, it isn’t too late click on #3 of the #PermissionSlips posts and work through it. Now that you have your list of what you need to show up fully, authentically and powerfully this year, let’s go further.

Find a quiet spot (it might be the bathroom for those with young kids!) and be still for a few minutes. Now look at your list and put an asterisk next to those needs you will need to ask for. I know that as physicians, we see ourselves as superheroes who have to do everything and don’t feel comfortable asking for help. In fact many of us are so frazzled and overwhelmed that it doesn’t even occur to us to ask for help.

Today, I invite you to “Burn your cape!” This superhero complex is killing us. We are lonely, isolated, overworked, overwhelmed and exhausted. It is time to give yourself permission to ask for help. According to Brene Brown’s research, Being vulnerable is not weak, we can’t opt out of vulnerability, vulnerability is not oversharing and we cannot go it alone.

Vulnerability is actually courage and strength – not weakness. And if you have worked with me or read my earlier posts from last year, you have heard me talk about the components of courage.
Asking for what you need, reaching out for support, speaking your truth, owning your story and setting boundaries are the 5 tenets of courage.

What is keeping you from asking you for what you need? Do a permission slip exercise. Give yourself permission to ask for what you want – write as many permissions as possible. Then, go, ask!

You are worthy of the time, space, energy and even money needed for you to unfold into all that you are!

Sending you so much love, positivity and light!

Cultivating Ease – Resilience, Simplicity and Permission To Enjoy Yourself

Today, I witnessed a powerful breakthrough as I was coaching a CEO of a trust firm who described herself as overworked, overwhelmed and lonely, I found myself telling her of a quote I had read the other day which hit me straight between the eyes… “What would it look like if it were easy?”
See, she had told herself that if she worked more, beat herself harder, she would finally have the life she wanted. Instead, she was frazzled, exhausted, depleted and lonely. I asked her, “what would it look like to nurture yourself, give yourself permission to have fun, go light instead of hard? Simplify, instead of adding more and more tasks? What do you like to do for fun?
Her voice immediately changed… she went from heavy to excited, there was laughter in her voice as she talked about how she loved to dance but hadn’t done so for so long… She had thought she had to go to the gym like everyone else but she hated it. She gave herself permission to enjoy movement by doing what was easy and enjoyable. She hadn’t laughed for a long time.
That is my invitation to you today… Reflect on these 5 alternatives to the traditional new year’s resolutions and note what resonates with you. You don’t have to do what everyone is doing. Do what works for you. We can do hard things, yes… but as hardworking professionals, the hard thing for us this time would be to do what feels easy.
What if it look like for you to have an easy year? Give yourself permission to reflect on this.
(As always, if you want to go deeper, coaching is an option. I have a few open spots in my coaching practice. If you resonate with my lens and need support with thriving in 2018, let’s connect.
For more, here is a great article on alternatives to new years resolutions.

Cultivating Thriving in 2018 – Courage, Meaning and Training with A Navy SEAL

(Me and CDR Mark Divine right after doing 100 burpees! It took him less than 8 minutes! Me? A lot more! Hence my crazy hair!!! Lol)

Happy Friday everyone! How are you? What are you grateful for the holiday season? What are your hopes and dreams for 2018? What do you desire to create in your life and how do you intend to accomplish it.

These past few weeks have been incredibly intense full circle moments for me. Challenging but so gratifying.

But first, I passed my US citizenship exam and interview! This was 23 years in the making so a huge moment for me. So grateful!

Last weekend, I served as a coach for Mark Divine’s 3 day Unbeatable Mind Summit. (Commander Mark Divine is host of the podcast “Unbeatable Mind and also author of “The Way of The SEAL”, “Unbeatable Mind and other NYT bestsellers. His trainings are renowned for increasing the success of NAVY SEAL candidates through the BUDs to 96% from 13%) I am a trained Unbeatable Mind coach and it was an honor to serve summit attendees from around the world, teaching and coaching principles to optimize their lives to break through to their 20X factor so they can thrive no matter where they find themselves. It was an incredible weekend, focused on developing Mental toughness and Emotional Resilience as trained to the Navy SEALs. This year’s theme was 5 mountains. The 5 mountains of our lives – physical, mental, emotional, intuitional and spiritual mountains and fully integrating them in our lives. There were attendees from around the world and it was quite inspiring to hear such a diverse group of speakers including SEALs, meditation teachers, authors, and business leaders).

As you know, I have spent a lot of time thinking about how one can thrive in a dysfunctional professional culture. We all talk about changing the dysfunctional system which is absolutely necessary. But I am especially passionate about helping our compassionate mission-driven physicians and professionals thrive while practicing medicine in a broken system awaiting reform.

Years ago, after my own burnout experience and the death of my father during a physician strike, I felt that bringing wholeheartedness and positive psychology to medicine was important so I underwent certification trainings in both and have been coaching in those methodologies. But I felt something was missing. We can be wholehearted and positive especially in safe empathetic spaces but how do we thrive in hostile and difficult environments like those in many medical centers today? In a lot of ways, medicine feels like a war zone.

It is why I went and trained with a retired Navy SEAL. To equip myself and my wholehearted physician clients with the skills and resources required to thrive wherever we find themselves.

Navy SEALs are able to thrive and execute missions during in environments that are often life-threatening and VUCA – Volatile, Unstable, Chaotic and Ambiguous.

From my trainings with Mark Divine, I learned Authentic Leadership, The Big 4 of Mental Toughness, The Big 4 of Emotional Resilience, Breathing Techniques, AM/PM Rituals, mental clarity, Self Mastery Principles, Intuitive Development, Personal Ethos and Cultivation of the Inner Warrior Spirit, Visualization Techniques, Techniques for Goals/Mission Execution, Stress and Fear Management, Sheepdog Mindset, Environments of Feeding the Courage Wolf and learning to win in your mind before stepping into the Arena.

Let’s briefly explore the Big 4 of Mental Toughness.

(As always, you can sign up for a consultation or coaching if you’d like to go deeper here or if if you are a physician, here I also have a new course “Serve Sustainably” – a 10 week course starting January 8th, 2018. which combines my positive psychology, daring way and unbeatable mind trainings with my own thriving idealist methodology to help mission-driven individuals serve sustainably without succumbing to disillusionment, compassion fatigue or burnout. I am integrating this Unbeatable Mind Framework into my already rich toolbox of Positive Psychology Coaching, Daring Way Facilitation and my own unique Thriving Idealist Framework and will cover all of this in depth to help you align, connect and thrive as you make your positive impact in the world without succumbing to disillusionment, compassion fatigue or burnout. Only 15 spots. Sign up before Dec 21st for 25% off discount. See here for more details.… )

The Big 4 of Mental Toughness (From the book “Unbeatable Mind” by Mark Divine) are 1. Breath or Arousal Control 2. Positivity 3. Visualization. 4. Goal Setting.

1. Breath Control – My clients know that box breathing… Arousal and stress response… Deep breathing… Disrupts the fight or flight response (sympathetic nervous system) and triggers the parasympathetic nervous system. I have taught Box Breathing in my Thriving physicians FB and Thriving Idealist FB group. Search for #Boxbreathing for the exact instructions. When you find yourself feeling anxious or stressed, pause, take a deep breath for four counts, pause for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts and pause for 4 counts. Do at least 5 cycles of this to flip from sympathetic to parasympathetic mode. Practice this to cultivate nerves of steel – the ability to be calm and fully present even in the face of overwhelm, chaos and distress.

2. Positivity – Attention control… Use of Positive reframing to maintain a positive attitude and positive self-dialogue. When you find yourself with a negative attitude or thoughts, you can interdict the thought with a positive … For example.
3. Visualization – Use of Mental imagery to make sure that that the mental and emotional picture is mission-focused and aimed toward victory. When you awaken in the morning or right before bed, visualize the outcomes you desire. Studies have shown that the brain doesn’t know the difference. Visualization is a powerful tool used by elite athletes and is now being used. As Stephen Covey says in the 7 habits of Highly effective People, “Begin with the End in mind.” Believe me, I use this often the night before to realize my goal of getting the kids to school on time! Visualize yourself excelling at a medical presentation, a raise negotiation or a confrontation with a colleague.
4. Goal Setting – Learning to set proper goals and scaling them to micro-goals when the going gets tough. Being able to make goals that align with your ethos and learning how to make micro-failures work for you.

At the Summit, I got to meet some of my heroes – most of whom were Navy SEALs now focused on applying those principles to Leadership, Business and Personal Development. There were also quite a few attendees from medicine. I got to hold space for a grieving cardiologist who had just lost his wife to cancer and another cardiology resident who came all the way from South Africa for this Unbeatable Mind Training. One American ER doctor had also brought all of this residents to the Summit. In the coming weeks I hope to share what I have learned in the past year in my Unbeatable Mind coaching training.

The world is changing rapidly and those who are able to navigate the volatile, unstable, chaotic and ambiguous nature of the environments around us will be the ones who thrive.

Give yourself the gift of thriving in 2018! Sign up for coaching, the new “Serve Sustainably!” course or donate to sponsor a med student or resident with a retreat, coaching session or course.

Next time, the big 4 of Emotional Resilience!

Have a great weekend!
(Last 2 pics Retired Navy SEALs Andy Stumpf (world record holder for Base jumps!) and Captain Bob Schoultz