Tag Archives: Physicians

Coming Full Circle

  Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose Medical degree burningI recently returned from a week-long stay in Keystone, Colorado. I was there with a small group of physicians gathered to restore their voice to the practice of medicine. How I got there was through a series of events I can only call synchronicity. What I felt was a profound feeling of "coming home". I showed up as all of me, in full color. My role was to listen deeply and expansively, and I chose to record what I heard in visual form. It was as if everything I practiced was serving me in my service to this gathering. Each morning I woke early and rode my rented bike along the many trails around Keystone. I listened to the Snake River winding its way through the trees. I inhaled with awe each time I arrived at the vista of Lake Dillon. I clawed my way up a steep hill only to be rewarded with the jackpot of a stunning view of Breckenridge and beyond. I had learned from these past few years of practicing self-care that these morning steps were my fuel for being present and thinking creatively. I knew what to do - even in an environment away from my familiar surroundings at home - because I had practiced them into new habits. I had my biking clothes, I was comfortable riding, and all I had to do was explore new roads and read new maps. I also had my daily sketching and art journaling practice in place, something I started only within the last two years. I have experimented with many different formats and media, and I am comfortable drawing outside. On this trip, I brought a small Moleskine Japanese album with accordion pages. It fit in my small travel purse or pocket, and I carried a pouch with pen, markers, and water brushes. On my morning rides, I often sketched a scene quickly in ink, filling in color later in the day or in the evening. I noticed what I noticed. I took note of the stories I wanted to tell. And by the time I got home, there were three or four panels that needed coloring, which I completed within a few days. New experiences, new people, new places -- all of these fuel my creativity and keep me inspired. I am grateful for the daily practices I cultivate at home, so I am well-prepared to stay open when I'm on the road. For a frame-by-frame caption story of my Keystone travel journal, see my post here. For an in-depth reflection on the contents of the physician meeting and its impact on me personally, stay tuned!

A Journey in Sketches

I recently returned from a week-long stay in Keystone, Colorado. I documented my journey in daily sketches created in a Moleskine Japanese album (small size). My tools were Pigma Micron ink pens, Faber Castell Pitt Artist pen, Kuretake Clean Color Real Brush markers, Derwent watercolour pencils, Sakura Koi field sketch watercolor set, and Kuretake waterbrushes. First, the SFO airport. There was an exhibit on Art Deco and I loved the patterns, colors, and shapes in it. Since I had a couple of hours to wait for my delayed flight, I started sketching and painting.DSC06899DSC06900I went back to photograph the original pieces that had inspired my memory. IMG_0857 IMG_0858 Then I looked over my shoulder to see that a large watercolor mural had been placed high up, near the ceiling. I copied the quote on the painting and general feeling of it. DSC06901 Then I noticed the number of billboards in this terminal devoted to issues of network security and cyber attacks. I captured this by placing three of the ones I remembered together.DSC06902 On my flight I read two magazines I never usually read. One had Amy Poehler on the cover as one of the "100 Most Creative People In Business". The other had a headline and article I will never forget (much as I would like to), entitled, "Why Die?". It describes the efforts of PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel's multi-billion-dollar venture fund's investments in biotech. He is focused on "eradicating death" from human experience, envisioning a future in which this "disturbing inconvenience" is made obsolete.DSC06903 I road Colorado Mountain Express shuttle from the Denver airport to Keystone. I captured a few quick sketches of what that ride is like. Flat flat flat, then you're in the Front Range, with walls on either side and endless ranges unfolding in front of you. I-70 from Denver Airport to the Front Range I-70 on the way to Keystone from Denver I-70 Eisenhower Tunnel from Denver to Silverthorne Colorado Continue reading

What Doctors Can Learn From Artists and Entrepreneurs

IMG_0073_2 Since leaving medicine, I’ve been an entrepreneur and an independent artist. They are similar pursuits, and both have taught me about the experience of living in creative rather than reactive mode. How do you know if you’re living in reactive mode? If you define and measure yourself based on external circumstances, and you believe you really are limited by what’s happening outside yourself, you are in reactive mode. Most of our institutions, including the education system, government, mass media, and the medical training system, are based on the reactive mode. These systems teach you to believe that your success is measured by your ability to manipulate external circumstances, so your attention and efforts should be focused on external metrics. You compare your performance to others on a so-called objective scale, and you rely on statistics to know how you are doing. There is nothing “wrong” with reactive mode. It is the way most of the systems in our society operate. Creative mode requires a 180-degree shift in this perspective. Continue reading

Advice Versus Coaching

Have you ever sought someone's advice, and then realized halfway into the conversation that you really didn't want them to tell you what to do? Or have you ever followed someone's advice, which never quite felt right to you, but they were in a position of authority or had done it themselves before, and you didn't know how to get out of it? Have you ever wished you had more trust in yourself, and didn't need to rely so much on advice from other people? It's been ten years now since I've set foot in a traditional academic institution. Yesterday I stood inside the walls of a venerable one right here in my own backyard. And it struck me that there is A LOT of "advising" going on at the formative stages of a lot of smart people's lives. A lot of people who are very curious, very bright, very capable, and very imaginative. But who just don't know. So they ask. They seek advice. And what do they get? Continue reading

News news news

"One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began" - Mary Oliver, "The Journey"
Today is that day for me. Maybe it was the flyer announcing my talk at Stanford Medical School in a few weeks (finally making it feel real...and making me feel proud of the creative thinking I've been doing on this subject). Maybe it was seeing the pile of STUFF in my house, moved out of the Cradle of Manifestation, prompting me to revisit what's really taking up the space in my drawers and closets. Maybe it was the invitation to have dinner this Friday with a couple of doctors who have transitioned out of medicine themselves (making me feel one step closer to finding My People). Maybe it was finally telling the truth out loud to myself and to a compassionate witness about what I feel in my heart (and experiencing the expansion that came with it). Maybe it was all of the above. Whatever it was, I finally know what I need to do, even though I have no idea how it's going to play out or if anyone will even care. But I know enough to trust this particular feeling of knowing. It's not a rational linear mind kind of knowing. It's a whole body energy clearing kind of knowing. And I can't wait to share the news with you!

So what IS new? Continue reading

Physician Burnout and Wellness Resources

My take on physician burnout focuses on self-empowerment and witnessed self-inquiry to create a personal definition of physician wellness. There are many academic journal papers outlining the symptoms, prevalence, and possible explanations for physician burnout at every stage of medical training and continuing through practicing physicians mid-career. Here are a few of my favorites:

Mid-Career Burnout in Generalist and Specialist Physicians

Medical Student Burnout and Unprofessional Conduct

Mindfulness Intervention For Primary Care Physician Burnout

Depression and Suicidal Ideation Among Medical Students

Interview with Dr. Laura Roberts on Medical Student Depression and Distress

The blogosphere contains lively discussions on the subject of medical student and physician burnout. For example:

Physician burnout in residency

How physician burnout impacts patient care

Primary care physicians burnout and health care reform

New York Times article on medical student burnout and challenge to patient care

FREE recordings from my "Get the 411 Before It's a 911" coaching calls for medical students, residents, & fellows (also valuable for practicing, mid-career physicians):

Coaching Call #1 - I work with a practicing physician on the stressful thoughts of being on call.

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Coaching Call #2 - 5 Principles of Self-Care for Caring Professionals

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Coaching Call #3 - Creative Leadership for physicians

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Coaching Call #4 - Boundaries, Self-Care Principle #1 for Physicians

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Coaching Call #5 - Reactive to Creative Mode, Self-Care Principle #2 for Physicians

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FREE episodes of "Revolutionizing Medicine...One Belief At A Time" podcast - examining the commonly held stressful thoughts among physicians:

Episode 1 - "I need to take care of my patients."

Episode 2 - "I am surrounded by illness and suffering."

Episode 3 - "Patients demand my time."

Episode 4 - "People need me to respond."

Blog posts I've written:

Why I Created "Self-Care For The Caring Professional" Online Course

5 Principles of Self-Care for Caring Professionals

Doctors On The Brink Of Burnout: The Way I See It

Who Is Responsible For Physician Burnout?

Creativity: A Prescription For Doctors

Diagnosis: Human

BUY the book, Physicians In Transition, including 25 interviews with physicians who have made the transition away from clinical careers and created the life of their dreams! I am included on page 27!

Want to learn more and get "virtual coaching" on this subject?

ENROLL in my online course, "The Art of Self-Care Primer". 21-day online interactive course takes you through each of the Principles of Self-Care (outlined in Coaching Call #2 above) in greater depth, including daily exercises that you can incorporate into your life. You complete the activities at your own pace, and have access to all materials after the course is completed! More info here>>

AHA’s “Simple 7″…Not So Simple After All

The other night I read on the back of a friend's T-shirt the following list of guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA)'s latest heart-healthy lifestyle campaign, called "Life's Simple 7":
  • get active
  • control cholesterol
  • eat better
  • manage blood pressure
  • lose weight
  • reduce blood sugar
  • stop smoking
From my medical training, I recognized each of these 7 items as addressing the major risk factors for coronary artery disease and therefore heart attacks and strokes. However, from my journey of learning about the connection between mind and body, and especially the ways in which our mind dictates the feelings, behaviors, and results we see in our lives, I noticed that these "Simple 7" are not so simple at all. Four of the seven guidelines involve behavioral changes. Three of the seven can be addressed with pharmaceutical drugs but are also dependent on these behavioral changes in order to have maximum impact. These areas of behavior change - exercise, diet, weight loss, and smoking cessation - are typically the most challenging and frustrating for both patients and doctors in a preventive setting. Continue reading

The Art of Self-Care Primer – Online Course

The Art of Self-Care Primer:

5 Principles to Transform Your Relationship With Your Self and Expand Your Capacity To Serve Others

“Only when you have a healthy, honorable, affirming relationship with yourself can you have the same with others. This relationship is the foundation of your ability to demonstrate and practice compassion.” - Iyanla Vanzant

Learn how to practice and apply these 5 principles of Self-Care in your life:

  • Boundaries
  • From Reactive to Creative
  • Your Body Knows
  • What Restores You?
  • Want What You Want

Discover and practice techniques for getting to know your true SELF and develop greater capacity for compassionate care of others, from the inside out.

  • Define where your responsibilities begin...and where they end.
  • Create a morning ritual.
  • Start trusting the messages your body is sending you.
  • Explore and notice what brings you true peace and joy.
  • Start acknowledging yourself and realize that you CAN feel good.
  • ...and more!
This course is created by Dr. Lisa Chu, M.D., Founder of The Music Within Us.
"My experience as a Caring Professional started at the age of twelve, with my first paying job as a violin teacher. I lived a life of ambition and striving, going to Harvard, finishing medical school, and becoming the youngest partner in a venture capital investment firm before I turned 30. I wanted to care deeply about the work I did in the world, and I knew that music was at the heart of my deepest passion and greatest offering. "More than five years after moving to California to follow my dream and start my own violin school in Silicon Valley, I was "successful" by every external measure available. But I learned first-hand about the physical exhaustion, loss of compassion, and burnout that resulted from what I didn't know about Self-Care, even when following my own dream. "The lessons in this course are shared with you from my own study, practice, and personal journey of healing and transformation. I invite you to learn with me, try these practices in your own life, and discover what new possibilities are revealed to you as a Caring Professional." - Dr. Lisa Chu

Features:

  • Learn the 5 Principles of Self-Care and begin practicing them in your own life
  • Create a list of Self-Care Practices based on your learning, and start creating the changes you desire in your life
  • Get introduced to each principle on day one. Then get a small activity each day to put into practice in your real life.
  • Work at your own pace
  • Benefit from online discussion with other learners
  • Receive written, audio, and video materials to guide you in your learning
  • Access online materials even after the course has ended

Who should enroll:

  • Anyone who wants to restore life balance, expand their capacity to serve others, and rediscover the joy of compassionate service
  • Anyone considering a coaching relationship with me and seeking an introduction to the foundation of my work with people
  • Caring Professionals at risk for burnout who want to learn preventive wellness measures
  • You are a Caring Professional if...
    • You care deeply about what you do as a professional (or what you define as work or service)
    • You serve others for a living
  • Caring Professionals have a variety of job descriptions across many industries, such as:
    • Physicians
    • Nurses
    • Teachers
    • Counselors
    • Coaches
    • Therapists
    • Healers
    • Attorneys
    • Musicians
    • Artists
    • Mothers
    • Fathers
    • Entrepreneurs
    • CEOs

What People Are Saying:

"What I loved about Lisa's online course was the ability to connect with her and yet also ask myself hard questions in the privacy of my own space.  As far as content, Lisa gently guided me into rethinking many rules I had set for myself.  She helped change my perspective on the direction of my path and she made me feel comfortable living my life in a more honest way."  DB "Thanks again for your gift of the course that has gotten me to take a fresh look at my life." WJC "I just completed the course. The content was just what I needed during this time of transition.  Finding ways to find my center, taking small steps, and reframing my questions helped alleviate a lot of stress. The format of the online course worked. I enjoyed going at my own pace. I didn't know what to expect from an online course. I'm typically a classroom (in-person) learner or a self-learner (read the book & do the activity). I enjoyed the combination of video, reading, and links. I've fed a lot off your energy of acceptance/awareness of self in order to move through (and be comfortable) with the uncomfortableness of change." - VC

CLICK HERE TO ENROLL...

Why I Created “Self-Care for the Caring Professional”

Register now: Visit the registration page>> 5-week course starts on October 20, 2010. Early Bird pricing ends TODAY, October 13, 2010!

TONIGHT – FREE coaching call for physicians-in-training

If you saw my guest post today on kevinmd.com, you might be interested in joining me TONIGHT, Tuesday, July 20, at 6:00pm Pacific Time, for a free coaching call. It's designed for medical students, residents, and fellows, because I want to start planting seeds in the early stages of training and mindset formation. But if you're a practicing physician and have an interest in the subject of self-care, please join me! More details on the call are available here. Can't make it? Send me an email and I'll send you a link to a recording of the call.