Stressed to the Max

Bye Bye Negative Thought #10

“I’Ve become ‘that’ person!”


Recently I was talking with a female colleague and she confessed to me, “Oh my god, I've become Dr. __!”

The person she described was a female attending during her residency training who was known for being the most berating and heartless attending in the program. She went on to tell me that she had promised herself years ago that she would never become what that attending was.

She sat sobbing because she'd come to a point in her life that she didn't even recognize herself anymore. She was absolutely stressed to the max—taking care of kids, aging parents, her practice and everything in between.

She had nothing left to give, it was showing and she was devastated.

Can you relate to this experience? Promising NEVER to be like that, work like that, say that and then catching yourself some time later…”Holy shit, I sound like___!”

But here’s the thing…you aren’t that person you promised not to be. You are only recognizing traits or patterns that you associate with that person.

So here’s the great news, this is not your permanent reality.

  • You don’t want to be mean and bitchy…great...you can change that!

  • You don’t want to be exhausted and look 15 years older than you really are…a-maze-balls…we can’t turn back time, but you can change the future from this point forward

  • You want to start feeling more like yourself again and less like a mechanic robot version of you…wonderful…it’s gonna take some work but absolutely possible.

“How,” you ask?

Step 1: AWARENESS…you got that. You read this article and said, “Yep, I’m not who I want to be.”

Step 2: Hard core, in-depth, honest-to-God assessments into the status of:

  • The current external parts of your life

  • The current internal parts of you

  • Your boundaries

  • Your strengths and weakness

  • Your own self-awareness

  • How have you become the person you don’t want to be?

Step 3: Action around the future you desire and deserve:

  • What must the future be for you?

  • What would you like to attract into your life?

  • What makes you feel most alive/joyful/fulfilled?

  • What’s that thing you think about that is SOOOO amazing but you don’t share with anyone

Step 4: Get your booty movin’ (with the help of a great coach btw…wink wink). This is the part where the rubber meets the road. It’s also the place where most people don’t venture. They get clarity around what’s in their life, get courageous and start making plans but then *BOOM* fall flat on their face and make no ACTUAL changes.

Talking about being stressed out or burnt out can help some but true sustainable change only comes from a place of action.

If this sounds like something you are ALL IN for…why don’t we talk. Because I’m here to be an example and help. Click HERE for more deeds!

Let Us Be Doctors, Not Documentors

Bye Bye Negative Thought #9

“I’m so far behind that I’m just CallING in sick to catch up!”

Have you done this?

Buried under a mountain of charts or paperwork that you alter your schedule and life to “catch up?”

Do you stay up after kids go to bed?

Go to the office early or on weekends?

Do you think, “God, I just want to stay caught up for once!!!???!!”

I’ll admit it…I’ve been there. Most weekends when I knew no one would be in the office, I would let myself in through the side door and worked like a mad woman for hours trying just to catch up.

That way on Monday morning, I could start without the weight of unfinished charts staring down on me. I would think, “I got to get this done so I’m not behind.”

Countless hours where spent (uncompensated, by the way) doing the work that just couldn’t get done during the work day because there was just not enough hours to take care of patients well AND document.

Well, sister in medicine…being behind on notes is NOT a personal character fault. You are not broken or inadequate! You are trapped in a system that is broken.

I believe that is absolutely unethical and unacceptable for this practice to continue. So I’m saying BYE BYE unrealistic expectations (and hoping you will too).

Instead of being told, “If you don’t get your notes done, you will be suspended,” groups/organizations should be supporting their physicians, unburdening them from non-clinical tasks and allowing them to do what we do best….BE A DOCTOR.

And that is EXACTLY what the research is saying too!

Recently, I gave a presentation at the Indiana Osteopathic Association’s Winter Conference in Indianapolis with my talk titled “Factors to Improve Physicians Lives” that was based on hearing Dr. Lotte N. Dyrbye, one of the nation’s leader in physician wellbeing, present at the Coalition for Physician Wellbeing 2018 Conference.

After doing research, here’s partially what I presented and what I gathered from Dr. Dyrbye and others work…

EXTERNAL National Factors to Improve Physician Lives

  1. Documentation Burden

    • In re to the clinical encounter: MUST be reduced and streamlined. (Billing requirements, quality reporting, test justification

    • In re to “Doctor-only” task MUST have clarity regarding which tasks are doctor essential

  2. EHR

    • In re to workflow: MUST be thoroughly vetted with all levels (especially physicians)

    • MUST evaluated for workforce implications PRIOR to their launch.

    • Because guess what…retrospective research shows Doctors weren’t just whining when EHRs were launched. Retrospectively, we were massively understaffed for the increased load burden that came

  3. Insurers

    • MUST be eliminated payers requirements to perform and document unnecessary elements of care to justify billing codes BUT THAT DO NOT contribute to good medical care

    • MUST develop a more efficient preapproval process for tests, medications, and procedures for patients

  4. MOC requirements

    • MUST better integrated with standard CME requirements, work to decrease burden and change the pay structure

    • (personally I would like to see MOC go all together)

  5. State licensing boards

    • MUST eliminate questions on licensing applications regarding diagnosis or treatment for mental health conditions

    • Consider a National Clearinghouse

  6. National organizations (ie The National Institutes of Health)

    • MUST become involved and allocate funds to support research evaluating the implications of clinician well-being for the care delivery system and determining how to improve the work-life of health care professionals.

I have much more to this presentation (but this is getting long)!

If you haven’t seen this NAM Discussion Paper yet, I highly encourage you to check it out HERE: Burnout Among Health Care Professionals: A Call to Explore and Address This Underrecognized Threat to Safe, High-Quality Care. You can get this and more information. It was my go to source for my talk.

So, all in all friend, KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT! Awareness is starting to come forth that the burdens we have been shouldering is ungodly. Change is coming and I going to keep pushing.

If you help some help with what you are struggling with, book a free NO SLEEZE-NO SLIME-NO SELLING colleague-to-colleague call with me today HERE. Because sometimes it helps to have a fellow colleague who understands!

Lessons from Oil Wells and Potholes

Several months ago I heard another fellow, female physician coach, Dr. Katrina Ubell talking about oil wells and I got really excited about being an Indiana girl who grew up around this industry. Her point smacked me upside the head that I wanted to share my version with you.

There are times in our lives were we start a project. For this example, start digging. We got along, dig dig dig until suddenly, BAM, we hit something hard, new and tough. This challenge is like hitting a new level of bedrock where the soil profile changes. No more top-soil, it just got real!

We all like to think that we would preserver and pick away at this SUPER CHALLENGING layer. But a majority of the time, we throw our hands up and say, “Enough. I tried hard enough. Moving on.”

Now don’t get me wrong, there are times in our lives that we must make changes and “the hole you are digging” just isn’t for me. But where it is a problem is retrospectively looking at the trail behind you, is there a plethora of potholes? Are you giving up too soon? Are you picking the wrong place to start digging? Did the dig or project really not mean that much to you?

So instead, I advise changing your life of one filled with potholes to one with a few oil wells. (Stay with me on this one.)

When (not if) we get to those hard place in our lives after we've been digging through the soft mud, the hard bedrock can be a great refining process. It challenges you to question, “Do I continue?”

It also shows you that you must approach this situation differently than all your previous experience.

Instead of using the same tool or shovel, you must upgrade to a different tool in order to proceed. That little shovel you were using before has served you well to this point so be grateful but know you are ready for some more power. Same goes for your thought patterns or will power, they have served you to this point. But now is time to uplevel your mental game.

You now need the pulsating chisel drill, (I pick this one because recently I took up some tile in my basement and felt like a He-Woman using it. Also a must-have for tile removal but I diverge…) or jackhammer or upgrade to a dozer. In other words, you must invest some serious time, effort and money into new tools to get you through this challenge and onto the desired result below.  

Now, I know what you might be thinking, “Errin, I have been through Hell! I have been challenged and I have made it through.”

Friend, you are tough! But I want to show you that through all the layers of your life current or in the future:

  • Maybe it’s time for a different approach that isn’t so draining?

  • Maybe you need new sharp tools that are more effective?

  • Maybe you don’t need to struggle alone by asking for help instead of working alone?

If you’re past is full or potholes and you are ready to go deep into oil drilling, it’s about shifting your mental game, realizing what you really want and setting yourself up to succeed.

If you are working away at your current oil well but are dead-dog tired, now is the time to upgrade your equipment/skills, consider some different approaches and get help from others!

If you want to talk more, schedule a colleague to colleague call HERE because you got this and I got your back!

Should I Quit Medicine?

Lately, I’ve been talking with a lot of colleagues who are contemplating quitting medicine all together.

You know…that imagined situation of throwing your stethoscope across the room and yelling, “I’m leaving and I’m not coming back!!”

Well, I don’t condemn leaving or changing jobs. But, I suggest the following:

  • Just STOP/get away and take some deep breaths

  • Don’t throw shit (you’re not Bobby Knight)

  • Think through what’s happening in your head and around you that is triggering this response

  • Call a close friend, partner or coach (a-hem…me) to yelp for help

After you have done this, look over this quick, one page worksheet and consider these questions.

I absolutely understand where you are coming from so I want to offer my help as you navigate your situation. Because it's not crazy to think about making changes but it is CRAY CRAY if you don’t do it from a good state of mind.

As always, I’m here to talk. Hit me up HERE

What happens when you stop the busy-ness

Bye Bye Negative Thought #8:

“I have to stay busy otherwise…”

Are you the type of person who can’t not be busy? If you are watching TV, you’re also doing something else. If you are a passenger during a car ride, you also have to be reading a book or doing a secondary activity. You can’t just sit by the pool or ocean and sit. Even in the shower, you are running through a list of to-dos or call backs you need to do while putting the actions of showering on autopilot.

Well…that’s me or I should say, was me.

I naturally keep myself multi-tasking in about 3 different things at one time. And I’m good at it. I can answer a page, cook dinner and listen to my oldest do his reading homework at one time.

OR AM I?

When I started getting intentional, I realized that I wasn’t doing anyone any good service when I multi-tasking. I only half listen or partially do.

So that leads me to think…why keep yourself busy? Well…I realized about myself:

  1. When I was “crazy busy” then I was proving to myself that I was doing all the right things

  2. If I kept myself busy, I didn’t have any more mental capacity to see what’s happening under the surface or where my brain would switch to thoughts next.

  3. By being busy, then that meant I was productive and if I wasn’t productive then I wasn’t enough. What was my purpose? If I wasn’t doing something, then who was I.

I was clogging up my bandwidth with activity so things (like emotions and feelings) were suppressed so then unconsciously I didn’t have to deal with me.

When’s the last time you sat with yourself in silence and stillness?

That’s my challenge to you. Stop the busy-ness. Sit in silence and stillness and see what comes up.

I’m here for you if you want to talk this through. Schedule HERE for a no selling, no commitment, no craziness call. Because I truly want to help!!

“I’m happy for you!” (..."but I’m not happy for myself")

Bye bye Negative thought #7:

“I’m happy for you!” (fake a smile then think..but I’m not happy for myself)

How do you feel when a colleague is really kicking ass and taking names?

When she gets a research grant or lands a prestigious fellowship?

When she gets promoted?

When she takes a sabbatical, goes part-time, or starts her own clinic so she can create the schedule that works for her family?

Really dig into how you feel when people around you succeed - or when they achieve what you secretly long for.

Jealous? Angry? Upset? Defeated? ...and maybe a little bit happy for them?

I want you to reframe this negative thought, where you’re telling the person you’re happy for them while secretly feeling so sad about your own situation.

I’d love for you to reframe it to: “I’m happy for you. I want what you have or want to do what you’re doing. Can you help me?”

When you begin to leave behind your own narrow view of what’s possible - in your career, in medicine, in your life - amazing things can start to happen.

I want you to know that you can create anything or have anything that anyone else has.

Will it take hard work? Yes.
Will it come at a cost? Hell yes.

Will it be worth it? Absofuckinglutely!


When you want to create something new, start with a clean slate in your brain.
Admit what you REALLY want.

Even if it sounds crazy.

Even if your brain is like, “That will never happen! That’s not even possible! There are not even medical jobs AVAILABLE like that!”

Just put the thoughts on hold for now and admit to yourself what you really want.

Visualize it in detail.

What would your day look like? How would you feel? What would you have time and energy to do that you’re not doing now?

There is actual medical research on the fact that visualization works. Doctors who performed an advanced procedure without visualizing it first were about 50% effective. But doctors who visualized the procedure in advance were 90% effective.

If you spend 5-10 minutes every day visualizing the life you want,  you might just be astounded at how opportunities begin to present themselves.

And in the meantime - ask for help!

If you’re ready for some help creating the life you’re dreaming of, book your free colleague-to-colleague call today HERE.


Special Holiday Blessings to YOU!

Since 2009, I’ve been doing a yearly holiday card with pictures and an update on what Team Weisman did for the past year. But more than spending hundreds of dollars on postage, I love going through my address list. Because believe it or not, I say a special thought or prayer for every person and family on that list as I address their card.

I did the same thing this year with my email list. As of December 2018, I have 93 of you out there who receive email from me. Guess what…you got included in my practice of sending you a special thank you!

My heart is to serve those that want my help and I’m forever grateful for you.

If you can, please help me to reach more in 2019. Tell your friends and family how this Wild Weisman Woman Doctor has helped you :)

Holiday Blessings!

Dr. Errin

PS: Here’s this year’s Team Weisman card.

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I can’t because I’m stuck here... (pssst you are never stuck)

Bye Bye Negative thought #6:

“I can’t ___ because I’m stuck here.”

I can’t take vacation (I don’t have time).

I can’t leave this position (I have nowhere else to go).

I can’t ask for what I really want (they’ll never say yes).

I can’t take time off (people will think badly of me).

I can’t because I’m stuck here.

These are all just beliefs coming out of your head with no real substantial grounding. These beliefs aren’t serving you and aren’t helping you create your best life. So it is time for them TO GO!

Because the truth is: you are never stuck. There are workarounds for your situation and any situation. You just have to be open to explore and get out of the damn “safe” box.

When I was working at the clinic and I had vacation time, I didn’t take it. I believed there was just too much work all the time or if I was gone, things would go to hell. But the real truth is that if you have a good staff and processes in place AND your mind is not working against you, you can leave and patients get taken care of, emergencies get handled, and you come back better! So much better than when you left!

My business coach, Susan Hyatt, leads retreats for women all over the world. I used to DIE of jealousy looking at her pics from Italy, Greece, Ireland, Thailand and more. Literally, I had to block her from my facebook feed for awhile because it hurt SO much to see these amazing pictures and what I had missed out because of “I can’ts.”

I used to think, I can’t go to Italy. I’m stuck here. I can’t have experiences because I’m adulting right now. I have young kids. I have to make the income. I have patients who need me. I have colleagues who will hate me.

There are so many reasons why you shouldn’t or couldn’t do that amazing thing you’re longing to do.

But here’s the flip side, and why you should say YES to experiences: because deep down something about this, you are desiring. You need to lean in when you feel this. Why? Because that’s were the magic of life happens! Not a big “woo-woo, dragons aren’t real” kind of person. Well, I tried not to be either. I pushed back against anything that couldn’t be explained logically. But guess what happened when I start to open up and say, “why not” or “what if…”

AMAZINGNESS CAME INTO MY LIFE.

Instead of telling myself I can’t do something, now I start asking myself how I can find creative ways to go on adventures.


I go to a conference and it’s a business write-off!

I take Fridays off to go hiking and kayaking (and sometimes bringing my kids along for the ride.)

I can do whatever I want with my weekends because now that I don’t spend half the weekend recovering from the sucky work week.

Instead of saying “I can’t,” I say, “I can, I just need to figure out the details.”

What should you say yes to?

It’s easier for her because...

Bye Bye Negative thought #5

“It’s easy for her to go part-time/switch specialties/have a better life than me because…”

We’ve all heard this one.

Whenever a doctor makes a change that’s good for herself and her family, the comparisons start rolling in.

It’s easier for her because...

  • Her husband’s a doctor too. (Somebody has to be home unless they hire a full time nanny!)

  • She doesn’t have as much student debt as me.

  • She has a supportive spouse.

  • Her family lives close to her.

  • Her group/clinic/hospital is more understanding than mine.

Here’s the truth, my friend: Making a change is not easy for anyone.

You don’t know the behind-the-scenes for this woman. You have no idea what tradeoffs she and her family have decided to make in order for her to create a life that feels sane and grounded.

The more interesting angle in this story is that YOU ARE JEALOUS. Come on…admit it. Be true with yourself. In this case, you’re seeing what you want in other people’s lives and you’re feeling pissed at your own situation because you F****** want that thing!

(Check out my recent post on positive jealousy -  using jealousy to help you uncover what YOU really want. for help on this)

Here’s the truth: you can create whatever reality you want.

It’s not going to be easy - but it is absolutely possible.

But just staying pissed about where you are now gets you nowhere.

There’s nothing special about people who have what you want. The only difference between them and you is that they were willing to step out in risk, do it anyway, put in the time and do the work on themselves to get what they want.

And remember: there are things about YOUR life that have other people green with envy. Maybe they’re jealous of your healthy, thriving children, or your beautiful house, or your successful career (maybe they always dreamed of going to medical school but were too afraid to try).

The grass is always greener.

So when you start thinking, It’s so easy for HER, dig into your own jealousy, figure out what YOU want, and start taking steps to make it happen.

If you’re ready for your free colleague-to-colleague consult, book it today HERE! No selling. Just you and me talking with the intent to help you!


If You Never Ask For Help, You Will Never Get It

Bye Bye Negative Thought #4:

“If I ask for help, it means I can’t hack it.”

Have you convinced yourself that you can’t ask for help because that would mean you can’t hack it?

Not asking for help is a pattern we learn in medical school and in residency. (I call it the hidden curriculum.) Confidence and independence are held up as ideal attributes in a successful doctor, and in some ways, that’s true.

But asking for help is also a sign that you’re healthy.


Shame hides, but there’s so much freedom in openness, honesty, and vulnerability.


Whether you need help with a patient who’s not responding the way you’d expected or you need help picking your kids up from school, IT’S OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP.


We’re human beings. We all need help sometimes.


Here’s the truth: if you never ask for help, you will never get it.

So I encourage you to stop seeing the act of asking for help as a weakness!

It’s actually a strength.

It means that you recognize the power of community. It means that you’re willing to be a little bit vulnerable.

And connection thrives on vulnerability.

If you feel lonely and isolated, depressed or disconnected, you may be hiding behind a wall of “I’m fine.” When you’re not honest about how you’re really doing, people can’t know that you’re struggling.

You need to open up to let in the light.

Ask for help.


And if you’re ready for some unconditional support, let’s talk, schedule a free colleague-to-colleague call with me. It’s a judgment-free zone. I got your back!

I Don’t Want to Earn My Stripes

Bye Bye Negative Thought #3:

“I have to suffer in order to be relevant.”


Recently when being introduced, the MC shared that they had experienced severe burnout at least 2 times so far in their career and said, “Dr. Errin is a life coach for physicians in burnout, but she’s so young and just wait when you've been through it a few times.”

As part of my work on my business, I recently reached out to a colleague coach to share about my practice working with fellow doctor moms who want to create a sustainable work/life balance and ask for their help. They responded to me that four years in medical practice was just not enough time for other doctors to respect me. “You have to put in your time, earn your stripes.”

I TOTALLY DISAGREE


I don’t think we need to burn out multiple times or stick out a job in which we’re miserable for 20 years just to earn other doctors’ respect. Instead of putting younger doctors down, we should be saying, “Hey kid - don’t go the way I went. Let’s create a better way.”

I went through med school. I was a grade A resident. I am smart, driven and ambitious. And I now I realize that I want a life outside of medicine. If “earning my stripes” means “missing my kids’ childhoods, not connecting with my spouse, and being completely burned out and miserable for 30 years,” you can forget it.

There’s a quote from A League of Their Own that says, “It’s the hard that makes it great.” That is the premise of medical training. But here’s the thing: it would be fine if “hard” was just a short stretch of time. For example, when you’re in med school you were on a hard rotation for a few weeks - but then you knew it would be over and you’d move into something else, where there was a little breathing room.

But when is the “hard” ever over in medicine?

  • When you’re on vacation?

  • When you retire?

  • When you become an administrator?

  • When you quit?

A recent study found that if doctors are doing a passion project during just 20% of their work time, that was enough to negate burnout. The passion project might involve performing a certain procedure, working with a certain disease state or with a certain population type. Just 20% of time on the part of their job they loved the most made the other 80% tolerable.

We need to find a new way to create careers for doctors that aren’t miserable.

The change starts with us.

It starts with us getting clear on what we want and asking for it. If our employer won’t give it to us, we can find one that will.

That’s why I became a coach: to empower my fellow doctor moms to create sustainable work/life balances. It CAN be done. And if we don’t ask - if we don’t demand - that medicine enable us to be doctors AND parents, then it’s our fault if nothing changes.

If you’re ready to create a sustainable work/life balance, let’s talk on a free colleague-to-colleague call. Schedule HERE.


Please, throw your life away...now, let me explain

Bye Bye Negative Thought #2:

“I’m throwing away my life if I...”

Have you had this thought? I’m throwing away my life if I…

  • Leave my practice

  • Leave medicine

  • Leave medicine before I pay off my student loans

  • Change careers

  • Do something that doesn’t require 7 years of schooling and then on-the-job training

  • Do something that doesn’t include the title “Dr.”

  • Choose a different career path that feels fun and exciting but doesn’t garner the same societal respect as medicine


What if we look at that thought, “I’m throwing away my life if…” in a different way?

Think about what we throw away: GARBAGE.

  • Where in your life do you feel like garbage right now?

  • Does your job make you feel like garbage?

  • Do the hours you work completely trash your body?

  • Does your boss make you feel disrespected?

What if you threw away the life that makes you feel like garbage?

Please, throw that life away. The life that feels horrible. The life that doesn’t allow you to be fully you. The life that isn’t serving you. Please throw that life away.

Any avenue that brings you happiness and joy is not a throwaway life. Any life that allows you to be more fully yourself and more fully present with your loved ones is not a throwaway life.

Here’s what I want you to hear, my dear friend: it’s okay to change.

In so many cases, “throwing your life away” can actually be the bravest, truest thing you can do.

I’ve done it.

I left my practice, even though they did not grant me a buyout of my noncompete clause.

I became a life coach, even though most of my doctor friends think it’s crazy.

And now I’m planning to leave my ER job, because I asked for some concessions that they refused.

I’ve “thrown my life away” a few times, but here’s what I’ve found:

The new version of my life is SO MUCH BETTER than staying where I was.

Every single time, it’s been better.

Do you have something in mind that excites you, but you tell yourself it would be “throwing away your life”? Sometimes you just need a neutral person to talk things through with! Book a free 60-minute colleague-to-colleague call. I’d love to talk to you about this!

Your options are LIMITLESS

Bye Bye Negative Thought #1:

“I can’t do anything other than what I’m doing right now.”

SO many of my doctor colleagues and mom friends struggle with negative thoughts that make them feel trapped, desperate and defeated.

For example, many believe that the job they have now is the only job they can ever have in medicine and they just have to endure it - even when it’s horrible and sucking the life out of them.

I have a counterintuitive exercise I recommend that can work wonders on this totally false and negative thought.

It’s called “Positive Jealousy”

Now, I know that you were warned as a child to avoid the green-eyed monster, and not to feel jealous because nice girls (or boys) don’t feel jealous; instead they’re gracious and grateful.

Well … positive jealousy can actually be an amazing tool to help you make your life better.

Here’s what I mean.

Last year, I was super jealous of my business coach Susan Hyatt. Susan was organizing fucking AMAZING retreats for women in glamorous locations all around the world - like France, Scotland, and Italy. OMG...I was so jealous! It looked amazing! I wanted to be there.

I had a huge shift when I realized I could use positive jealousy to identify what I wanted and create it for myself, instead of just feeling pissed off and sorry for myself that I didn’t have what Susan had.

I realized that I wanted to create retreats for women. I wanted to go to amazing places and have amazing experiences doing what I love. So I leveled up but I did it!

I just held my first Women in the Wild retreat, and it was a huge success! We had 31 women who came together for 24 hours for outdoor adventures, yoga, and personal development. It was so much fun.

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So I ask you, where are you feeling jealous? Maybe it’s that colleague or doctor friend who just got back from Mexico and posted fabulous pictures. Or it’s another friend who looks like she is having fun at work.

How might you channel that positive jealousy to create an opportunity or possibility for yourself?

How might you think outside the box?

Don’t let yourself take the easy way out. (“It’s easy for her to go part-time; her spouse makes a ton of money.” “My administrator would never agree to the arrangement she has.” “She’s always been brave and things come easy for her.”)

Admit to yourself what it is that you want in your professional situation!

Then ASK FOR IT!

If you want some pointers on how to ask, check out my new free guide, Asking for What You Need at Work.

And if you’d love to talk to someone about how to take the sting out of the thought “I can’t do anything other than what I’m doing right now,” book a free 60-minute colleague-to-colleague call. I’d love to talk to you!

Toxicity in the Workplace - You’re Not Imagining It

As doctors, we are trained to tough it out. Med school and residency are grueling on purpose. We make life-or-death decisions every day, and medicine is not for the faint of heart.

But today I want to address the fact that many, many medical workplaces are toxic - especially for female doctors. You are not imagining it.

There’s this little gem that I recently ranted about on Facebook:

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My first reaction was, OH NO YOU DIDN’T!!

The truth is that female doctors are paid less when all other factors are equal. And that is WRONG.

Here’s what’s even more upsetting: there are female doctors who agree with him. (One of them is a close friend of mine.)

We have been so brainwashed by the every-man-for-himself, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps, toughen-up culture of medicine that we can’t even see when our own situations are toxic.

Let’s look a little deeper at the subtler sexism of Gary Tigges’s words - “most of the time, their [female doctors’] priority is something else...family, social, whatever.” There’s a TON of research on the fact that despite lots of growth in the past few decades, women still shoulder the bulk of “emotional labor” outside the workplace - cooking, cleaning, childcare, organizing the household, remembering to schedule pediatrician appointments, remembering who has pajama day at school, and all the details of family life that require attention. (And, oh right, growing babies inside our bodies and then giving  birth to them and feeding them to keep them alive.)

So yes. When you’re a mother/doctor/badass, your family IS a priority. And we should not be penalized for that.

Then there are the sexist situations that show up randomly in your workplace.

When I was in family medicine, my (all male) colleagues asked me to organize staff gifts at Christmas. (Before I came on board, their wives used to do it.)

When I walk into an exam room in the ER, people often ask me if I’m the nurse or student.

When staff uses my first name instead of Dr. Weisman

When nurses get out all equipment needed for an I&D for my male partners and leave me hanging saying, “Oh did you need help?”

There’s a lot that needs to change in medicine. And my rallying call to all you mother/doctor/badasses out there is this: we need to be healthy enough ourselves so that we can work for the sea change that medical culture requires.

Because things can’t stay like this!

I don’t want you to feel discouraged. I want you, today, to recognize that if you’ve encountered some of this toxic culture, it is NOT normal.

Good. Now that you know that, I want you to take some time for yourself today. Even if it’s a 10-minute break for a cup of tea, or a walk around the hospital, or a 15-minute cat nap in your car. Do something to rest and refuel. ‘Cause we need to be strong to make the changes our industry needs.

If you’ve been struggling with toxicity in your workplace, sign up for a free 60-minute colleague-to-colleague call. I’ve heard pretty much everything and I can help advise you on how to handle it (including when you might need to seek legal advice or file a complaint with HR).

Move Beyond Survival Mode

I recently talked to a client who said, “I try to read all these self-help books, but it’s like the material doesn’t even sink in.”

I knew exactly what she meant.

When I was in the midst of my burnout, I couldn’t read self-help either! I was so entrenched in just surviving my totally overwhelming life that I could not create a way out of it.

If you’re in this space, I want you to know that you’re not crazy - and that life CAN get better.

Instead of trying to figure out your next move from an exhausted, overwhelmed, depressed, burned out place, I want you to step back.

You don’t need to make any decisions now.

In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat Pray Love, she describes a time in her life when she was sobbing on the bathroom floor, saying over and over to herself, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. Please tell me what to do.”

And these words came into her mind: Go back to bed, Liz.

She described how these words were such a relief to her. She didn’t hear some magical message telling her whether or not she should divorce her husband. Instead, the advice from her wisest self was to rest up before she tried to make a big decision.

My advice to you is the same.

How can you make space for yourself today, or this week, so that you have the physical rest and mental clarity?

Do you need to go to your boss and take two weeks off to get your life together?

Do you need to request Wednesday afternoons off to go do that thing you want to do?

Do you need to come in 15 minutes later in the mornings so it’s not such a struggle to get your children to daycare/school?

Do you need to take sick time or vacation time or a sabbatical, so you can have some time to listen to that still voice in your heart?

Figure out what it is for you - how you’ll make space for your body and mind to rest so that you can discern your next right move.

And then do it. I’ll be right here, cheering you on!

If you’d like advice on how to request time off or a reduced schedule, schedule a free 60-minute colleague to colleague call. I’ll share with you exactly how I advocated for myself to get the reduced schedule I need for mental clarity, my life and my family.

Remember that You’re Not Alone

Our dread of Monday and our dread of work is often compounded by a feeling of isolation.

When I began practicing medicine 4 years ago, I was the only female doctor in Pike County, Indiana. The whole DAMN county!!!

If you’re feeling isolated as a female physician in what really is still a man’s world, know that you’re not alone.

Reach out to your female doctor friends from med school and residency. The culture of medicine often encourages us to keep a stiff upper lip, but just sharing our struggles can be a huge release valve for the stress we face every single day.

Locally, I helped start a “Women in Medicine” group where local female physicians come together every other month or so. At each meeting, we answer 2 questions: What has been your best moment since we last met? What has been your biggest struggle? GOD...it is so amazing to hear other women’s stories because I hear and see myself in them. If you don’t have this in your life, GET YOU SOME! If you are even remotely close to me, COME!

Join a Facebook group. I recently started a group called Mother Doctor Badass because that’s what we all are! We share our stories and encourage each other and right now, I’m running a 7-week series on work/life balance. It’s totally free to anyone who joins.

Even though life can feel so unbalanced, achieving a balance that works for you and your family IS possible! Stop going at it alone. If you don’t join my group (which I think you should and invite all your friends), JOIN SOMETHING! A crochet group, a group about dogs, one on naked yoga, WHATEVER. Just start making connections!


Listen to an empowering podcast. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of negative thoughts. Here’s a list of my favorite podcasts to lift me out of the sludge!

Susan Hyatt’s GO! Podcast: For an inspiring 5-7 minute Monday morning pep talk, listen to the first 160 episodes of this gem! She recently rebranded the podcast as the Rich Coach Club - still super inspiring and worth listening to, but listen to the back episodes for those short-and-sweet Monday morning pep talks.


Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert: These creativity consultations with artists who are struggling to create will inspire you to release your own self-sabotage and blocks and live your life more creatively, whether you’re an artist or not.

Talk to a coach. I’ve shared before that I chose to work with a coach during my own experience of burnout as a doctor, instead of a therapist, because in Indiana seeking mental health services can trigger a review of your medical license. (That is a topic for another day! As doctors we advocate for mental health services for our patients but get penalized when we seek help ourselves. This is crazy!)

In September and October I’m offering a limited number of free 60-minute colleague-to-colleague consultations. Bring me your toughest problem - whether it’s Sunday dread, work/life balance, or work expectations that are just completely unrealistic - and I’ll help you shed some light on it.

Remember: it’s HEALTHY to reach out. Shame hides, but there’s so much freedom in openness, honesty, and vulnerability.

Imagining Your Ideal Practice

So many of us absolutely dread going into the office, clinic, or hospital on Monday mornings (or whenever your work week typically starts).

We hate our jobs and believe “this is just the way it is.”

We stop imagining anything different.

Today I’d love for you to imagine with me. We’re going to imagine your perfect practice.

Side note: This only works if you actually DO it.  You can’t just read about it! The same way we go about doing a procedure for the very first time. You read about it, double checked in a different manual, watched your attending do it and then jump in and actually go. Feels awkward and uncoordinated but you complete it. Same with these exercises... get yo' paper and pen and write this out! :)


Let’s suspend disbelief for a moment and imagine that someone came to you and offered to pay you your ideal salary for practicing medicine in your ideal setting. What would that look like?

Ask yourself these questions, and take time to come up with and write out your answers:

  • What would my perfect practice look like?

  • How would I feel working in my perfect practice?

  • What would be my practice's mission?

  • What patient types would I care for?

  • How would my typical perfect day go? (Include an actual schedule)

  • What is the culture that I want surrounding me?

  • What is your ideal amount of hours?

  • What does my vacation time look like?

  • When are your days off?

  • What other responsibilities would you gladly perform? (On-call? Nursing home rounds? Volunteer activities? Medical trips? Additional education or teaching?)

  • Where, in your perfect practice, is there space to grow?


Where can you make one small tweak this week to make your current position closer to your ideal position?

Can you trade additional responsibilities with someone?

Offer to focus solely on one or two patient types?

Make a small change to your schedule, like blocking of break time, lunch time, or time to catch up on charting?

How can you live your ideal practice’s mission in some small way this week?


I’d love to hear about your ideal practice and help you explore more ways that you can start bringing that flavor into your current role. SIf you’d love to take this exercise a little further and want help dreaming up more creative possibilities, I’d love to talk. Schedule with me HERE

I got your back!

Errin

A Creative Thought Exercise for Career Slumps

If you spend Sundays in a bad mood because you’re dreading Monday morning, you’re not alone.

But I want to tell you: there’s a better way to live, and I want to help you find it.


Often, our experience of Sunday dread is closely tied with the experience of feeling stuck.

We feel stuck in a job that we hate, and we have to keep doing that job. Because [we have to pay off our student loans, save for our kids’ college fund, pay the mortgage, support our spouse and family, etc…].

We can’t possibly change jobs because [we have a noncompete clause, we can’t change specialties without going back to residency/school, we don’t want to move, we don’t want to take a pay cut, we don't want to appear a failure…].

So we have locked ourselves into a circumstance that we believe we cannot or will not change.


As doctors, we are always fact collecting. We are obsessed with having the right answer -- because, of course, our patients’ lives often depend on it!

But that obsession with the right answer can backfire when we’re trying to create a fulfilling life. Because there is no right answer. There is only what works for us, and what doesn’t.

Yet so many of us are killing ourselves to fit into a certain mold of what it means to be a doctor, to be a wife, to be a mother, to be a good provider, that we can’t seem to see that the answers the world holds up are simply not working for us.

So let’s do a little creative thinking exercise...da da daaaaa


Imagine that you wake up tomorrow and the type of medicine you practice (family medicine, ER, radiology, surgery, Peds, Ob, whatever) can no longer be done.

The government has outlawed it. Your practice or your specialty is out of business, forever. Your hospital/your organization gone off the face of the Earth. There are no more family medicine offices; there’s no more surgeries; there are no more ERs. No more of what you do currently.

What would you do next?

What kind of medicine would you practice if you couldn’t do what you’re doing now?

In what kind of setting would you practice?

If you absolutely had to move tomorrow, to flee a coming plague, where would you move to and why?

If you were already rethinking everything -- location, specialty, setting -- what else would you change?

If you got to pick all over again, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?


The point of this exercise is to recognize how much we limit ourselves in our own thinking. How much we lock ourselves into a single course of action.

When truly, there are millions of paths.

Millions of opportunities for you to create the life you’re dreaming of.


 

If you’d love to take this exercise a little further and want help dreaming up more creative possibilities, I’d love to talk. Schedule with me HERE

5 Tips for a Happier Monday Morning

Let’s dive into 5 fun ways to make your Monday morning less dreadful.

1. Remind yourself “this is not my forever.”

When one of my administrators told me, “I hope you’ll stay with us for 30 years,” I wanted to start bawling and crawl into the fetal position! Feeling like you have to stay in a position until you retire can feel huge, immovable and impossible. But reminding yourself, “This is just my ‘right now’” can relieve so much of that pressure - your circumstance can and will change.

 

2. Reduce Contaminated Time

Brigid Schulte, author of the book Overwhelm, talks about the concept of “contaminated time,” from psychology. Contaminated time is when we are doing one thing but thinking of something else (or six other things).

Contaminated time is when you’re at work but stressing over whether you took diapers to daycare, or worrying about what you’ll make for dinner that night, or freaking out about your kid’s [insert thing you’re worried about for your kids today]. Contaminated time is when you’re home with your family but you’re worried about a patient or a situation with a colleague.

Contaminated time is extremely stressful. So when you find yourself engaging in it, repeat to yourself: “I’m just going to be here.” Just be with this patient in this moment. Just complete this chart. Just be with your child in this moment.

Just this.

 

3. Find someone to be your accountability shoulder.

This is a trusted friend, colleague or coach who is going to support you as you move to making changes in your life (changes that will reduce and eventually eliminate your Sunday dread!). This person is a combination of a shoulder to cry on when you’re tired or discouraged, and also an accountability partner who is going to push you to do hard things.

This person will pick you up when you’re down; they’ll cry with you; and they’ll also check in on your progress in a supportive, encouraging way.

As doctors, we’re taught to be very stoic and private with our emotions. It is key that you have an accountability shoulder (preferably, outside of your spouse) who can support you in your journey. I can certainly be that person for you!

 

4. Set boundaries to keep good things in.

We often talk about setting boundaries to keep things that we don’t want out. We need to remember that boundaries also keep good things in (like a fence for your dog … or your toddler!).

Setting boundaries with your time allows you to keep the good things in your life that you love. If you’re asked to be on yet another committee at work, remember that you’re setting a boundary (perhaps, ‘no more commitments’) so that you can keep the good things in your life in place.

If the room mom for your son’s class asks you to bring cookies, offer to give her a check to cover dessert. And don’t feel guilty!

 

5. Put your action steps into practice.

If you haven’t read the previous post, "Beating Sunday Dread: Finding More Joy in Your Current Situation", go check it out! I walk you through a process for identifying the source of your dread and addressing it at the root cause. Once you do that, you’ll generate some action steps that are guaranteed to reduce your dread. Go to it!

 

If you’re stuck in the Sunday dreads, I want to help! I’m offering a colleague to colleague call specifically on the topic of Sunday dreads. Sign up HERE

Beating Sunday Dread: Finding More Joy in Your Current Situation

Peel back the layers

The first thing we’re going to do this week is peel back the layers.

We’re going to recognize the source of all this Sunday dread.

It’s not “I have to go back to work tomorrow.”

What is it about work that’s causing you to feel so much dread? Don’t let yourself off with a glib answer here. Really pinpoint the specific things that you dread dealing with.

For example, maybe you’re thinking, “I’m so busy. My schedule is just insane.”

Or maybe you’re always behind in your charting and you feel like you’ll never catch up.

Okay: when your schedule is full or you’re behind on charting, how do you feel? Maybe you feel overwhelmed and out of control.

Identify the root cause, and how it makes you feel.

 

Address the root cause

Once you’ve identified the root cause, we can start addressing it!

Because we can totally fix feeling overwhelmed and out of control! In my own practice, I used to build breaks into my schedule. The office staff knew that if they wanted to book a patient during those times, they had to come talk to me or my nurse first. I partnered with my nurse and she helped me hold boundaries.

I also created more control and less overwhelm for myself by using rituals at the start and end of the day. At the start of the day, I take a moment in the car to become Dr. Weisman, to step into her shoes. At the end of the day, I text my husband that "Coming home" and then sit in the driver's seat and say to myself, "I'm really coming home" which signifies to me stepping away from Dr. Weisman and back into my role as Errin and Mommy.

If you struggle with charting, consider some additional solutions to you doing it all on your own. Can you get a scribe? Can you use voice notes? Can you have a nurse do pre-visit documentation? Are you over-documenting because of some other deeper fears?

 

Plan your action steps

Once you’ve come up with some next steps, plan them out. Schedule a meeting with your supervisor, ask a nurse to do pre-visit documentation.

Communicate these frustrations to your boss AND present them with the couple of action steps/options for solving them. He or she will appreciate you already doing the heavy thinking and will be more likely to help you. Also take the initiative to make changes that you can WITHOUT asking if it's not necessary.

Because remember: there’s a doctor shortage! Healthcare needs us, good doctors. It’s in your employer’s best interest to keep you happy, thriving and flourishing.

During my own burnout, I realized that I hated my office and felt very uncomfortable in it. It wasn’t decorated according to my taste. Once I realized this, I brought in more things that made the space feel comfortable to me. I hung a large picture of my family in every exam room. So many of my patients commented on that photo -- they felt a deeper connection to me, and I was happier every time I walked in not only did I see my patient, I got to see my loves too.

 

Work your plan

Follow through on what you planned to do.

There are going to be obstacles -- some from other people, and some from yourself! You’re going to worry about pissing off your nurse or what people will say if you start making changes (like bringing stuff from home in). Do it anyway! 

 

If you’re stuck in the Sunday dreads, I want to help! I’m offering a colleague to colleague call specifically on the topic of Sunday dreads. Sign up HERE