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Episode 71: If You Want Happiness In Your Career You Must Intentionally Do This w. Dr. Jimmy Turner

Nov 2, 2020

This Episode

Interview w/ Dr. Jimmy Turner

You Will Learn

  • Jimmy discusses why he will always have a coach
  • How you behave on a day to day basis is determined by your thoughts
  • Why many doctors these days feel powerless and angry, and how we can change that

 

Resources & Links

This week I am talking to my friend Dr. Jimmy Turner. about one of my very favorite topics. We talk about how mindset and beliefs are the foundation for an experienced life and how positive/negative experience in life is determined first at the thought level. We talk about how life coaching and professional coaching can play a role in intentionally shaping the outcome of these experiences.

Justin (00:25):
I’m talking to my friend, Dr. Jimmy Turner, about one of my very favorite topics. We’re talking about how mindset and beliefs and thoughts are the foundation for the experienced life, and whether you’re going to be happy or unhappy, whether you’re content or discontent, whether you are ultimately a high achiever, a good spouse, a good parent or not is determined first at the thought level. Uthis is true in personal finance and financial outcomes. This is true in professional pursuits and the outcomes experience therein and, and a lot of other places in life today. We’re talking about how thinking and beliefs and actions and habits and outcomes are all linked. And specifically, we’re also going to talk about how life coaching and professional coaching can play a role in intentionally shaping this chain of events. I have really personally benefited from these ideas as well as from professional and life coaching.
Justin (01:24):
And a lot of these principles we’re going to talk about today are some of the things that I feel most strongly about with regards to professional development, whether or not you ever end up working with a professional coach as a physician, which by the way, I think everyone should. And as a financial advisor who has done it myself, it’s been really transformative. I think that today’s conversation and the resources contained there in the methods and ideas that we’re going to talk about are really, really beneficial even to just use for yourself as you try to cultivate resiliency and contentment in whatever that looks like in your own life today is going to be a little bit of a different vibe than usual because of the topics discussed. But I’m really excited to share it with you as always. Thanks for tuning in.
Justin (02:07):
Welcome to episode 71 of the anesthesia and pain management success podcast. I’m very pleased to be joined by my friend and perennially returning guests, dr. Jimmy Turner, Jimmy, thanks for being here. And Jimmy, for anyone who doesn’t know is a we could call him like a financial hobbyist at the outset and now entrepreneur, physician, coach, as well as an attending anesthesiologist at wake forest and regional anesthesia expert. So there’s a lot happy block Tober by the way, although this is going to air now in November, but I’m here to TA today to talk with Jimmy about a physician coaching and what is position coaching? Why does it exist? I different industries, I think have coaching as the way that they approach vocation. And I know executives have had coaches for forever and executive coaches charge like stupid of money. I’m a financial advisor advisors have their own coaches.
Justin (03:03):
And there are people who specialize in financial advisor coaching, and I have paid coaches, lots of money because the, the impact can be so foundational to who you are, to how you’re on your business, to your experience of your job, and that trickles into your finances and your family, your relationships, all these things. It’s just a, a positive domino effect at its best. So we’re here to talk today about what is physician coaching? Why is that a thing? And are there people perhaps within earshot of this podcast today who should consider integrating coaching into their pursuit of the practice of medicine? Yeah. So Jimmy, tell us a little bit, how did you sort of become attuned to what was your first experience with either a coach or with some sort of call it a psychological principle where you’re like, this is important in helping doctors understand this principle and how it’s manifest in their lives is something that I want to be more knowledgeable about and ultimately involved in.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (04:04):
Yeah, sure. So I can actually answer both of those questions. The first question, you know, where did I first experienced coaches in sports? And it’s funny cause you, you already made the, made the mention of this, but the idea of coaching is very prevalent in certain other areas of our life, right? Like it’s very normal to have a coach for sports. It’s normal to have a coach, you know, in, in other aspects of life. Like, you know, if you’re a theater or a writing coach or, you know, financial advisor, coach, executive coach, but coaches for physicians is actually relatively new. It’s you know, it’s been around for a little bit, there’ve been a few specialists kind of physicians that have done this for a little longer, but in terms of getting out into the mainstream, it’s, it’s just happening now. And so how I got in touch with this myself like most people, like most doctors, I didn’t know anything about it for, for a while.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (04:50):
And so my, my journey you don’t give you the cliff notes version of it, but my journey ended up you know, I was the guy that looked like he had it all put together on the outside. So you know, I went to med school and I was the class president, student body president. I ended up being chief resident in residency and, you know, won teaching awards and was publishing randomized control trials. I was married. My kids are pretty well behaved. I have a beautiful, wonderful wife. Like everything looked great on the outside, but I was absolutely miserable and depressed on the inside. And so in the midst of that, I ended up getting diagnosed with graves’ disease. And so as strange as this sounds, I was kind of like, yes, there is an answer for what is going on. And so I you know, my, my endocrinologist and she was wonderful, she put me on with them as all.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (05:38):
And I became euthyroid the bad news was is that, that wasn’t what was causing my burnout. That wasn’t what was causing my, my depression. And so it actually got pretty bad. So I had, you know, passive suicidal ideation at the, at the depth of it. And you know, there are lots of things out there that that can be helpful. You know, I tried, I certainly tried antidepressants and but ultimately coaching helped me reshape my thoughts and helped me realize that, you know, a lot of the things that were going on inside of my head were because of negative thoughts that I had that were unintentionally there that I didn’t even know were there weren’t I wasn’t aware of them. And so coaching the idea behind it is to be sort of a mirror where you sit down and talk with somebody and they show you the thoughts that you have, and then they show you the results from those thoughts and how they are, or are not serving you and how you can replace them with other thoughts that will accomplish the goals of feeling and acting and showing up in this world, how you want.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (06:32):
And so when I did that, when I got coaching and figured out where all of those thoughts were coming from, it turns out I was suffering from a giant arrival fallacy for the last, I don’t know, 20 years where I expected finishing training or, you know, becoming an attending or buying the house or, you know, whatever was going to make me happy. And so it was like being a crack addict, waiting for the next hit. And when I had an opportunity that I wanted passed me up four times for the first time in my life, I didn’t, it didn’t happen, you know? And so I just went into like, you know, honestly, a pretty bad, bad place. And so coaching ended up turning around for me and figuring out, like, why was I so dependent upon these things happening in my life to be happy? Why couldn’t I be content and enjoy the journey and be helpful, you know, or gracious and appreciative of what I have and what’s going on. And so coaching was what changed my, my unintentional thoughts that were leading to all of that and made them intentional to where I am now.
Justin (07:26):
Yeah. And this is so powerful. I would say I experienced some of the sort of systems, I would say, like coaching, and this is my parlance. You can kind of reframe this, but coaching is sort of like the, having an applied sort of accountability partner, essentially for systems of thought that are going to produce a productive, more productive outcome in somebody’s life. So for myself I had this book that I read I can see it on my bookshelf. It’s called Psycho-Cybernetics by this guy named Maxwell molts who is a plastic surgeon. And he tells this story in his book. And, and I want to bring this all around to what you just shared about like the active, harnessing of thoughts in one’s mind and determining which ones serve you and which ones don’t, and then being more intentional about which you allow to be cultivated in which you are ruthless with, but he has this, he wrote this book about sort of the transformative impact of taking these thoughts and owning them and taking responsibility for them because he was a plastic surgeon and he kept seeing this phenomenon.
Justin (08:29):
And I love the fact that he was a plastic surgeon and he wasn’t a psychologist or a psychiatrist, or he wasn’t coming at this from the sort of the human cognitive angle where he kept doing these cosmetic surgeries for people where it was like the one example he uses in the book is like a guy came in and he’s like, I need a nose job. I’m 49th out of 50 in the salespeople, in my department because my nose is crooked and I can’t sell. And so I know that if my nose was fixed, I’d be able to close more deals because people would like me better. So the surgeon is like, that’s dumb. You know, he’s thinking this, like, it’s not that you can’t sell because your nose is crooked, but you know what, if you want to fix your nose, I’ll fix your nose.
Justin (09:07):
So he gets the surgery lo and behold, he becomes the number one sales person. And so he, he, he, you know, observes this phenomenon time and again, and what he concludes is that in fixing the guy’s nose in air quotes, there’s a, there’s a psychological transformation that happens, which is now I look away that people are going to respond positively to, and I’m going to act as if they are going to respond positively in it. It creates the self-fulfilling prophecy. And, and so the, I find that coaching that is most effective allows you to take this principle, which is there’s this mechanism inside your head about what you believe and then how it manifests itself in your life. And, and you basically, you, you make it do what you need it to do in order to achieve a desired outcome. And so I’m curious how you respond to this. What do you think about this? How have you observed this in coaching?
Dr. Jimmy Turner (10:01):
Yeah, so I actually have that book. I haven’t I haven’t read it yet, but two things. One, I think it’s interesting because I have a crooked nose and yeah.
Justin (10:09):
Yeah. I wasn’t gonna bring that up, but I know you have brought it up in the past.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (10:12):
Yeah. People on Facebook ads love to point that out and I just kinda always laugh about it. But yeah. So it’s super interesting because whether you want to get into this mindset space or not, and really have this conversation is up to you, but whether this stuff exists or not is just kind of factual. You know, and so it’s really kind of interesting because the brain just wants to think it doesn’t care. You know what it’s thinking? It just wants to you know, think, and so if you put thoughts in it that are unhelpful, it is going to think those thoughts. And if you put thoughts into that are helpful is going to do that. And so ultimately you know, what some people believe is that in order to accomplish what you wanna accomplish, you have to kind of create an identity and not the identity of like, you know, Hey, I want to be rich someday or happy or skinny or whatever your thing is.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (10:58):
It’s the idea that once you take on the identity of what would that person do, what would a person with a growth mindset or an abundance mindset who isn’t thinking about the scarcity of money, for example, like what would that person do? What would they act like? How would they be? And when you figure that stuff out, you start to realize like, Oh, well, if I just start doing that, and I just start assuming that identity, like the person who got their nose fixed, who is now able to sell and able to assume that identity, because their nose got fixed, you can accomplish crazy things in this life. And really the sky’s the limit. But unfortunately in medicine, you know, doctors and I’d probably say in America, we come from the scarcity mindset where there’s not enough of everything instead of this, this mindset that, you know, the thing between your ears is what produces value.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (11:44):
And there’s an infinite amount of that that you can provide. And once you understand that, and then you take that thing between your ears and make it intentional, I mean, really the sky’s limit. Right. And so it’s, I think it’s true. And, and I think that I’ve seen that in my own life. I think that I’ve seen that in the lives of my clients. You know, and so it’s it’s something that skeptics fight against and I used to be a skeptic. So I totally feel for them, I have tons of empathy for people that just think this toughest, total hogwash cause I used to be that person, but now it’s like, it’s, it’s just a fact like you can, you can, you can argue with me and realize that 20 years later that you should have been understanding all of this or, you know, you just kind of go ahead and start moving forward and figure out what’s making you stuck. Yeah.
Justin (12:26):
I can talk about this at such length. Cause this is one of these things that I I’ve seen so many times like that the transformative effect and I there’s another book I want to mention for listeners, it’s called the alter ego effect, which there’s this guy, Todd, something out we’ll post to it in the show notes, but he’s essentially like a high performance athlete coach. And his approach is to allow his,uhis mentees and his players and whoever he’s working with to create an alter ego and then act as if they were this person, anytime they step on the court or step onto the stage or do this thing. And he just has example after example after cause, and it’s, it’s such that the sheer weight of all of the examples, even though it is like anecdotal evidence, this is one of these things that’s very difficult to show in the double blind, randomized controlled trial, but, but maybe not actually.
Justin (13:18):
And now that I’m thinking about it, the, one of the examples he uses in his book is,uthere’s this,ugroup of like, I dunno, kindergarteners or something. And one of the kindergarten one group, this actually is precisely this it’s a controlled trial. One group. They tell the kindergartener, you’re Superman, here’s a Superman outfit, put it on and try to get the object out of this locked box. And then the other group, they say, try to get the object out of this locked box. And you know, the group, that’s just the normal plain Jane. I’m not wearing a Superman costume. They try for like, you know, 13 seconds and give up and the people who are wearing the Superman outfit and they’re like singing their own theme song when they run into the room and they’re like ticking the box and shaking it and throwing it against the wall and acting like a superhero because of the thing that they believe it manifests itself in their efforts and in their approach. And it only, you know, follows, but logically that people who try that much harder are going to have superior outcomes. Yeah.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (14:21):
Well, and, and we, and we know this is true because you know, the only difference being between thought and the belief is, is that a thought is something that you’ve told yourself so many times that you believe it. Right? And, and this has been seen in negative experiments too. Like the Stanford jail experiment, where the jailers ended up doing terrible things to their classmates because they assumed the role of being a jailer in this make-believe study. And so we know that when you think about something in a certain way or actors and actresses, when they, they assume a role for a, for a film and they become that person, that they act a different way. And so as amazingly weird and strange as it sounds, all of your feelings, actions and results, the way that you show up in this life are determined by your thoughts.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (15:03):
100% of them. And no one else is responsible for that, except for you. Now that’s a punch in the face for a lot of people who say, well, you know, the things that happened to me or how, or what made me feel that way. And actually the freedom comes when you realize that’s not true. It’s the thoughts that you have about the circumstances when you, when you find out for example, that a family member died, like they could have died three days ago, and you could have been in the middle of a party having a great time, you know, with a beer in your hand, or, you know, whatever you’re doing for your festivities these days, right? And, and enjoying your time with a, you know, a grin on your face and, and laughter in your heart, the moment that that person died, the per the person dying is not what upsets you, what upsets you is when you find out.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (15:39):
And then you have a thought and the thought is I’m never going to see him again. Or man, I really wish I’d called them more often or, you know, whatever your thought is. And then you get sad. It’s the thought about the circumstance that causes your feelings and your actions and your results. And so we know that when you do that enough, when you change your thoughts enough, you will assume a new identity you’ll have new beliefs and those beliefs can be thoughts that, or beliefs that serve you. And it’s completely up to you if you want to do that.
Justin (16:08):
So I’m curious for physicians that you’ve worked with either as a coach or mentor, or even as a colleague, what, what types of things have you seen where you can identify? You know, we talked about this right before we hit play things that you’ve probably always seen, but now as a physician coach, and as somebody who’s just a more experienced physician, who’s been around a little longer, do you see in their life, the outflow of like a negative thought, a negative belief, or just an incorrect belief in an objective sense that is causing a negative action or, or series of events.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (16:42):
Yeah. So, I mean, I can come up with just, I mean, so many examples after having coached, you know, a bunch of people now, but yeah. So I’ll give you a recent one. Uw one of my clients has, h history where someone in their family, one of their parents was an alcoholic. They happened to be a physician. And when they were little, they made a decision about a career change that actually sent their family into financial ruin. And so this doctor who is now thinking about a career change is looking at it and saying, what if this is the career change? Like my parent, that’s going to lead to financial ruin for my family. So despite the fact that their partner is miserable, where they are, despite the fact that they are miserable, where they are, and there are 97 reasons that they should go and look for a new job and apply, and just go ahead and move, they stay.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (17:28):
And the reason that they initially said that they stayed is because of the financial independence they were trying to fire, right? But it comes out. It turns out as you dive into the thoughts and figure it out, that really where this is coming from is the fact that this person’s parent who was an alcoholic and was not them. So, you know, this, this doctor that I’m talking to is not an alcoholic. They are not their parents. They are in a completely different situation, in a different specialty, everything about it, different except for the story that they’ve been telling themselves their entire life about their childhood and how they grew up. And so this is a fundamental difference between therapy and coaching therapy would sit there on a couch and just dive more and more and more deeply into your thoughts about your past. Whereas coaching says, great, I’m sorry that you’ve gone through what you’ve gone through.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (18:05):
Let’s move forward. How can we move forward? Do you realize that your past is dictating your future, your parent, who is an alcoholic who is dead, they’re not even with us anymore is still controlling you. Is that really what you want? And they’re like, Oh my God, I’ve never thought about it like that. And you know, it’s like, well, that’s a choice. You have the choice to let your parent in the grave control you. Or you can move forward and make a decision that’s best for your family and change jobs, which you and your wife, your spouse both know that they need. Right. And and so it was, it was actually a really interesting thing because we tell ourselves these stories and you know, another common one is,uyou know, burnout, right? So we tell ourselves that the system is broken, that it needs to change that the culture is bad, which all of that by the way is fundamentally true.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (18:55):
So I’m not disagreeing with any of that. So this is a yes and situation. Yes. All of those things need to happen. The system has to change, but until it does, you can keep blaming the system and remain powerless. Or you can recognize that the thoughts that you think about this terrible system are what result and how you feel and take control of that. So it’s, yes, the system needs to change, but the doctor’s still in control and can still change their thoughts to be content in a bad situation. And we see that all the time, right? When you finished training and the first time that you go to operate on somebody, or, you know, you see somebody in clinic, and you’re the only one, you know, the buck stops with you. Now you are nervous as can be, but you still act in spite of it.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (19:35):
So even though you have a bad circumstance, a bad feeling, you can have a thought and move forward anyway. And we see this in so many different areas in medicine, but yeah, a hundred percent, a hundred percent of the stuff is it impacts your life, your career, your finances. It’s the reason why most doctors, and I know we’re going to touch on this in the show, but want to start a nonclinical source of income. And then they don’t do it. They just, they’re just stuck. They don’t know how to get started. And it’s because of their thoughts. It’s 100% because of the thoughts, not because they don’t know what to do, that’s not, that’s not what’s causing the problem is because of their thoughts.
Justin (20:05):
Now, somebody in the midst of what we could call burnout or, or some deep personal challenges or deep Discontentment, obviously they, they probably know in a binary sense is my life good? Is my life bad. My life feels bad. Uhut they don’t necessarily understand these nuances of, Oh, it’s a thought driven pattern that turns into a belief, you know, that they can’t connect all the dots. So what do you find, hs normally like a catalyst for, for someone who says, you know what I’m gonna, I want to, I recognize the binary badness of my current situation, and I need to do something. It maybe it’s get a coach. Maybe it’s, I mean, think of vacation or maybe, I mean, it could be other like destructive outlets as well, but what do you find often catalyzes people taking a step in a direction that in this case is going to hopefully solve or begin to help them solve their child.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (20:56):
They take a mindset of questioning everything. So they no longer accept that. What they’re told is true, that what they’ve told themselves is true their entire life, that they decide to, you know, piece by piece, by piece, look at everything that they hold true in their life, and then question it. And when they do that, they realize that a lot of the things that they tell themselves aren’t facts, they are stories about the facts. And so the stories that we tell ourselves like about that prior doctor’s past, for example, that, that a lot of the stuff that is going on there are stories and, and every other person in that story would have a very different perception of what happened. But the story that this person was telling them is preventing them from moving forward. So it’s not actually the facts that prevent you from moving forward. The stories you tell about it. So when you start to question everything and like, is this true? Like, is this actually a thought that serves me, is this helpful and helped me, you know, in helping me move forward? Or is this something that is causing negative consequences in my life that I, you know, I would like to get rid of.
Justin (21:54):
Yeah. There’s a podcast earlier, like I’ve talked about in the past here called the moment by a guy named Brian Koppelman. This is totally not related to anything financial or medical, but he’s just one of these like a Renaissance man. I think he’s a writer who wrote,urounders as well as the TV show. Billions. And,uhe, you know, he’s an artist, his dad was, you know, worked for a big record label and he just, he likes to look at life through the artistic lens. And I find in medicine and what I know about medicine and as well as entrepreneurship, there are immense overlaps in like the mental strength and systems. You need to sort of implement in order to be a high achiever in anything. And he has this question that I love, which I come back to frequently. That is, in what ways are you complicit in your own unhappiness? And it forces you to deconstruct, I love the bifurcation you made Jimmy between facts and the stories about the facts. And often we’ve, I find when I ask this question, honestly, if I’m unhappy, it’s not related to the facts as much as the story is about the facts that I’m choosing to like let in.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (22:59):
Yeah, totally. And it impacts you at work too. So like to bring this back, you know, for like a clinical example, when you have somebody that does something, and then you have the thought that like, they just made me mad, by the way, they can’t do that. It’s a thought about what they did that makes you mad. But the point that I’m trying to make is like, just to preview, that example is true. Like, if you have the thought like that person did such and such because of X, Y, and Z, like, I know, I know why they did that. You assume that you can read their mind. People do this in marriage, by the way, too. Then that gets you in trouble. And instead of thinking, like, is it possible that something else is going on that led to the way that that person spoke to me or acted like, can I apply what I call the doctrine of charity and assume the best out of the person and amazingly enough, not only will that improve your relationships, you’re not gonna be off at work all the time either, because you’re gonna say, I’m sure there’s a reason that this very intelligent human being who wants to take the best possible care of their patients just acted the way that they did towards me.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (23:57):
Like, there’s gotta be an explanation for that. I may not know what it is. And I might be able to come up with some ideas about what it is to make myself feel better in this situation. But like, I don’t have to know what it is just to know that I bet this person has a reason for acting that way. And instead of getting mad at them, you can be curious and say, I wonder why. Right. And just having that thought and having a different thought in that same situation can help you not be angry at work when someone yells at you or someone says something that you don’t, you know, appreciate, you know? And, and so like, it is fundamentally true that you know, the way that we perceive things does not make them a fact. And when you capture that idea and you really start believing it, it’s going to impact pretty much every aspect of your life.
Justin (24:42):
Now, somebody can start to ask these questions and start to say, I want to like, make progress, whatever that looks like. I want to take the binary bed to a binary. Good. how, you know, how would somebody who’s walking through this perhaps interact with the idea of coaching? What would you encourage them to think about as they’re looking at coaching as a potential option for the challenges that they’re facing?
Dr. Jimmy Turner (25:03):
So I would tell people that and this is the beautiful thing about coaching that there’s no way around talking to another person. So the, the, the analogy that I give is from golf, right? So I’m a golfer. I love to play golf. That does not mean I’m good at it. Those are two different things. Ubut I love to golf. And so I recently got a lesson a couple of months ago, and,uand I, I walked over this lesson and,uwith the intention of having a better golf swing, right. And I, and I have an idea, like I’ve got an idea that I’ve got an unconventional golf swing, and that I’ve been my arm a little too much. And, you know, there are a few other things I probably need to work on in my swing, but,uhe, he dropped some balls down and says, why don’t you start hitting some balls?
Dr. Jimmy Turner (25:41):
And so I’m warming up. And then he takes a video of me. And he says, you know what, why don’t you come sit down? And so we sit down and we’re looking at his iPad for this video of this human swinging, a golf club, which happens to be me. And it is, he doesn’t have to say anything. He’s just showing me a mirror of what the world is actually like, and the things that I’m thinking and doing, and what that shows up with in terms of my golf swing. And he shows me a video of probably one of the worst golf swings that I have ever seen in my life. I mean, like my left arm is at a 90. Like, I mean, nothing about it. Like I don’t rotate through, like, and I know that everyone listening is probably not a huge golf fan, but my point is, is that by someone sitting down and showing me what I looked like and what my thoughts were going through my head, and the crazy thing is not only did he show me those thoughts and what that looked like in real life, he then took me back to the same exact place that I was hitting golf balls before.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (26:33):
And he said, this is what I want you to think. I just want you to go back and make it feel like you’re swinging half of a swing. And wouldn’t, you know, it, that even though I thought I was singing half of a swing, I was actually swinging a full swing. And when he took a video of it, all of a sudden, I looked like someone who could, who could hit a golf ball. And so, and, and the only thing that changed in that entire, that entire,uyou know, experience was two things. He showed me my thoughts and what it looked like. And then he gave me a new thought to think, and it produced a different golf swing, right? And so coaching is the same exact process, right? You talk to somebody, you kinda let it all out. You have this thought download, right?
Dr. Jimmy Turner (27:11):
You get all your thoughts out there. We dig through them all. And we figure out which one is the one causing your issue that you want to work on. And then we replaced that unintentional thought with an intentional thought that produces different results in your life. So just like my terrible golf swing that actually now looks pretty decent. We can take your unintentional thoughts that are leading to the results you want in your life and making them intentional and creating the results you want. So it always requires two people. And to the extent where, like I coached doctors, like, you know, that’s what I do now. Um,d I have a coach I’m always going to have a coach because this is a human phenomenon as part of the human experience that you need other people. And if we didn’t need other people, we’d all live in isolated homes with no one else in them, right. You need humans in your life to help you sort this stuff out. And so, um ther through coaching or through other avenues, that is why it’s so important to talk to somebody and get the thoughts out and figure out how to, how to change them, to get to where you want to be.
Justin (28:04):
I want to unpack for a moment, the connection between thoughts, beliefs, and actions on one hand and identity on the other. And you mentioned this earlier, I think in medicine, in particular, physicians have a particularly strong identity in their practice of medicine. And in being a physician, I know, you know, as a financial advisor, there’s like some degree of that as well. And I think other professions probably have some degree of that, but I, if I had to take a guess, I’d say being a doctor is among the most, hhe most strongly associated connection between what I do for a living and the way I, who I perceive myself to be. And I, I would imagine that’s probably a two-edged sword when it comes to these types of questions, hnd, and what coaching is and means and can be. So I’m curious to hear, like, how do you think about identity and are there ways in coaching with physicians that you find it is commonly either a helper or a hindrance, as you’re trying to construct something that looks like progress in the life,
Dr. Jimmy Turner (29:05):
The doctor, yes. You, your, your identity, it turns out leads to everything like everything. So who you are in terms of what you’re being, you know, who are you being is what produces what you were doing. And so the,
Justin (29:22):
You say identity, are you talking about like the self image? Like the thing that we think
Dr. Jimmy Turner (29:28):
It gets very philosophical, very fast, right? This is like subconscious stuff. Like who am I? And yeah,
Justin (29:34):
If only we had a physician philosopher as to unpack these principles
Dr. Jimmy Turner (29:38):
Was for us. So it’s a super interesting, right? So your is constructed of, of your beliefs about yourself. And so if your, if your core identity is being a physician that is going to impact how you show up in this life, it’s gonna, it’s gonna impact how you show up at home, right? You’re going to put your family last and you’re going to put medicine first. And that is what happens in a lot of physician worlds. And they don’t even mean to do it. It’s just that being a physician has become who they are and being a spouse or parent or partner is secondary. And they don’t even realize that, like, if you stop them and say, like, what are your biggest priorities in life? And this happens all the time. I’ve got a client who you know is, is working through like his schedule.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (30:22):
And he said, you know, Jimmy, like I went through this, like how you teach scheduling to like, make your time more intentional. And what I realized after going through that process is that I, I schedule everything that doesn’t matter first. And then I leave the leftovers for the things that are supposedly important to me. And when I went back and I scheduled the intentional things first, that actually mattered to me. Like self-care like sleeping and exercise and date nights with my wife that it turns out that I don’t have time for everything else. And isn’t it funny that when you don’t do it intentionally, your schedule does the opposite. It makes medicine and all of the tasks that we have with it go first and leave your spouse and your children and everything else that you supposedly believe is important last. So the reason why is because your identity is being an F being a physician.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (31:08):
So I think that’s why it’s helpful words matter, like words totally matter. So when I introduce myself to somebody, I tell them I’m a husband, a dad of three, the happened to be a doctor. And actually nowadays with, you know, all the serial entrepreneur stuff. I mean, it might be the fifth or sixth or seventh, or I may not even mention it, honestly, you might have to ask me, like, what do I do for a living? And that’s getting complicated too, at this point. But like my point is that I shed that identity of being a doctor so long ago. Now that doesn’t mean I’m not passionate. It doesn’t mean I’m not, I don’t care. It doesn’t mean I’ll take really great care of patients. It doesn’t mean that, you know, I don’t have leadership roles in the hospital where I work. Those are all still important things to me, but they are not more important to me than my faith. They’re not more important to me than my wife and my children. It’s it’s down the list. But until you realize that it is going to shape how you show it. So, yeah, absolutely. Like at the subconscious level, the thoughts that you’ve told yourself or the experiences that you’ve had have shaped who you are and that, and that will show up in real life.
Justin (32:04):
I right before this phone call, literally the reason I was a few minutes late, cause I was on the phone with a client who was, I was, I was actually describing the podcast I released this this week, which talked about anesthesia contracting and the pressures of trying to interact with your anesthesia company in a hospital and the stresses and financial pressures involved in that and how that trickles down to like the psyche of business owning anesthesiologists. And he said, this, I’m sure patients die every day because anesthesiologist’s psyches are under assault because of the pressures of the healthcare system. Now this is something that’s obviously to prove, but if you look at it as a system you know, physician suicides are like at all time highs and the specialty of anesthesiology is under its own unique pressures. And we talked a little bit Jimmy about the doctors looking for other ways to make money.
Justin (32:57):
You know, that we have these, there’s like the physician entrepreneurs summit. That was this conference that happened recently and there’s others like how to make money in real estate and how to do this and that, and how to, you know, what, and even what you’re doing now is in some ways an expression of that, I think. So I’m curious what you see as the, specifically the pressures, like what is, what is the problem, if you could boil it down into, like, why, why is, why are we seeing doctors wanting to flea medicine and, and frankly as a utilizer of the American healthcare system that is kind of terrifying because doctors are many of the most smart, empathetic, hardworking, principled people that I know. And if they’re all fleeing, that is bad. And, and how do we, how at the individual level, you know, how do we help physicians thrive to the extent that that’s possible under these pressures?
Dr. Jimmy Turner (33:51):
Yeah. So I mean, what, what you’re getting at is the heart of why I have the alpha coaching experience. I mean, it’s exactly what I do is, is the idea of changing one doctor at a time so that we can then empower our physicians to change the culture of medicine, because the culture of medicine is broken. And so a lot of doctors who feel like they are now powerless, despite the amount of training and their aptitude and all of the things that they, they possess and bring to this life, they feel powerless and feeling powerless is a terrible feeling. They feel like they have no autonomy over their schedules over their work, over how their work is done. And so they want to escape into a life and into a world through entrepreneurial pursuits that allows them to be in control that allows them to be autonomous beings on this planet.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (34:35):
Right. And so, so that’s the issue how we fix that and how we go about it. I, you know, I think that the system needs to change and that’s really great. Cause a lot of people get really angry at this. Like, I can’t believe like you’re saying that they’re like the doctor needs to fix stuff because the system’s broken. You’re, you’re blaming the victim, you’re blaming the doctor and it’s like, no, no, the system needs to change. And doctors don’t have to feel powerless in this situation and believe it or not, if we teach them all how to change their thoughts and to regain that power, that sense of autonomy, they will go into work and they will change the culture themselves because we all band together. They don’t have a choice. And so I think fundamentally this is going to be a grassroots sort of effort where, where we start to empower the physicians to, to take back what they feel like they’re missing to take back.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (35:24):
What they feel like is, is controlling all the power in their life and help them realize you are powerful in and of yourself. And once we do that, I think that it is going to be inevitable that that medicine will change. But that’s the reason that, that we’re leaving. That’s the reason that doctors are finding other pursuits. And yeah, it is scary. It’s totally scary. And so I think that if we can remedy that, that, that issue and you know, where it comes from is very multifactorial. Like why do they feel powerless? But I think that that would lead to meaningful change
Justin (35:58):
Makes sense. For people who are listening, who maybe want to dip the toe in the pool, they’re like these ideas sound really interesting. I like the idea of coaching. I’m not sure I’m ready to like hire a coach, but I want to, I want to explore unpacking this like thought belief action identity cycle. Do you have any resources that have been formative or influential for you that you think would be good to recommend to start to make some progress in these?
Dr. Jimmy Turner (36:25):
Yeah, absolutely. So you know, I’m getting my training through the life coach school. And so there’s a podcast by Brooke Castillo that, that touches on this. And she’ll run you through the thought, the thought model and everything. The, the words that I’m using today will start to make a little more sense as you unpack that. You know, that’s probably the, the first resource that I’d I’d point people to you know, and then, you know, obviously getting coaches your self is, is a great way to, to learn how to unpack these ideas and then apply them to your specific circumstances. So the alpha coaching experience is I believe when this airs will be the last day that it is open for enrollment, it probably won’t be open for enrollment for another four to six months after that. And so if you are a physician looking for coaches that are also physicians to help you through this, they don’t have to explain to people like what the operating room is or what clinics like. And they already know that fundamentally before you start talking to them. And when they coach you that is available can go to the physician philosopher.com/alpha to find out more about that. And that is a 12 week program. It’s got group coaching, one-on-one coaching, and you learn how to unpack a lot of these ideas in that program too. And that’s, that’s physician specific.
Justin (37:29):
Can you take a minute and just talk about the process of what the alpha coaching experiences and what are you seeking to do and to produce in the lives of physicians?
Dr. Jimmy Turner (37:40):
Yeah, so basically what’s happening in that program is it is a 12 week program. So the idea is to help doctors regain all of that autonomy, that power that I was just talking about and it takes a bit of a process. So group coaching. So I use the words coaching. So I feel like at this point and show, you probably have an idea of what coaching is with the analogy we’ve talked about. Group coaching is basically where you have a community of physicians that are going through similar problems. And one person comes on at a time. You might have two or three people in an hour, come on, and they get coached, hbout something in their life that they want to get coached on. You watch there’s community supporting you in the chat box next to it. And then you bring on the next person and kind of common themes and common tools for coaching are taught during that time.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (38:26):
And that is one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful way to, to really start to process through this is to a see that you’re not alone because you’re feeling powerless is a very lonely feeling. So having that community there is extremely helpful. And then B having tools that apply to multiple situations, even though the person’s situation is not exactly like yours, the tools that you learn can apply to other stuff in your life. Uin addition, there’s, you know, one-on-one group, coach or a one-on-one coaching, I should say. Uso you get up to eight of those and studies have shown on physicians. If you get professional coaching at least six times three and a half hours, that that will improve your satisfaction in life, it’ll improve your quality of life. It will reduce your burnout will increase your resilience. Uand so we provide more than that just in the one-on-one coaching that you get, but you also get the group coaching in addition to that.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (39:12):
So it’s weekly group coaching, the one-on-one coaching. You can schedule whenever you want, it’s up to your schedule. You just find a coach that you want, or you pick a time that’s convenient for you, and we’ll, we’ll pair a coach that’s available to you. And then, you know, there are video lessons that talk about some of these tools, a book that I wrote to help, you know, kind of get them started with what coaching is and the, the words that we use and what they mean. So yeah, the idea is by the end of it for a physician to feel empowered, to not be stuck, to not feel powerless, to not feel like they don’t have any autonomy over their life and to start taking control of their thoughts, which lead to their feelings, actions, and results.
Justin (39:47):
Awesome. Thanks for sharing that. I know that you know, the people most impacted by a lot of these challenges are our, the, our loved ones. I’m curious if we think about what your wife, Kristen would have to say about the way that your evolution around these ideas has changed your family relationships, your outlook on your job, the, you know, your, even your countenance as you consider, like having greater autonomy and agency and the ability to self determine your future. What, how would she describe the difference in dr. Jimmy Turner over time as you’ve sort of gotten these principles and really explored and unpack them for yourself?
Dr. Jimmy Turner (40:28):
Yeah. So I think that some of the biggest things that I’ve noticed personally are that I’ve started to really enjoy the journey. Like, I don’t really struggle with that arrival fallacy as much. Like I enjoy the process, I enjoy the, you know, even the things that go wrong and I can think about like, how is this serving me right now? Like, how is this working for me? Like, you know, I’m in the middle of a launch right now. And, you know, they found water in my basement my site page to write down right now, as we’re talking for, in the middle of my launch. And so, you know, like this stuff happens and, and I think in the past I would be like, Whoa is me. Like, you know, what, in the world’s going on, this is terrible. I’m so mad right now.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (41:05):
Like why can’t the site just do its job? Why can’t my basement just not have water in it? You know, like I would just, you know, look it that way. But now I’m like looking at how, how is this going to serve me? And like, if I can have a launch where my page goes down, where I have water in my basement that have construction workers coming in and out of my house, like every launch after this is going to be cake. Right. And so I’ve learned to enjoy the journey and the process, even in the midst of tough circumstances. And I’d say the same is true for work. I’ve fallen in love with medicine. I do, I do medicine, the amount that I want. And I’m gonna continue to, to seek and figure out what that is. You know, I’m not as angry as a dad, as a, as a husband when things go wrong or like, you know, my four year old is yelling at me you know, in the middle of me trying to do something.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (41:49):
So yeah, I think he’s kind of shown up in, in, in every area, but it, I don’t want to make it sound like coaching fixes all your woes and it makes it, you know, this glorious life where nothing ever goes wrong. I’ve just been able to be more accepting and allow for negative emotions and experiences when I have them. So they no longer control me and dictate my future. I’m allowed to, you know, be sad and just be sad. Like there’s nothing wrong with that. You’re allowed to be sad. You’re allowed to have a tough time. You’re allowed to have stress and anxiety in your life and to function despite them instead of letting them kind of overcome you. So I think that’s the biggest thing that I’ve noticed personally.
Justin (42:27):
Well, that’s a great note to end on dr. Jimmy Turner. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you today. Thanks for joining us on APM success.
Dr. Jimmy Turner (42:34):
Thanks for having me on, man.
Justin (42:39):
If you liked what you heard this week, head on over to APM success.com, where you can find more content and free resources to help you build a successful career in anesthesia and pain management. If you wanted to leave a review in iTunes, I’d also really appreciate it. Thanks for using some of your valuable time to join me today on APM success.

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