Have you ever had that experience of being completely stressed out about your day before it’s even started? You go to bed worrying about everything that’s on your schedule for tomorrow, ruminating about how packed your day is going to be, or how you simply won’t have time to get it all done, and to no one’s surprise, this very often turns out to be your reality.
But how many things that we deem stressful are actually stressful? A lot of times, it’s what we choose to think about it and what we choose to make those things mean, as opposed to what is actually going on.
Listen in this week as I share my recent experience of this and how I made a tiny pivot that turned what I thought would be a stressful day into one of my best ever. I’m also offering a simple exercise for you to try that will diminish the stressors you’re perceiving right now, and turn it into fun instead.
If you loved this episode of The EntreMD Podcast, I invite you to join my signature subscription program EntreMD On Demand, giving you access to a library of business courses designed to help you thrive as a physician entrepreneur!
What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
- Why I was feeling stressed ahead of time.
- The small pivot I made to change my state of mind.
- Why I believe stress is optional.
- An exercise I invite you to try to turn a stressful day on its head.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- If you’re ready to build a business that lets you live life and practice medicine on your own terms, check out the EntreMD Business School!
- Email me
- YouTube Channel
- EntreMD Business School Testimonials
- The EntreMD Method: A Proven Roadmap for Doctors Who Want to Live Life and Practice Medicine on Their Terms by Nneka Unachukwu, MD.
- Terri Savelle Foy
Full Episode Transcript:
Hi docs, welcome to The EntreMD Podcast, where it’s all about helping amazing physicians just like you embrace entrepreneurship so you can have the freedom to live life and practice medicine on your terms. I’m your host, Dr. Una.
Well, hello hello my friends. Welcome to another episode of The EntreMD Podcast. As always I am super pumped that I get to be in your ears, we are going to have a great episode. This episode is actually just based on my experience today. I started off today, actually I started last night, being stressed out about today. But it turns out it was one of my best days ever. And I wanted to share the little, little, little pivot that I did to make that possible. So we’re going to have a great episode.
And I’m choosing to call this stress is optional, okay? All right, so I want to start off by reading a rave review from The EntreMD Method from Dr. Mitra. So shout out to Dr. Mitra. And she gave it five starts and she said an essential read for physicians at any stage of their career.
So she goes on to say this, “If you’re physician like me,” and then she puts in parenthesis more than two years ago, “then you’re probably wondering, one, is being employed all there is for me? Either at a hospital or private practice? Two, can I have more control over my clinical hours? Three, can I care for my patients the way I want without limitations from the administrators? Four, I am dreaming of coaching other physicians in, fill in the blank, health and wellness, financial health, meditation, running, publishing articles, podcasting and so much more.
Dr. Una and the EntreMD Business School have helped me realize that there’s no imagination police. Only you get to decide how you make an impact in this life. This book gives you a structure you can start your journey, just read the book. Listen to Dr. Una’s podcast, The EntreMD Podcast, I dare you to listen to just one. And join the EntreMD movement for physicians.”
Dr. Mitra, thank you so much for that kind, kind, kind review. Thank you for getting the book, for reading it, for sharing. I know you, so I know you’re applying it. And thank you for writing us a review.
And while I’m at it, if you got the book I want to say thank you so much for getting it. And if you wrote a review, thank you so much. If you haven’t written one yet, today’s a great day, write us a review. It really helps us get the word out there. But thank you, thank you, I appreciate it. And for everyone listening, join the EntreMD movement.
This is a movement of change. We’re not rolling over and playing dead anymore. We’re not waiting for the Cavalry to come save us we are the Cavalry right? The Cavalry is not coming, it is here, it is us. So get the book, be an example, put the book in a hand of another doctor. This is how we change medicine. All right?
Okay, so now for this episode. Now, you know, I don’t know if this has happened to you where you had a day that you’re like, “Oh, I don’t have anything scheduled on that day. That day I’m going to kind of rest or just do what I feel like doing.” And then you start, you know, someone wants to meet with you, you’re like, “Oh yeah, I have this free day Tuesday.” So you put that in. “Oh, you have this 30 minute meeting?” I’m like, “Yeah, I don’t have anywhere else to put it, I’ll just put it on that free day.”
Well, that’s what I did, okay? That’s what I did with today, the day of this recording. And now so yesterday I went to look at my schedule for today and realized that I had a gazillion meetings, like seven meetings to be precise. And I was like, “My goodness, what did I do to myself?” And I started getting so stressed out, and the day hadn’t started yet, this was yesterday.
And I was like, oh my goodness, what am I going to do? How am I going to handle it? I mean, they’re meetings, I can do them. But it’s back to back to back, I don’t have any breathing space. And let me read to you what this was like, okay?
So 9:00 to 10:30 I was supposed to meet with my sister, we have a project that we’re working on. And then 11:30 I was supposed to meet with my marketing team. And then 12:30 I was meeting with my publishing team. At one o’clock I had coaching for myself.
And at 2:30 I had a title workshop, that’s what it’s called because the doctors in the EntreMD Business School, a number of them got together and we are doing a collaboration book together. And so this meeting was to kind of lock in the title for the book. So the title, the subtitle, working through that. And then at three o’clock, I was going to coach one of my clients. And at five o’clock I was going to coach another client.
This was my day. This was my day. So I saw this last night and I’m like, “Oh my goodness.” But I had learned a little bit like, you know, it is what it is. It’s mind over matter. You did it, you made the commitments. It doesn’t look like there’s any of them you can really move, so you’re going to do it. And that I was kind of my attitude when I went to bed.
So when I wake up this morning I had this brilliant thought. I was like, “Hmm, what if, instead of spending the whole day worrying about my entire schedule, that I decided to be present in every single meeting?” Right? If you are like me, you understand exactly what I mean where you can be in one meeting. And in that meeting, you’re stressing about the four meetings coming, right? Instead of just zoning in and doing what you’re supposed to do.
So I was like, what if in every meeting you were all in in that meeting? You didn’t worry about anything else, you were 100% present and you saw this as a great opportunity. You saw it for, you know, creating the advantages that you thought it would create because these are all really great things. And so I decided to do that.
Now, my day started off with, you know, I did my morning routine. So I did all of those things. And then I had to take my kids to school. And so in going to school I could have been strategizing what I was going to do in some meeting or blah, blah, blah, blah. But I chose not to do that. I was like, what a privilege that I get to drive them to school.
So this is my eight year old and my six year old, right? So we call them the babies, they’re the younger two. And when we go to school, I would typically have them listen to something about vision or setting goals and stuff like that. And you might be like, “What? For an eight and six year old?” Yeah.
Okay, so but they listen to Terri Savelle Foy and she breaks it down so it’s really simple. Her videos are about 10 minutes each, and they like her, right? So they’re like, “What do you want to listen to?” “We want to listen to Terri.” Okay, great. So we would listen to that and then when they’re done they’ll kind of tell me what they got from it. And then I’ll talk to them about their day, and then they’ll go enjoy their day.
And so I decided to be completely present in that. I did not allow myself to go to any meetings. I did not allow myself to go to strategize what I’ll do in between meetings. I didn’t do any of that. I was just 100% present and grateful that I could take them to school, grateful for the things they were learning and all of that.
And then after that I had to do this 30 minute drive to my sister’s house. And while I was there, I was like, wow, what a great opportunity to meditate and all of that stuff. So I did that on the drive there. Got there, we had the meeting we had to have, got into the car, came back home, met with the marketing team. While I was there I was like, isn’t this amazing? We’re about to up-level what we do as a company and all of that stuff.
And so halfway into the day I realized that I was not stressed at all. Now, was the day as busy as I had just described? Yes. Was I all bent out of shape about it like I would have been if I didn’t come to terms with that? I wasn’t, I was actually enjoying it. I was enjoying it so much that in the midst of that whole day I’m here recording this podcast for you, right? That’s how much I enjoyed it.
So it made me wonder, like how many stressful things are actually stressful? Right? What if a lot of times it’s what we choose to think about it, what we choose to make it mean, as opposed to what is actually going on? Because the mind is a funny thing, it can really, really play tricks on us. Right?
And so I sat and I thought about it. And I realized that yes, it’s a busy day. But at the same time, the level of stress that I was feeling about it didn’t have a lot to do with the day, it was more so what I thought about it, right? So stress, I’ll be tired, I’ll be this, I’ll be that, you know? As opposed to I’m going to enjoy every moment. And I literally did, okay?
And so what do I want you to do? I want you to take a moment and I want you to think about the top three things that really stress you out. Now, let me make this clear, there are things that are stressful. So I’m not saying that anything in your life that’s stressful is stressful because of the way you think about it. Not at all. But there are all these things that are stressful because of the way we think about it.
So I want you to think about the top three things that are most stressful to you, right? Think about it. And it could be, if we look at your business, it could be oh my goodness, Facebook Lives are so stressful. But think about it, you’re doing a Facebook live for 10 minutes, 15 minutes. You’re talking about something that you are a subject matter expert on.
You do this, if you’re a family medicine doctor and you see 25 patients a day, what you’re doing on Facebook Live, you do it 25 times a day, right, if we put it in perspective. And you might say, “Well, it’s in front of people I don’t know.” But how many new patients do you have? You don’t know them. How many patients did you see that you only see once a year? You don’t know them, right? Like you don’t, right?
What if I make a mistake? Oh my goodness, then you made a mistake and you keep it moving right? But anyway, think about it. It’s 15 minutes, it’s talking about things that you’re a subject matter on, it’s talking about things that you talk about a lot, right? And then that’s it.
And if you think about it that way, it’s a little less scary. And if you’re like, “No, but Dr. Una, it’s scary.” Okay, it might be. But then if you do it over and over, if you do it every week for weeks, then it won’t be scary anymore, right? And so maybe it’s not as stressful as you think. Maybe it isn’t.
Maybe you have to talk about your program, say you’re a coach and stuff like that. And you’re so stressed out about telling people to come work with you. And if you think about it, why are you stressed? Maybe because they’ll say no. Okay, well, why does that bother us as much? Because we’re so deeply intertwined with our businesses that a no makes it sound like you’re being rejected.
But what they rejected is the offer. And they may legit not have the money to pay for your offer. Or they don’t yet believe that you’re the person who can help them get there. Or they don’t want to change. I mean there are like a gazillion reasons. And if you look at the data, if you are a really good salesperson, right, your rates are about 30%. Right? It’s about 30% of the people who are saying yes, which means for every 10 people, three will say no.
So if you sit with that, then we make offers and people say no. And for every seven that say no, maybe three will say yes. Or two will say yes, right? And so you think what are the stories that I’ve made up about it that make this so stressful?
One time I was thinking about doing a four day workshop, the visibility formula. And I was like, “Wow, this is going to be amazing.” So someone on my team was like, “Wow, but that’s four days, that’s a lot.” And I was like, “Yeah, but if you think about it, I really am doing the equivalent of a Facebook Live or a one hour Zoom meeting, four times. That’s four hours, right?” And let’s say I need an hour to prep, that’s eight hours. That’s not four days, that’s eight hours. That’s a third of one day, right?”
And so when you think about it that way you’re like, “Oh, yeah, it’s not all day.” Right? But if we don’t take the time to think about it, and be present, and all of that kind of stuff, it’s like, “I spent all day.” No, you didn’t. It’s the stories we tell ourselves.
So think about it, what are those top three things? Think about it. Then really analyze it, right? So why is this stressful? Is it because I’ve told a whole narrative, like the way I told the narrative about the way today will turn out? Like have I created this whole thing? Is there any evidence to support it? If there isn’t, what new story can you tell? How are you going to show up? How are you going to do that thing? What if it didn’t have to be stressful? What if it flat out isn’t stressful? Right? That’s the question to ask.
And if you do that, I think you’re going to find three new things that you’re going to enjoy doing, or maybe you’ll just be neutral, right? So maybe you’re not super stressed about it, you’re not super excited, but at least you’re neutral. And think about how that changes the way you show up. Think about how that changes the kind of days you have.
Like today could have been a bad day for me, but it’s a great day and I’ve enjoyed my day. And after this I’m going to look, I’m going to check everything off, you know, get that really good feeling of checking everything off my to-do list. Then I’m going to go play with my family. And today’s Tuesday which, for me, that’s date night.
Every Tuesday for years that’s our non-negotiable date night. My husband and I, we just go and hang out and talk, and we don’t talk shop and just that’s working on our marriage, if you will because we’re both type A, you know, we’re happy to talk shop all the time.
But anyway, you may find that so many stressors will disappear because they were never really there in the first place. Okay? So I want you to go do this exercise. I would love for you to tell me what you discovered and some decisions you made. And, you know, some day that could have been a bad day, that was a good day or something that you do in your business that used to be awful and now it’s fun, I want to hear all about it.
Now the EntreMD community does exist on Facebook. So I want you to go to Facebook, I want you to search EntreMD and I want you to click to join the group, okay? There will be questions you need to answer first, answer those, but come join the group and let’s have a conversation about this and let’s take this further. Okay?
So thank you so much for listening, I trust you got a lot out of this. The magic of this episode is not in the hearing, it’s in the hearing and doing. All right? So go do what we talked about and I will see you, my friend, on the next episode of The EntreMD Podcast.
Hey, if you love listening to The EntreMD Podcast I want to invite you to join EntreMD On Demand. It is my signature subscription program that gives you access to a library of business courses designed to help you do one thing as a physician entrepreneur, and that is to thrive. Just head out to entremd.com/ondemand and I’d love to have you join us. See you on the inside.
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