Tune in to this episode of the Prosperous Doc® to hear our host Shane Tenny, CFP®, chat with Dr. Orman about the true meaning of grit and how physicians can still have it while being gentler with themselves.
Dr. Orman spent 21 years working in clinical community emergency medicine. In the first 10 years of his practice, he experienced three severe burnouts. Without much guidance, he thought the solution was to work harder - grit it out. Soon after his third major bout of burnout, Dr. Orman realized that his current way of life wasn’t sustainable.
So, he switched gears to work in medical education, and that became a salvation for him, giving him a new purpose. Realizing that some of his clinical skills were decaying because he was spending less time in the ER and more time in medical education, he felt he needed another change. Eventually, he felt a calling to help physicians and healthcare professionals prioritize their own well-being. Dr. Orman wanted others to realize they didn’t have to just go through the motions — that there are strategies, tactics, and habits that can help with stress management to prevent burnout.
This led him to start his podcast, Stimulus, and spend a year getting his certification from a coaching academy. Dr. Orman is now a certified executive coach, and he dedicates his time to helping physicians develop strategies to live and work with intent, creatively solve problems, and practice self-compassion.
“If your approach is, I'm just going to put my head down and grind it out and grit it out,” says Dr. Orman, “that's really not going to really be a viable tactic.”
Name: Dr. Rob Orman, MD
What he does: As a certified executive coach, Dr. Orman helps physicians build resilience within their medical practices. He worked as a community emergency physician for 20 years and now works as a physician coach. Dr. Orman is a multiple award-winning lecturer, the former chief editor of EM:RAP, and creator of the Stimulus and ERcast podcasts.
Company: Orman Physician Coaching
Words of wisdom: “When you have purpose, then work ceases to become work. My purpose in work became education, and it was a variation on that each time […] I have a real mission here to educate my peers and to educate my patients, and that was a real salvation.”
Connect: Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Podcast
On the Money
Top takeaways from this episode
- Perfectionism is second nature to physicians. Whether in medical school or working in the field, clinicians and physicians push themselves to achieve perfection because their patients depend on it. This can be a recipe for burnout if the right coping and stress management skills are not learned.
- Following passion can alleviate burnout. Pursuing work that feels purposeful and fills your cup can help manage stress.
- Grit doesn’t have to equate to grinding harder. When physicians say they have grit, it often means they have the strength and power to work harder and longer in high-stakes environments. But grit can also mean showing self-compassion and knowing when to step back.
[02:34] The great burnout: Dr. Orman recounts the multiple burnouts he experienced while practicing medicine and how they led him to pursue a different career.
[10:48] No longer drowning: Finding purpose and meaning in his work, saved Dr. Orman from feeling defeated and as if he was drowning in his profession.
[16:20] Pivot and adjust: Facing defeat and failure can open up unforeseen or unconsidered problem-solving strategies.
[26:20] Relearning to think: Dr. Orman discusses the power in learning how to think and process stress and self-awareness differently and learning to process anxiety and burnout differently.
[30:14] Silence that inner critic: When things might not be going according to plan or living up to certain standards, that inner critic might get louder. Having awareness and being able to navigate that voice is incredibly effective, especially for clinicians, because it allows them to think more clearly.
[34:38] More listening: Shane and Dr. Orman share their admiration for an episode of the Prosperous Doc podcast with Dr. Joseph Stern, who talked about self-compassion.
[35:17] Big players: Dr. Orman acknowledges a family friend Lenny Wineglass, for taking him under his wing; his late mentor at Emory, Ken Walker; an attending Dr. Lee Shockley; his brother, Rich Orman; and his coaching partner and friend Dr. Scott Weingart as all having had monumental influence on him.
Financial Wellness Tip
Ever feel disorganized with your finances? Or confused about the right strategy with your student loans? Do you wonder about retirement or how to determine if you have the right amount or type of insurance? The Prosperous Doc Podcast is sponsored by Spaugh Dameron Tenny, one of the nation's premier financial planning groups for physicians and dentists. Their website is a host of information available to you for free, including information and guides for residents and fellows.
Disclaimer: Prosperous Doc podcast by Spaugh Dameron Tenny highlights real-life stories from doctors and dentists to encourage and inspire listeners through discussions of professional successes and failures in addition to personal stories and financial wellness advice. Spaugh Dameron Tenny is a comprehensive financial planning firm serving doctors and dentists in Charlotte, NC. To find out more about Spaugh Dameron Tenny, visit our website at www.sdtplanning.com. You can also connect with our host, Shane Tenny, CFP at email@example.com or on Twitter.
Compliance code: CRN202602-3877010
Top quotes from the episode:
[06:57]: “I love working with physicians. That's my tribe. I feel that it is such a valuable group of human beings that really face a lot of stress. And if I can help them navigate it, it’s just so rewarding. So that's what drives me.”
[09:08]: “For me, burnout felt like drowning. I just couldn't keep my mouth above water. I couldn't catch my breath. Driving to work, there was a pit of acid in my stomach every day. Oh, I have to do this again, all of this stuff? It's these little bits of trauma just adding up and adding up.”
[12:27] “[Physicians] come from a place of being these superheroes. We can get it done […] We don't fail. We don't lose. How did we get to this point of being physicians? […] There were probably very few Fs in the grades or on the papers or the tests of the people listening to this. We're such high achievers. And admitting failure or admitting defeat is such a stretch because we have this ego projection or this projection of who we are, or at least who we are presenting ourselves to the world to be. It was very painful to admit to myself that I had failed, or, I never really liked that word, but I would say defeated. I was defeated.”
[16:20] “When I was in that position of defeat or failure as a physician, I kind of went back to that place like, Hey. You know what? I have been here before. I have failed, and there is a way through this. There is a way to figure this out. And it might not be what I thought it was. It might not be what I had projected as what was going to happen in the future.”