How to Get More Vacation Time as a Doctor

On Facebook I recently saw a doctor post a picture from her 5 week vacation in Europe. It was a pretty picture. It looked sort of like this one.  But the interesting thing was the comment from another doctor: “5 weeks?? How did you get 5 weeks off?” At first glance that sounds like a very innocent comment, right? How DO you get 5 weeks off?  Especially as a doctor. But then I kept reading the comments. There were so many comments from other physicians about their lack of vacation time, being too busy to take vacation, feeling guilty while on vacation, feeling envious of this 5 weeks of vacation time. And on it went. And so I want to answer this question. Because it took me years to figure this out.  But know I finally know the answer! Question: So how do YOU, as a doctor, get 5 weeks of vacation time? Answer: You ask for 5 weeks off. You decide to take 5 weeks off. You don’t “get” it – someone doesn’t give it to you. You go after it. You make it happen. You create the life (and vacation time) you want.  This is one of those answers that is simple but not easy. This requires a mind shift. A BIG mind shift.  And this is hard for doctors, really hard. I get it. It was really hard for me. I’m better at it now. But I still slip into it sometimes if I am not careful. Start by asking yourself these questions: What am I hoping someone will give me? What would make me happy if I suddenly got it? 5 weeks of vacation? A week off? No call? Working 4 days

The Power of Pausing

The power of a brief pause is amazing to me. When I am getting stressed, or my mind is spinning, or I am starting to rush around or worry about something, I try to catch myself and simply PAUSE. Just for a moment I stop moving, I close my eyes, I take a deep breath (or three), and I notice what I am feeling and sensing. Can I feel the ground under my feet or the seat I am sitting on, can I smell anything, what do I hear? Maybe I open my eyes and just look around me and really see what it surrounding me.  Chances are I have been seeing something but not really noticing. I might mentally ask myself what am I feeling inside?  What emotions or physical sensations.  I usually notice my shoulders are up around my ears and my hands are clenched.  I relax them consciously and take another deep breath. I feel so much better.  This is how it feels to switch from fight/flight/freeze mode (sympathetic nervous system) to rest/digest mode (parasympathetic). Try it.  Go ahead and try.  PAUSE.  It only takes a few seconds but can work wonders for decreasing your stress levels and helping you notice how you are living your life.  If you want to reduce or eliminate your stress, you first have to become aware of it. If you need help remembering or making it a habit, set a timer or download an app like Good Habit Maker to remind you to pause and check in. PAUSE.  It can reset your body from panic to peace in just a few seconds. xoxo Sara

Live Like You’re Dying

I know ... sounds like a country western song. And it is. Thank you, Tim McGraw. For others of you, you may be thinking that this is too morbid. Or unrealistic. That you can't just live every day as if it might be your last.   Actually, you can. And in fact, this might be the most realistic way to live your life. Because we are all, in fact, getting closer to death every day. And every day could very well be our last. This isn't morbid. This is true. I took my daily walk this morning through a beautiful old cemetery just outside Blue Hill, Maine, overlooking Blue Hill Bay. With gravestones dating from the early 1800s, I once again was confronted with the fact of our limited time here in the world. People young and old lay buried around me. And it didn't make me sad, it made me impatient with myself for not doing more, showing up more, contributing more, and for not fully living my life NOW! Are you fully living your life? Are you making every day count? Are you happy & excited every day you wake up? Or do you feel like your life hasn't started yet? Are you spending too much time doing things you don't want to do? Maybe it's time to stop. Right. Now. Life is short. None of us knows how long we have.   Be healthy.  Be happy.  Be you.  Today I am re-committing to living every day to the fullest. To living my life full out. Every day someone dies. One day it will be me. I want to make sure I've lived as fully as I can before that day. Are you

Please Stop Ignoring Yourself

Yes you, sweetheart.  Stop ignoring yourself.  Every time you pretend to be happy when you are not, you are ignoring yourself.  Every time you pretend everything is okay when it is not, you are ignoring yourself.  Every time you give on up on a dream, tell yourself it doesn't matter, you are ignoring yourself. When you ignore yourself, you stop trusting yourself. When you ignore yourself, you look for answers out there, but those aren't your answers. When you ignore yourself, you tell lies.  To yourself and to others. When you ignore yourself, you crush your soul a little more. When you ignore yourself, the world can't see you.  And the world needs to see you! When you ignore yourself, you hide your gifts and talents.  And we need your particular gifts and talents.  Desperately.   So stop ignoring yourself sweetheart.  Start listening.  Start believing.  Start saying yes.  And watch how everything changes.  Like magic.   xoxo Sara    

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say

Do you say what you mean and mean what you say?  Chances are, the answer is no.  It's quite hard to be in 100% integrity and say only what you mean and mean what you say.  Plus, we think it sounds impolite.  I'm not referring to outright lies - that's another post to come - I'm talking about using language that is unclear, muddy, vague, and dis-empowering. I used to use "nice" language - to try to not hurt people's feelings, and to avoid being uncomfortably direct or - god forbid - actually say what I want.  And in so doing, I was giving my power away to other people.  And then I would get irritated or pissed off or annoyed.  I thought I was irritated with the other person.  But really, I was annoyed and angry with myself for not having the courage to just speak the truth. Do you say things like: "I can't" or "you can't" "I shouldn't" or "you shouldn't" "I have to" or "You have to" "I must" or "You must" These phrases aren't almost always not true.  What you typically mean (and may want to try saying) are some version of: "I don't want to" "I am choosing not to" "I want" "I do not want" So "I can't quit my job" becomes "I am choosing not to quit my job." "You have to visit me" becomes "I want you to visit me." "You should text me if you're going to be late" becomes "I want you to text me if you're going to be late." There is always choice involved, in any action or inaction.  There is no "have to" or "can't."  I know, you're probably rolling you're eyes right now

Thoughts That Used to Run My Life

Coaching is all about transformation.  It's seeing things from a new point-of-view.  It's letting go of beliefs that don't serve you.  It's learning to dis-believe thoughts you might not even realize (or not want to admit) are running and perhaps ruining your life.  It's INCREDIBLE. This is a list of some of the thoughts that I no longer believe.  I used to believe all of them.  And my life reflected that.  But I no longer allow them to have power in my life.  Because the life I want to create and experience is bigger than these fears and limiting beliefs.   1.  Work isn't supposed to be fun. 2.  You can't just do what you want in life. 3.  Work is supposed to be hard. 4.  I can't afford to only do work I enjoy. 5.  I can't just quit my job. 6.  I can't earn money doing what I love. 7.  I'll feel good about my body once I lose 10 more pounds. 8.  I'm too old to re-create my life, to start over, to start a new career, to get married, to have a family, to fall in love again, etc.  This one goes on and on. 9.  I need to be realistic. 10.  I shouldn't get my hopes up or I'll just be disappointed.   Do you want to argue with me?  Is your mind shouting "Of course you have to be realistic" or "Of course you can't just do what you want to in life"?  Then you've just discovered a thought you believe. How is this thought shaping your life? How is it making you feel? What actions are you taking or not taking because of it? What are some of your thoughts that

The Door

  We all have doors in front of us every day. Unopened. Leading us somewhere. Are you going through the door in front of you today? Is it a door you want to go through? Or one you believe you "have to" go through? What would your life be like if you just went through the door you wanted to?  Today. Right now. The one that is waiting for you. XO Sara

Ghost Ships

I've lived my life paralyzed by fear of making a wrong decision, choosing the wrong thing. And so I've let things go by that I regret. I don't want to do that any more. My think of my life like one ship in a flotilla. There are many other ships sailing past - some of which look a lot more fun. These other ships represent my life if I had made different choices, taken different paths. But these are ghost ships - not my ship. And I finally realized that every other ship except my own - every other life I think I "might have had if only..." - is an illusion. I find a lot of peace in this. And I also find the desire and strength to go forward with my own life, and stop wishing to be on some other ghost ship that does not belong to me. What ghost ships do you have in your life? What would it mean to you to stop wishing for a different past and step forward to fully inhabit the life you do have?

Radical Self-Love

I am tired of being afraid. I know I will always have fears. But after 43 years of life, I am tired of letting my fear decide my life and make the decisions for me. As a scientist, I am going to run an experiment. For the next 365 days, I am going to make all final decisions BASED NOT ON MY LOGICAL REASONING BRAIN (in spite of its Harvard-trained excellence), but based on what feels authentically and honestly good to me: what feels fun? what feels easy? what feels joyful? what would I do if I were not afraid? what would I do if I trusted that everything I want and need is already on its way to me? what do I want to do simply because I enjoy it? is this a meaningful way to spend my precious time? I believe in all of these questions. I believe I can have everything I want. But I have to start making different choices in order to create a different result. I call this Radical Self-Love. Radical Living. Radical Honesty. Radical Action. What would you do if you stopped listening to fear and started listening to love?

What’s holding you hostage right now?

My guess is that something right now in your life is holding you hostage, keeping you from doing what you truly want to be doing. What is it? A job you don't like? Money worries? Loneliness? An unhappy relationship? Family problems? We all have something, or many things, holding us hostage - keeping us stuck and unable to move forward in our lives. What would your life look like if you could break free? What would be possible in your life if you no longer had this particular worry or problem? How are you the one holding yourself hostage here? Why aren't you rescuing yourself and how could you begin right now?