[Editor’s Note: I mentioned a few days ago that you would be hearing a lot about coaching this week. Today's guest post was written by family physician, Peter Baum, DO.  In this article, he reviews his experience as a founding client in the WCI-endorsed Alpha Group Coaching Experience, which was created by Dr. Jimmy Turner over at The Physician Philosopher.  If you are interested in getting life, career, and money coaching, Fall enrollment is open right now.  Enrollment ends 11/2 at midnight, so don’t wait!  Click here for more information.  Full Disclosure: Not only am I a minority owner of The Physician Philosopher, but just like with our online courses, WCI receives affiliate fees if you buy via the links in this article.  As with all of our other affiliate links, buying through us doesn't cost you any more, but it does support our mission.]

By Dr. Peter Baum

 

Physician burnout is highly prevalent.  You may identify with me.

Prior to my career in medicine, I was always a very optimistic and positive person.  I had never experienced anything like burnout, anxiety, or depression in my life.  I was humbly confident in myself.  I was a resilient, proactive person, and would find a way “to get the job done”.  When faced with adversity, I previously felt empowered to seek solutions in order to achieve any goals.

Once I experienced burnout, I began to THINK, and therefore FEEL differently.

I struggled with balancing my professional and personal life as a physician, often feeling torn between the demands of being a busy primary-care physician, and a husband and father.

 

My Journey Through Burnout

My story of burnout started in my intern year of residency, which was five years ago.

I was working an excessive number of hours on a busy inpatient service in the middle of winter, with a senior resident who was known to give other residents a hard time, no matter how hard they worked, or how good of a job they were doing.

Despite knowing that I was providing excellent evidence-based medical care, rather than shrugging off that resident’s comments and moving past them, I internalized them and took them to heart more than was necessary.

I began doubting myself as a physician.

“I should be faster… I need to be more efficient.”  While these seemingly benign words are often just that, benign… when played on repeat mentally over a number of weeks or months… they unconsciously turned into “I’m not efficient… therefore I’m not a good doctor.”

These negative UNINTENTIONAL THOUGHTS slowly crept in and began to unconsciously shape my identity.  I was really beating myself up mentally.

Close to nine months passed before I actually identified feeling burned-out and eventual depression.  I had never been depressed in my life.  Going through depression began to affect my personal and family life.

Something had to change.

 

Getting Professional Help (Coaching versus Therapy)

I eventually sought professional help, and it was the best decision at the time.  My recovery has been gradual, with ups and downs.  Therapy is extremely helpful and healing when it comes to unpacking, understanding, and working through the past.  Thankfully, I haven’t felt burned-out or depressed in quite some time after learning to prioritize my own well-being.

However, in the past year or so, there have been times when I’ve let UNINTENTIONAL, LIMITING THOUGHTS AND BELIEFS creep back in my mind; I knew that if I didn’t do something, I could end up feeling burned-out and depressed again.

This time, I wanted to try something different.

Life coaching is different from therapy as it’s a forward-thinking process.  Having followed The Physician Philosopher blog, and after having met Dr. Jimmy Turner at WCICON 2020, I decided to pursue life coaching with him through the Alpha Group Coaching Experience.

Life coaching with Jimmy has been extremely helpful to proactively change my thoughts in a forward-thinking manner.  I am now stronger and more empowered as I move forward in life and achieve my goals.

For example, an extremely helpful practice that I learned through the program has been the “Sunday Hour One” planning method.  I feel much less overwhelmed by my “to-do list” now that I plan each week ahead of time.

 

Changing One Thought at a Time (Intentional Thoughts)

As busy physicians, we all have circumstances that shape our lives, some of which we are in control of, and some that we are not.  Certain life circumstances are professional in nature, and some are personal, yet they all intersect with one another.  Our thoughts regarding those circumstances often affect our mental health.

As an early-career physician, I’ve experienced physician burnout, moral injury, and eventual depression and anxiety.  Life coaching with Jimmy has been an incredible resource and has empowered me in my process of recovery.

The most important thing I’ve learned from coaching with Jimmy is that we are in control of our thoughts, although sometimes it may not feel that way.  With some focused guidance, we can pause and empower ourselves to overcome feeling overwhelmed by unintentional thoughts.

physician life coaching

Dr. Peter Baum

We can choose a more intentional and proactive thought model and therefore make life changes for the better.  We can choose to pay attention to the helpful thoughts over the unhelpful thoughts.  Our feelings, and therefore actions or inactions, and results will then change for the better.

 

What Stopped Me from Getting Coaching Sooner?

Initially, I wavered on whether to sign-up for coaching because I thought to myself “I don’t have enough time… I’ve got too much on my plate… maybe later I will have more time.”

What I didn’t stop to think about and realize was that these unintentional thoughts are the limiting beliefs that have stymied my progress toward achieving some of my own personal goals.

Through Alpha Coaching with Jimmy, I have embarked on the journey of learning to pause and refocus my thoughts such that they are now intentional and are more proactive, rather than reactive.

This process has been a GAME CHANGER in my life.  I now feel more like “my old self” after having gone through coaching with Jimmy.

 

Would Alpha Group Coaching Benefit You?

If you are considering joining the Alpha Group Coaching Experience, I want to tell you that NOW is the time.

If you are struggling with physician burnout, and perhaps depression or anxiety, or feeling like your personal life is being negatively impacted by your career, LIFE COACHING IS DEFINITELY FOR YOU!

If you are not struggling with these issues, but perhaps you have goals that you are working toward and are having trouble achieving, life coaching through the Alpha Group Coaching Experience is definitely for you!

I highly recommend the Alpha Group Coaching Experience with The Physician Philosopher!  Life coaching with Jimmy was a game-changer for me, and empowered me to regain my autonomy and sense of self.

 

What’s the Verdict on the Alpha Group Coaching Experience?

Signing up for life-coaching via The Physician Philosopher’s Alpha Group Coaching Experience was the best decision I’ve made in quite some time and I’m thankful I did it.

If you are considering it, now is the perfect time.  You will be thankful you signed up for it.  As Jimmy says on The Physician Philosopher podcast… “Start before you're ready.  Start by starting.  Start now.”

Have you considered a life coach to overcome burnout or to help accomplish difficult goals?  Why or why not?  Share your thoughts below!