Episode 122: How to be Happy at Work with Sarah Metcalfe

Is it selfish to want to be happy at work – and should we feel guilty about prioritising it? The good news is, research tells us being happy isn’t just a “bonus” that makes our days more enjoyable – it can actually improve our performance, both individually and as teams Be happy at work and we might actually become more productive, efficient and innovative.

Joining us to talk about finding happiness in your workplace is Sarah Metcalfe. The founder of Happiness Coffee Consulting, she shares the importance of being happy at work to reduce workplace stress and perform better. She gives her top tips on simple things you can do to pursue happiness and share it with others. In a high-stress job like medicine, choose happiness and spread it.

If you want to learn more about how and why we should be happy at work, tune in to this episode.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Understand the positive effects of happiness and positivity in the workplace.
  2. Learn the two “R’s” and two “P’s” that can help you be happy at work.
  3. Find out how you can be a leader who leads your team with happiness.

Episode Highlights

[05:18] Happiness in Purpose

  • Hyper-engaged employees typically do more work. However, they also end up being given too much to do and are most at risk for burnout.
  • If you’re passionate about the purpose of what you do, it’s essential to be mindful of what you agree to do.
  • There can come times when you know you’re doing purposeful work but lose the happiness of doing it.

[05:35] ‘…the most engaged employees or the most engaged people are at the highest risk of burnout.’ – Click Here to Tweet This

[08:16] Searching for Happiness at Work

  • Burnout can hinder your problem-solving and decision-making.
  • When you are happy, productivity increases, and you produce better results.
  • There is a link between workplace stress to multiple diseases, including heart disease.
  • Happier healthcare staff produce better patient outcomes.

[08:42] ‘So the reason I’m really, really passionate about happiness at work is that if you are unhappy at work, and if work burns you out, then you have nothing left to give to yourself.’ – Click Here to Tweet This

[13:49] The Difference Between Well-being and Happiness

  • Well-being is a general concept and can encompass different aspects of health.
  • Happiness can be an umbrella term for positive emotions that everyone can understand and pursue.
  • Sarah calls the state between poor and good mental health languishing. Most people are in this state.

[14:14] ‘I would say happiness is more on the mental health side of things. I guess I would use them almost interchangeably.’ – Click Here to Tweet This

[16:39] Finding Happy Times

  • People are often happiest when they work together and have meaningful results and relationships.
  • Working together with great people, not benefits and salaries, is what creates happiness and well-being.
  • Sarah and Rachel have much more to say about practising happiness in the workplace. Tune in to learn more!

[20:26] ‘But by and large, what we hear is that people’s happiest work is when they are doing great work together with great people, right? And we kind of sum that up in meaningful results, and meaningful relationships.’ – Click Here to Tweet This

[23:00] The Happiness Effect

  • Happy doctors do better, leading to better leadership and lower death rates.
  • Communities and groups can achieve greater things together. Look into building better relationships.
  • Find ways to see the results of your work, like seeing meaningful progress and getting recognition from others.
  • Taking a moment to write down what you were able to do today can help you see the effect you have and the value of your contributions.

[27:10] ‘Do you know that you have achieved the things that you set out to do? Is it visible to you? Do you get praised for it? Does your manager know?’ – Click Here to Tweet This

[29:41] Reflecting Happiness

  • As a team, you reflect each other’s emotions, especially those of your leader.
  • Take care of yourself and your happiness first. Your drivers of happiness contribute to feelings of achievement and having good relationships.
  • Build relationships with your team members and get to know them personally.
  • People are reluctant to spend time on things not directly related to work, like happiness practices.

[35:43] Leading With Happiness

  • There is no such thing as too much feedback.
  • Provide sincere feedback for something you want to encourage employees to keep doing.
  • You can give positive feedback to your colleagues.

[35:43] ‘Never, ever, ever have I ever heard of an employee having received too much positive feedback. So, and I’m not talking about fake — it has to be real, it has to be specific.’ – Click Here to Tweet This

[42:58] Choosing to Be Happy

  • Listen to the full episode to use Sarah’s cheat sheet to be happy at work!
  • Anyone can be happy at work by connecting with what you’re doing.
  • No matter your job, you can choose to focus on happiness at work.
  • Choosing to pursue your happiness is not self-indulgent. It can reflect positively on those around you.

[43:18] ‘And as a leader, it’s really important for you to be more vulnerable than anyone else.’ – Click Here to Tweet This

[49:53] Toxic Bosses

  • Most people who leave their jobs do so because of their boss.
  • Talking to your boss might not always work. What others do is out of your control.
  • You can focus on your drivers of happiness to buffer your toxic environment.

[51:58] Sarah’s Top Three Tips for Happiness in the Workplace

  • Take five minutes with someone else to build relationships
  • Reflect on your week and identify what brought you joy and how it made you feel.
  • Lastly, catch someone doing something good and recognize them for it.

About Sarah

Sarah Metcalfe is the Founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happy Coffee Consulting. She founded her company after nine years of experience in customer service and customer experience. Her decade of research and expertise in Happiness at Work, Company Culture, Management and Leadership enables her to help create happy working environments.

She co-founded the Global Summit for Happiness in 2019 and became co-leader of the Woohoo Partnership Network in 2020. There, she works with a group of happiness at work experts to train people all over the work to encourage a happier workplace. Sarah continues to spread happiness as a keynote speaker and trainer with multiple companies and organizations.

Want to learn more about Sarah? You can check out the Happy Coffee Consulting website or visit her LinkedIn.

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If you are unhappy at work, and if work burns you out, then you have nothing left to give to yourself, to give to those around you to give to your colleagues to go home and give to your family if you’re leaving work drained every single day, how can you possibly make good choices? Because we know we all have this executive function, which is a depletable resource, right? So if you leave without any of that, at the end of your day, every single day, then how can you possibly make the changes in the world that you know you need to that you want to, and we spend more than a third of our life at work? So if we’re miserable and unhappy for a third of our life, what are we doing with our lives?

Rachel Morris: Do you enjoy your job? Are you happy at work? Do you wish you could love going to work like you used to, but I feel that it’s a bit selfish to expect to be happy at work. And so many people are doing jobs which they hate, but have no choice about. This week, Sarah Metcalfe, Chief happiness officer at Happy Coffee Consulting, joins us to talk about happiness at work, why it should be the metric that we worry about and measure, and why it’s better for the planet to have a happy workforce.

If you’re anything like me, at one time or another, you’ve probably felt very guilty about wanting to enjoy your work. As it’s been drilled into me from a very early age that to be successful and useful to the world. I have to work as hard as I possibly can. The great news is that all the recent research on happiness points to the fact that it’s not working harder that’s going to make us more effective and productive, but it’s working happier. Sarah and I discuss why this is, and some simple things that everyone can do in their workplace to make their team that little bit happier, and get better outcomes for their patients and customers.

So listen to this episode, to find out why taking the time to focus on working happier, will make you more rather than less productive. The things that really contribute to happiness at work — spoiler alert! — it’s really got very little to do with how much you’re paid, and some quick and easy to implement tips and actions, which will make work happier.

Welcome to You Are Not A Frog, a podcast for doctors and busy professionals in healthcare and other high-stress jobs—if you want to beat burnout, and work happier. I’m Dr Rachel Morris, a former GP, now working as a coach, speaker, and specialist in resilience at work. Like frogs in a pan of slowly boiling water, many of us have found that exhaustion and stress are slowly becoming the norm. But you are not a frog. You don’t have to choose between burning out or getting out.

In this podcast, I’ll be talking to friends, colleagues, and experts—all who have an interesting take on this and inviting you to make a deliberate choice about how you will live and work. In healthcare at the moment, people are struggling with overwhelming demand, increasing patient expectations, and spiralling workloads. Until we develop the ability to time travel or add in a couple of extra hours to the day, we’re going to have to face reality and admit that we really can’t do everything. This means accepting our limits, setting boundaries, and sometimes saying no in order to continue to be able to do our best at work.

Throughout May and June, we’re releasing a brand new mini video series all about how healthcare teams can prioritise powerfully, say no with confidence, and fall back in love with their work. You can get this free mini series by clicking on the link in the show notes. If it’s helpful, please do share it with your colleagues.

It’s wonderful to welcome onto the podcast today Sarah Metcalfe. Now Sarah is the founder and chief happiness officer at Happy Coffee Consulting. She’s an international keynote speaker on customer experience, employee experience, and happiness at work and all-around good person.

Sarah Metcalfe: Thank you so much for having me.

Rachel: So it’s wonderful to chat to you. Finally, I’ve been wanting to get you on the podcast for ages. And we’ve not been able to make it work. But it’s really important, I think, for us to hear about happiness right now, particularly in healthcare where I think a lot of people are feeling pretty hacked off and pretty miserable right now. In fact, I was talking to a friend the other day that was saying that people used to be quite angry about what was going on and all the waiting lists and not and now they’re just sort of resigned to what’s happening. And I know that you focus on leadership and happiness as well, which I think is a really interesting thing.

I’d love to start with just some of the evidence around happiness at work, because I know that in the talks that I do, I often, you know, cite this Shawn Achor’s stuff that we want to be working happier not working harder, because actually, it’s happiness that leads to success rather than working harder. I think a lot of people in health care, you know, we’re just programmed to work harder and harder and harder.

Sarah: Yeah and that makes so much sense because you guys have, I guess, you have so much purpose built into everything that you do, right? Which is wonderful and amazing, and obviously can be really fulfilling. But there’s tons of evidence that the most engaged employees and the most engaged people are at the highest risk of burnout. And I can imagine from everything that I know that health care professionals and those around them are definitely at the highest risk of burnout right now. When we are hyper-engaged, we do more, and then there’s more capacity, so we get given more, and then we do more, and then we get given more, and we do more. Even though we are super productive, we do have to be extra careful when you are, I guess driven by purpose, or passion or connected in that way. If you love what you do, then we have to be a little bit more mindful and a little bit more intentional about how and when we say yes to things.

Rachel: Thank you for saying that. Because I have long thought that that actually purpose is a bit of a double-edged sword because we know that purpose is one thing that can really helped with burnout and prevent burnout. But actually, if you have all this, this higher purpose in your job, and you know, let’s face it, healing people, helping people, working with people on the edge of their lives, is a real privilege and an amazing thing to be able to do. But then you feel so responsible and you feel if you feel this sort of real calling into it, that that’s a huge responsibility. And I guess it can weigh pretty heavily on people, can’t it?

Sarah: I have been lucky enough to love some of my jobs and definitely have been on that high kind of hyper engagement burnout path. And if you’re interested in that, you can just Google it. And Professor Jochen Menges, who is Cambridge Judge Business School, and University of Zurich has done a lot of work on that. And he does a TEDx a bit about that. And of course I can appreciate that you’re not in a company where you can just close your laptop, and walk away. Because once you get to that point where you’re just almost running on autopilot. You’re probably not connecting with that purpose as deeply or as regularly. So you’re not getting the benefit, you’re probably just telling yourself, “I do purposeful work, I do purposeful work” without really pausing and just connecting with what you’re doing.

Rachel: Yeah and I think you sort of hit the nail on the head, it’s doing this purposeful work, but without the happiness that goes with it. Now, I’m gonna get the elephant in the room out straight away, which is I think a lot of my listeners and maybe thinking actually, is it just a bit of self-indulgent to talk about happiness at work? Is that just a nice to have actually, no one can really expect to be happy at work doesn’t make huge amounts of difference. And is that the wrong thing to be pursuing? It doesn’t feel very worthy somehow.

Sarah: Thank you so much for asking me that question. Great to get it out on the table. I would say it’s almost the most important thing. I think we know that the world of work is broken, especially for doctors right now and the health care professionals, I think. But for everyone, you know, levels of burnout, I think that the World Health Organisation, stated that mental health caused the global economy a trillion dollars last year. The reason I’m really, really passionate about happiness at work is that if you are unhappy at work, and if work burns you out, then you have nothing left to give to yourself, to give to those around you, to give to your colleagues to go home and give your family.

But also, for me, it links it to climate change, to the global changes that we need to make. If you’re leaving work drained every single day, how can you possibly make good choices? Because we know we all have this executive function, which is a depletable resource, right? So if you leave without any of that, at the end of your day, every single day, then how can you possibly make the changes in the world that you know you need to that you want to that’s why I’m so passionate about it. And the world of work is doing that so much to health care professionals but across the board. And so people are not able to take care of themselves. They’re not able to take care of their work. They’re doing huge amounts of lost productivity. You’re doing work that’s not actually doing anything. And the ripple effect of that is really bad.

And we spend more than a third of our life at work. So if we’re miserable and unhappy for a third of our life what are we doing with our lives? What are we telling our family? For me, I’m a mum, what am I telling my children if I’m miserable at work every day, and I leave my children. And then I go to work, and they see me doing that every single day. What is the lesson that I’m teaching people about valuing themselves? What’s good for me? Why would I leave my children, the mom guilt, all of those things if I was miserable at work every day. So that’s kind of I guess that’s my, that’s my passion piece. But in terms of science, the science is backing it up. So basically, in terms of every business metric, you would care to measure improved productivity, lower accidents, better results, it’s better for you, as a person, as an individual, you’re a better leader, you’re more creative, you’re more innovative. So all the things that we need in this new world to be able to deal with crazy pandemics or potential war, we need to be able to have access to this problem solving that incorporates new ways of thinking.

And when you are in a happy frame of mind, you’re able to access those things. Actually, happiness can be a matter of life and death. For a couple of reasons, I think in the US, they were linking workplace stress as the number two cause of death because it causes heart disease, increased type two diabetes, and some forms of cancer are increased by workplace stress, and they’re starting to be able to link this to actually being caused by workplace stress. But if you are happy at work, or you’re in a happy workplace, you have all these positive outcomes for yourself. But one that I hope speaks to your listeners is Kingston Hospital NHS Trust did a study. And when they had high staff engagement, so they did a program on joy at work, and then they had better patient outcomes. And actually, they had a lower death rate in the hospital. When you focused on the happiness of the doctors, the nurses and the health care staff, you actually had better health outcomes to the point of it reduced death in that hospital. And so I think it’s really, really critical on so many levels. And the practices of happiness at work are the things that also can help protect you from burnout from this mental health crisis.

Rachel: Oh my gosh, it’s there—there’s just so much in that I’ve been scribbling notes furiously in writing, you’re writing all of these questions. First of all, I’ve never really quite understood why happiness increases productivity, but having just listened to you there, I completely get it now. Because a happy frame of mind means that you’re not backed into the corner with the phrase I use to describe your amygdala response. When you’re in your stress zone where you don’t make good decisions, everything becomes black and white. And there is that lovely broaden and build theory. I think Barbara Fredrickson, which is if you’re experiencing positive emotions, you’re much more creative, you can solve problems, all those sorts of things. And so if you’re working out of that sound, predominantly, you just going to be much, much more productive.

Sarah: Yeah, and small possibilities, as you say, like the amygdala that back into a corner, when you are able to activate that positive thinking, then you start to be able to see your way out of the corner, there’s not just one exit, you’re not frozen, and you’re not fighting, you’re not running, you see all the different options. And that is how you’re more productive. Because when we get into that zone, we don’t do the right things, and you’ll know it, I’ve done it. “I just must get this done. I must get this done.” You might come back the next day and go, “That was terrible,” and you have to do it all over again.

Rachel: Yes, like I certainly experienced that. But I just like to ask actually, because obviously, I did a lot of wellbeing training, resilience training and stuff like that. What is the difference between trying to increase the wellbeing of your staff and trying to increase the happiness of your staff?

Sarah: I think wellbeing can cover a kind of a whole area. You might be looking at it in terms of their physical health, as well as maybe their mental health and things like that. And I guess if I were to try to distinguish it, I would say happiness is more on the mental health side of things. I guess I would use them almost interchangeably. The reason I like the word happiness and the reason I use it is because Nic Marks who’s the founder of the UN Happy Planet Index and someone who I work with, he just describes it sums it up really easily. It’s a really clear good, bad signal. How are you today? If you say I’m happy, I know what that means. If you say you’re unhappy, I know what that means.

Happiness is kind of an umbrella term. So we can call it—we can call things well-being programs, we can call them happiness programs. There’s a little bit of a linguistic argument going on, which for me detracts from what are you trying to achieve? If I asked you what do you want for your loved ones in your life?

Rachel: I want them all to be happy.

Sarah: Yeah, that’s what we want is what we want for everyone we love. And then somehow when we get to work, it doesn’t matter. We’re not, we just throw that out the window. But that doesn’t make any sense. But also, we want ourselves to be happy. And we consistently do things, both in a work context in a well-being program context and in a personal context, like you say, the Shawn Achor happiness versus success scenario. But we constantly do things that don’t make us happy. We’re really, really bad at understanding what makes us happy. But if you think about it, happiness is an umbrella term for positive emotions, it’s not just happy happy, you know. It’s joy, its contentment, its well being, it’s all these things. And yeah, we all know what it means.

Rachel: Yeah, I think there is a danger though, that some people do just equate happiness with the happy-clappy, blah, blah, blah. Whereas actually, yeah, if you’re using it in the proper definition, that which gives you meaning and purpose and satisfaction and contentment, I think contentment is a really important thing, isn’t it?

Sarah: There’s that high energy happiness, but you also have low energy happiness. And those are different and we should be looking at not just one type of it.

Rachel: So there’s a few things I want to ask you about, I really want to delve into actually, how can you lead with happiness? But first of all, how do you get people to be happier at work? And at the beginning, we were talking about the mental health thing and the fact that lots of people are languishing, can you just explain that a bit.

Sarah: Mental health is like physical health, you can have poor mental health, but you can also have good mental health. And we spend a lot of time talking about poor mental health. And we should absolutely be supporting those people and give them programs and EAP, and all that kind of stuff. But as we were talking about so many people aren’t quite in that poor mental health, but they’re just okay. And actually, most of the organisational support for mental health takes you from struggling into. If you imagine this diamond you’ve got, the middle is okay or as Adam Grant referred to languishing, right, or you’re just a bit bluh. And the problem with that is, that’s one of those pieces of resilience, which is if bad stuff happens, and you’re just okay well, anything can knock you into having poor mental health again, which is completely normal.

But if you start practising the practices of happiness at work, and the things that support good mental health, which is where we’re trying to kind of push the happiness at work agenda, because it helps people build up those practices, so that they’re thriving. They’re in that they have good and positive mental health. And then when bad things happen, you might fall down, but you don’t go into that poor mental health. So that for me is the real kind of key link between those practices. And then you’re saying, well, what are those practices would be my guess.

Rachel: Yeah, that is definitely my next question is what on Earth we’re all- everyone is pointing at right, what we’re going to do for best practices. They need to take less than five minutes, I am joking, but we, I can imagine that’s what a lot of employers, HR departments are thinking, right? What the quick fix is here, because actually, doing a whole culture change program is difficult and hard. Anyway, yes, I’m being cynical and sarcastic.

Sarah: But the best bit about that is thank you, I love it. Because most of the things don’t cost you anything, right? So I’ll explain what happiness at work and what helps us be happier at work, what organisations often provide, when you ask them also, what are you doing, it may be in your well being program, you might, you might find that people are doing this too. And there’s a whole list of things you’ve got. From free food and free coffee and lunches, or even salary and perks and benefits. So all these like crazy benefits that you have to have for people. Lots of the programs that are on offer, yoga, gym memberships, everything to smoothies.

And everything in between. And I’ve worked with some of the top global brands in the world. These organisations have everything on the list and more and some of those people are still not happy. And usually what I do with my clients is I ask them to think about a time when they were happy at work. Do you have a time when you were happy at work that you want to share, Rachel?

Rachel: Let me think I’m really happy at work right now. I really love what I’m doing right now. Which is wonderful.

Sarah: How lucky is that? So specifically, that’s you and me creating something together right? Yeah, yeah.

Rachel: I love it when finding out new things and creating stuff. I’m helping stuff getting stuff out there. Love that.

Sarah: Amazing. So what you’ve just described is what we find. So when I tell it, when I ask people that story, it’s almost never a time that you checked that you’ve been paid. And it’s often not a time when you were particularly well paid. I’m guessing in the health care professionals, it’s never a time when you are particularly well paid. But by and large, what we hear is that people’s happiest work is when they are doing great work together with great people, And we kind of sum that up in meaningful results, and meaningful relationships. I work with a framework, which is results, relationships, purpose and play, right? So we have some meaning in there, we have results, which is that feeling of achieving something, making progress, having autonomy, having resources, having tools being recognised for the work that you do, having people see you, and having a great relationship with your immediate manager is incredibly important.

The second bit is relationships, who is the team that you work with most closely? And how is your relationship with your leaders, most importantly, your direct manager, and the things that companies invest in which cost all the money, all those fruit bowls and stuff? Nobody’s ever gone to work and said, “I got two apples from the fruit bowl today and I had the best day.” That’s not what does it. I mean, maybe there’s the odd person, but.

Rachel: You say that I did a face to face talk this week for Mental Health Week. And it was wonderful. And the client had they had a marquee in the garden and in a break, I went and helped myself to an ice cold can of Diet Coke, which you just don’t get that often. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing.” So I think I think that I’ve set quite a low bar for my happiness.

Sarah: I mean, that’s like, that’s an individual moment of happiness and savouring something. So you go for it. That’s amazing.

Rachel: I think just quite easily pleased.

Sarah: Well, that’s the other. That’s the other obvious thing too for happiness like the lower your bar, then the happier you are.

Rachel: Yeah, totally. But what you’re saying about fruit bowls, and bicycles absolutely rings true. And I’ve definitely talked about the fruit and bicycles approach. And I’m actually in the NHS, it gets really annoying for people, they get bicycle to work schemes, but they might not get free food, but they might get “Hey, but we’ve got a free yoga class”, and then I’d be a bit we can’t go to that yoga class, because like, we’re literally I’m gonna shift what do you expect us to do? And that almost, that’s more annoying than if they’re not put it in the first place.

Sarah: Exactly. That’s exactly right. And this is part of, again, that gets results. It’s like, you don’t see the work that I’m doing. You’re so far removed from me, you’re trying to give me self care when you haven’t—there’s not enough resource. Right. And I know that in the NHS, this is more complicated than an organisation’s; however, the arguments and the reasoning is still the same. To go back to what makes people happy. So organisations, and they’re desperately trying to do the right things. I think it’s like a one and a half billion dollar a year kind of business, to help people have— employee schemes and benefits and things like that. But employees are as disengaged as they’ve ever been. And that’s because we shouldn’t be chasing engagement, we should be chasing happiness. Engagement is an outcome of happiness at work.

Well-being to an extent is an outcome of being happy at work, because you’re because you have the things that lead to that. And this is kind of based on Daniel Kahneman. It’s his description of it is, experienced well being, what we think. The other thing is this whole success versus thing. So when you sit down and you think about oh, that I have a good job, and I get paid well, and I have benefits, and they offer me yoga, and they this and they that. When we think objectively backwards about our work, we think those are the things that make us happy. But it has a very small effect on our happiness at work. It has a big effect on whether we choose to go and work somewhere, but it doesn’t have a big effect on our happiness. Those things are when you do great work together with great people, and you’ll know yourself if you’ve ever worked somewhere where you loved working there, and you had great colleagues and you may have been offered a job that paid you more and you weren’t interested.

And the thing is, those feelings that create happiness at work that creates, experienced well being so I’d call it head and heart. Those feelings of happiness at work. And those are the things that give us all the positive benefits that I talked about before. So many times you’re talking to organisations or HR or any of these things, and they’re going but we’re doing all of this and they’re not taking advantage of any of it. Now, some of that is capacity and all those things we just kind of nodded to but a lot of it is that is then becomes your normal. You don’t even think about it’s a hygiene factor. Happiness at work is the thing that gives you the productivity, the innovation, the creativity, the better leadership, the better sales, the lower death rates, the and I think it’s happy doctors, but does it make faster, more accurate diagnoses if they’re primed for happiness? There’s just all of these things, but it’s not because they’re given a pay rise.

Rachel: No, totally. And yeah, presumably, you’re referring to Hertzberg, motivation hygiene theory with the sort of stuff that gives you job satisfaction is not the stuff that gives you this satisfaction. And yeah, I think that’s such a helpful thing. And, yeah, happy doctors make better decisions. And we know that doctors nearing burnout have a 63% greater risk of medical errors as well. So it sort of works in both directions that

Sarah: Absolutely, yeah, it’s, it’s not just that they’re not doing the extra, they’re making mistakes. And then that’s just not, doctors, it’s not just you. There’s way higher mistakes in production workers or anybody actually, who is not happy at work when you’re unhappy, or when you’re close to burnout. The other great thing is that high relationship we talked about results and relationships, high relationships are also a protector of high workload. When we talked about hyper engagement burnout, if you have great relationships, so this is again, when you hear those stories from around the world, it’s quite often people were working really hard on a really big project, and everyone pulled together.

This whole idea of community resilience, and everyone getting together, achieving something. And the reason I have play in there, because then you’ve got that little bit of like, “Yeah, you do have that happy-clappy”, but that’s like 5% of the happy at work, right? The tiniest bit. So you need to be looking at how you can create better relationships at work, and that often doesn’t cost anything or you’re more able to see the results that you’re making in your work. So can you see progress in meaningful work? And that doesn’t mean I finished something, I’m done. But do you know that you have achieved the things that you set out to do right, so and Is it visible to you? Do you get praised for it? Does your manager know?

Rachel: Now that is really interesting, because I think that is one of the things that is really, really difficult in healthcare at the moment, it’s very difficult to see meaningful progress when there is a massive backlog, when patients are waiting, you can’t get them seen. secondary care hasn’t gone up capacity, everyone is off sick. And so you’re working as hard as you can just to stay still or even sometimes go backwards because of the lack of appointments. You get the lack of meaningful work. And then because of the overwhelming, and because of the post-COVID hybrid working stuff, and people are still stuck in rooms on the phone a lot, you’ve actually not got the relationships either. So this is a perfect storm of lack of meaningful progress and crappy relationships because you’re just not seeing anybody.

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. And this is this perfect storm that we are in right now. And I can only imagine that for healthcare professionals. That is terrible, but it doesn’t have to be big. You don’t have to organise an all-hands meeting or everyone off that, you know, but one of the easiest things that lots of my clients like to do is like a “Tada list”. So what did you do today, and I can, I can only imagine, as a healthcare professional, you’re very busy. But if you just took a moment, at the end of your day, or maybe when you’re driving home, or when you get home, or if you have the opportunity, perhaps in your office or just at your desk, to just write down, who did you help today and just connect for just a moment, you will get the positive benefit of that.

It’s not going to negate the fact that you are working in a very toxic environment, where and not that your work colleagues are toxic, but having low resources, these are the things that they do absolutely cause you to not be happy at work. I’m not going to sugarcoat it because happiness at work is about being able to show up with all your emotions at work. It’s not about pretending you’re great every day. It’s about going, “I am having a really bad day. This is a terrible day terrible things happened. And not being okay.” Not being negative. And there’s only so much that you can do but again, there are small things that you are in charge of.

We were talking about leading with happiness. emotions are contagious, right? We know about mirror neurons and emotions are contagious. Negative emotions are the most contagious. And a leader’s emotions are the most contagious of all. So if you yourself are the leader or you have a team or you’re the head of a practice or even if you’re in a position of power, so I do a lot of work with customer experience. So even as a receptionist tech to patients, you’re in a position of power, because they’re slightly more vulnerable than you are. Your emotions are the most contagious. So we need to be thinking about how we show up. So if we don’t take care of our own happiness first, and find out what—check-in with yourself, how you feel, thinking about knowing your own kind of preferences are the things that make you happy.

One of my colleagues calls like the drivers of happiness, which is kind of the parts that make up results in relationships, you know, so thinking about what adds to your feeling of achieving results or success, what adds to your feeling of having a good relationship, and that’s different for everyone, right, we’re all different. And some people will have more of a preference towards purpose, towards results towards relationships, I don’t meet many people who have a total preference towards play, but some people might. So checking in with yourself and then making sure where you can, that you’re doing more of the things that make you happy.

And you might not even have to do more of them. But you just need to be intentionally connecting with them and having that moment to recognise them. And just, you know, it’s almost like a mini mindful moment, right? Just, “Oh, yes, I did this thing.” It can be as small as that. “Rachel, you just helped me?” “Yes, I did.” Think about it, connect to it. And then you can go to your next patient, but that will help you. And these are these tiny little things that we can do. To create that. Actually, you can make these two emails, maybe you need to do this, take five minutes. Go and speak to someone, especially as a leader, go and speak to the members of your team. Because again, that helps with productivity. So these relationships and all these things, it’s they have good business sense. So if you’re feeling—when you’re feeling overwhelmed, and you think you have to work harder, we know that working more than about 40 hours a week actually leads to a decrease in productivity. So if what you’re feeling is like you really need to be working more and more and more. That’s just not true.

We know that actually even though it feels like the right thing to do. And I can relate, I know, we were not getting more done when we do that. So stop, five minutes, have a chat with one of your employees connect with them on a personal level. The Gallup study that just came out, said, I think somewhere about 85, or 87% of people are disengaged at work because they don’t believe that their workplace cares for them as a human being and that’s a pretty horrible thing to feel. But if nobody ever speaks to you, if it’s all work, work, work. And all you have to do is just ask them a question, connect on a personal level. And then tomorrow, do it with the next person and the next person. Just actually take that time.

Rachel: So I’m listening to these things there and thinking, is there some like hidden difficulty here? Because they all seem really simple, like, work out? What makes you happy do more of them? Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Just take a moment to savour that. Yeah, to just help that person there. At the end of the day, just write down the good stuff that’s happened, that’s a Tada list, you called it? Love it, just what have I achieved today? And then taking five minutes as a leader to check in with a member of your team and see them as a human being now? That, yeah, well, that’s pretty doable I’m thinking,

Sarah: I would agree, but we’re not doing it. We are, it’s kind of like exercising or losing weight, we all know that we should exercise more and eat less, right? So we all know the right things to do. The hard part is doing it. And because of the way our brains are hardwired, right? We do kind of reward ourselves or mentally we reward ourselves with like, “Oh, I’ve achieved this, oh, I’ve got an email. Oh, I’ve done this, right.” So we’re getting that dopamine hit for the wrong things essentially. That’s where we’ve got ourselves to, or we’re so stuck in that corner you talked about that we can’t see. When you just hit that panic, you think I have to do more, I have to do more. But actually, to do more, you have to do less. We are just—and the burnout race, like it’s like running into a brick wall and then going, “Oh, I just need to do that a few more times.” It’s not worth it.

Rachel: We’ll see if that will work out for you I suppose.

Sarah: And there’s lots of other things you can do but there’s- it’s so simple and sometimes I do like feeling like a bit of a fraud going, this is my business. And these are all things people instinctively know they should do. But it’s also things people instinctively are not doing because it takes time. And actually, time not money is our most precious resource.

Rachel: Oh, yeah, totally. Because there’s all the wellbeing stuff out there that if people could just have the time to access.

Sarah: And we’d all been, we’d all be doing yoga together, sipping smoothies.

Rachel: Absolutely. Just curious, as a leader, those are really nice, simple things. Is there anything else that you’d be advising people to be able to lead with happiness?

Sarah: Never, ever, ever have I ever heard of an employee having received too much positive feedback. So, and I’m not talking about fake, it has to be real, it has to be specific. Ideally, it’s in the moment, you’ve caught someone doing something that you want them to continue doing, you’ve noticed something. But positive feedback, again, clicks people’s brain and actually people who are in a positive mindset are so much better at problem-solving. I might get the, I might get the statistics wrong on this. I apologise if someone looks it up, and the numbers are wrong. But this blew my mind because I was sitting there going, if we know—we all know this, right?

This is I’m nothing I’m saying is, is like, “Oh my God, I’ve never heard that before.” But when I keep wondering, why is negative leadership still the kind of default? Why does this happen? And there is a study about kind of putting people in a positive or a negative or a neutral frame of mind, and then asking them to solve a problem and it’s like some tax and a candle. If you were just neutral, neutral frame of mind, you maybe solved the puzzle, say 10% of the time, like I said, I can’t remember the exact ones. But if you were primed negatively, so you were made to feel stressed, you did better than the people who were neutral. That was somewhere like, I want to say like 17%. It was not massively higher, but it was higher, right. So people who have negative, I guess, the leadership, or are scared or fight or flight in that makes sense,the way the brain works. But the people who were positively primed, it was something like 72% of them solved the problem.

Yes, you could, you could be in a negative mindset, but that positive. And it had, like I said, it needs to be real. You can’t just say nice things. It needs to be something I saw you. I see you as a human, I saw what you did, I recognised it. But that has a huge, huge impact on people’s happiness at work. And as a leader, that’s something that is pretty simple to do. Just again, just notice pay attention. Take a moment, write someone a note, say thank you, again, very simple stuff, but we do not do more of it.

Rachel: No, it’s interesting, as you were saying that I was thinking, the problem was I see with a lot of clinical leaders in healthcare is that you’ve been promoted to a leadership level, you have your team, but also you have your day job. And you’re doing the same day job as a lot of your team, which is seeing patients or delivering a particular service. And so you’re stressed and overwhelmed and overworked yourself and so being a leader is not at the forefront of your thinking. You’re not walking around thinking, I’m managing these teams, how should I be with them, whereas I’m thinking maybe some other organisations, there are people who are being the manager and the leader of a team that is sort of their main job.

But in healthcare it is often just sort of what you’re doing as well as the other stuff. And, and then it also you get the very flat departments where you have partners, for example, in a dental practice, or a general practice who are equal, so no one’s leading each of those partners, or I’m thinking about are consultants. And so what happens is you don’t get that intentionality of what am I doing as a leader today with my people, and you don’t think to yourself, wouldn’t it be good if I gave that positive feedback to my partner over there, because you don’t see yourself as a leader over them, but they don’t have a leader? Well, apart from the health secretary or whatever, Chief Executive, he’s not contacting them to say, ‘You were really kind of compassionate to that member of staff the other day.’

A lot of people don’t have leaders to actually give that feedback. So we need to do it for each other. We need to be thinking of doing that for each other. And then if you are leading a team in health care, the fact that you’re a leader probably needs to be a little bit further to the front of your preoccupation about what you’re doing so you can sit down because strikes me all these things that you’re talking about, they’re not difficult, but you have to be intentional about doing it.

Sarah: That’s it and until it becomes like a habit and if it’s not something that comes natural—and it doesn’t come naturally to everyone, happiness at work, I believe very strongly as a practice, it’s like mindfulness, it’s like going to the gym. It’s not like—it’s not a thing that you achieve, it’s a practice. You just keep doing it and keep doing more of it. Keep doing things differently. And not everything works for everybody. But if you’re not good at that, or you know that you’re crazy busy. Schedule it in your diary, do the thing that helps you remember, whatever it is, and you can do things like what’s it called, where you’re stacking, like habit stacking. If there’s something that you already do regularly, attach the thing you want to do to a habit you’re already doing?

Rachel: Anchoring?

Sarah: Yes. Yeah. Anchoring. That’s right. Yes. Habit stacking? Yeah.

Rachel: Like habit stacking, you’ve come up with a new concept that,

Sarah: Doing things like that. And then, sharing good stories? Did you hear a good story? Did you? Did you witness someone doing something? Like, how do you share that there was a really lovely story of a really toxic workplace in Denmark, and this group of nurses all so healthcare professionals, this group of nurses started. And because they started together, they formed a really strong bond and they noticed this kind of really toxic workplace. And they changed it in such a simple way. So they bought a little elephant with a pin in it. And it became so there was a pin in it and a book. And so you give it to a colleague for doing something special. But it’s a visible thing and it gets written down in the book.

So Rachel, I saw you with Elizabeth and the way that you just took that extra moment with her and gave her a hug when you could see she really needed it. And you know, that was really beautiful. And then you write that in the book and you give it to you and you get to wear that for a week and what happens is everyone sees that. And so they got what did you do? Why—and so you get to tell the story. And you’re not bragging, you’re telling that, “Oh, Sarah gave that to me, because this.” So that starts to create a whole kind of culture of sharing the good of recognising and seeing, so you’re now for the next week, you’re primed to be like, “Oh, who am I going to give this to what did I see?” So you’re looking out for those things. And they and it completely changed, just as that one act, completely changed the culture of that nursing department. Because you’re again, intentionally making it something that people can see that they can do easily. It doesn’t take time, you know, or any more time than scribbling a note and just less than five minutes.

Rachel: I love that concept that is totally brilliant, I can see that working really well. And you mentioned these crib sheets, the leaders, what’s on your crib sheet? I’m just dying to know,

Sarah: Most of the things that I’ve shared with you. So we have like a check-in and that’s daily, that’s for you, right? So that’s how do I feel today. So it’s really again, as a leader, and it’s not about pretending or faking, toxic positivity is not a good thing. And as a leader, it’s really important for you to be more vulnerable than anyone else. I’m sure you’ve probably talked to vulnerability all over the place. But that’s creating psychological safety and allowing people to show up as themselves. So how do you feel today? And just notice it. You don’t have to do anything with it, but just notice it? And then what makes me happy and how can I do more of that. When you’re that stressed, it’s hard to understand what you can do to make yourself unstressed.

So in a moment that you have some time, make yourself a list. So that at the time that you need that, you don’t have to activate that executive function. You just have these are all the things I know that make me happy, so I don’t have to think about them. Because in that moment, I’ll tell you what, you will not think about it. But if you go, “Oh, doing five jumping jacks makes me feel happy. Okay, go I can go and I can do that. Standing up makes me feel happy, having a drink of water, getting a cup, whatever it is talking to Rachel makes me feel happy.” What makes you unhappy and think about can you fix it? There are lots of little niggly things that we can actually fix and can stop doing. And then kind of like what was your contribution to happiness today? Did you do something else like, again reflecting on your Tada list.

And then kind of gratitude, progress, anything you wanted to change? I call it take five so that five minutes with your employee every day. Praise and positive feedback. And then the one that for me that is the bit about play. If you have the ability, random acts of workplace kindness is a really good place to go, doing something special and surprising for other people. And then sharing that good story. How are you communicating that if you are a practice, lead or a practice, manager or a lead consultant, any of those things, thinking about how are you going to share the stories you’ve heard? How do people know what good is in your, in your workplace, right? And then just tick it off, you don’t have to be perfect.

You might not get it every day. But sometimes some people are amazing. My husband is one of those people who just goes, I need to start doing X every day. And then he could just do it. I have no idea how he does it. But this is how his mind works. I cannot do it. I need like 17 alarms and a reminder. And then even then, I don’t get it right most of the time. But any of those little things that you can do being intentional, checking in. And yeah, it’s a practice, it’s like mindfulness, you’re not going to be able to meditate for an hour the first time you do it. And then what’s working what’s not. Some of those ideas might not work in your workplace, the elephant might make people feel uncomfortable and be weird and cringy. Does that mean? Is it the elephant? Or is it the exercise? So don’t do that. When scrap that one, try something new like just experiment? It’s not, you don’t have to do a culture change program, you can just write an email.

Rachel: Because all of those make total sense. We’re nearly out of time. But I’ve got two questions. And then I’m gonna ask you for three tips. So first one is I have a relative who doesn’t like me talking about thriving at work and being happy at work? I think because they’re stuck in a job they don’t like. And whenever I talk about actually no, do something that plays to your strengths that you enjoy that you thrive in. The comeback I get is “Not everyone can do that. Rachel, what about people stuck in really low paid jobs and in much poorer countries who don’t have any choice about what they do? Isn’t it really, really self-indulgent?” I think you probably know what your answer would be. But what should I say to this person? Because it really bugs me, and I’m getting really defensive, and then completely incoherent.

Sarah: So I guess one thing I would say to that is I know people like that I, I obviously encountered them all the time during the job that I do. Anyone can be happy at work. And actually, in a lot of poor countries, what you see is people really happy in their job. It’s about how are you connecting it to that and like you said, play to your strengths and all these things. But I learned about happiness at work. And I didn’t realise that that’s what it was, my mom was a janitor in a hospital, my whole life growing up. And my mom loved her work and she was really happy to go to work every day. Because she knew she was connected to what she was doing. She knew how what she did mattered. And that feeling of success, right?

I would say like in a factory, you probably can, can quite easily like see your results more easily, perhaps than in some of us with no, you know, who are knowledge workers or, as you say, healthcare workers. If you’re treating sick people every day, and there’s always sick people, there always will be, you really have to think hard about obviously, you have made a difference. But it’s hard to see that when you’re constantly faced with it, but actually connecting, you know, who did my job help today? Or what did I do that made something better? Or what is the thing about your job, it can be so tiny and it is personal. And I guess I would just say, you know, anyone can be happy at work. And kind of leave it at that. Because it’s a choice, there is a point where it’s a choice, what are you focusing on?

And no, of course, if you’re in slavery, you’re not going to be happy at work. But that does not really work. And again, I think doctors and nurses and people who are in a work context where you have so much pressure on you, and you have no autonomy to be able to change the system. That definitely causes unhappiness at work, right. But there are things you can do to raise your own individual happiness and to choose to do. You can’t change those people. I tend to kind of let the cynics— I’ll have a conversation with them. But then after that, if they want to be miserable and unhappy, and, you know, stressed and less healthy and all those. Well, okay. Yeah. We don’t want that. And we really want to make changes.

Rachel: Yes. Like you, do you. I mean, there are lots of people in the world who don’t have a choice and who are in, you know, very, very difficult circumstances. But that doesn’t mean that those of us who do have a choice shouldn’t then try and actually, it’s like you said, if you are happy at work, you’re gonna be doing better in the world anyway, aren’t you? It’s gonna be good for the planet. So it’s good for everybody. So it’s, it’s not self indulgent.

Sarah: It’s better for everyone around you. So it’s yeah, it’s not selfish.

Rachel: Thank you. I’m glad we cleared at that point. Second point. Obviously meaningful relationships, really important and I’m just wondering if it works the other way around. If you can have everything there, you can have good work, meaningful work, getting results, you can have purpose you can play, but you’ve got a really bad relationship with your boss. Well, that just trumps everything in terms of happiness.

Sarah: Yeah, pretty much. Not always. So high social support is the kind of antidote to both like a high work or high workload, but also a really difficult situation. But yeah, 70% of people who leave their jobs leave them because of their boss. And so as a boss, again, we have this really huge responsibility that does come often when we’re overloaded. But, yeah, if you have a toxic boss, then you can try and work it out. A lot of the time, they don’t want to be. Most people I’m with Rutger Bregman on this one, most people are genuinely good. They might not know, they might think that people are motivated by negative, and they might be in that negative mindset.

You don’t know what stresses they’re going on or anything. I always like to get curious if at all possible, but I have had a toxic boss, and I quit. I was in a lucky scenario that I could. I appreciate not everyone can do that. But if you focus on results, relationships, purpose and play, you’ll be buffered. You will have a little bit more resilience, there’ll be a little bit closer to that thriving side of things, you’ll be in a better place than someone who didn’t have that. And you would still have the toxic boss.

Rachel: Yeah, I think that’s very helpful. And just remembering and I talked about the zone of power all the time, there are some things that you can control. There are some things that you can’t control. We can’t control other people. I mean, you can give feedback, you can make requests, you can express needs. At the end of the day, if they’re going to be like they are and things aren’t changing, then again, you have a choice about what you do and where you work. So that’s interesting right now, we really are out of time. So Sarah, okay, so three, three tips for anyone who’s thinking I’m not that happy at work. Now, what top three tips would you give them?

Sarah: I would say, first one for me would be relationships. So just go take five minutes with someone else. Two think about—just reflect on your week. Is there one tiny, tiny thing or maybe it’s a big thing that brought you a little bit of joy, a little bit of contentment, a little bit of any of those things? What was it? Try to identify not what you did, but what that feeling is because that’s a good feeling. And just again, it’s like gratitude, once you start practising it, you’ll see more of it, and you’ll be able to do more of it. And you’ll kind of get yourself out of that spiral. Three things you said, right? Catch someone doing something good and tell them.

Rachel: Wonderful. So that’s two things for you. And then one thing to make other people happy so I love that. Oh, gosh. So that’s just been really, really helpful, really helpful. And I’m sure lots of our listeners are thinking, those are easy things like that. They’re easy once you’ve made time for them and been intentional about it.

Sarah: Simple, not easy. So tell yourself that because, yeah, they are very simple. But the hard part is time and intention.

Rachel: Sarah that has just been fantastically helpful. Thank you so much. And there’s so much more to talk about. So it would be great if you could come back on on another time if that’s okay.

Sarah: I’d love to, I had such a good time. Thank you so much.

Rachel: Oh, you’re very welcome. Now, Sarah has very kindly agreed to share her crib sheet, her happiness at work or how to be happy at work crib sheet for leaders with us. There’ll be a link to her downloadable PDF in there just for us, just for listeners of You Are Not A Frog. Thank you so much. That’s very, very kind of you. So there’ll be a link to that in the show notes. And Sarah if people want to get in touch with you, get ahold of you, how could they find you or find out more about your work?

Sarah: Yep. I’m on LinkedIn, and kind of like the usual socials, but you can go to happiness@work.co or Happy Coffee Consulting, or you can just email me I’m sarahhappiness@work.co. And yeah, I’m always happy to talk happiness at work as you can hear.

Rachel: That’s so wonderful. Thank you so much, and have a good rest of the day. Have a happy evening.

Sarah: You too, and hope your listeners have get a little bit more happiness in their lives because they sure deserve it. Totally.

Rachel: Thank you. Bye, bye.

Thanks for listening. Don’t forget, we provide a self coaching CPD workbook for every episode. You can sign up for it via the link in the show notes. And if this episode was helpful, then please share it with a friend. Get in touch with any comments or suggestions at hello@youarenotafrog.com I love to hear from you. And finally, if you’re enjoying the podcast, please rate it and leave a review wherever you’re listening. It really helps. Bye for now.

Podcast links

Sign up here for our FREE new mini video series for healthcare professionals about prioritizing, raising confidence and falling in love with what they do.

More about Shawn Achor

Professor Jochen Menges Ted Talk on overwork and burnout

Adam Grant’s Ted Talk on languishing

NHS Trust Study on Happiness and Health Outcomes

Broaden and Build Theory of Barbara Fredrickson

The (Un)Happy Planet Index by Nic Marks

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Contact Sarah on LinkedIn | Email

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Are the things that annoy you in your daily life causing frustration, irritation, and bad moods? Learn how to stay calm in the face of irritations, shake off disruptions and make better decisions even in the heat of the moment.

Summer Replay 2022 Episode 3 – How to Break Up With Your Toxic Relationship With Your Career with Dr Pauline Morris

Dr Pauline Morris joins us to share her career counselling advice for physicians and other professionals in high stress jobs. We discuss the common pitfalls that lead doctors to unsustainable work habits. Pauline also sheds light on why staying in your comfort zone can be detrimental to your performance. To avert this, she shares tips on how to better recognise and advocate for your own needs. We also learn about the importance of self-care and taking time for yourself.

Summer Replay 2022 Episode 2 – Should I stay or should I go? with Corrina Gordon-Barnes

Corrina Gordon-Barnes joins us to share how to better relationships and take control and stay in your zone of power. She shares how to make a good decision by questioning thoughts and assumptions. We also discuss how you can change your perspective to become more compassionate, accepting, and empowered. If you want to know how to better relationships, stay in your zone of power, improve your decision-making skills, and be true to yourself, then tune in to this episode!

Episode 131: What To Do If You’re Stressed AND Bored

Rachel discusses how to address and navigate the toxic combination of stress and boredom in the workplace. She talks about the role of learning in living a good, meaningful, and self-actualised life. Rachel also lays down five ways that will enable you to fit learning into your schedule without increasing the chances of burning out.

Episode 130: How to Say F**k It and Become Ridiculously Relaxed (Even about Stuff That REALLY Matters) with John C. Parkin

John C. Parkin joins us today and encourages us to say ‘fuck it’ more in our lives! Not everything is important, and sometimes we try too hard living up to society’s excessive expectations. John shares how overcoming stress and setting boundaries often results in overthinking and feelings of guilty. He wants us to calm down and breathe! Let’s learn to finally prioritise relaxation in our lives and see how much better we become through it. If you’re struggling with stress and want to know how to calm down and let go of what you can’t control, then this episode is for you.

Episode 127: After Burnout: Going Back to Work with Dr Katya Miles

When major issues occur in your life, it’s often necessary to take a break and deal with them, and of course, there’s also the other reasons we take significant time off work - maternity or parental leave, taking a sabbatical or taking a career break. If you want to know how to go back to work thriving, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 126: Using Nature to Answer Your Big Questions With Henri Stevenson

Henri Stevenson joins us to talk about the ways connecting with nature can shift our thinking and open up new solutions. We discuss the differences in our thoughts and feelings when we're in nature versus within artificial walls. She shares her stories of finding metaphors for life situations reflected in nature and what she learned from them. Henri reminds us that sometimes, the solutions to our problems may show up in quiet spaces when we take a few moments to connect with nature. Curious about how to take time to learn and connect with nature? Learn how and much more when you tune into this episode!

Episode 125: How to Say No and Deal with Pushback with Annie Hanekom

Everyone has difficulty enforcing their set boundaries, from top-end executives to junior employees. Logically, we know that we cannot do everything people want, but biologically, our minds are hardwired to please people. In this episode of You Are Not a Frog, Annie Hanekom guides you through how to say no and deal with the inevitable pushback.

Episode 124: How to Change When Change is Scary with Dr Claire Kaye

Change can definitely be scary. However, it doesn’t always have to be a difficult experience. Dr Claire Kaye joins us in this episode to talk about how you can approach change proactively. Whether you dislike change or thrive on it, her insights and enlightening tips will help you make the most of the opportunities in your life. Are you undergoing a difficult change right now? Learn more about how to change even when change is scary in this episode of You Are Not a Frog.

Episode 123: How to Live With No Regrets with Georgina Scull

Georgina Scull joins us in this episode to talk about what she learned from writing the book, Regrets of the Dying: Stories and Wisdom That Remind Us How to Live. She shares three revelations that people have while on their deathbeds: not being able to make other people happy, living up to other people’s expectations, and trying to rewrite history. We walk you through practical steps to help you reflect on your true desires so you can live a meaningful life.

Episode 122: How to be Happy at Work with Sarah Metcalfe

Joining us to talk about the importance of happiness in the workplace - and how we can find it - is Sarah Metcalfe. The founder of Happiness Coffee Consulting, she shares her top tips on simple things you can do to pursue happiness and share it with others. Even in high-stress jobs, it’s possible to choose happiness and spread it. And the results can be extraordinary. If you want to learn more about how and why we should be happy at work, tune in to this episode.

Episode 121: How To Be A Happy Working Parent with Corrina Gordon-Barnes

Corrina Gordon-Barnes joins us to discuss the common struggles of working parents and the things we need to unlearn. She shares how to take radical responsibility as a parent and delegate responsibilities from housework to emotional load. We also teach you how to stay in your zone of genius and accept help when you need it. It’s time to live a life you love and enjoy, even amidst all your responsibilities! If you’re struggling to balance work and parenting, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 120: Making Online Meetings Work with John Monks

John Monks joins us in this episode to discuss designing better online meetings and interactions. We clarify the difference between a meeting, a presentation, and a workshop. We also discuss creative ways to design online meetings that energise and infuse rather than drain and demotivate. And John shares some simple exercises on limits and boundaries that can radically improve our problem solving and creativity. If you want to know how to make the most out of online meetings, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 118: How to Manage Upwards (and Sideways) with Dr Claire Edwin and Dr Keerthini Muthuswamy

Dr Claire Edwin and Dr Keerthini Muthuswamy talk about their experiences working within a hierarchical system as junior doctors and share what they have found to be essential if you want to build trust and foster good relationships with your seniors, your juniors and your peers. If you want to know how you can build trust and influence your workplace, and manage upwards and sideways this episode is just for you!

Episode 116: What I Got So Wrong About Mindfulness And How It Might Transform Your Life with Dr Steve Pratt

Dr Steve Pratt joins us to discuss what we really mean by mindfulness, and how it could work for you. He'll debunk some of the myths of mindfulness and how you can make it worth your time and effort. We'll discuss how certain techniques can help us live happier, be less anxious, and harness our resources to make better decisions. Finally, Steve shares his mindfulness practices and takes us on a quick three-minute breathing exercise! If you want to learn about mindfulness, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 114: How to Get an Appraisal that Doesn’t Suck with Dr Susi Caesar

Dr Susi Caesar joins us to talk about how you can elevate and enjoy your professional life with annual appraisals. She shares the purpose of appraisals and how they can help you choose the best way forward in your career and personal life. Dr Susi also gives her top tips on what you can do to make this process more meaningful. If you want to know more about appraisals and how you can benefit from them, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 113: What To Do When A Junior Is Badmouthing Your Colleagues with Dr Ed Pooley

Dr Ed Pooley joins us in this episode to discuss what we should do when we see inappropriate behaviour like badmouthing. He shares how we can manage difficult conversations with the intent of helping others. We also discuss the importance of recognising triggers through the SCARF model. If you want to know how to deal with difficult conversations for a better workplace, listen to this episode.

Episode 112: Why We’re Ditching the Term ‘Imposter Syndrome’ with Dr Sarah Goulding

Dr Sarah Goulding joins us to talk about imposter syndrome and why we need to drop the word from our vocabularies. We also discuss how self doubt can be helpful to us. Finally, she shares tips for overcoming wobbles and incorporating more self-compassion into your life. If you want to get over your imposter syndrome and practice self-compassion, then this episode is for you!

Episode 111: What To Do When You Start To See Red with Graham Lee

Graham Lee joins us to discuss our emotional states and ways to apply simple mindfulness techniques to change them. Most conflicts are rooted in unmet needs. When we admit those needs, we can instantly change relationship dynamics. Graham also shares tips on what to do during stressful situations where your emotions cloud your judgement and thinking. If you want to use mindfulness practice to be more aware of your emotions even during difficult situations, tune in to this episode.

Episode 110: How To Stop People Pleasing And Absorbing Other People’s Angst

Dr Karen Forshaw and Chrissie Mowbray join us to discuss how our core beliefs shape the way we respond to situations. When taken too far, empathy and helping people can be a big cause of stress. In addition, we also talk about we can learn to reframe and reassess their core beliefs. If you want to know how to help people without absorbing their emotions, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 109: Is It Possible To Have Fun At Work? With Dr Kathryn Owler

Dr Kathryn Owler joins us in this episode to share her fascinating research on the characteristics and traits of people who enjoy their current jobs. We dissect the common themes these people have in finding success in their careers. And we also talk about changes we can implement as individuals to make work more fun and enjoyable. If you want to start adopting the mindset people who have fun at work have, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 108: What We Wish We’d Learnt at Med School with Dr Ed Pooley & Dr Hussain Gandhi

Dr Ed Pooley and Dr Hussain Gandhi join us in the latest episode of You are Not a Frog. They discuss the management skills a doctor needs that you won't learn in med school, plus tips to help fresh doctors feel empowered in their workplace. Whether or not you work in medicine, these skills are crucial when it comes to working effectively and managing your own and others’ time. Tune in and listen to the experts talk about the management skills med school doesn't teach you and how to learn and develop them today.

Episode 107: Define Your Own Success In Life With Dr Claire Kaye

Dr Claire Kaye joins us to talk about the importance of honesty and clarity in defining our own success. We may think that achieving certain goals will make us happy, but evidence shows us it’s the other way around. It’s only when we’re happy that we can be successful. We also discuss how to overcome common barriers to our happiness and success such as fear, guilt, and uncertainty. If you want to know how to live a happier and more successful life, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 105: The Simplest Way to Beat Stress and Work Happier with Dr Giles P. Croft

In this episode, Dr Giles P. Croft joins us to discuss how our thoughts and emotions trigger stress signals. He shares his controversial approach to tackling stress, and why most of our efforts to cope better don’t really help at all. We also delve into the importance of pausing to allow yourself to calm down and letting go of the things you can’t control.

Episode 104: How to Cope With Nightmare Relatives and Colleagues Without Losing the Plot

In this special Christmas episode, Corrina Gordon-Barnes shows us how to create the groundwork for a peaceful and successful holiday season, even while navigating difficult relationships with relatives or colleagues. Corrina guides us to relax our expectation of a perfect holiday with our family, so we can face reality in ourselves and others. She explains a simple framework to allow you to resolve conflict, and walks us through what we can do during difficult gatherings and how to shift our responses to create different outcomes. Tune in to improve your strained relationships with relatives and co-workers through empathy and letting go of past assumptions.

Episode 103: How Not to Settle For The Way It’s Always Been Done

Dr Abdullah Albeyatti talks about improving your life and career by making changes and taking risks. He explains why settling for the familiar could be slowly ruining your life and how you can avoid this situation. Finally, he shares his top three tips to become a changemaker in your field. If you want to start doing things differently, creating change, and take more risks, then this episode is for you!

Episode 102: Why FAIL is Not a 4-Letter Word

Drs Claire Edwin, Sally Ross, and Taj Hassan join us to discuss how we can manage and deal with our failures more effectively. We explore the idea that rather than doing something wrong, failure is an opportunity to really grow and learn both as individuals, as leaders and as organisations. In any situation, it’s important to remember that we’re all human. It’s okay to be honest with ourselves and each other about our mistakes - after all, vulnerability is not a sign of weakness. If you want to know how to change your mindset around failure, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 101: Making Helpful Habits Stick with Sheela Hobden

Sheela Hobden joins us to discuss how we can harness the power of checklists to create a routine. She shares how you can approach your goals in a more realistic way and learn to encourage yourself using specific goal setting techniques. Sheela also recommends creating identity-based goals to ensure that you keep building your new identity even after completing certain milestones. Start small, and eventually, you’ll see these good habits stick!

Episode 100: Dealing With the Guilt of Not Being Okay With Dr Nik Kendrew

Dr Nik Kendrew unravels why we experience overwhelming guilt when bad things happen to us. He also shares some tips, techniques, and resources on how to deal with guilt, especially in these difficult times and circumstances. Apart from this, Nik talks about the significance of scheduling our entire day to do important things. Finally, he discusses why setting boundaries is necessary to maintain our sense of self.

Episode 99: How to Deal with Criticism When You’ve Reached Your Limit with Dr Sarah Coope and Dr Rachel Morris

Dr Sarah Coope joins me to talk about the workload of medical professionals and the benefits of setting boundaries while dealing with criticisms amidst the global pandemic. We discuss the three elements of the Drama Triangle and ways to navigate or avoid them reliably. As we dive deeper into the conversation, we explore the art of saying 'No' through acknowledging our limits. Awareness and recognition can go a long way in maintaining our boundaries. If you want to take the first step in recognising your limits, handling criticism better and setting proper boundaries, tune in to this episode.

Episode 96 – How to Deal with Difficult Meetings with Jane Gunn

We hear from the expert in conflict management and mediation, Jane Gunn. She discusses important tips to keep in mind to host great meetings. She shares some practical conflict management tips and how to make decisions that you and your team agree on. Jane also emphasises the importance of putting the fun back in functional meetings and the need to give a voice to participants.

Episode 93 – How to Delegate, Do It, or Drop It with Anna Dearmon Kornick

Anna Dearmon Kornick joins us to share the time management strategies crucial for busy professionals. She lays down tips on how medical practitioners can have more control over their days. Anna talks about how to manage admin time and imparts ways to combat distractions. We also discuss the importance of delegation both inside and outside work. For this, Anna introduces the passion-proficiency lens and knowing your zone of genius.

Episode 92 – How to Avoid Becoming the Second Victim with Dr Caraline Wright & Dr Lizzie Sweeting

Dr Caraline Wright and Dr Lizzie Sweeting join us to discuss the second victim phenomenon. They explain why patient safety incidents are occupational hazards and how they can affect healthcare providers. Caraline then shares her personal experience of being in the “second victim” role. Finally, they share tips on how to avoid second victimhood and how to provide support to someone going through it.

Episode 91 – How to Break Up With Your Toxic Relationship With Your Career with Dr Pauline Morris

Dr Pauline Morris joins us to share her career counselling advice for physicians and other professionals in high stress jobs. We discuss the common pitfalls that lead doctors to unsustainable work habits. Pauline also sheds light on why staying in your comfort zone can be detrimental to your performance. To avert this, she shares tips on how to better recognise and advocate for your own needs. We also learn about the importance of self-care and taking time for yourself.

Episode 90 – What to do About Bitching and Backbiting with Dr Edward Pooley

Dr Edward Pooley joins us again to discuss what to do when colleagues make inappropriate comments about others. We talk about why it’s crucial to consider the question behind the question in workplace backbiting. Ed also teaches us how to challenge in a supportive way. Most importantly, we learn some strategies to prepare ourselves to speak up when the situation requires it.

Episode 89 – Should I stay or should I go? with Corrina Gordon-Barnes

Corrina Gordon-Barnes joins us to share how to better relationships and take control and stay in your zone of power. She shares how to make a good decision by questioning thoughts and assumptions. We also discuss how you can change your perspective to become more compassionate, accepting, and empowered. If you want to know how to better relationships, stay in your zone of power, improve your decision-making skills, and be true to yourself, then tune in to this episode!

Episode 88 – How to Ditch the Saviour Complex and Feel More Alive with Rob Bell

Rob Bell joins us in this episode to discuss the perils of the saviour complex and the desire to keep hustling even when we’re miserable. We learn that taking time for rest and reflection only helps us get stronger. You can’t heal and help rebuild a broken system if you don’t look out for yourself first. Tune in to this episode to find out how to ditch the saviour complex, feel happier and live a more fulfilling life.

Episode 87 – Complaints and How to Survive Them Episode 5: What Should I Do When I Think a Complaint is Unfair? And Other Questions with Drs Sarah Coope, George Wright, Samantha White, and Andrew Tressider

We’re joined by a panel of expert guests to share their thoughts on how to handle complaints. Together, we discuss ways that you can adjust your perspective and respond to unfavourable situations. Most importantly, we tackle issues regarding malicious complaints and how to cope with them. If you’re having trouble managing yourself during complaints, then this episode is for you.

Episode 86 – Gaslighting and Other Ways We’re Abused at Work: What’s Really Going On? with Dr James Costello

Dr James Costello joins us to talk about his new book and the insidious ways that organisations and individuals can undermine us. They compel us to do extra emotional labour for us to cope with the workplace dynamics. We also chat about what happens when authority and power are misused. Finally, James shares some of the disastrous consequences bullying in the workplace can have and what we can do about it. Tune in if you want to know what to do if you suspect that you or a colleague are experiencing relational abuse in the workplace!

Episode 85 – How to have crucial conversations with Dr Edward Pooley

Good communication between colleagues is crucial for the success of any organisation. Dr Edward Pooley joins us again to teach us how to communicate well. He discusses the three strands present in any conversation and helps us understand how we can be more aware of each. We also share some frameworks that can help you navigate difficult conversations. Understanding the importance of emotion is crucial in being an effective communicator and connecting with your team.

Episode 84 – Complaints and How to Survive Them Episode 4: Creating a Workplace Where It’s OK to Fail

Professor Susan Fairley and Dr Jane Sturgess join us to discuss how to create a workplace that doesn’t shy away from failure. We talk about how civility can save lives and also touch on the issues around incident reporting in healthcare. Most importantly, we talk about creating a culture where people can have difficult conversations without defensiveness. If you want to know how to approach failing and speaking up in the workplace, tune in to this episode.

Episode 83 – The Ups and Downs of Being a Man-Frog with Dr Chris Hewitt

Joining us in this episode is Dr Chris Hewitt who also uses the metaphor of a man-frog in coaching professionals to have a better work-life balance. Chris talks about why we find it so hard to recognise burnout. He also shares his top tips and practical strategies to address work dissatisfaction. If you want to stop feeling like a man (or woman) - frog in a pan of slowly boiling water, listen to the full episode.

Episode 82 – Complaints and How to Survive Them Series Episode 3: Surviving the Process

Drs Jessica Harland, Caroline Walker and Heidi Mousney join us in this episode to discuss healthcare professionals’ experiences when dealing with complaints. We talk about the different emotions you may experience and practical tips on getting through. If you want to know how to survive the process after making a mistake at work and receiving a complaint, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 81 – When Soft and Fluffy Met Coronavirus with Steve Andrews

Steve Andrews, Associate Director of Leadership for East and North Herts NHS Trust shares how, through using just five crucial questions, you can check in on people, rather than check up on them. The 5 questions will help you to find out how people really are, help them look out for their colleagues, empower them to solve their own problems AND communicate empathy and support. Want to know how you can apply compassionate leadership in your organisation? Then, this episode is for you.

Episode 80 – Complaints and How to Survive Them Episode 2: What to Do When You Make a Mistake with Drs Clare Devlin and Dr John Powell

Drs Clare Devlin and John Powell join us to discuss the proper way of responding to professional mistakes. We talk about why doctors have a hard time whenever they make a mistake at work. Clare and John also share valuable advice on minimising negative consequences and getting a good outcome for you and your patient. If you want to learn a roadmap for what you should do you make a mistake at work, then tune in to this episode.

Episode 79 – How to Give Yourself Permission to Thrive with Dr Katya Miles

Dr Katya Miles joins us once again to talk about burnout and giving ourselves permission to thrive. Having experienced work burnout, Katya shares her story and discusses the red flags of burnout. We also talk about why we find it difficult to give ourselves permission to thrive and how we can overcome our own internal barriers. If you want to learn about how you can listen to your needs so that you can thrive in work and in life, then this episode is for you.

Episode 78 – Complaints and How to Survive Them Series 1: Preparing to Fail Well with Drs Sarah Coope, Annalene Weston and Sheila Bloomer

Drs Sarah Coope, Annalene Weston and Sheila Bloomer join us in this first episode in a new series on ‘Complaints and How to Survive Them’ to talk about coaching doctors and dentists through complaints made against them. We also talk about the perfectionist mindset and how changing our perspective towards failure can help us and those around us. If you want to know how to deal better with complaints made against doctors and other professionals in high-stress jobs, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 77 – Denial, displacement and other ways we neglect ourselves with Dr Andrew Tresidder

Dr Andrew Tresidder joins us to talk about how many medical practitioners and other professionals in healthcare and high stress jobs neglect their health and well-being. We're so focused on taking care of others that we forget to take care of ourselves but our well-being is vital if we want to keep doing the work we do. Find out why healthcare professionals need to learn more about health, as opposed to only learning about disease and if you want to know how to focus on taking care of your health and well-being, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 76 – Tech Tips for Happy Hybrid Working with Dr Hussain Gandhi

Dr Hussain Gandhi, or Dr Gandalf of eGPlearning, joins us in this episode. He is a GP, PCN director and host of the eGP Learning Podblast that shares deep dives into health tech for primary care. He shares his tech and time hacks for hybrid working to survive and thrive in the new virtual environment. If you want to find out how to improve your hybrid working experience, then tune in to this episode!

Episode 74 – Managing your Time in a System Which Sucks with Dr Ed Pooley

Dr Ed Pooley joins us in this episode to share his take on time management techniques for busy individuals. He discusses the three types of competing demands and how to manage them. We also talk about being more comfortable holding difficult conversations about workplace issues - vital to help change the environment we work in. Tune into this episode to discover how time management techniques and communication can help you get a calmer and more time-efficient workplace.

Episode 73 – How to Find Your Tribe: The PMGUK story with Dr Nazia Haider and Dr Katherine Hickman

Dr Nazia Haider and Dr Katherine Hickman join us on this episode to discuss the importance of a work community. We talk about the inspiring stories from the online community they created, the Physicians Mums Group UK (PMGUK). Nazia and Katherine also share their tips on how to increase connections and find your own tribe at work. If you want to know how to create a network of supportive colleagues and feel more connected, then tune into this episode.

Episode 72 – Working well – from anywhere! with Dr Katya Miles

Dr Katya Miles joins us to discuss how to work well from home by creating healthy boundaries. She shares how to be more productive by using the third space hack and taking breaks. Katya also talks about how to be more active and better connect with people in the workplace. If you want to learn about working well from home and achieving a better work-life balance, then tune in to this episode.

Episode 71 – Create a Career You’ll Love with Dr Claire Kaye

Dr Claire Kaye joins us to discuss how to find a career you love. As an executive coach specialising in career development, Claire is an expert in guiding people how to find a career they love. We talk about the value of job networking and diversifying in our career journeys. We also share our tips and experiences on how to find a career you love. We do this by helping you identify the roles that best suit you and how to go about getting these roles.

Episode 70 – How Safe Do You Feel at Work with Scott Chambers

Scott Chambers joins us to talk about why we need to make people feel comfortable and safe enough to speak up in their workplace. When we create psychological safety in our team, we improve overall happiness and boost performance! If you want to learn how to create psychological safety for a better and happier team - whether you’re the boss or not, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 69 – Make Time for What Matters with Liz O’Riordan

Liz O'Riordan joins us to share productivity life hacks. These have helped her transform how she approaches work. Now, Liz can spend quality time with her family and enjoy life. In this episode, she teaches us how we too can achieve this. If you want to learn some new life hacks, beat burnout and work happier, then tune in to this episode!

Episode 68 – The Revolutionary Art of Breathing with Richard Jamieson

Richard Jamieson discusses how we can utilise breathing techniques to feel calmer, make better decisions and be more productive. He explains the different steps we can take to change our breathing patterns. When you’re in a high-stress situation, remember this: just breathe. If you want to know how to use breathing techniques to beat stress in everyday situations, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 67 – Bringing Your Best Self to Work with Dr Sarah Goulding

Dr Sarah Goulding discusses how to bring your whole self to work without leaving bits of you behind. Sarah shares her own story of experiencing burnout at her old job and rediscovering her true passion. We also discuss how applying our core strengths to our jobs can mean the difference between burnout and having a sense of fulfilment. Don’t miss out on this episode if you want to learn more about how to be yourself and how to bring joy back into your work!

Episode 65 – Passing the Naughty Monkey Back with Dr Amit Sharma

Dr Amit Sharma joins us to discuss the effects of taking on too many of other people’s ‘naughty monkeys’. We talk about why professionals in high-stress jobs so often take on the rescuer role and how to shift that mindset. Amit and I also discuss the importance of empowering patients to take control of their own health. If you want to know how to avoid being weighed down by too many naughty monkeys, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 64 – What to Do When You’re Out of Fuel with Dr Jess Harvey

Dr Jess Harvey, a GP partner and GB triathlete, talks about what happened to her after running out of fuel and feeling burnt out. She discusses how we often ignore the symptoms and signs for too long and why resting and refuelling is as important as what we're doing in the first place. If you’re feeling burnt out, tune in to this episode to find out how you can plug the holes in your energy bucket!

Episode 63 – How to Survive Even When Times are Tough with Dr Caroline Walker

This episode is part of the COVID-19 Supporting Doctors series, and joining us again is Dr Caroline Walker. She's here to discuss why rest is crucial, especially for people in high-stress jobs. Caroline also shares key strategies that can keep us going through the crisis. The previous year has been tough, so don’t miss this episode to start 2021 better prepared.

Episode 62 – Self-Coaching for Success with Dr Karen Castille, OBE

Dr Karen Castille joins me in this episode to discuss her book on self-coaching. She shares powerful questions to ask yourself which will jumpstart your self-coaching journey. She also talks about the importance of developing this vital skill and crafting powerful life questions. Before we close the show, Karen gives her top tips for self-coaching. Don’t miss this episode if you want to learn how you can find clarity and achieve success through self-coaching!

Episode 61 – The Self Help Book Group on Happiness with Dr Nik Kendrew

In this episode, You Are Not A Frog regular Dr Nik Kendrew joins me to discuss the concept of happiness. We tackle the everlasting question of ‘What is happiness’? We also talk about perfectionism and fear and how these can hinder us from doing the things we want to do. At the end of the show, Nik and I give our top tips to being happier. If you want to know more about living a happy life, then this episode is for you.

Episode 60 – Creating a Workplace that Works with Dr Sonali Kinra

Dr Sonali Kinra joins us to discuss why people leave their jobs and how to prevent it. We talk about the importance of workplace culture and its role in creating an environment that makes people want to stay. We also discuss why you need to seek opportunities that broaden and develop your career. Don’t miss this episode if you want to find out how to keep yourself in a job you love.

Episode 59 – A Social Dilemma? With Dr James Thambyrajah

In this episode, Dr James Thambyrajah joins us to talk about social media’s subtle yet profound effect on our daily lives. We discuss the perils of being unaware of how our online decisions are influenced. James also shares his insights on how we can improve how we stay informed and inform others. Tune in to this episode if you want to learn more about how to go beyond your digital echo chamber.

Episode 55 – The One About Alcohol

Dr Giles P Croft is back to chat with Rachel about his experiences following a revolutionary read he was recommended. You might remember Giles from episode 46, where he talked about how as humans, we naturally default to happiness.

Episode 52 – A year of the frog

The week’s episode is a special one as the Frog celebrates a year of podcasting! It’s been quite a year - including charting in Apple’s Top 100 Business Podcasts in the UK!

Episode 50 – Freeing yourself from the money trap

Joining Rachel in this week’s episode is Dr Tommy Perkins, as well as being a GP Partner, and father, Tommy is one half of Medics Money. Medics Money is an organisation specifically aimed at helping doctors make better decisions with their finances. It’s run by Tommy and Dr Ed Cantelo who is not only a doctor but a qualified accountant.

Episode 49 – The Self Help Book Group No 2 with Nik Kendrew

This week Rachel is joined by You Are Not A Frog regular, Nik Kendrew. Last time Nik joined us, we discussed a book that has helped him in his professional life as a GP, trainer and partner as well as his personal life. Nik’s back this week to talk about another brilliant book and to share what insights and learnings he’s gained from it.

Episode 47 – How to Have a Courageous Conversation

Rachel talks with Beccie D'Cunha about the conversations that we avoid and the conversations we really need to have with our colleagues, teams and managers. They can be described as difficult conversations, but we can redefine them as courageous conversations - because ultimately it takes courage for both parties to listen and be heard.

Episode 46 – Default to happy

Rachel talks with Dr Giles P Croft about his take on how to beat stress and burnout. Giles  is a psychology graduate and former NHS surgeon who stepped aside from clinical practice for a decade to explore a number of career paths, including health informatics, cycling journalism, public speaking and high street retail with his wife.

Episode 45 – Rest. The final frontier

Rachel is joined by Sheela Hobden, Professional Certified Coach, wellbeing expert and fellow Shapes Toolkit facilitator. We talk about why rest isn’t just important for wellbeing, but important for productivity and creativity too. 

Episode 40 – Leading with tough love with Gary Hughes

In this episode, Rachel is joined by Gary Hughes, author of the book Leadership in Practice, blogger, educator and facilitator who is a Practice Manager by day. We chat about how leadership in the COVID-19 crisis has had to adapt, and the different roles that a leader has had to take.

Episode 37 – How to manage conflict during COVID with Jane Gunn

Rachel is thrilled to welcome back Jane Gunn – lawyer, mediator and expert in conflict resolution who has been known as the Corporate Peacemaker. This episode is for you if the thought of addressing a difficult issue with one of your colleagues send you running for the hills…

Episode 20 – A creative solution to stress with Ruth Cocksedge

In this episode, Rachel is joined by Ruth Cocksedge a Practitioner Psychologist who started her career as a mental health nurse. She practices in Cambridge and has a particular interest in EMDR for PTSD and creative writing as a way to improve mental health and wellbeing.

Episode 11 – The magical art of reading sweary books

In this episode, Rachel is joined once again by Dr Liz O’Riordan, the ‘Breast Surgeon with Breast Cancer’, TEDx speaker, author, blogger, triathlete and all round superstar who has been nominated for ‘Woman of the Year’.

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