Episode 141: You Choose

Do you ever feel as though, when it comes to work, you don’t have a choice about what you do? Your role and responsibilities prevent you from taking an alternative course of action, even when you know it won’t create the best outcome. In this episode, we explore how we make a choice every time we act — and wrestle with the reality that no obligation can force you to do something you would prefer to avoid.

In this You Are Not a Frog Quick Dip, Rachel delves into our ability to choose. She shares the common thing healthcare professionals get wrong about choice and why we find it difficult to make choices. She discusses the Zone of Power and how it can help us assess what’s in and out of our control when we make a choice. At the end of the day, we only have one wild and precious life — it’s your choice how to spend it.

If you want to know how to make a choice with unclouded acceptance, tune in to this episode!

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

  1. Discover what it means to live a wild and precious life.

  2. Learn how to make a choice and leave the victim mentality of having no choice.
  3. Understand the concept of the Zone of Power.

Episode Highlights

[00:29] You Choose!

  • You Choose! came in free book week bags children used to get from nursery school.

  • The book began with the question, “If you could go anywhere, where would you go?”
  • It also asks who you would like for family and friends, how you would travel, and what you would eat when you get hungry.
  • The book tackles the importance of choices.

’I’ve become really quite obsessed with the choices that we make in life and how actually when we want to think about how to thrive rather than just survive at work and in life.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[01:36] Make A Choice

‘It’s all about the little choices that we choose to make on a daily basis, rather than some massive, new, resilient systems and massive, new concepts that we lead to learn.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

  • Thriving rather than surviving at work and in life is all about seeing the little choices we choose to make every day.

  • People in healthcare and high-stress jobs get a lot wrong about choice.
  • When we were little, we thought we had all the choices in the world. As we get older, we find these choices getting much more limited.
  • These limited choices make us feel like we don’t have a choice at all.
  • Listen to the full episode to know how Rachel first realised she had a choice in what job to take on!

‘I thought I had no transferable skills. So when they said to me, your year’s resolution is to get a new job. That was the first time I’d ever thought, really? Could I do that? Do I even have the choice?’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[04:17] Living a Wild and Precious Life

  • The last line of The Summer Day asks, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

  • It became Rachel’s quest to think about what a wild and precious life looks like in the jobs we’re already doing.
  • If we wait for our lives to sort themselves out, they’ll never get sorted.
  • It’s possible to choose to have a wild and precious life even where you are right now.

[06:14] What Healthcare Professional Get Wrong about Choice

  • Healthcare professionals think they don’t have any choice about things.

  • Life is made up of all the choices we make.
  • We can always make a choice, even in the most difficult situations.

‘There is a lot of stuff that is outside of our control. So I talk a lot about the zone of power. That’s a very simple concept about recognising what’s in your control and what’s outside your control.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[07:34] Recognising Your Zone of Power

  • The zone of power is a simple concept about recognising what’s in and out of our control.

  • Draw a circle on a piece of paper. List what’s outside your control outside the circle.
  • Some examples of things outside our control are the economy, politicians, COVID, changes in the NHS, other people, illness, loss, etc.
  • But being able to accept the things outside our control is a choice.

‘If you are somewhere where you have some freedom about what job you can do, about what faith you can believe in, about how you spend your time during the day, how you spend your money, then you always do have a choice, even if it feels like you’ve got lots and lots of obligations.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[09:02] Choice and Losses

  • You make a choice every time there are losses.

  • You can choose to live your losses as pathways to hatred and anger. Or, you can choose to allow them to be pathways to something deeper.

‘You can choose to live your losses as passages to anger, blame, hatred, depression, and resentment. Or you choose to let these losses be passages to something new, something wider, something deeper. You see how we accept that stuff that is outside of our control? That is also a choice.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[09:36] Embracing Serenity

  • Rachel finds the Serenity Prayer helpful in dealing with things outside her zone of power.
  • Serenity means unclouded acceptance.
  • Unclouded acceptance means making choices about how we will accept things outside our control.
  • It might be through ensuring we’re not constantly dwelling on it or getting the help we need to get through it.

[10:44] Why We Find the Concept of Choice Difficult

  • One thing in our zone of power is what time we leave work. GPs get cross about this suggestion because they think they can’t leave their patients.
  • But in the end, we are the ones who choose to stay at work and be good doctors.
  • Choices have consequences. It feels difficult to make a choice because the consequences are often out of our control.
  • Often, other people feel put out when we make a choice that doesn’t benefit them. It is where the fear of making these choices stops us.
  • What happens then is we stay stuck and helpless in a victim mentality that we don’t have a choice.

‘Choices have consequences. And this is why it feels so hard sometimes, because the consequences often are out of our control.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[12:56] Regrets of the Dying

  • It’s a book by Georgina Scull containing interviews of people in their final year of life.
  • The biggest regrets of the dying were the choices they had not made rather than the things they had done.
  • What held them back was the fear of what other people thought of them.
  • The other thing that holds us back is focusing on making choices about things outside our control.

[14:33] Zone of Power Exercise

  • Download the free Zone of Power canvas. Get a piece of paper, draw a circle in the middle, and do a zone of power on it.
  • Think about what’s outside your control that you need to accept and what you can do to accept it better.
  • In the circle, think about every choice you have in the situation, even the ones you dislike.
  • At the end of your list, ask yourself or a friend about what else you could do.
  • Finally, work out what your next powerful step that’s in your control will be.

Enjoy This Podcast?

In today’s high-stress work environment, you may feel like a frog in boiling water. The pan has heated up so slowly that you didn’t notice the feeling of stress and overwhelm becoming the norm. You may feel it is impossible to survive AND thrive in your work.

Frogs generally have only two options — stay and be boiled alive or jump out of the pan. Fortunately, you are not a frog. You have many more options, choices and control than you think. Negative emotions aren’t intrinsically negative — even if they are, identification and analysis help manage them!

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Here’s to surviving and thriving inside and outside our work!

Rachel

Episode Transcript

Rachel Morris: This is a You Are Not A Frog Quick Dip. A tiny taster of the kinds of things we talk about on our full podcast episodes. I’ve chosen today’s topic to give you a helpful boost in the time it takes to have a cup of tea, so you can return to whatever else you’re up to feeling energised and inspired. For more tools, tips, and insights to help you thrive at work, don’t forget to subscribe to You Are Not A Frog wherever you get your podcasts.

When my kids were little, there was one book that I had to read to them every single night. It was called, You Choose by Nick Sherratt and Pippa Goodhart, and it came in one of those Free Book Week bags that we used to get from nursery. So every night, we would open this book, which started off saying, If you could go anywhere, where would you go? And there were pictures of the jungle, pictures of cities and deserts. And they were off there in a hot air balloon.

It was asking you, who would you like for family and friends? Which was quite an interesting concept for my children that they can actually choose their parents. I think my son often chose gangsters as parents. What kind of home would you choose? And when they got to choose what job they would do, how they would travel around. It was always things like rockets, or horse and cart, or race cars, really. And when they got hungry, what would they– was mainly jelly and sweets.

Every single night, we had to read this book. And I wasn’t quite sure what the attraction was in it, until now. Until I started thinking about the importance of choices. And I’ve become really quite obsessed with the choices that we make in life and how actually when we want to think about how to thrive rather than just survive at work and in life.

It’s all about the little choices that we choose to make on a daily basis, rather than some massive, new, resilient systems and massive, new concepts that we lead to learn. But I think, people work in healthcare, and other high stress jobs, we get a lot wrong about choice. You see, when I was little, I thought I had all the choices in the world just like my kids when they were reading that You Choose book.

As we get older, we find our choices get much more limited. Now my daughter is 17. She’s having to choose universities, and yes, her choices are limited, because she took certain A levels, and she’s only looking at certain cities. But she’s still got a massive amount of choice. Fast forward a few years from there and you end up in a job where you have more and more responsibility. You end up with a family of your own. You end up with a mortgage. You end up financially tied down.

It’s quite easy to feel like you don’t have a choice at all. And this was me six years ago. I felt I had no choice. I was in a job that I enjoyed some of it, but not all of it. But I genuinely thought I wasn’t able to do anything else. And it wasn’t until new year when I said to my sister and my husband, I said what are your New Year’s resolutions? And they said, well, we haven’t got any, but they looked at me and said yours, Rachel, your New Year’s resolution is to get yourself a new job.

That was the first time I’ve even thought I had any choice in the matter. You see, as a girl who quite liked science going through school and A levels. I also knew I liked people. And my parents were both doctors. I just sort of got funnelled into medicine. I think there was a choice in there somewhere, but I don’t seem to remember being given the choice really to do anything else. And from that I funnelled myself into general practice because I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do.

Then I got into medical education. And I found myself just working and working and working with three children in a city, which I love, but not really able to go anywhere else. And I thought I had no transferable skills. So when they said to me, your year’s resolution is to get a new job. That was the first time I’d ever thought, really? Could I do that? Do I even have the choice? So I went on my journey. Fast forward a couple of years, and I’m on a retreat in the Alps.

It’s a business retreat, and someone was talking to me about what I wanted to do, and how I wanted my life to look. And again, I thought to myself, “Oh, I would love to live out here.” There’s a community of businesses out here, people that have chosen to come and live in the Alps, to spend their mornings working their afternoons, rock climbing or skiing depending on the time of year. I would love to live out here. But I can’t.

I don’t have a choice about it because I’ve got three kids and I live in Cambridge. And then I realised that I do have a choice about it. I could go and live out there if I wanted to. I could live here. I could go set up a business there. But I’m choosing not to. Why? Because I love my family, and I want to support them where I am. And I was reading the poem by Mary Oliver, The Summer Day.

The last line of that is that amazingly and very often quoted line, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” And that really struck me, I thought, what does a wild and precious life look like? I can see what it looks like out here in the Alps. But what does it look like, on a Monday morning, in Cambridge, in the job that I’m doing?

My quest since then, is to think about actually what does a wild and precious life look like, right here, where we are in the jobs that we’re already doing? Because I think if we wait until our lives are totally sorted, we’re living in the most beautiful environment with the absolutely best people and there’s no problems around. If we wait till then, to feel that we’re going to be okay, then we’re going to be waiting a very, very long time, because that is never going to happen.

It is perfectly possible to choose even where you are to have a wild and precious life. Now, one thing that healthcare professionals get wrong about choice is thinking that you never have a choice, that you don’t have any choice about things. I remember a coaching colleague talking to me about a talk that she did about choice. She was talking about life being made up of the choices that you make, and someone came to her after the talk.

He said, “Well, in my country where I grew up, we had compulsory conscription into the army, and I had no choice about that.” Well, she said to him, “What would have happened, if you’d have said you weren’t going to go into the army.” He said, “Well, I’d have gone to jail.” She said, “Well, that’s your choice. It was the army or jail. But you always have a choice.” And that’s really, really difficult to hear.

But it is true, we always have a choice, even in the most difficult of situations. And Viktor Frankl and Edith Edgar are Holocaust survivors who were in concentration camps. And Viktor Frankl talked about the fact that you always have a choice when– even when everything has been taken away from you, you have a choice about how you’re going to respond to a situation.

Edith Edgar has written a book called, The Choice. All about the choices that you can make, even when life has dealt you a really, really hard hand. And I’m not denying the very, very difficult situations that many, many people are facing right now. And there is a lot of stuff that is outside of our control. So I talk a lot about the zone of power. That’s a very simple concept about recognising what’s in your control and what’s outside your control.

The simplest way to do it is to draw a circle on a piece of paper and outside the circle, write everything that’s outside your control. So the economy is outside our control. Politicians are outside our control. COVID’s outside of control. The changes in the NHS, largely outside our control. And what other people do is outside our control.

There are lots of things that happen to us in life that are outside our control. Bereavements, illness, loss, we don’t have a choice about the country that we are born into. Who our parents are, if we have a disability, that is not a choice that we have. But how we are able to accept the stuff outside our control is a choice.

If you are somewhere where you have some freedom about what job you can do, about what faith you can believe in, about how you spend your time during the day, how you spend your money, then you always do have a choice, even if it feels like you’ve got lots and lots of obligations. Now Henry Newman, a spiritual writer, talks about some of the choices you have, even in those hard times. This is him talking about loss. Every time there are losses, there are choices to make.

You can choose to live your losses as passages to anger, blame, hatred, depression, and resentment. Or you choose to let these losses be passages to something new, something wider, something deeper. You see how we accept that stuff that is outside of our control? That is also a choice. And in my life, I have been guilty of absolutely railing against that stuff that I can’t control. That stuff that’s outside my zone of power. And this is where I find the Serenity Prayer really helpful.

God grant me the serenity to accept the stuff that I can’t change, the courage to change the stuff that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Now when I looked up the meaning of the word serenity, on this occasion, the word serenity means unclouded acceptance. I love that idea of unclouded acceptance. I’m getting a bit obsessed with how we accept the stuff that we can’t control, without tying ourself up in knots without getting really, really anxious and really, really worried about it.

But I think unclouded acceptance means that we make some choices about how we are going to accept that stuff that is outside our control. So that might be by making sure that we’re not putting ourselves in situations where we are constantly dwelling on it or constantly encountering it. It might be getting the help that we need to get through it. So why do we find this concept of choice so difficult?

There’s always one bit in some training that I do, where people get pretty shirty. And that’s when I asked them what’s in their zone of power. And one thing that’s often suggested that is in your zone of power is what time you leave work. And when I do this with GPs, there’s always a few people in the audience that get quite annoyed, that we might be suggesting that they are in control over what time they leave work.

But it’s logical, if you think about it. There’s nobody else in control over when you leave work because nobody can force you to stand up and go out to your bike or your car and get in it and drive home. It’s you that makes that decision, unless someone’s got a gun to your head about doing it.

But the reason why people get so cross is it they say, “Well, I can’t leave. I can’t leave because I’ve got all these patients to see, and I have to do these test results. If I don’t get to the test results, that could cause severe harm to a patient.”

But that doesn’t mean you don’t have a choice, you do have a choice. But what’s happening is you are choosing to stay at work, so that you can be a good doctor, and make sure that those patients are safe. Because choices have consequences. And this is why it feels so hard sometimes, because the consequences often are out of our control. And they can be quite scary.

Nobody wants to cause a patient harm. Nobody wants to get a complaint. No one wants other people to think badly of them. No one wants other people to be put out or inconvenienced. But these are the consequences of the choices that we make. And often when we make choices, other people are put out, or they don’t understand, or they want us to make a different choice. And that is where we find it so difficult.

That is where the fear of making these choices stops us. And so what happens is we stay stuck. We stay stuck and helpless in a victim mentality thinking I don’t have a choice here. I can’t make the choice to do that because what will they think of me? I can’t make the choice to do that because what will happen there? Now, in a previous podcast with Gina Scull, we talked about The Regrets of the Dying, the book that she’s written. She interviewed a lot of people in their final year of their life.

You know what their biggest regrets were? Their regrets were the choices that they had not made, rather than the things that they had done. They regretted not choosing to get out of situations. They regretted not being courageous and taking those steps. The main thing that held them back was the fear of what other people thought of them. Whether that the choice was the wrong one, it was the fear of other people.

The things that hold me back I know are people pleasing, are a bit of perfectionism, always wanting to do it really right or not at all; the fear of failure. It’s actually very rarely things that are really significant, like causing patient harm, or something severe, that’s actually really holds me back. And often the other thing that holds me back is the time. The time needed to think things through.

But also, the other thing that holds us back a lot when it comes to choices, is that what we are trying to change, what we’re trying to make choices about is stuff that’s outside of our control. Stuff that we don’t have choices about. And so we end up getting really angry and spending all our time and focus on trying to change systems that won’t change or trying to change other people’s minds, instead of focusing that time and energy on ourselves.

I want you to try this now. If you are feeling stuck in a situation, if you’re in a situation where you feel you have no choice about something, then just download the free Zone of Power Canvas from the link in the show notes. Get a piece of paper, draw a circle in the middle and do a Zone of Power on it. Ask yourself, what is outside of my control here now that I need to accept, that I need to have unclouded acceptance about, and what can I do to accept that a bit better?

Then in that Zone of Power, in that circle, I want you to think, what choices do I have in this situation? And brainstorm every single choice, even the totally unpalatable ones that you are never going to do. It’s good to see your options out there, though. And once you get to the end of your list, ask yourself, well, what else could I do? Or ask a friend, what else could I do in this situation now? What are my other choices? And then work out what your next step is going to be.

What is your next powerful step that is in your control? Because life is made up, not so much of the really big choices that we make, but of all the little choices that we make on a daily basis. And if you don’t design your own life, then somebody else is going to. So what will you do with your one, wild, and precious life? You choose.

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Podcast Links

You Choose! by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart

The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

The Choice by Edith Eger

Loss and Gain by John Henry Newman

You Are Not A Frog Episode 123: How to Live With No Regrets with Georgina Scull

Regrets of the Dying by Georgina Scull

Stay within your zone of power through the Zone of Power handout.

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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 75 – How to Escape the Drama Triangle and Stop Rescuing People with Annie Hanekom

Annie Hanekom joins us to shed light on the different roles which interact in the drama triangle. She shares the pitfalls of taking on each role and how we can actively shift from these roles into something better, fostering healthier relationships at work. If you want to know more about how you can step out of the drama triangle, have better conversations and build healthier relationships with your colleagues, make sure you 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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2022-11-23T02:41:27+01:00