Episode 99: How to deal with criticism when you’ve reached your limit with Dr Sarah Coope & Dr Rachel Morris

Are you the kind of person who says ‘yes’ to everything? You might struggle to refuse requests for fear of criticism, or worry about letting people down. The trouble is, not knowing when to say ‘no’ can be a self-destructive path — and it’s the perfect recipe for burnout. Spreading yourself too thin rarely results in real fulfilment. That’s why it’s vital to set boundaries around your work. The first step to creating boundaries is to recognise your limits.

In the episode, 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.

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

  1. Learn about the concept of being over-responsible for specific tasks and why it is often detrimental for doctors.

  2. Understand why setting boundaries is crucial for handling criticism effectively, maintaining your well-being and keeping your work performance up.
  3. Discover how to get out of the victim and saviour complex.

Episode Highlights

[04:43] The Overarching Challenges Brought by the Pandemic

  • In the beginning, many people focused on personal well-being and mental health.

  • There was and still is much grief, trauma, guilt, and moral injury for doctors.
  • Navigating and managing time in the virtual world became a significant task upon the administering of lockdowns.
  • On top of dealing with mental health, many of us attempted to resolve our fear of isolation by supporting everyone around us.
  • Many leaders went down the path of trying to be all things to all people.

[06:46] Most Impactful Messages from the Podcast Amidst COVID

  • Collaborating with other people has been one of the joys for Rachel amidst the COVID situation.

  • Dr Caroline Walker shared a fundamental key message: ‘It’s okay not to be okay’.

‘Because I think as healthcare professionals, we don’t think it’s okay not to be okay. And we don’t think it’s okay to have feelings since before, anything’s difficult.’

  • There has been a lot of emphasis on the normality of struggle around our situation.
  • Another vital lesson to learn is for us to break away from the rescuer mentality and saviour complex.
  • Lastly, Rachel stresses that we need to create appropriate boundaries and care for ourselves before handling everyone else.

[9:55] Criticism and Over-Responsibility

  • People feel obligated to care for their team’s well-being, sometimes neglecting priorities or taking responsibility for their team’s mistakes.

  • It is impossible to please everybody all the time. You might feel guilty when you can’t, but being over-responsible is an unhealthy way of mitigating that guilt.
  • Many healthcare professionals feel overly responsible for their patients because they believe it is part of their job.
  • Despite prioritising their patients, medical professionals still feel devastated when they receive criticism.
  • Dr Sarah advises professionals that putting yourself first helps you improve your ability to serve others.

[13:03] Setting Boundaries around Responsibilities

  • We need to make peace with our limits. It involves setting boundaries and accepting the consequences that come along with them.

  • We may feel uncomfortable with other people not liking our boundaries. But it’s the only way to make peace with our limits.
  • Tune in to the full episode to hear about Glennon Doyle’s take on setting boundaries!

[17:23] Should-ing and Ought-ing

  • We are not people-pleasers; we’re hardwired to want connection and belongingness.

‘We’re not people-pleasers. We’re actually hardwired to want connection and want belongingness to a group.’

  • We often take criticism personally because it targets our deepest insecurities.
  • Saying ‘no’ leads us to ‘should-ing’ and ‘ought-ing’.
  • Doctors tend to be indoctrinated about what they should and should not be.
  • The GMC duties state that doctors should always make patient care their first concern. But in some cases, it is at the expense of doctors’ boundaries.

[20:26] Hippocratic Oath Shaming

  • Doctors sometimes use the Hippocratic Oath to shame themselves and their colleagues. Self-criticism is just as damaging as external criticism.

  • Hippocratic Oath shaming instils the idea that irresponsible doctors are the ones who don’t care for their patients secondary to themselves.
  • Overdoing your duties circles back to the saviour-rescuer.
  • Thinking you ‘should’ do something leads to perceiving you’re the only person who can do it. However, other people have a part in these responsibilities as well.

[22:29] Our Core Self-Beliefs

  • The stronger our limiting beliefs are, the greater the impact criticism has on us. It also amplifies our reactions to criticism.

‘The stronger our limiting beliefs are, the more things are going to touch a raw nerve and shine on that nerve when people say things.’

  • It’s challenging to change our limiting beliefs about ourselves, but the first step is being aware of it.
  • Awareness allows us to introspect about the roots and rationale behind our self-beliefs.
  • A lot of anxiety is often present behind criticisms. It comes back to empathising while keeping our boundaries as best we can.

[25:29] Being in the Victim Mode

  • Doctors and other professionals often have learned helplessness, thinking that nothing is ever going to change.

  • The victim mentality revolves around the thought that someone has no choice but to do something.
  • We often try to control too much of what we can’t control.
  • Identifying what you could do differently is the first step to getting out of victim mode.

[27:08] On the Dangers of Resilience

  • Resilience does not mean putting up with getting punched in the face repeatedly. It’s about teaching people what they can do to avoid getting punched in the face.

‘Resilience is not being repeatedly punched in the face. It’s not teaching someone to put up with being punched in the face. It’s teaching people what they can do to avoid being punched in the face.’

  • Resilience training is about learning what you can do for yourself.
  • The system you work in should find ways to improve working conditions for all its members.

[28:21] Getting Out of the Victim Mentality

  • Identify: What are you in control of? Where are you overstepping your control? Where are you not using your choices?

  • We always have a choice, but every choice has unique consequences.
  • Think about what consequences you’re prepared to put up with when you make a choice.

‘So, you know, when you leave, you do actually have a choice. But you might be choosing to leave work undone or to do certain things, and that will have consequences. But it’s like, what consequences are you prepared to put up with, and what are you not prepared [for]?’

  • Switching your language from ‘I’ve got to…’ to ‘I choose to…” is powerful.

[31:00] On Self-Sabotage

  • The biggest way professionals self-sabotage is by taking on too much. What happens is you end up not feeling successful about anything.

  • You need to do less and start saying ‘No’ so you can manage your responsibilities effectively.
  • Stay in your zone of power and leave the rest of the things you have no control over.
  • One of the ways we self-sabotage is beating ourselves up over stuff we can’t control.
  • The solution comes back to focused intention. Be intentional about the next thing rather than spread yourself too thin.

[33:23] Tips on Saying ‘No’

  • The biggest tip is to say ‘no’ to yourself and the stories you tell yourself in your head. Listen to the full episode to learn what goes on in our brains related to this!
  • Give yourself a pause before deciding to say ‘Yes’ to something. The phrase ‘Can I get back to you?’ gives you time to think about the request.
  • Think whether an opportunity is a ‘Hell yeah’ or a ‘No’. If it’s only ‘Sounds okay’, it belongs to ‘No’. Go for ‘Hell yeah’ as much as you can.

‘Go for the “Hell yeahs”. Avoid the “That might be quite a good idea”.’

  • It’s easier to say ‘No’ in an email or text.
  • Don’t explain too much about why you’re refusing to do something.

[36:13] ACTS to Say ‘No’

  • Acknowledge the request.
  • Clarify the request.
  • Transform. You can get back to the request at a later date, turn it down, or recommend somebody else.
  • Suggest an alternative.

[37:09] Say ‘No’ to the Task, Not the Person

  • The guiding principle: say ‘Yes’ to the person and ‘No’ to the task.
  • You’re not saying ‘No’ to the person; you’re refusing the task. It’s not personal.
  • Set a boundary, but remain connected by saying ‘Yes’ to the person.

[38:19] What Leaders Could Have Done Differently

  • They could have planned for the long haul instead of using short-term solutions.
  • Set long-term goals for teams around workload, well-being, and resilience.

‘I think setting some goals for their team that work more around workload, well-being and resilience. It’s obviously important to keep physically safe at any time.’

  • Communicate more with patients around the scope of the roles of doctors.
  • Tell teams that it’s okay to set boundaries and to look after themselves.

[39:52] Rachel’s Top Three Tips On Saying ‘No’

  • Recognise when you have a rescuer and superhero complex. Healthcare staff members absorb so much extra work that’s sometimes outside their job description.
  • Work out what your boundaries are. It benefits no one to get upset when people don’t like them.
  • Check what limiting beliefs you have about yourself and question if they’re true.
  • Connect with your friends regularly in any way available to you.

[42:38] Having a Sense of Pace and Balance

  • Recognise that the journey is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • What can you slow down a bit at the current pace of things?
  • What do you need to increase to have some sense of better balance?
  • One small shift can move you into a more balanced direction.

About Sarah

Dr Sarah Coope is a GP and senior medical educator at Medical Protection. She has a background as a portfolio GP and has extensive experience in coaching doctors in training. Additionally, Dr Sarah has undertaken the Health Education (Deanery) coaching course. As a trainer, she guides doctors applying for consultant posts from the interview to choosing a specialisation.

If you wish to connect with Dr Sarah, you may visit here.

Enjoyed 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 that 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.

Learn to master your destiny so that you can thrive even in the most difficult of situations. If you enjoyed today’s episode of You Are Not a Frog Podcast, then hit subscribe now!

Post a review and share it! If you enjoyed tuning into this podcast, do not hesitate to write a review and share this with your friends so they too can learn how to better relationships.

Episode Transcript

Dr Rachel Morris: Do you struggle to say ‘no’ to things? Do you want to set boundaries and create limits around your work, your availability in your time, but you feel terrible when people don’t get it or don’t like it? Do you beat yourself up when people aren’t happy or criticise you, even when it’s not your fault? And does this sometimes make you feel helpless? Like you have no choice?

This week, the tables are turned, and Dr Sarah Coope, GP, coach and medical educator joins me on the podcast to interview me about what I’ve seen and learned through the COVID pandemic about workload, setting boundaries and dealing with criticism through chatting with guests on the podcast, delivering our Shapes Toolkit, resilience and productivity training and coaching doctors. We discuss some of the deep-seated reasons why we might be reacting so badly and why it’s hitting a raw nerve. We chat about why recognising our limits and enforcing our boundaries can be so uncomfortable and difficult and how we can find ourselves ping-ponging between the rescuer and the victim mentality by either taking too much responsibility or taking not enough control over our situation.

So, listen to the episode if you want to find out why the stories in our heads may be increasing our stress and exhaustion, how to tell when the boundaries you’ve set are working and some better and simpler ways to deal with public criticism and private disapproval.

Welcome to You Are Not A Frog, the podcast for doctors and other busy professionals who want to beat burnout and work happier. I’m Dr Rachel Morris. I’m a GP, now working as a coach, speaker, and specialist in teaching resilience. Even before the coronavirus crisis, we were facing unprecedented levels of burnout. We have been described as frogs in a pan of slowly boiling water. We hardly noticed the extra long days becoming the norm and have got used to feeling stressed and exhausted.

Let’s face it, frogs generally only have two options: stay in the pan and be boiled alive or jump out of the pan and leave. But you are not a frog. And that’s where this podcast comes in. It is possible to craft your working life so that you can thrive even in difficult circumstances. And if you’re happier at work, you will simply do a better job. In this podcast, I’ll be inviting you inside the minds of friends, colleagues, and experts—all who have an interesting take on this. So that together, we can take back control and love what we do again.

Thank you to so many people who’ve shared the podcast with friends and all the listeners who have emailed, giving me feedback. I always love to get emails from people telling me how the podcast has helped them. And I feel so grateful to all the amazing guests who have shared their time and their wisdom.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. Is there a particular topic you’d like to see covered? Are there any guests you think we really need to get on? Or would you like to come on the podcast yourself if you’ve got something to share? Or an interesting take on how to beat burnout or work happier? You may also have some questions you’d like answering. If I can’t answer, then I’ll probably know someone who can. So, just get in touch with me at hello@youarenotafrog.com.

And finally, if you’re enjoying this podcast, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. Or perhaps share your favourite episode with them. And please leave me a rating and a review if possible. This really helps the podcast to be discovered by others, and it also makes me really happy. On with the episode:

So, it’s brilliant to be on the podcast today with Dr Sarah Coope. Sarah is a senior medical educator at Medical Protection Society. She has a background as a portfolio GP and is a very experienced trainer, educator, appraiser. You name it, I think you’ve done it. Is that right, Sarah?

Dr Sarah Coope: Yeah, I’ve done a mixture of things in my portfolio career, Rachel. Great to be here with you today.

Rachel: And, I think this is gonna be a slightly different podcast today. Is that right?

Sarah: I think I persuaded you to let me interview you today, Rachel. So, yeah! That’s the aim of today’s podcast.

Rachel: Oh, good grief. Okay, well, let’s see how this goes. It’s weird for me, being the interviewee rather than the interviewer. I feel like I’ve completely lost control.

Sarah: Well, I have a few questions up my sleeve of what I thought might be interesting is we’re to look back over the pandemic. Obviously, it’s presented huge, huge challenges, isn’t it, for all of us out there? But just really thinking about the podcasts that you’ve recorded over the pandemic and the conversations that you’ve had with doctors and other professionals, what would you say the overarching challenges are?

Rachel: It’s really interesting. Because it’s changed. I mean, initially, it was just like, ‘Ah, what can we do to help? How can we help people survive this massive crisis that we’re all going through?’ It’s very much focused on well-being, you know – how to keep yourself well? Mental health, how do you prevent stress and anxiety? How do you keep your family safe? How to not spend all your time scrolling through the newsfeed worrying about what’s going to happen? How do you cope with [the] grief and trauma of the crisis?

Because certainly, for doctors, there was a lot of grief and trauma and guilt and moral injury, as well. Certainly, looking at that. And then, we started to look at time because people then became… After the initial, everything locked down, haven’t got anything to do. Well, apart from that you’re on the frontline, working, but there are a lot of people that couldn’t work because we couldn’t see patients for a little bit. So apart from on the screen, mostly, it then became more, ‘How do I manage my time in a virtual world? How do I cope with the isolation and the lack of connection? How do I do it? How do I continue to act so professional and deal with my family and my friends and support everybody? And how do I support my team without burning out myself?’

I noticed that a lot of leaders were just running around like headless chickens trying to be all things to all people. And it didn’t go very well for lots of people. So when you look back, you can see the shift, as opposed across initially, that response to, ‘Okay, crisis mode! How do we cope with that? What has been thrown at us into, then, how do you manage your time? How do you manage resources? How do you look after yourself? How do you look after the team, people around you?’ And I guess just that whole sense of it was a massive transition, wasn’t it, in such a short space of time.

Sarah: When you think about the podcast, when you’ve had loads of amazing inspiring people on here on the podcast, anything that stands out at you in terms of key messages that really landed well for professionals, do you think during that time?

Rachel: I think that the first key message that landed well, which is one that my colleague, Caroline Walker, who, the joyful doctor, we’ve done a lot of joint working through COVID. And that’s been one of the joys for me over COVID, is all the collaborations and things like that that we’ve done with people like you, as well, Sarah, which has been fantastic to have you on the podcast. Caroline was very much talking about ‘it’s okay to not be okay’. Every time I spoke to her, she’s like, ‘All right, we’ve got to normalise this. We’ve got to normalise this for people. Say this is what you’re experiencing, and it’s okay’.

Because I think as healthcare professionals, we don’t think it’s okay not to be okay. And we don’t think it’s okay to have feelings since before, anything’s difficult. So a lot of it has been about, it’s okay. It’s okay to be struggling right now. In fact, it’s not even, it’s not just okay, it is normal to be struggling right now. So a lot of the emphasis has been on the normality of the struggle and what’s been going on, and then, some of the other standout things. For sure, there’s been so many. But I think the thing that listeners, things they’ve appreciated the most, actually, is the stuff about getting out of the rescuer mentality and ditching the saviour complex and handing the naughty monkey back, which is all about not feeling over-responsible for everybody because I think we really did feel responsible for everybody.

Let’s face it, in a global pandemic, it is the healthcare teams that are responsible for people. So, in many ways, we were, but that can be definitely overplayed. A lot of the themes have been about helping people create appropriate boundaries in which they can step back, and rest and look after themselves. In order, they can go on and keep caring for other people. And I was quite surprised about how much the stuff around being a rescuer has really landed with people and how people didn’t really know about that stuff. Actually, that shouldn’t have really surprised me because I didn’t know about it until I learned about the Drama Triangle only a few years ago. For me, it was like, ‘Oh, my goodness!’ And then, you start to look through that lens and realise how much you are in rescuer mode and how much you think you are responsible. And you should be doing this, and you should be doing that. So that’s been one of the big surprises for me.

Sarah: I think there’s kind of key messages around normalising what feels abnormal to normalise the struggle is really, it’s been really helpful to people, hasn’t it? I know in medical protection, when we run webinars, and we get feedback from people, just for them to know they’re not alone has been really powerful. It doesn’t change the situation that you’re in, but it just really helps to know, yeah, you’re not alone in this. I think that’s really key. But also, like you say, that self-awareness. So thinking about things like the Drama Triangle, what role we can play — so the victim, rescuer, perpetrator. You say that we know about that, we don’t recognise what’s happening. And the other thing you said about being over-responsible. What sort of things are you recognising or from what conversations you’ve had, what sort of things are people being over-responsible for?

Rachel: I think people are feeling very responsible for their teams and very responsible for the well-being of the people they worked with, almost to the point of if-then, something went wrong for the people that they work with, feeling it was their fault, or feeling that they could do something to make it right. Or if someone they were working for were having a hard time or actually, even being a bit difficult or obstructive. They’d be bending over backwards to make it okay and make everybody happy. And we know that you can’t make everybody happy all the time. You cannot please everybody all the time, but feeling absolutely awful when you couldn’t do this impossible task and questioning over-responsible patients, I guess, in a way and bending over absolutely backwards to please their patients and to do what the patients needed and to keep the service going. And then, when the patients don’t get exactly what they want at exactly the time they want and start complaining, feeling absolutely devastated about it.

Almost like it’s a personal criticism. ‘It’s my fault, and now they’re upset’, and it’s been quite interesting. So I’ve been watching it from a little bit, from afar, thinking, actually, we’re getting incredibly upset about this dreadful media coverage. And quite rightly so with the way that the public sort of turned from clapping the NHS to then complaining about everybody and saying, accusing GP surgeries of not being open on our colleagues. But on Twitter, it examines a patient. This patient was putting on his shirt. The patient turned around to him and said, ‘So when are you going to open?’

Sarah: Really?

Rachel: But people were quite surprised about the angst and very, very upset about it. I just looked at it and thought, ‘Of course, they’re angry and cross. Look what’s just happened to them over the last year. It’s nothing to do with you’. But we take it very personally because we feel responsible. If we feel responsible, and someone moans, then we get very, very upset. If you’re not feeling responsible, and someone moans, you can then empathise and go, ‘Yeah, isn’t that dreadful? I’m so sorry that you are now stuck down that waiting list, and you can’t get everything you want done straight away. I’m really sorry. But that’s the way the system is’.

But instead of that, we’re going, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is awful. They shouldn’t be saying that’, and working so, so hard to try and meet everybody’s needs and burning ourselves out without realising that perhaps, we do need to put ourselves first in order to be able to provide the service that we want.

Sarah: And that’s interesting, isn’t it, recognising the difference, perhaps, what’s going on, I wonder, for people who do feel over-responsible compared to perhaps, those who don’t. Not at all, so they’re not caring for the patients in any way. As we sort of said, and maybe actually taking less responsibility for things that are not within your control can actually be helpful.

What do you think people who perhaps take over-responsibility for, what do you think they might be telling themselves that they do that?

Rachel: I can tell you exactly what they’re telling themselves because I have these thoughts quite regularly. ‘If no one else does it, who’s going to do it? I’m the only person who can do it. It’s all on me’. So there’s that. ‘If no one else does it, it falls to me’. Then, you’ve got the deeper level of, ‘And then, if it goes wrong, I’m going to look bad. It’s going to be my fault. I shouldn’t fail. I shouldn’t make any mistakes. I’ve got to be 100% perfect all the time’. And sometimes, we’re telling ourselves that it’s not okay for people to be crossed at us. It’s not okay for people to be upset with us.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole boundary thing recently because I did the podcast with Rob Bell about having the saviour complex. And he just said that you’ve got to make peace with your limits. I’ve been really thinking about what does making peace with your limits actually look like? And one of the things about making peace with your limits is being able to put the boundaries in, and then, accept the consequences of those boundaries.

I was listening to another really good podcast, with Glennon Doyle, who’s a very famous writer. It’s called We Can Do Hard Things. It’s a really good podcast, and she was talking about boundaries. And she’s had lots of boundaries. She’s had issues with addictions and things in the past. She writes all about that. And she said that in the school playground, she doesn’t like interacting with lots and lots of people. So she deliberately said, ‘When I go to school, when I go to parents’ evening, I’m there for my kids. I’m not really there to interact with other parents’.

So she sort of just focused on her kids and kept herself to herself. Then, her child had an issue, had a problem. And she called one of the other mothers. And she said to her, ‘Well they’ve been having this issue for a year’. And she’s like, ‘How come you didn’t tell me about it?’ And the mother said, ‘Well, I find you quite unapproachable’. And she said she was devastated by this that this mom found her unapproachable, whatever the word is.

She then phoned out her colleague, who said to her, ‘Okay, so do you… do you want to be approached in the playground?’ She said, ‘Well, no, not really’. And they said, ‘Well, congratulations, it’s worked.

Sarah: Achieved the goal.

Rachel: Yeah, you’ve achieved it, right? But you don’t like the consequences of that’. I think that’s the problem. Sometimes, we’re like, ‘I want to have some time and space. I really need a rest. I need to leave work on time. I need my partners to give me a break’, or whatever. And you put that boundary and say, ‘This is what I need’. And then, people might say, ‘We don’t like that. We don’t like that. We want you to work an extra session’, or ‘We want you to work longer’, or ‘We want to see you straight away’. We don’t like the fact that they don’t like it. But you know what? That’s what making peace with your limits is about. Does that make any sense? This is the first time I’ve actually said this to anyone.

Sarah: That’s really helpful, Rachel, because I think what you said there is around the importance of setting boundaries in order to manage what you are responsible for and what you’re not. But recognise that when you set boundaries, there will be, often, a negative… Well, there’s a positive consequence because that’s the protecting yourself consequence, isn’t it, that you do set the boundary because you need to protect yourself.

But yet, there’ll be a negative consequence, often, because other people will push against those boundaries. And often say ‘Don’t be a parent to use’. It’s your job as a parent to set the limits. It’s the child’s job to push against the limit but your job to hold that fast. I think that’s often really helpful to keep in mind.

But it’s true when we set a boundary in terms of what we will and won’t allow in our lives or what we can and can’t give. Other people don’t like that boundary necessarily. But they’re not taking it personally, in that way, I think, is really important… I was reading something the other day that said about the importance of setting boundaries and staying connected. And you talked about that earlier, when you were saying about empathising for somebody who maybe found it hard to get an appointment at the GPs, for example. So you’ve set a boundary, and then the person will push back against it. I think the important thing to do then is to empathise with that resistance without giving in to the boundary.

Whereas, I know it’s very tempting sometimes when somebody pushes against the boundary to distance because it’s unpleasant to see the consequence. And actually, rather than distancing, it’s hard to stay connected but not giving in. I don’t know what you think about that.

Rachel: I love that concept. Yeah. So empathise and hold the boundary. ‘I’m so sorry. I can’t see for a couple of weeks. I really hope things go okay’. And there’s always the other options if you need that.

Yeah, and I think with the boundaries, we are such, I’m gonna say, people-pleasers, but that sounds really derogatory. We’re not people-pleasers. We’re actually hardwired to want connection and want belongingness to a group. So being accepted and being liked by the gang is actually an existential thing for us. So, it’s not sappy to be a people-pleaser, it’s actually what our brains are looking for.

But we just need to accept that we are, like I said, we can’t please people all the time. When people push against it, we don’t like it. And then, what happens is, even though it’s not personal, we make it personal because it then hits on some of our deepest insecurities. So if you say no to someone, or you can’t work any longer, then it’s like, ‘Oh, maybe I’m not a good doctor. Maybe I’m lazy. Because the last thing I want to be is lazy’. And you start thinking, ‘Oh, crumbs, maybe, that’s it’. And then, we start with the should-ing, and they all ought-ing.

Something else I’ve been reading recently is this whole indoctrination about what we should and what we ought to do. I think, as doctors, we have a huge amount of indoctrinated thinking about what we should be like, as a doctor. We should always go the second mile. We should always make the care of our patient our first concern. As we know, it says in GMC duties of a doctor. And of course we should, either always… Well, it’s interesting, I’d like to know what you think about this. Of course, you need to keep patients safe. But does always putting the patient first mean we stay three hours late when they could have waited another week? I don’t know.

Sarah: Yeah, it’s not an easy answer to give, I suppose, into the part and fast guidance to that. But I think it’s a huge situation will be different when to but I suppose it’s always weighing that up and thinking, rather than ‘I should do that’, is thinking in some situations, yes, we should respond to an emergency. We should respond to things that can’t wait. But just slightly sidestepping that, I guess I’m thinking, if I catch myself saying I should do something, I’m learning to just challenge that thought and thinking, ‘Well, I could do that because I’m choosing to do this. So sometimes, you think, ‘Well, I could see that extra patient because I’m choosing to see them now because I want to check with myself that actually, they haven’t got a serious condition. Or I could actually say no to that. Because I’m choosing whatever else I’m choosing’. And just challenging that should and thinking, ‘I could, and I’m choosing’. And it was like yes and no, ‘If I say yes to that, what am I saying no to? And if I say no to that, what am I saying yes to’, and recognising that choice. But I think it’s not easy, is it, to set those boundaries in those situations?

Rachel: Yeah, really? No, I was gonna say I’ve also had this concept recently called ‘Hippocratic Oath-shaming’.

Sarah: Tell me more about that as well.

Rachel: I just read it. I can’t remember where I read it. So apologies if I’ve nicked it off somebody. But it was about how sometimes we use the Hippocratic Oath to shame ourselves and our colleagues, like actually, ‘Doctors should care for people. They should be completely selfless. They should be like this. It should be that’. We completely overdo it. And that’s where we circle back to the saviour-rescuer complex because when we think we should do that, we then think we’re the only people who can do that. And we should be caring for the patients rather than the patients actually caring for themselves and taking some responsibility for themselves.

I think you can apply that to our teams and our colleagues as well. As a leader in healthcare, often we think, ‘Right, I’m the only one that can sort this out for my team’. Actually, they got responsibility to sort stuff out for themselves as well.

Sarah: Yeah, I think a lot of what you’re saying now really resonates with me in terms of the work that I’ve done when I’ve been coaching doctors in the past, and you often get into like a core, I’ll say, core self-beliefs. So people often have, from growing up, from experiences, either at home, or at school, or in early adult life, a core self-belief, as in, ‘I’m not good enough’. And things you were talking about before. But when you get a complaint, ‘I’m so incompetent’, this is like a core self-belief, which rears its head sometimes, isn’t it?

It’s triggered off by either somebody who is angry, or somebody who’s upset with you, or someone anxious around you. It can trigger off that core self-belief. I think, often, we’re not really aware of how that underlying belief about ourselves is still often driving the bus in terms of our behaviour and our thinking. It can be quite freeing, often, to get to the bottom of that, sometimes, recognise when that comes up. Actually, how true is that really? Because I think that also drives a lot of shoulds and oughts because I’ve tried to do those things in order to avoid feeling not good enough and doing those things because I don’t want to feel that I’m rejected. And yeah, I don’t know what you think.

Rachel: 100%, I was reflecting on this recently. I had this patient who came and sat down. I’d never seen her before, right? I welcomed her in; she sat down. She said, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing here to be honest. I’ve never seen a doctor who’s any effing good. And you’ll be no effing good either’.

Sarah: Right. Nice.

Rachel: There you go.

Sarah: You know what? It didn’t really bother me. Obviously, it was rude. I was like, ‘Okay, very rude woman’. But it didn’t cut me to the core because I’d never seen it before, right? She had nothing to say about if I was any good as a doctor. She has no experience with me. So I could just go, ‘Okay, that’s obviously your issues. Nothing to me. Now, if that same patient had come in six months later, sat down and gone, ‘Well, you are no effing good’. Even if I’d done my best and brilliant medicine with her, I would have been really upset. It would have really cut me to the core because perhaps, deep down there is a belief that maybe I’m not as good as I could be. And I haven’t kept up to date as much as I could have done. Maybe I’m not as empathetic as I could be.

The stronger our limiting beliefs are, the more things are going to touch a raw nerve and shine on that nerve when people say things, and then, the more we’ll react to it, and the more defensive we are. Maybe that is what’s been going on with patients accusing us of not being open and not seeing them. Maybe that’s a bit of a raw nerve because GPs aren’t able to see patients in the way that they would want to. They don’t like that. And then, when a patient accuses him of not doing that, it’s even worse. And people aren’t able to spend as much time doing stuff as they would want to. It just all goes with spirals, just spirals! It’s so difficult. It’s changing those limiting beliefs about yourself. That’s difficult to do, actually.

Sarah: It’s really hard, isn’t it? But I think the first step is being aware of it. I think that’s the first step because once we’re aware of something, we have a choice as to whether we still believe that about ourselves. And if it helps thinking, ‘Where did this come from? Maybe that was true, then it was a misinterpretation, perhaps, of something that happened when I was younger. But actually, no, where’s the evidence against that?’ Sometimes it’s helpful to think, what else you can see that really goes against that.

And then, it’s also recognising there’s often anxiety behind a lot of it. So I think a lot of the behaviour, it doesn’t excuse it of patients. They’re saying things that are really unpleasant, but a lot of it is anxiety on their part, isn’t it? Again, this comes back to where we can stay connected and empathise, as you said, but hold fast to those boundaries as best we can.

We talked quite a lot about the rescuer sort of mode, haven’t we? The other part of the Drama Triangle is the victim mode, isn’t it? Any key messages or anything that’s come out of conversations you’ve had or experienced over the past time that you can use that’s helpful, helpful wisdom for people who might find themselves in that victim mode?

Rachel: I think it’s always really dangerous — the victim mode, because I would hate anybody to think I was saying that they were acting like a victim in these really, really hard, hard circumstances. But I think what doctors can have, and I guess other professionals too, is a learned helplessness that, ‘Nothing is ever going to change. I just have to suck it up. And I have no choice’. When you start to think like that, you then start to feel like a victim. And the victim mentality is very much, ‘I have no choice. I have to do this. I can’t change anything. I’m completely powerless’.

A lot of what I’ve been doing in my work that I’ve been seeing, either with one-to-one coaching or working with teams and training and through the podcast is actually asking people, ‘What are you in control of?’, ‘What could you change?’ Because I think we have control issues. We either try and control too much that we can’t control, for example, patient demand. I really don’t think we can control patients’ demands. I think that’s a much higher pay grade than ours, different level altogether. Can I control what patients think of me? No! Can I control what’s going on in my team’s personal lives? No! Can I control what they think of me? No! What can I do? So I can make some choices for myself.

Once I start thinking about ‘What could I do differently?’, that is when you become a little bit more powerful. And that’s when you start to step out of the victim mode. I guess that’s what the whole You Are Not A Frog podcast is about, right? It’s like, what are the small things that we can actually do? It’s really hard because one of the things that I am very, very conscious of is resilience victim-blaming. So with the whole resilience well-being industry and training and stuff, it can sometimes be seen as, ‘Right, the system’s difficult, but the problem is with you. You’re just not resilient enough. So what we’re going to do is just give you a bit of training, make you resilient to cope with it, and it is your fault’. I 100% disagree with that. It is not your fault. However, I also believe that there are skills that you can learn to make it better.

Someone gave me a really good analogy of this the other day. Resilience is not being repeatedly punched in the face. It’s not teaching someone to put up with being punched in the face. It’s teaching people what they can do to avoid being punched in the face. For me, that’s what taking control and resilience training is all about, is what can you do for yourself while other stuff also happens to work on the system in which we work. And it’s really important to be addressing the system in which we work and changing things. But as one human being, you can only do what you can do, not much you can do outside yourself.

So I think with the whole getting out of victim mentality, looking at what are you in control of? And where are you overstepping your control, trying to control what you can’t? Where are you not using your choices? Because we always have a choice. And this is something that’s really hard to get a hold of.

In fact, a coach I was talking to, she took it to the extreme. She said she was doing a talk. And she did this whole thing about control, what you control of, what aren’t you, and you’ve always got a choice. And someone came up to her and said, ‘I don’t have any… I don’t have a choice. Well, I didn’t have a choice. I’m South African. And in my day, you had compulsory conscription to the army at age 18. So I had to get in the army. I had no choice’. And she said, ‘Well, what would have happened if you didn’t go in?’ He said well, ‘I’d have gone to jail’. She said, ‘That’s your choice. Jail or conscription’.

That is a horrible choice, right? He didn’t like that choice. There was that choice. And mostly, we have a choice about stuff. There are some situations which are awful. And that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about daily work situations. So, you know, when you leave, you do actually have a choice. But you might be choosing to leave work undone or to do certain things, and that will have consequences. But it’s like, what consequences are you prepared to put up with? What are you not prepared? It’s like you said, if you start to then use the language, ‘Will I choose to do that better and see that patient so that I won’t have to do it on the other day or so that they are safe?’ Let’s say that that’s much more powerful than ‘I’ve got to’.

Sarah: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I think what you’re talking about there is empowering people, isn’t it? So normalising that it’s really understandable to feel sometimes, we are a victim in the situation that we’re in because it feels like a lot of things being done to us as GPs or in the medical profession. But then, actually, that doesn’t tend to take us to a place of feeling empowered, doesn’t stop, really, going down that spiral. So instead, stopping and thinking, ‘Okay, this is all happening to me, around me’. But as you say, ‘What can I do to empower myself?’ Going back to that choice around, ‘I’m choosing to do this because I want this’. Recognising that there’s always that two-way option, I think, is really, really helpful.

For many people, they get stuck at making positive change and maintaining that positive change. I can often end up self-sabotaging. I don’t know. Do you wanna talk a little bit about that?

Rachel: Self-sabotaging. How do we self-sabotage? Oh, I don’t know. I’m not a real expert on this whole self-sabotage. And I’m sure there are some deep psychological reasons why sometimes we do it. I think the biggest way that professionals self-sabotage is by taking on too much. You start off with good intentions. ‘I’m going to do this’. And then this other thing comes in, and you say, ‘Yes’, and this other thing comes in, you say, ‘Yes’. And soon, you haven’t got any time to do that thing that you said you were gonna do. And then, it’s just impossible to do it. And then, you don’t feel successful at anything.

I think that’s one of the main things — the main messages that come out from any talk I tend to do is actually, you need to do less. You need to start saying no to stuff so that you can do a few things well. Once you start to say no to stuff, and you start to limit stuff, and you start to… A lot of it is actually staying in your zone of power. Because a lot of the time, we just can’t do everything.

I’ve been working with a few PCN directors recently. And a lot of them are saying, ‘How do I do this and that?’ And it’s all out of their control. An awful lot of the time, it’s just recognising that that’s out of your control. So what can you do with what you’ve got, and then, just leave the rest of the stuff. And by leaving the rest of the stuff, you actually become much more powerful because then you can focus on what you can control. I think that one of the ways we self-sabotage is by beating ourselves up about the stuff that we can’t see because we have no control over and actually becoming overwhelmed as a result. So it comes back again to that focused intention and being intentional about what is in front of you.

Now, I say, just do the next thing, meaning, be intentional about the next thing, rather than, I think, spreading ourselves so thin because there’s often a multitude of tasks that need our attention. I think there is often that sense of dissatisfaction because we can’t do it all. I feel like we’ve done it all well. So there is that sense of, again, just stopping and taking stock. I think if they can write, ‘What’s the most important thing right now, prioritising what needs my attention, how to do that’.

Sarah: We’ll talk quite a bit around, I suppose, boundaries and saying no. I think saying no can be a real challenge for many people in the caring professions. Any other tips around how to say no well? We’ve said about setting boundaries and sticking to your boundaries. But sometimes, it can start before that in terms of what stops people saying ‘No’. I don’t think having conversations, we build podcasts that’d be really helpful.

Rachel: I think that a big tip to people saying ‘No’ is themselves. It’s the stories that they’re telling themselves in their head. I think it’s quite hard. But I think because I do talk about the amygdala a lot. The amygdala being your threat detection system that will detect a physical threat, hierarchical threat, or a group threat. So the belonging threat. Because when we lived in caves, if the tribe didn’t like us, and we got chucked out, we’d probably die of exposure or eaten by a bear or both.

So, we really hate saying ‘No’ to people because that might upset them. They might think badly of us. And they might throw us out of the cave. And we might then die of exposure. So when someone asks us to do something, unbeknownst to us, our amygdala can certainly get, ‘Oh, hang on. Hang on. You’ve got to say “Yes” too. Because if you say “No”, that’s going to be really dangerous. And you’d probably be quite good to do it, and you really ought to do it. And you’d be a really bad doctor if you weren’t doing that.’, and ‘Who do you think you are?’ and ‘Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah’. So you’ve got these stories in your head that put you into your sympathetic nervous system, fight, flight or freeze thing, and you find yourself going, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s fine. I’ll do it,’ just to leave the discomfort sometimes. It’s much easier to say ‘Yes’ than to say a firm ‘No’.

So, I guess the biggest tip I’ve got for saying no is to give yourself a pause. When you’re in that situation. Hit the pause button. Just have a phrase. Have something you can say. Say, ‘Can I get back to you? I need to think about that’. Sounds great. ‘Can I get back to you? I need to check my diary. Let me have a think. I’d love to say “yes”, but I just need to make sure I can actually properly say yes and got the time’. Give yourself that pause. Go wait till you get out of your sympathetic zone. Calm yourself down. Think about it. ‘Do I want to do this? Do I not want to do this? Am I the right person to do this? Do I have the time to do this?’

One thing we talked about all the time in our — Carolina and I run a Permission to Thrive CPD webinar membership community for doctors — one of our mottos is it’s either a ‘Hell yeah!’, or it’s a ‘No’. They’re like, ‘We’ve got all these opportunities’. It’s either going to be ‘Hell, yeah, I’m going to do that’. If it’s a, ‘Yeah, that sounds okay’, then that’s a ‘No’. That’s a ‘No’. Go for the ‘Hell yeahs’. Avoid the ‘That might be quite a good idea’. But take the pause in order to think about… And sometimes, it’s also, then, easier to say no in an email or by text or something like that. That sounds like a bit of a cop-out. But actually, you can just say, ‘No, I’m sorry’.

Also, I would say to people, don’t explain. Don’t explain too much. Say, ‘I’m really sorry. I can’t because I just really need a break this week. And I really can’t go out for another night. And I’ve got to see the dog and blah’. Just go, ‘I’m so sorry. I can’t do it’.

Sarah: So I think those are really helpful tips because it is something that it takes practice to get used to doing, doesn’t it, to say no? I can’t remember where this came from, but I remember it quite well. An act, act… Acronym. So ACTS, so for saying, there’s A was Acknowledge the Request. So, saying, ‘Okay, so what you’re asking me to do is X, Y, Z’. C is Clarify. So just clarify the request to make sure that you have got it right, because sometimes you can misunderstand the request. And T is Transform. So that might be possibly saying, ‘I’ll get back to you at a later date’. But it could also be transformed into, ‘Well, I can’t help you with that this time. But if you find yourself in a similar situation in three months’ time, let me know if that’s something you would be willing to do’. So transform it, so sometimes without jumping what else in it, might be, ‘Actually, I know someone else who would really love to do that’. And you could transform into recommending somebody else, but you have to be careful about that one. And then, S is Making a Suggestion, sometimes, for an alternative. But that’s a quite helpful framework, I think, of how to structure your ‘No’. But I think the most important thing is give yourself time, especially if you’re somebody who is a knee jerk. Yes, yes, I think it’s really helpful.

Rachel: My problem is I say yes to things because I genuinely want to do this. And I’m really interested. ‘Yeah, that’d be good. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah’ And then I come back to it, ‘Oh, no. What did I commit to?’ Another principle that I think is really helpful is say ‘Yes’ to the person and ‘No’ to the task. So it’s like, ‘Oh, I’d love to help you. That sounds like a really interesting project. Wow, you know, that’s it. I’m really sorry. I don’t think that I can do that. That sounds great. And if I could help in any other way, great, let me know’, type things.

So you’re really affirming the person, you’re just saying ‘No’ to the task. Because often, we feel we’re saying ‘No’ to the person, but we’re not. We’re just saying no to the thing. So that goes back to the boundary again. You’re setting there with a boundary. But you’re remaining connected by saying yes to the person. I think that reinforces that concept, isn’t it? Yeah, gosh, it’s almost like we planned this conversation.

Sarah: Just thinking back then what? What do you think people now might do differently at the start of the pandemic, if we were going back in time with what they know now? So think about perhaps leaders. It’s a hard one, that one, so to speak generally. But, I don’t know. What would you think people might do differently at the start if they knew what they knew now?

Rachel: I think, perhaps, plan that you’re in it for the long haul. I think we thought it’s gonna be a pandemic, don’t know how dreadful it’s going to be. And then, it’s going to be over. We’re going to go back to normal. It’s an interesting one. I think setting some goals for their team that work more around workload, well-being and resilience, it’s obviously important to keep physically safe at any time. But I think there wasn’t enough emphasis on how we can long-term sustain ourselves rather than short-term sustain ourselves.

And I think there… Talking to the national leadership, it’d have been much more communication with patients around what is possible and what isn’t possible and what the role of the doctor is. I think I would want leaders to be able to say to their teams, ‘This is okay. It’s okay to say “No” to stuff. It’s okay to set boundaries and prioritise their work a little bit more.’ So people weren’t weren’t feeling just so, so snowed under with it and just help… Have doctors know they’re doing an absolutely fantastic job. And just to hang on in there, and it’s okay to look after yourselves and put those boundaries.

I think we know that. But, the thing I’d really like people to know is when people kick against your boundaries. That’s okay. It means they were. Let’s celebrate that rather than get really upset about it.

Sarah: So from there, actually, if I’m going to turn the tables and say, what’s your three top tips for your listeners this week?

Rachel: From everything we’ve been… Talked about, I think, first of all, recognise when you’ve got that sort of rescuer complex, that superhero complex, when you’re thinking, ‘No one else can do it. It’s all down to me’. And that’s difficult. So one of the things I did want to say earlier was, I do recognise that when you’re a partner, when you’re running the show, when you might be the only person there, it’s even harder when that has an element of truth to it. But you need to, sometimes, and this is really hard to say, if you’re continually absorbing the stuff and doing it yourself, and no one else is seeing that there’s a need or a problem, no one else is able to fix it if you’re the one that’s fixing it all the time. So you’re just hiding, hiding, hiding the problem.

I think, according to Jeremy Hunt’s report… It wasn’t, it’s the House of Commons report into the well-being of healthcare staff. There was a comment in there that healthcare staff in the NHS and health and social care, they absorb so much extra work that they’re not paid for that if at any point, they stopped doing it, the entire system would collapse.

Sarah: To the extra absorbing, yeah.

Rachel: It’s the extra absorbing. I think doctors have been doing all that extra absorbing. The problem is, they’re collapsing, not the system. We don’t want anything to collapse. So there’s got to be alternatives. But maybe, we need to be having those boundaries. They actually know that exists, and push the problem up. So that actually change has to happen. That’s my first tip, I think. I’ve got probably about four different tips.

The second one is, work out what your boundaries are. And then, don’t get upset when people don’t like them – when you enforce it, then people react badly because that’s their problem, not yours. And then, thirdly, would be about this whole taking things personally that… Check the stories that are going on in your head. Check what limiting beliefs you have about yourself that things aren’t triggering, and then question, ‘Is that true?’

One way to question is just get together with some friends. I think that’s probably the other thing I would say to people in the pandemic. Get your gang around you right now. Know who your team are. Regularly connect with them. If you’re locked down, go on Zoom. If you’re not locked down, go out into it for a walk. As soon as you can go out, sit around a fire pit, have a drink, and compare notes. Just get out and connect with your team. Not people that are gonna suck the life out of you all the time but people that really get it, that can support you. Because like you said, knowing that you’re in the same boat as someone else doesn’t remove your problems, but somehow it makes it sort of easier to cope with it.

Sarah: Yeah, those are really helpful tips. Thank you, Rachel. Well, thank you for letting me talk with you today and turn the tables, as I said. I hope that’s been helpful for people. Just look back. And then, also taking your wisdom, your reflections, your insights, I think, taking it forwards and recognising that’s the whole thing about the marathon. Sort of, ‘not a sprint’ analogy is really helpful. I think, like you said about making peace with your limits, that really resonated with me. Also the sense of pace and balance. Does it feel like we have a lot of control over pace and a lot of control over getting the balance?

So again, just looking for those two things, and in the pace of things, what can I just slow down a bit? And then, the balance? What do I need to perhaps, increase in order to give me some restoration, some time off, some sense of better balance? Because I think a lot of people are feeling that there isn’t that balance there. So just one small shift that moves you in that direction. And that’s what made me think about when you were talking through those things, or yeah…

Rachel: Certainly. Thank you for asking those difficult, difficult questions. I think that’s been useful for people listening. We’d love to know people’s thoughts, actually. I think we should get you back, Sarah. I think we could maybe take people’s questions about any of this, and I’ll collect them all. We’ll get you back, and we’ll maybe go through them and answer them. How would that be?

Sarah: Yeah, that sounds great. I look forward to that.

Rachel: Brilliant. Great, thank you so much. Thank you. Bye.

Sarah: Bye.

Thanks for listening. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, then please share it with your friends and colleagues. Please subscribe to my You Are Not A Frog email list and subscribe to the podcast. And if you have enjoyed it, then please leave me a rating wherever you listen to your podcasts. So keep well everyone. You’re doing a great job. You got this.

Podcast links

Check out our Permission to Thrive CPD membership for doctors.

Find out more about the Shapes Toolkit training, talks and workshops.

Sign up here for more free resources.

Join the Shapes Collective FB group.

Become a member of the Resilient Team Academy!

Are you interested in joining our You Are Not A Frog retreat? Or perhaps you have some questions about failure. Drop us an email at hello@youarenotafrog.com to let us know!

Check out the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management if you want to attend the Leaders in Healthcare conference and attend my face-to-face workshop on leading without rescuing.

Connect with Dr Sarah: Medical Protection Society

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

We Can Do Hard Things Podcast by Glennon Doyle

You Are Not a Frog Podcast Episodes with Dr Caroline Walker:

Workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care

Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, et. al.

How to Use Power Phrases by Meryl Runion

For more updates and episodes, visit the You Are Not A Frog website.

You can also tune in on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Sign up here to receive a link to the episode workbook and CPD form downloads for each podcast. You can use them for reflection and to submit for your appraisal.

You can also join the Shapes Collective Facebook group where we chat about the hot topics and regularly post interesting articles. Have any questions?

Contact Rachel through these platforms:

LinkedIn: @Dr-Rachel-Morris

Twitter: @DrRachelMorris

Email: rachel@wildmonday.co.uk

Find out more about our resilience and productivity training here.

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

Other Podcasts

Episode 160: How to Avoid Burnout on Repeat

Dr Claire Ashley joins us in this episode to discuss the common occurrence of burnout and what we can do to avoid it. You have the option and the permission not to burn out. Tune in to this episode to find out how.

Episode 150: How to Get People To LOVE your Ideas with Toby Moore

Toby Moore joins us in this episode to share communication techniques that can convince the people around you to change. He shares his insights and advice that can improve how you speak to people, whether to an audience of hundreds, a sceptical team, or to a key decision maker or colleague. Want to learn the best communication strategies to convince others to change? Tune in to this episode.

Episode 143: Is It ‘Normal’ Not to Cope?

When you’re burning out, stop blaming yourself and start being compassionate. If you want to know how to cope with stress and burnout in the normal and human way, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 142: How to Stop Your Finances Controlling Your Career

Dr Tommy Perkins joins us for a conversation about money and career. We talk about why people make unusual financial decisions and what motivates a person to spend. Find out how you can make the changes you need in your life without worrying about money when you tune in to this episode.

Episode 141: You Choose

You might feel your obligations box you in. But the truth is, you make a choice whenever you act — even if it seems you have no choice at all.

Episode 140: How To Stop Emotional Eating, Eat Better and Feel Better with Dr Matthea Rentea and Keri Williams

Keri Williams and Dr Matthea Rentea talked about the causes of emotional hunger and how it affects our mood and hormones. They also discussed their inspiring weight loss journey and explained why diets don't always work. Finally, they imparted tried-and-true advice on how to stop emotional eating. Don't miss out on this episode if you're looking for the most practical ways to manage binge eating and experience consistent weight loss!

Episode 138: How to Balance Life and Work

Dr. Claire Kaye joins us in this episode to discuss why we should never aim for work-life balance, and why you should aim for life balance. If you want to learn how to do a life audit to work out your priorities, this episode is for you.

Episode 137: Shark Music

If you're not careful, the assumptions you make can turn your thoughts into a spiral of dread. Don't listen to the shark music!

Episode 134: How to Tell People What They Don’t Want to Hear

No one wants to hear a no from other people. However, for many professionals, knowing how to say no and maintaining your boundaries is a must. Jane Gunn joins us once again to talk about how you can say a clear no. Stay tuned to learn how you can say no in the best possible way.

Episode 133: But Is It A Tiger?

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’.

Previous Podcasts