If you’re like most people, you’ve probably made a resolution or two in the past only to have it fall by the wayside a few weeks later. But what if you could actually make your resolutions stick this time? Join us as we talk with Dr. Laura Suttin, a physician coach and productivity expert, where we will explore the science behind goal-setting and the strategies that successful physician entrepreneurs use to make their resolutions a reality.
Whether you’re looking to improve your health, boost your productivity, or achieve a new level of success, this interview has something for everyone. Get ready to make your New Year’s resolutions stick!
(PS Look for the surprise guest at the 8:32 mark!)
How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions to Stick Webinar
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Dr. Laura Suttin’s Physician Coaches Profile
The PurposefulMD – Dr. Laura Suttin’s website
Dr. Mike: . So at the time of this recording, we’re about a month since New Year’s Day, and if you’re someone who believes in New Year’s resolutions, how are you doing? Are you sticking to it? Did you already give up? I have New Year’s resolutions to help me form better habits, not only for myself, my life, but for my career, for my work.
And if you’re like me, maybe you’re having trouble sticking to them. Well, if that sounds like you, In the right place because we have an expert who can help us stick to our New Year’s resolutions, become very productive and get us back on track. My interview with Dr. Lauren Sutton on this episode of Bootstrap md.
Hey guys, this is Dr. Mike Woo-Ming. Welcome to another edition of BootstrapMD. This is the podcast for physician and healthcare entrepreneurs. Well, at the time of this recording, it’s about a month since we’ve been into the new year. If you’re like me, you’ve already kind of broken five of the 10 resolutions, or maybe you don’t even do resolutions at all.
And I wanted to find someone, an expert who can actually help us keep our resolutions. And I found one and she is actually part of a mastermind group that I’m a part of, and I’m excited to bring her on the show today. She’s a family doctor with over 20 years of experience in medical practice. She crumbs from the great state of Texas and San Antonio.
Where she lives, her husband and four children, and she’s also a master certified physician development coach from the Physician Coaching Institute. And she has a lot of experience on working with coaches. And now she’s a coach of her own. And one of the things that she’s excels at is time management.
So excited to get her on the program here and maybe she can help me with my own resolutions. One. Welcome to the show, Dr. Laura Sutton. Laura, how are you doing? I’m
Laura Suttin, MD: good. Thanks for having.
Dr. Mike: Thanks. Well, as I said, at the time of this recording, we’ve got people who listen now or they might be listening, later on, but I did a, I did an episode a few weeks ago talking about planning for the new year, planning for what I wanna get accomplished in my business.
And I think for the most part, I know it’s a little bit hard on myself in the beginning, but there’s some things that, Kind of falls to the wayside in terms of resolutions. And I know you’ve got a upcoming webinar where you’re talking all about it. I wanna really wanna delve into that. But first I want to talk about yourself as a family doctor myself, we’re probably, you’re probably a little bit younger than me, but for the most part, you look a lot younger than me, but for the most part, thank you.
You kind of graduated similarly. I’ve been out 25 years. But let’s talk about this. You’re a family doctor. Talk about your journey. How did you get to become a family physician and then develop into a physician coach?
Laura Suttin, MD: Yeah. I had the luxury and the privilege of being coached for the PA about the past 10 years as a part of my organization.
I was a medical director for my organization. I was working a lot on personal and professional development, and part of what my organization offered was some coaching, and again, this was about 10 years ago. I didn’t know anything about coaching. I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know how it was different from therapy.
But my coach really worked with me on my mindset and how I got very stuck in victim mode and well, if everybody else around me just changed and everybody else just did what they were supposed to do. And she really brought me back in a very loving way. Not in a way that where she’s calling me out, but just in a way that I was realizing that my mindset was really holding me back and keeping me.
Taking the steps that I wanted to take and moving forward and becoming my best self. So it was really, once I was able to kind of question my own thoughts, question the beliefs that I had entrenched, then I was able to move forward and to accomplish a lot of the goals that I wanted to accomplish.
And so that really led me into being a position coach myself.
Dr. Mike: Yeah. So just for clarification, just so I understand it, this physician coach, was this something that you initiated or was it from your. It
Laura Suttin, MD: was from my work, and she was actually not a physician. She worked with a lot of physicians, but she was not a physician herself.
But it was, yes, it was offered to me as part of a leadership program that my, my employer was offering.
Dr. Mike: Great. Now, I know as an employer myself, there’s always a hidden agenda, but why are they’re getting you to have a coach? Was it specifically, Hey, let’s help Laura with her mindset, or was it more likely, hey, let’s help her with her career, with her job?
Or was it part of something that you were developing as part of your company?
Laura Suttin, MD: It was an external coach and they were helping us to move forward as a physician leader. And so I think, again my coach didn’t have any awareness of what my boss’s goals for me were at the time. That was a conversation that she and I had together, but unless we’re able to, Kind of tackle what some of those mindset challenges are, what some of our beliefs are, and our thoughts that are holding us back.
Then we’re not able to move forward as a physician leader. So for instance, a really good example that still comes up for me was as a physician leader forming a team. It was really important for me to learn how to delegate well as physicians. A lot of. Really feel that we have to do everything ourselves.
And when we’re trained, if we ask the nurse to do something or ask the tech to do something, or if we’re a resident and we ask the student to do something and ask the intern to do something, then sometimes we’ll get punished and penalized for that. But when you’re a physician leading a team, you have to be able to delegate or you’re not gonna move forward.
You’re not gonna make any progress on these plans that you have. Strategic goals company. And so you have to understand what are the beliefs that are keeping me from being able to delegate? Maybe I believe that, well, this person can’t do it any better than I can, or I’ll just do it because it’s easier.
Whatever those beliefs are really can hold the team back and hold the company back. And so that was really the approach that our coaches were taking and the company was taking as they were helping to guide us through that coaching process.
Dr. Mike: Well, it sounds like your company was very proactive because I know you know, some companies that hire coaches for physicians or for their employees, they’re simply just focusing on.
The career, what we can do to do better at your job. What are the areas that maybe not saying you are, but this employee is deficient on, and now we can prove them so they can be a better, productive employee. It sounds like this coach kind of went beyond and really dug into some personal issues that you may or may not be.
Realizing that you were gonna get into that, that path,
Laura Suttin, MD: right? Yeah, it really does. I mean, and there’s so much overlap between personal and professional because a lot of the beliefs that we have as a professional that can hold us back also, we carry those into our personal lives too. And I was going through a divorce at the time, and so that was something that divorce, even though I was, it didn’t affect my job per se.
It was a part of my psyche and it was a part of my mindset. And so she helped me tackle some of the beliefs I had about what was going on in my personal life as well. And I do this as well in my own coaching practice was some people will come to me and say, I wanna improve my communication with my team, but maybe there’s something going on at home that is, Keeping them from moving forward, or maybe they’re not taking care of themselves, maybe they’re not sleeping well, maybe whatever that kind of their challenges are.
They said there’s definitely gonna be some overlap, but I do see a lot of companies who bring in a coach for. Maybe the physician that is labeled disruptive and maybe a physician that, well, they’re not meeting expectations, and so they need coaching and I think there is a time and a place for that.
I do see the language shifting and the stigma away from coaching or the stigma of coaching shifting, but I do still see that some physicians feel like if they’re being assigned a coach, It’s a bad thing. It means they’re going to the principal’s office or it means that they are not meeting expectations or they’re doing something wrong.
And I try to flip that around and say, no you’re giving, getting a coach because your company, your employer sees us all this potential in you, and they want you to be your best self.
Dr. Mike: Yeah, and I think this is why physicians often turn out to be pretty good coaches themselves is because we do have to walk that line between asking personal issues.
know, When you have a patient and they said, Hey, your cage questionnaire your, you hit all four, four questions and your liver enzymes are high. And. You don’t, if you don’t talk about the personal stuff. Well, the reason why they’re drinking is because there are, their spouses sleeping around or they’re getting problems with their kids.
And the bottle is the only friend that they have at night. You have to address those personal issues and you can’t just separate professional and personal issues. So what do you say?
Laura Suttin, MD: Yeah, absolutely. And the coaching that I’ll do again, , it’s physician to physician. So sometimes there’s a, there’s an assumption that we’re gonna talk about work and talk about the career.
And sometimes clients will ask me, well, can I talk about personal stuff? Well, absolutely bring it in. I don’t ever want somebody to share something they’re not comfortable sharing, but all of that stuff is gonna affect professional life. And so if we don’t, if we are only treating the symptoms and we’re not addressing the underlying cause, then we’re not gonna, we’re not gonna make any progress.
We’re not gonna make anything. .
Dr. Mike: And again, another reason why it is good for a physician to be getting coached by a colleague and someone who understands it. So, let’s talk about your journey from becoming a physician into a physician coach. How did that get started? You were obviously were influenced by the coach you had at your work.
But tell me more
Laura Suttin, MD: about that. Yeah, I really always loved the one-on-one aspect of working. Physicians and mentoring physicians, and I kind of became a defacto mentor. People coming to me and asking me for help on how do I do this better? And when I started to learn that there was actually a way that I could kind of formalize and get training on that.
I tend to be a school junkie. I went back and got my master’s and so to be able to attend a formal coaching training and get a certification on it and form communities with other like-minded position coaches and do this in a really kind of a prescribed way. Was just something that was so incredible for me to be able to do.
And luckily, once I started doing it, I loved it and it’s brings me so much energy and so much joy that it’s a, it’s really a gift that I wanna be able to give back to other physicians. And I think just like you said, physicians, coaching physicians a lot of it we’ve been through we. See the struggles.
We’ve gone through a lot of the same training and we kind of know how physicians think, and I think that really helps us and puts us in a great position to to be coaching other physicians.
Dr. Mike: So I know as a physician coach, you cover a lot of different aspects. One particular aspect that you cover is time management.
Now, I recently had this discussion with another p. Who basically said, Hey I heard your. Your podcast on productivity. I, and I didn’t wanna talk about time management, but obviously time management, productivity are, very similar. And his opinion was that, Hey, we’re physicians.
We already know how to be productive and time management. You probably don’t need to cover that subject, but you believe that you do. Why
Laura Suttin, MD: is that? I do, and I almost consider this like I, I’ve heard this term before me search that this is something that has been a challenge for me. And so I felt like it was something that is probably a challenge for a lot of other folks too.
And it’s something that I coach on a lot. People will come to me and say, Hey, I really wanna start prioritizing my physical health. I wanna start exercising. I wanna spend more time with my kids. I wanna spend less time charting and spend more time at home with my family. and so we, we think we know time management, but I think some of that is again, in our training.
A lot of our time is not our own and our time is so prescribed for us. And then when we come out of training and we’re working as an attending or as a business owner, then we realize that and we have to make choices all the time about how we spend our time, and we can get really easily still kind of sucked into this.
This time is not my own mentality, and that’s one of the limiting beliefs that can hold us back. I was coaching a physician just last week telling me there was something she wanted to do and she said, I don’t have time to do it. And it was really just kind of making a phone call outreach to somebody and I said, well, let’s take the time.
We’ve got 20 minutes left on our time together. Let’s take the time and do it. And so she did, and I timed her and it took her 80 seconds to complete the task. and I said, okay, that took you 80 seconds. So a little bit. And we have a relationship where I can I kind of poke a little bit. So I said, now let’s come back to that belief and ask ourselves, is it true that you don’t have the time to get that done?
Is that absolutely true that you don’t have time or is there something else? Keeping you from getting that done? Is it a belief that you’re not gonna be able to succeed or whatever that belief is? How can we peel back the layers of the onion and uncover what some of those beliefs are?
Dr. Mike: Yeah it, it is true that we are productive, but it is reactive time.
I mean, when I was working as a primary care doctor, I knew at eight in the morning, I’ve turned from being a physician to a firefighter, because now I’m always putting on fires because that’s where everything comes. The patients, they want their medications, the phone calls you need to respond to. The the doctor who wasn’t on call, who didn’t get back to that one aunt in Albuquerque, who wants to know about her her and her niece in the in the hospital.
So it’s a lot about that, that, that. So what are. , what are some, tips that we, that you, we can gather, especially as not only as a physician, but as a physician entrepreneur? Not only are we usually working for somebody else, but now we’re trying to work on our own business. What are some strategies we can learn from you?
Laura Suttin, MD: I think it’s really important to get very specific. So, again, I had a client, a physician client come to me and say, well, I, I wanna exercise. Okay, let’s talk about that. Let’s get really specific and a lot of this is what we do with our patients. If we have a patient in front of us who says, well, I’m gonna improve my blood sugars, okay, what exactly does that mean?
And how do we get there? Because if it’s not specific enough, Then the goal is not likely to be met. Cuz it’s kind of this just goal hanging over our heads all the time. We don’t really work towards it because we don’t know what it means. We can’t define it. And so that was something I asked of the physician that I was working with is how do you, at the end of the week, how will you know Yeah, I’ve exercised more.
And so it’s getting really clear. Okay. Is it walking 30 minutes a day for three days a week? Okay let’s get clear there and, okay, when are you gonna get this done? . And for some people putting it on their calendar really works. Some people writing it down, some people telling somebody that they’re gonna get it done, whatever those accountability tricks are.
And then overcoming obstacles because life’s gonna throw things at you. So this particular physician wanted to work out in the evenings and, but then he said, well, but then I keep having the, I keep getting invited to these dinners I have to go to, cuz he works with a. A lot of outside positions.
Okay, let’s plan for that. We know that’s gonna happen. Let’s plan for those curve balls. If you have a workout planned for the evening and you get invited to an event that you need to go to for whatever reason, when are you gonna re, when are you gonna do that workout? Are you gonna just blow it off or are you gonna put it somewhere else on your calendar?
So it’s really getting very clear and a lot of us just don’t get that granular when we’re looking at our.
Dr. Mike: Yeah I do that too when I consult with clients too. And it’s like, they have this goal is, okay, well I wanna make $10,000 in my side gig in my , $10,000 a month. Okay.
And then how so how are you gonna do that? And then you hear crickets, , and then, okay, well let’s break that down. Okay. You wanna make 10,000? Let’s focus on getting two clients paying you $5,000 each. Okay. Okay, and then so how are we gonna do that? Well, then I hear crickets again. Okay. If I’ve got to get two clients, I need to have 20 conversations.
Okay. Let’s say you can average 10%, which is pretty low. You need to talk to 20 people over the next month. Then it takes a goal of this. Of this mon, which making $10,000 a month isn’t a goal. That’s just like a wish. But now instead of that, let’s focus on getting 20 conversations to get those two clients paying you $5,000 a month.
Then it’s a lot different, then you’re getting more granular a as you said. But another aspect, that I’m thinking too is hey, we wanna be productive. We wanna guard our time. I think it also comes down to actually. Training the people that you work with to help you guard your time.
Right. It’s just like, as a practice owner myself, I have some I have some control of that. I, at least I think I do. But, just like yesterday I was like, oh, okay. I could have driven to one of our satellite locations, which is about a half hour away. Or I could just get on a Zoom call and then I can just talk with my office manager.
I didn’t really need to go there, but just like when I go there, I felt like I have to be there and I gotta answer, questions and, but really, I don’t have to. And that takes time and that takes trust and that takes, delegating that too. But it is also kind of retraining, not only like, like, Your staff members.
I have this one vendor of ours actually is a good friend of ours who who sells this stuff for our clinic. And, but he’s old school and if he’s listening, he knows who he is. He only likes voicemail . He only, he does not like to text. He likes to call and it’s like, We’re always perpetually playing voicemail tag.
I’m sure you’ve been there and it’s like, drives me nuts to just text me, please . And so it, it takes time. So it takes some training, say, Hey and I know some people who just say, I don’t answer phones. I only respond via a text, or un respond via text that time. And obviously that’s something where you have to get at where you have, To go, but it involves training not only your yourself as your family members your friends, and some may not like that, but if you wanna be productive, sometimes you do have to guard, I really try to guard my time.
What do you think about
Laura Suttin, MD: that? I absolutely agree. I think, kind of personally, my phone goes to sleep at eight forty five at night, and. So, and then I have to train myself not to look at it, but also to know that I’m not gonna be getting notifications now, adult kids, fam, parents, whatever they can get through.
But just knowing that I’m not gonna be responding to texts or messages or emails after 8 45 at night, because that’s when I start to wind down. And then professionally this, and again, the same physician I was talking about that, that her task took 80 seconds. She when we were, she and I were on a coaching call and I could hear somebody knocking on her door and she said, see, I get interrupted all day long.
They just they keep coming and talking to me and so part of the conversation that we didn’t really get to, but, I was talking with her about how to set those boundaries with her staff members. What are some things, maybe my door closed, maybe being my, having my door closed as a sign that I need.
15 minutes to myself, and unless there’s blood or fire or patient coding, please allow me that time and training them to stick to that. Because if you’re available all day long, even if it’s, Hey, I need to finish my charts and I need this quiet focused time to finish my charts and asking for that from your staff, and a lot of us are.
Trained somehow we, we tell ourselves that we can’t ask for that time. We can’t ask for the people around us to, to honor that, and we can’t set those boundaries. And so that that’s huge. And even just that ask, kind of cements it in your mind, like, yeah, this is my time for myself. This is what I’m doing to protect my time.
And then it also gives people around them, around you permission to do the same thing for themselves. And you’re setting that example for the people around you. So that’s a, that’s just an. Too.
Dr. Mike: So here’s a little, here’s a little trick that I did when I was not as and this might be a little duplicitous, but I always say I was on a call, so, oh, hey, I’m gonna be on a call , the call might be for like a minute, but I already have my AirPods on.
So they don’t know. But the rest of that time, I’m working on my business. And so I know that they’re not to be disturbed. And then, if they knock the door, are you still in that call? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. . Yeah.
Laura Suttin, MD: That’s great. But you have, and it worked.
Dr. Mike: It works. It works, right. So let’s talk about resolutions.
Yes. know, I love resolution. I love the new year. It’s a time of rebirth. Looking at things, examining the last year, what you did wrong, what you did good, what you did well in, and then moving forward. I know some people who hate resolutions. They never, like my wife, never does any resolutions.
She says you’re like, you’re just doomed to failure if you do resolutions. Tell me why you like resolutions and tell me more importantly, how do you keep those resolutions to stick?
Laura Suttin, MD: Yeah, so you talked about kind of this year end planning and planning for the year, and so I think that it’s a good distinction between the planning that we do at the end of the year or kind of this year in review and then.
Versus resolutions. The challenge with resolutions, at least setting them December 31st, January 1st, is that a lot of times we set ourselves up for failure. I was looking through, what’s the average time that somebody keeps a resolution before it fails and there’s all, failure dates January 18th or February 11th.
I saw all these failure dates and, but the truth. A lot of us do not keep our resolutions all year long, and there’s a lot of reasons for that. Maybe they’re unrealistic. Maybe they’re set on something that somebody else wants us to do or we think we should do and not really what we are wanting to do and what drives us.
And so I’ll be talking on this webinar next week about why those resolutions don’t work and how do we keep them and how do we kind of stop the cycle so that we’re not breaking them all year. I noticed that this was, again, something that was powerful for me years ago when I would start the new year.
Yeah, I’m gonna do all these things, I’m gonna have all these resolutions, and then for some reason I would, I thought that, January, I was gonna wake up and be a different person and have all this free time and life is gonna be wonderful and change and just life was just gonna accommodate my resolutions.
And then January 2nd, third, whatever day we go back to work, life is the same. Nothing changes. Because I’m still the same person and I haven’t really questioned the beliefs that are underlying my resolutions. I haven’t really dug deep to understand what was keeping me from maintaining those resolutions.
And once I did, I realized, well, maybe I don’t have to set them in January, and maybe it’s just an arbitrary date. Maybe if I look at. other times of the year, are there other things that make sense? Rather than trying to just hold myself to this ideal standard of having perfect resolutions and keeping them all year long.
So, so that’s what really sparked the interest for me is I just see a lot of people kind of setting themselves up for failure because we’re not questioning and we’re not understanding what are the reasons behind resolution.
Dr. Mike: That makes so much sense. So tell us more about the webinar.
It’s coming up. Tell us. Tell us about it, what why you decided to create the webinar and what will people experience after they go through your webinar?
Laura Suttin, MD: Yeah, so my webinar is next Tuesday, February the seventh at seven o’clock central time, 7:00 PM Central Time, and it’s called How to Make Your Resolution Stick.
So, After going through the webinar, you’ll be able to create a plan, keep a plan for either, you can call it a resolution or a goal all year long, and we’ll break the cycle of breaking those resolutions. So you’ll be able to understand maybe what are some of the reasons why those resolutions haven’t stuck?
We’ll talk about the psychology of it. We’ll go through some exercises and you’ll really be able to understand, okay, how can I keep this from happening again? How can I maintain those resolutions throughout the year or however long we wanna keep them? So I’m really excited. Again, this has been something that’s been challenging for me.
I hear a lot of conversation around the new Year about resolutions and. I would wanted to share that with other physicians and kind of walk them through some of the exercises that have helped me along the way.
Dr. Mike: This is great. This is a topic that I don’t see a lot of people cover, and I’m looking forward to it.
We will have a link in the show notes so you can, they can go so they can register for it. It is coming up quickly again, it’s Tuesday February 7th, correct? Yes, at 5:00 PM Pacific. 7:00 PM Central. 8:00 PM Eastern. Because not everything revolves on Texas. Laura, so I to, I actually determine what the time is there.
I probably just pissed off a lot of my Texas viewers, but No, that’s okay. Yeah, check it out. It is gonna be a great webinar. Check it out, how to keep your resolutions, how to make them stick. Special webinar that’s coming on Tuesday, February 7th. Laura, it’s been a pleasure to talk with you today.
Any last minute thoughts before we end the call today?
Laura Suttin, MD: Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited Appreci. All
Dr. Mike: right. Well, thank you everybody. And a as always, being a physician, entrepreneur, we have many challenges in life in our career. One of the best ways to help you overcome that is to get a coach to, can help you to look over look for things that maybe you didn’t see in having another pair of eyes to help you guide along the way.
It’s benefited me as having a coach, Laura. It’s benefited. And I think it could benefit yourself as well. Thank you for everyone for joining us, and as always, keep moving forward.