We all have dreams of quitting, right? But obviously this is a very personal and agonizing decision. Doing so in a strategic manner, can make all the difference in the world. In this interview, you will learn from someone who has “quit” multiple times in her life, warts and all, but in the end can find the ability to find joy and feel more fulfilled in your life and your physician career. Learn from physician and “Quitting Evangelist” Dr. Lynn Marie Morski:
Dr. Morski will be one of our experienced physician speakers at BootcampMD – the conference for physicians who want to make more, and work less. Limited seating left. To register click here.
So you’re serious. You want to quit, but you’re not sure what’s the best way to go about it. Before you do something drastic, let’s talk quitting strategy with the quitting evangelist, Dr. Lynn Marie Morski here on this episode of Bootstrap MD.
Hey, guys, this is Dr. Mike Woo-Ming with BootstrapMD. We’ve got a great call, we’ve got a great interview for you today. Some of you know I’ll be doing a conference called BootcampMD that’s coming up on January 26th and January 27th. Over the last few weeks I’ve been kind of highlighting our speakers that we’re going to be having in. One of them is on the call today, It’s Lynn Marie Morski. Lynn, how’re you doing?
I’m doing great. How’re you, Mike?
Good. We’re doing this through the Zoom even though we’re probably about 30 or so miles away from us, and also a fellow San Diegan. Also, what’s interesting is we both went into the same residency. I was at the beginning of the residency and she was many, many years later when she was involved in the residency, but before we begin I just want to give you guys a quick bio of who Lynn Marie Morski is.
She is a quitting evangelist. She helps people quit strategically through her book Quitting By Design, which you can get on Amazon or on her own website, I believe quittingbydesign.com, yep. She also has a podcast called Quit Happens, I love that title, along with speaking and coaching. She’s also a board certified family physician in sports medicine. She works part time at the VA, and she’s also an attorney. You guys know I love attorneys. I’m saying with a very tongue in cheek, but she’s a really cool attorney. A former urgent law professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, which I also believe that’s in San Diego, right?
She began her professional life as a multimedia designer. She made a major shift and embarked on a medical career. So we’re yet to get into that, which began at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. She continued in family medicine residency, good old Mayo clinic in Arizona, and she was doing sports medicine fellowship at the University of Arizona. But what we’re having her on this call and what we’re having around the conference is she’s what’s called a quitting evangelist. As you know, the conference is all about getting together like-minded physician entrepreneurs, many of whom have to make that decision to quit their job or at least cut back on their clinical duties.
Some, of course, are working and many are involved in other aspects of medicine, but I want to formally introduce you today, Lynn Marie. Thank you again, I know it’s kind of a crazy time with the holiday, isn’t it? And everything. Thank you for taking your time to be here today.
Well, I appreciate it. Really looking forward to being in the conference.
Okay. We physically met about a few weeks ago, a week or so ago, we’ve been kind of chatting on Facebook before then. We were kind of connected because we both went to residency together. As you hardly gather I’m a bit of a nerd. I like comic books, superheroes and things like that, and I don’t think when you went in your career that you wanted to become a quitting evangelist. I must’ve missed in the high school counselors when they said, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I didn’t know a quitting evangelist there. You definitely have not taken a straight path through your career. Tell me, what was your secret origin? How did you get to become the superhero with the quitting evangelist that you are today?
Well, I loved it when you mentioned it a second ago, you were like, “She’s something that’s called a quitting evangelist.” I’m like, “That’s just because I called it that.” I’m not [crosstalk 00:04:09]-
… like you said, that’s never a thing that it existed beforehand. I mean there’s eight billion people, perhaps there’s another one of me-
Maybe, you never know.
… who calls it that. Quite possible. I’ve done extensive searches of the interwebs and I don’t think I’ve had another, but the way I got this was that I took a very career that like you said , I went from multimedia to medicine to law, to finally realizing that my calling was helping people in all of those fields and beyond, use the skills that I had developed along the way in strategically quitting parts of those careers or all of those careers, and I carved out life that worked best for me. As I think you and I must’ve discussed, by the way, your episode of Quit Happens comes out tomorrow. So anybody-
… who wants to hear Mike’s story, by the time this video comes out it will already be on Quit Happens, but I wanted to share what I felt was my superpower, which is the ability to strategically quit things. Not that it has never been necessarily easily, but a lot of the things that I think people get hung up on, some fears, I was able to rationalize those out pretty easily. I thought, “I see so many people stuff, and so many people unhappy,” and even as a physician so many things I’m treating I know are the cause of stress to somebody’s life, that if they quit that strategically, then I wouldn’t have to be giving them antacids or Prilosec or whatever else it goes on, and I won’t be treating their anal bowel, or their migraines, and their insomnia.
If they will just see what’s causing them so much friction and turmoil. So through all of that, I just decided, “Okay, I’ve done lots of things, but the thing that I think is going to be most useful to everybody else is helping free them from whatever is keeping them stuck.” That’s how I became a “quitting evangelist”.
Yeah, I think when I was practicing medicine, I had a lot of different conditions that came in, and I know in iTunes, I have to select whether or not there are going to be any cussing during your podcast, but I often tell patients this. I often told them they had what I called SL syndrome, which is a shitty life syndrome. Basically that was the cause of all of the different ailments that they had there.
Yes, but not trying to trivialize your condition, but often times it was because maybe they were working too much, or maybe they had a bad relationship, whatever the case may be, they were not in a good situation, and probably a toxic situation that they were in, and that they needed to get out of it. So I know you have a book that you’ve written on this, tell me about your experience in dealing specifically with doctors, my honest world, physicians, all different types of specialties ranging from medical students to doctors who may or on the verge of actually retiring out there. Have you noticed anything different with physicians in particular when it comes to quitting as opposed to just someone who’s got a regular old job?
Sure. If we’re talking about quitting jobs, then, yes, there are some big differences. Two that stand out to me are that we have more debt than many others. And in addition to that debt, it may just be that you have financial debt, yes, but we also have the years and years of time debt that we put into residency, fellowship, medical school, so for us to look at quitting, we generally look at it very black and white, “Okay, clinical medicine isn’t working for me. I need to quit all of medicine.” That’s generally the first thought is like, “Okay, I don’t love this. Let’s get out.”
But then there’s that thought, “Oh, my goodness, I’ve dedicated 10 years.” In my case to do pre med, med school, fellowship, residency, fellowship took 10 years and a quarter million dollars. That’s hard thing to walk away from because you have invested so much, but a lot of people don’t see it as an investment in their happiness if I invested this money into getting a job, but that’s not why you tried to get that job. You probably thought that job was going to make you feel happy and fulfilled, and if you dedicate, invest all this time and money into it, and you’re not happy and fulfilled you owe it to yourself to keep looking to figure out what will make you happy or fulfilled, nothing can make you happy, but that will add to your happiness and not cause a lot of stress and friction. I think for docs that’s one big difference is that there’s this thought, “Well, we have wasted time or money if we change.”
And then the other thing is, it’s very black and white, it’s hard sometimes to see like, “Okay, if I don’t love medicine that there’s some other way you can pivot, make little quits instead of making huge quits.” If you’re an HR person, you look at your own skills and you’re like, “Okay, I’m good at this kind of organization, and this kind of people management, this kind of great with spreadsheets.” You don’t think, “Okay, then now I have to be zoo keeper if I don’t like HR.” You realize, “These skills are transferable in other ways.” Same with medicine, but we’ll get to that more in a minute, but a lot of docs see it as a black and white thing, and they’re really kind of handcuffed to the clinical medicine because they’ve spent so much time and money in getting there.
I think the second big thing is that a lot of us have our identities wrapped around being a doctor. Who are you? I’m a doctor. That’ll be the first thing you’ll say. Well, I know a ton of doctors who are polymaths, and they are musicians and dancers and everything else. It may be overwhelming to think, “If I leave medicine,” even though you’ve still got the medical degree, you’ve still already been certified in whatever field you were, to think that you may lose that identity of a currently practicing physician is often another hurdle that’s unique to docs.
I kind of want to get into your situation. What led you, and maybe you could talk about in medicine that you were involved in quitting, what were kind of the things that either you experienced that perhaps made it easier for you to quit? Tell me about that. How actually did you get that? ‘Cause that’s a big decision to make.
Well, the first set of quits, besides I quit multimedia to do medicine, but in medicine, I did exactly what I said. Okay, I invested a quarter million in 10 years to be happier than I was in multimedia, and the entire way, I just kept thinking, “Okay, when I get into sports medicine this will be the fantasy of awesomeness even though I didn’t love medicine school.” I did not love, and really, really, really, disliked residency, and not because it was hard, but because we’re seeing all these patients, and it just wasn’t exciting for me in the way we were practicing medicine, but I kept thinking, “Once I get to sports medicine everything will be hearts and flowers.” I got there and it wasn’t.
I got to the point where a lot of docs will maybe relate to this, I started treating my own symptoms of unhappiness without realizing what the cause was. So I finally realized, “Man, every time I’m in clinic seeing patients my heart rate is like the roof.” What did I do? Take in some beta blockers, instead of realizing, “You don’t have a heart problem. You have a dislike seeing patients every 50 minutes problem.” Because my heart was only racing when I walked in the clinic or when I was in clinic.
When I graduated, also even before I graduated, when I realized that I went to my fellowship director and I said, “I don’t love seeing patients this much in clinic, and I don’t love standing on the sidelines of games that I don’t enjoy watching.” Like sports medicine, it may be super exciting maybe if you already watch football and basketball, the sports that I was doing, but I was like a gymnast and a dancer, and I was not standing on the sidelines of gymnastics meets. I was just like, “Definitely everyone else’s dream job is standing on the side of like packed in football games.” Totally bored, and there was my night of my weekend. I don’t think have a night of a weekend.
There was clinical day and games in what will be the free time. I thought, “This is not how I’m going to live my life.” And so I had to, at the graduation of my fellowship say, “Here’s a list of things that I’m quitting in medicine. I’m quitting nights and weekends, if I worked all day.” Like, okay, if I’m going to work in urgent care shift, maybe that can be on the weekend, but man, I probably didn’t work all week, so I’m not doing all day, all night. I am not going to have to be called for somebody who has a different idea of what an emergency is than I do. Like the dial me back, so they’ll just call me for things that weren’t emergencies. I don’t want to be on call at all, actually.
And then I had been moonlighting in urgent care, and I realized I do not want to deal with writing prescriptions, because the opioid crisis was just starting, but people were showing up five minutes before the clinic closes with tooth pain, and we can’t treat tooth pain, so what do you do? Give them opioids. It was just becoming a disaster, and so I said, “This is my no list. I’m quitting all these parts of medicine, and I’m just going to moonlight in urgent care and do some locums until I find a means of practicing medicine that has just the parts that I like.” I was fortunate enough that after a few months of searching I found the job I currently have.
That’s awesome. What’re the things, and I know that there are going to be doctors who are watching this, and they might be looking at this interview a little bit funny. They might be saying, I’m not saying that this is for you, I’m just saying, ’cause I know doctors, right? “She sounds like she has a bad work ethic, or lazy, or sometimes you just got to suck it up.” I’m sure you’ve heard of these same things.
What kind of advice for a doctor who may be working in a hospital right now wants to quit but also wants to be a team player? Maybe you can share some insight into this.
Absolutely. If you want to quit and you’re still at your job, and it’s not for the reason like, “Okay, I’m at this] job because I need to save up some money before I go to this other thing.” If you’re just there because you think somehow there’s some reward for you in the afterlife for putting 50 to 60 hours a week in despite how miserable you are, you are doing an incredible disservice to your teammates and your patients, I am betting, because it’s really hard to be your full actualized present and helpful doctor self when you’re miserable, right?
Mike, you mentioned that on the episode of Quit Happens that you were on. You’re just not serving people if you’re not serving yourself. You can’t be giving from an empty cup, as they say. So if you’re miserable, it’s going to show. It’s either going to show in your work or in your relations with other people. And if it doesn’t, if you’re just so great at faking it, it’s probably going to show up in your own health because it’s so out of alignment with you. And then you just can’t show up to work because you might have migraines or reflex or insomnia, whatever will start to eat you from inside.
So for those of you who think I’m lazy or have a terrible work ethic, fantastic. Take a look at why you think that. What is the prize? Who says working 50 to 60 hours somehow it is a better value judgment than somebody who’s working 10 or less? There are places in other countries that are trying out a four-hour work week because people are more productive when they’re not just … Well, they say the task expands to fill the amount of time you have, and so people are more productive if you give them these fewer days, and they’re healthier because they’ve got an extra day to follow their passions and be in flow or recover or rest or whatever it is.
I think a lot of medicine is the whole, “I did it, you have to do it,” mentality. It’s like this collective pain body that gets passed on from generation to generation. I remember when resident work hours came to be a thing when I was in med school, there was just this backlash like, “Now you guys only have to work only 80 hours a week. We had to do the …” I’m like, “Yeah, that’s because we would like to be better people. Like how healthy are you?” You talked about this in this other episode, is you see these doctors that looked 20 years older than they are because they’ve been grinding at it, 50, 60, 70 hours a week with losing their entire social life, livelihood, et cetera, barely get to see their families. That’s no badge of honor.
You’re going to want to be on your deathbed and look back and say, “I sure did work 70 hours a week?” I don’t. It’s definitely a badge of honor for me to be able to look back in life and say, “I lived it. I wasn’t just working because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. I worked smarter enough within my passions and within my strengths that I didn’t have to spend my entire day cranking at something I didn’t love to do, and therefore I was a happier person and probably positively infected the other people in a more positive way than if I had been miserable stuck head down 70 hours a week doing the kind of medicine I thought I was supposed to do.”
Yeah, it really is kind of funny this mentality that we have that working 70, 80, 100 hours means you’re going to be a better doctor. I’m going to be on a plane to Florida in a couple of weeks, and I know this guy is a good pilot because he’s been flying for the past 70 hours on this plane. I want to make sure he’s got a lot of rest-
… so he can fly the plane. I don’t think he’s going to be a better pilot ’cause he’s only had two hours of sleep. I’ll get down off that plane.
It’s really [crosstalk 00:17:31].
Exactly. I could never figure that out. I was like, “You want somebody saving lives that is at the level of essentially drunkenness with the sleep deprivation that we had. That sounds like a lawsuit ready to happen. They’re trying to do everything else to prevent a law suit. I’m like, “Well, then how about you give us eight hours to sleep?” In fact we want our patients to do that. Please, get seven to eight hours of sleep, but us, no, no, no, three is great. We’ll be treating you on three hours of sleep. It’s just a terrible idea, and that’s a terrible example.
Because we have this interview with physicians and our audience is mostly likely going to be mostly physician on here. I think to better understand where this is coming from is I think we have this definition of what a physician is. It’s a certain description that they must see patients, at least in primary care. If you want to be a primary care physician you must see 30 patients a day. You must be working at least four and half days out of the week. You must be writing prescriptions, you must be seeing them from cradle to grave, your patients, but I think that’s a very, very myopic way of looking at being a physician. Can you give just your thoughts on your definition of a physician is, and what it was maybe in medicine school, and what do you think it is now?
Well, luckily the amount of options we have has infinitely increased since left medicine school, but a lot of us grew up with the TV doctor example, right? You call them Marcus Welby. I think that’s who you were referencing [crosstalk 00:19:24]-
Yeah, that was way the other time, yeah.
… yeah, I don’t know who that is, but in some way the doctor here, like somebody who did the cradle to grave they saw you at home, really are there too many shows that are about somebody who just sees one specific thing, or who’s like a cruise ship doctor, or who’s a doctor with just telemedicine? Is it things that have all popped up since the last time …? All you see is general, like ER and Gray’s Anatomy, and those people are working crazy hours, because it’s not that dramatic to watch somebody do telemedicine at home. So that’s what society thinks, but there are needs for doctors in so many other realms, and who’s to say what is and isn’t helping people?
Like for example, my job, which I know you do the same for some portion of your life is that I do compensation and pension physicals. So I tell people, “I don’t get anybody better. I get them richer.” Because I’m not allowed to treat anything. I can’t be on call. There’s no continuity of care. The patients come in, I do an exam and then they get benefits based on my exam. Well, those benefits sometimes they’re in the thousands of dollars per month, so I am helping them get the money that they can use to buy more organic food, or take care of themselves, or go to school. Every physician’s role is playing some part, even if you’re working for the big, bad pharma, hopefully you’re working to help them improve safety for patients. There’s lots of ways that physicians can contribute.
Or are you a medicine writer that helps other people understand conditions where they can improve the wellbeing? There are so many different ways that you can help people with medicine knowledge. That’s what I think a physician is. Somebody helping people through medicine knowledge. It just has to be through hands-on clinical work with that medicine knowledge. Nobody says radiologists or pathologists are not doctors, but they’re not seeing any patients that are alive, and they’re still very helpful. Everybody needs somebody to read their X-rays and MRIs, so they’re helping people. I just think if more doctors who have this maybe fear of leaving clinical medicine because what kind of doctor will do that? Looking at all these people who never started on clinical medicine, and man, radiologists, nobody is like, “You’re just a radiologist.” It’s like they’re helpful team members in the medical team, and so are people who do independent medical exams that help people get insurance or whatever.
There are so many different options of how a doctor can be helpful. Just expand your mind realize that those other options are going to be better for you. If you’re not into clinical medicine it is not some kind of character flaw of yours. We are all different people. Some people love clinical medicine, and if everybody loved clinical medicine there’d be nobody like your eye to do the exams for the veterans or to do telemedicine, or whatever else there is. It is good that we’re all different, and that we all have differen t parts of the medical realm that we like, so find one that works for you.
That’s really a good point, and, again, I just get these epiphanies when I’m talking with you because you’re just bursting with, not only, great advice, but just a different way of thinking, and then just like we were just talking about veterans. When we see a veteran, they were involved in a war of some type, and they’re on the front lines, and as a soldier may have worked four years. They did their twelfth duty, right? Once they come home, do we go and say, “Hey, how come you’re not doing this for the next 30 years? You’re a soldier, right? Shouldn’t you be in the front lines again?” But that’s kind of mentality that we have as doctors and say, “No, you’re here just to treat patients and write prescriptions, and that’s all you’re going to be doing, and you’re going to like it.” It’s just so funny that we can’t change the definition of what truly is what a physician should be. Any thoughts on that?
I think you’re absolutely right. In most of the things that people saddle doctors with as far as societal expectations are ridiculous if you look at applying them like you said to other things. I was thinking about it this morning about if you leave clinical medicine, if you don’t do clinical medicine, don’t you still care about people? Or if you went into medicine, can’t you go into medicine because you really wanted to take care of people? So there’s this judgment. By the way whether or not people are actually saying this to us, it’s just probably what lots of doctors are thinking, even though for sure, some have said it to me, and I’m sure some have said it to you, right?
When somebody is like coming out of college and it’s like, “What do you want to do?” “I want to go work in finance.” And we’re like, “Why?” “Because I like math and numbers.” Nobody is like, “But don’t you want to help people?” There’s no judgment call because they wanted to do this other thing that is completely financial, it may or may not help a person, but once you’ve gone done the medical route you’re somehow like handcuffed to this, you better have gone into it for this reason we’ve decided for you, and you better always follow that reason so if you change from clinical medicine it can’t be because you stopped wanting to see patients. It has to be some extenuating circumstance, but that’s ridiculous.
Who is the same today that they were 20 years ago? The medical school road is so long that just in a period of pre med, med school, residency, fellowship, you’ve probably changed two or three times, so the fact that we often have to at least be doing something medical to pay off these loans owning to ourselves to honor the fact that we probably have changed somewhere in there. We may have wanted to go into radiology in the beginning and then learn to love clinical medicine. Hard to say, but honor the fact that you may have changed, and it’s no judgment call on you to leave medicine altogether, to leave clinical medicine, or to do what is necessary for you to be a whole and happy, and therefore healthy person.
I love that we’re kind of breaking myths, and just talking about just being authentic on here, but you kind of touched on another argument that I often hear is that you’re a physician and you owe it to be a physician, because don’t you know about the physician shortage that is out there? Because you’re quitting that means everybody has to take the slack for you. What do you have to say? I’m not saying you, Lynn, I’m just saying these are the criticisms that I often hear, and you may have heard before. What do you think about that, you owe it to the other doctors to take up the slack for you?
I don’t see how that is applicable at all. Like this is where I could use my superpower in one day, because like things that don’t compute, they don’t even register, because my medical degree was not free. I did not get bestowed a bunch of education and now I have to repay my [inaudible 00:26:00] I realized that perhaps I have, some people might’ve gotten certain scholarships, but let’s just say you’re average doctor who did not get public loan reimbursement or whatever that’s called, or they didn’t get a grant to go to school. Like if you have just the extreme [inaudible 00:26:15] you’re already putting in a quarter million and 10 years of your time, now you owe it to have to stay in this …
I don’t understand that at all. What we’re doing by leaving things in medicine that we don’t like is we’re opening opportunities for others. Yes, there’s a physician shortage, and then guess what’s going to have to probably happen is that medical schools might have to let a few more people in to make a few more docs, and therefore somebody who might not have got into medical school, who couldn’t be a doctor, now gets to get into medical school, and they get to take those jobs that necessarily we didn’t want, because maybe that’s better suited for them if they really wanted to get into clinical medicine.
There’s nothing that says there’s some kind of like forced necessity for us to have to stay in this thing, because again, at the end of the day what everybody wants is that patients are served so that the patients can be in the best health. If doctors are to do, I think it is very impossible to be setting a good example for your patients, and for you to be treating them as optimally as you could be if you’re miserable. And so at the end of the day patients are not getting served if we’re forced from society or whomever else is to stay in these positions.
I think it also adds if you see that there is a problem in your current situation, instead of just kind of dealing with it, we’re talking about being entrepreneurial, find solutions, create a business that can help improve the situation that you’re in, and maybe the best way that you could do it is to step away and get that 30,000 feet look at the situation and start a business related to that. You’re going to be speaking at, or did you want to say something before we move on in that?
Well, I was going to say that exact thing that you’re talking about, physician shortages, and often it’s in rural areas or underserved communities. What better thing, than the fact that somebody at some point in time probably left clinical medicine to start telemedicine so that those communities can now be better served, and the physician shortage isn’t so dire, because now physicians from overpopulated areas can serve those communities.
So we’ve been kind of beating down, our physician colleagues on here, this really angry physician, amalgam that I made up here, I think that it comes down to most physicians came in there because they “wanted to help people” but they’re very altruistic. In general most of us, we beat on drum, we don’t want to pat ourselves on the back, and we kind of end up kind of being followers where we kind of follow it. We don’t want to do anything that goes against the status quo. What was maybe in your background that maybe allowed you to become more free or more flexible than maybe your colleagues were? So anything maybe in your family, your upbringing that kind of led you to this?
Well, I do recall my father at some point who worked his entire life in his family business that was just one person, retired, land surveying, and he was miserable all the time. Because he was miserable at his job, let’s say he was not the friendliest, happiest dude to be around the rest of the time. And so when he said [inaudible 00:29:28] never [inaudible 00:29:31] and definitely not work for anybody else. Those were his two things that he said.
One of them I took to heart immediately, and the other one it took me years to get. When he said, “Don’t work for anybody else,” I was like, “You don’t work for anybody else and we’re super poor, so I’m not sure that’s really legit advice.” But he did say, “Do not do something that makes you unhappy.” He and my mother would support anytime that I would make these quits, even though like for multimedia that was a giant quit because I was halfway through multimedia in grad school when I stopped and had to do pre med and med school and all that over. They were like, “Man, that’s a massive undertaking. Please, put some thought into it.”
But I think along the way I’ve just haven’t been able to, or maybe it is an inability, maybe it is my inability to tolerate situations that make me miserable, that is like the anti-superpower, but it happens to really work well for me because when people say, “Just tolerate such and such,” that doesn’t compute for me because I don’t understand why … Like currently I work 10 hours a week, and I would love to spend fewer of those hours at the VA, and more hours doing what I love in quitting. Somebody is like, “Oh, my gosh, just suck it up and do your 10 hours.”
I’m like, “Well, those 10 hours are not exactly aligned with my greatness. There’s parts of it that I like doing, but I’m also at that point working for somebody else, and they can pull the log from underneath me, and so it’s a little more of a stress situation. You have to do things according to everybody’s rules.” I say there’s nowhere in some Handbook of Life, by the way, which also doesn’t exist, that it doesn’t say that there’s an amount of time that you should tolerate spending not at your greatest good, and another amount of time that’s too much, right?
I think you should enjoy and be in flow as many minutes of every day if you possibly can. I think that’s just part of the credo that’s always been inside me that when I start noticing my health and my happiness are going, I’m outta there, and I’ll find a way to be out of there creatively. Sometimes it takes years, sometimes it’s much quicker, but I think it’s my inability to tolerate unhappiness that has led me to realize, “No, okay, things are not working. We’re going to quit,” and then the other will be like I said before, these fears or these pressures aren’t rational to me. Like my brain, like the sunk cost fallacy is a big thing to people who’re like, “But I’ve already wasted this time and money.” That’s a sunk cost.
You don’t get that money back by continuing to spend time in this thing. Like none of that computes. It’s a fallacy, and so for me it never made sense in the first place why people use that as a reason to stay in relationships or jobs or anything. So I think these are two things in my DNA that has made this my path.
I love this. Now, in the remaining time that we have, a doctor who’s listening to this now, they love what you’re saying in here. I’m sure they’ve got a lot of excuses about why they can’t quit, but whatever that’d be, maybe it’d be financial, maybe a family situation, whatever that is, but they’re unhappy at their job right now, whether it’s for a hospital or for clinic, something is happening right now. I know it’s hard to generalize. Everybody has their own situation. Any kind of words of advice for somebody who could actually start the process of quitting their job?
Absolutely. So when I’m talking about quitting I am not talking about up and quitting. Like I just alluded to. Somebody’s quits can take years, and what I advocate is this strategic quitting process where you go from realizing there’s something that’s not working for you through the very important part for doctors is dialing in on exactly what part isn’t working.
Okay, is it that I hate 100% of medicine, I never want to be a doctor again? Okay, that’s one thing. If you look closely at it, is it that you just don’t want to see a patient every 10 minutes? If you saw patients every half hour, it’d be fine. Or you just don’t want to type into the EMR. Or you just need an extra off a week? Or, like a friend of mine who was on the podcast, he’s a facial plastic surgeon, and he really just wanted to do nasal work construction. He didn’t want to do eyes and ears, or whatever else. The fact that he didn’t have any free time combined with just doing surgeries he didn’t love made him think, “I need to quit all of medicine,” but when he stopped and realized, “No, I just need to quit the surgeries that I don’t like doing, and I need to ask for a little more time off.”
Lo and behold, he went to an academic institution with those requests and got it. And at some point in time he was working two weeks on, two weeks off, which sounds hard but he pulled it off. And so if you are in one of those situations, I would go to that second step and say, what part of medicine is causing you the friction, causing you the stress? Because if it’s one small part, if you just hate typing into the EMR and instead you can get like drug and dictation, well, that’s a lot easier than quitting your entire job, right? Or if you just don’t like commuting, and you could switch to telemedicine, amazing, that’s so much easier.
So for docs who are miserable, look at what it is, ’cause we’re not saying that you have to quit your whole job, but that’s where I come in to point out like there are many smaller quits that might make your job a lot more tolerable or even enjoyable. If they get to those points and they figure out what it is they need to quit, then you’ve got to overcome any quitting related fears, which I think you were talking about, like these are the excuses I have, and there are some esoteric fears like, “What will other think?” And you and I can never chat about that because the answer is not much enough and not for very long.
And then after that it’s a very important step for docs. We really have to prepare the logistics. Like my loans are not going to pay themselves off out of nowhere. I cannot up and quit a job without a way to pay off my loans and my rents and all those things. I live alone, so all of it is on me. So like other docs you’ve got to make sure that you’ve got your finances in order, and that’s why the quit might take a while, because you have to build up some financial stability. Maybe you’re working on a side gig, you’ve got to build that thing up, so it takes a while. And then the fifth step is just how to enact the way in the quit that burns bridges and preserves relationships. So if you were a doc, and you were miserable, I would focus first on that second step, which is figuring out what’s causing you to be miserable and finding ways that you could quit just those things.
I love that because I don’t think doctors are going to realize or anybody who’s working, for the company to let you go and then hire somebody else, that’s going to cost them a lot of time and a lot of money. Maybe you don’t like it because you don’t like what you’re getting paid. Ask for a raise, ask for something. Maybe there’s a certain aspect. I love my job, but I hate that I have to stay from 5:00 to 7:00 PM working on EMR. Maybe they can hire a scribe for me so they can do that for you.
Simple things like that you don’t know unless you ask, and I love that because like you said, it’s about becoming strategic that I think makes the whole difference in terms of quitting. Wish we could talk more. I know you’re busy. You’ve got a couple of events coming up. One, an event that you’re doing locally here in San Diego, and then, of course, my event, the Bootcamp MD conference coming up in January. First, tell me about the one that you’re putting together. This retreat that you’re putting together.
Yeah, it’s two days. It’s not overnight, but it’s two days from 10:00 to 5:00 on January 12th and 13th Encinitas California, which is just a few minutes north of San Diego, and it’s called Make Quit Happen LIVE!, because there’s that strategic quitting process I just told you about, the five steps, and people might not be able to do one-on-one coaching with me for a long period of time, which is a larger financial investment, so I made a workshop that’s inexpensive that people can come to, and you’re going to knock out your quit from start to finish in those two days.
You can show up either knowing you have specific thing you want to quit, or just knowing, “Okay, there is an unhappiness somewhere in my life, clearly I’m settling.” And I’ll teach you the process of figuring out what that thing is, and then we’ll go through all those steps that I just described, and by the end you will have a plan of action. That this is not some kind of esoteric thing. We’re going to work in small groups, they’ll be working with me. You can start to finish, have your strategic quit plan. So it’s called Make Quit Happen LIVE! You can find that at quittingbydesign.com.
Awesome, awesome. And that’s open to everybody, right? Not just physicians, right?
Absolutely everybody, and it doesn’t have to be a job quit. It can be mindset, relationship, city, the peace corps, a diet, any kind of quit [crosstalk 00:37:47].
That’s awesome. And now you’re also going to be speaking at my event, which is for physician entrepreneurs called Bootcamp MD. It’s happening on January 26th/27th in San Diego. Can you give them kind of sneak peek of what you’re going to be talking about in your talk in my event?
Absolutely — two main areas. One is we’re going to address a lot of the most common fears and/or excuses as you call them, but a lot of the excuses are fears-
… that we have. We’re going to address the most common ones. I’m going to give you like the logical rationale behind why they might not really be so fearful, and give you some ways to deal with those fears, to overcome those fears. And then we’re also going to give some examples and show physicians of ways to do that step number two, dial down exactly what isn’t working and find creative ways to use your medical degree, either for the rest of your career, or so that if you are making a bigger quit, but you still need to keep working in medicine because the finance piece is still there, and you’re working on building up that side thing, find a way that you can, like I did, have a medical practice that just has the things on your yes, okay, to-do list, and on your got to quit this, never do the second list.
Again, I thought that, Lynn Marie, because she’s such an expert at this, and I’m actually going to have her speak, kind of early in the conference just to kind of get your mind ready for this as we’re going to talk about business building, we’re going to talk about branding, those kind of things on there in there, but I know for many, they still have that kind of garbage, for a lack of better term, in their head that’s preventing them from moving forward.
Lynn Marie is going to be there to kind of sort everything out, become strategic so you have a better plan of action so you can really move forward on building your business. Again, that’s coming up January 26th/27th. There’s a link that you can go to register for that. We’ve got a limited amount of seats left so you want to do that quickly on there. Lynn Marie, thanks. I know you’ve got a while, and it’s been great. Any kind of last minute thoughts before we end the call today?
I will just say, like I referenced before, don’t spend your life according to how society tells you to, or what you think other people in society are thinking about your decisions. They’re not spending that much time thinking about it, but on your deathbed you’re going to spend a lot of time thinking about how did you live your life? You want to spend the much of it not settling, not suffering, thriving. So make those decisions now that help you, when you’re years down the road, look back and think, “I made the most of my life. I’m glad I did it this way.”
Great words. Words to the wise. Thanks again, Lynn Marie. Lynn Marie Morski from Quitting By Design. You can find her at quittingbydesign.com, at the Quit Happens. Go check that up. Go ahead and meet her at BootcampMD coming up in January 2019. Thanks everybody for listening. Thank you, Lynn Marie, for being on the call, and as always guys, keep moving forward.