Episode 86: The Formula To Crafting An Essential Message To Help Patients (Or Customers!) w. Dr. Dena George

Feb 22, 2021

This Episode

Interview w/ Dr. Dena George

You Will Learn

– Common challenges faced by physicians trying to get outside their comfort zone in medical practice or business
– Why physicians are wired to NOT take entrepreneurial risks, and how to adjust this focus
– How Justin and his physician wife are opposites when it comes to “rule following” 🙂
– Many great resources on how to think differently about your own capabilities as a physician or entrepreneur so that you can live out a life that you find MOST fulfilling

Resources & Links

Today I had an amazing conversation with Dr. Dena George. We talked about some of the challenges that physicians face whenever they are trying to transition from just being a “regular physician” into something more entrepreneurial. Dr. George is a physician life and business coach, and she helps doctors work through these challenges and to develop the best version of themselves to feel comfortable stepping out of their field.


Justin (00:25):
Today. I had an amazing conversation with Dr. Dena, George, and I think you’re really going to enjoy it. We talked about some of the challenges that physicians face whenever they are trying to transition from just being a we’ll call it an air quotes or regular physician into something more entrepreneurial to start some kind of venture, either within their practice or a total separate side business or some other type of endeavor. And there’s a number of unique challenges that doctors face and frankly, the medical education system sort of hardwires certain responses and personality traits, even into doctors that are not helpful when they’re trying to push off in new directions and get outside of their own comfort zones. Dr. George is a physician life and business coach, and she helps doctors work through these challenges and to develop the best version of themselves that they can find, and to allow them to be freed, to help the world in whatever the way they feel called. So hope you find this conversation as enjoyable as I did having it. Hello and welcome to episode 86 of APM success. I’m very pleased to be joined today by Dr. Dena, George, Dr. George is a family medicine physician. She’s a podcast producer. She’s a life and business coach. She’s a lifelong learner. She has a lot of wisdom and has had diverse life experiences that have shaped her perspectives. And she does a lot of work in helping physicians make a transition to entrepreneurial ventures or to greater career fulfillment. And I’m really excited to have Dr. George here with us today. Thanks for joining.

Dr. Dena George (02:00):
It is truly an honor to be here.

Justin (02:02):
So for starters, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’re doing right now? Because this is a, I’ve met more and more of professionals slash physicians like you who have come through medicine. And in some cases they’re still practicing, but also have developed a passion to help doctors navigate it more effectively for themselves. So tell me, what are you up to right now?

Dr. Dena George (02:24):
What I do now is, is based on the premise that clear and focus physicians changed the world. And I worked to combine mindset with marketing to amplify the voices of people, not people, but physicians who are doing amazing things to get out of the place of being stuck and figuring out how do I write this? How do I say this? How I there’s people I can help. I don’t know how to move beyond that and to really share the message and share the story and share the way that others are served.

Justin (02:53):
Awesome. I love that mindset plus marketing. I think that’s really intriguing and I want to zoom in on that and with marketing, many of the physicians, I know, and we were just talking about Dr. Padilla, who was a prior guest on this podcast, his his pronounced humility, if it’s not sort of oxymoronic to describe it in that way he is not at all self promoting, but his passion for what he does, I think brings that sort of promotional vibe when he just starts talking about how he wants to care for women in childbirth and, and all of that. And, and I think what I have observed from many physicians is that the idea of promotion, the idea of marketing of self-aggrandizing, if we take a more sort of loaded term it’s not at all innate, in fact, it’s usually sort of probably beaten out of you along the way. Like if you’re the resident who like points to yourself, people are going to say, Hey, like tone it down, dude, we’re a team, you know? And I’m curious, do you find that physicians, if they’re doing something in terms of self-employment or some other endeavor that requires marketing or promotion or saying, Hey, I’ve got an idea and I want people to know about it. Do you find that there’s sort of a, hard-wired, you know, internal mechanism that holds them back from being able to do that? And how do you sort of work with that?

Dr. Dena George (04:16):
Yeah. It’s like having your hand on the emergency brake and then anytime it’s uncomfortable, you just pull it. So I, I agree when we think about selling, we think about that cheesy feeling that hustling that, trying to convince others of what we do and that they need it and they should buy it like somebody running up to you in a mall and be like, you have to buy this right now. No. And in fact, I know so many professionals that are like, if that’s the way to do it, I’m out. I don’t want to do, I don’t want any part of it. And marketing is really just sharing value. It’s sharing value on how lives can look different, how they can feel different, how they can function different because of your product or service, where the focus mostly is on the individual and what is possible or what’s available to them.

Dr. Dena George (05:03):
So having less pain getting out of the, or not having to wonder if you can get out of bed in the morning, not having to wonder, is there somebody who’s going to advocate for you during surgery? No, that’s what your doc is doing. That’s what they’re going to help you do. Help you become is somebody who can live a more functional life. So it’s really just sharing value where the majority of the focus is on the individual that you serve. Some is on the product or service that you provide that helps them achieve that result. And a tiny bit is on self. And I find that for physicians, when it is that way, it is incredibly comfortable and it switches the strip to become a disservice, not to share. It would be like sitting in a restaurant and somebody’s choking. And you’re saying to the person you’re with, Oh, you know, I know how to do the hind, like, but just whispering it, like not standing up and walking over. So me, where

Justin (05:58):
Have you seen this of late? Can you give us a couple examples and does it usually apply to like a medical practice or is it more other outside ventures when you’re working with physicians, when you’re helping physicians work through this idea to say, like provide value, talk about the problems you’re going to solve, how people are going to benefit. Are you freeing them to usually like a clinical practice type of thing? Or is it another idea or project or business?

Dr. Dena George (06:22):
It truly can be anything. It can be a way to start a practice and start it from the framework of, we’re not just going to grind people and get them through, but rather we’re going to create this practice from a way like I’m going to create the practice that I want to go to. The one that isn’t rushed, the one that’s accessible, the one that works with me with regards with insurance. So it can be a very traditional practice. It can be an, an a non-traditional practice. It can be a side gig, it can be developing an app or a device. I mean, anything where there’s a deeper calling, the framework works. And the framework that I use is a StoryBrand framework. What I love about that, it’s the use of story and the person you serve as the hero and you help them win.

Justin (07:10):
Yeah. I love the StoryBrand framework. I’m familiar with it. I’ve read the book. I tried to build my website using that paradigm. I’m not sure how good of a job I did. I’m actually going to redo it with another StoryBrand certified guide to help me do that. But I’m curious, you know, how did you become aware of StoryBrand? How does it distinguish itself from what we’d call like a traditional marketing approach?

Dr. Dena George (07:30):
Yeah, so I attended business mastery a year ago, pre COVID and Donald Miller. He’s the founder of StoryBrand. He wrote the book StoryBrand he was up on stage and he led us through about a two hour exercise to develop a one-line statement about the business. And he went through the different parameters that were needed. And you start out when you write this, that the one-liner is about this long, and he works with you to just get more narrow, more clear, more focused on the results that are possible and available. And at the end of the session, he had about five people stand up and read their one-line statement. And he took the clunkiness of it and the jargon of it. And he put it through his mind and out his mouth came out this beautiful prose. We can just go, I want that. Like, I have no idea what the business is or what it does, but I want that because I just heard so much value in the way that it was phrased. And he did this person after person, after person. And I thought, I know how to do that. I want to, how do I want to be able to take something that’s clunky and cumbersome? And it is full of passion, but it’s just too wordy to really convey a message and come out with clarity and focus and to have it be of service to others. And so I went through the training in may, and this is, this has been the path since then,

Justin (08:49):
When you’re working with physicians and they come to you and say, you’re doing the equivalent of this with them. And you say, you know, give me the one line for like, communicate the passion of what you’re trying to provide to me. Can you give us a little, like, here’s the before and after of what do your clients or your peers, what do they see? Where do they start? What’s the starting point look like? And how does that evolve and refine as you sort of filter it through this StoryBrand paradigm?

Dr. Dena George (09:16):
Yeah. So that the beginning usually sounds like I know this is silly, but I want to, and, and I find that there’s three things like truly three things that physicians have to overcome to be able to take the next step, to be an entrepreneur. And again, this is regardless of whatever business you create, it doesn’t matter, but it’s to become an entrepreneur. And the first one is judgment. We’re so good at creating judgment, free environments for the people we serve. And we’re horrible at doing it for ourselves. And I think it’s the judgment that kept pushing us to get through so many years of training and focus. But at this point to do something new, it doesn’t work at all. And the judgment can be very subtle. Like I know it sounds silly or it’s kind of stupid, but it can also sound a lot more critical too.

Dr. Dena George (10:02):
And that’s the first road Mark is to, to acknowledge that this judgment is present and that it’s not going to help you move forward, not on this new adventure where there’s a lot of unknown it then transitions to getting to what is the idea. And it might be very nebulous. It might be clear, but not focused. It can be at any stage. So then it starts to become a, I want to serve people that are, I want to serve women. Maybe I not only want to serve women, but I want to serve positions and I want to help them not ever have to be burned out. And then it becomes even more clear. So it’s, I serve women early on in their career to maintain the joy in medicine. And I do this by fill in the blank. So it’s the, it’s that transition from?

Dr. Dena George (10:59):
There’s something I want, but I’m not sure if I, I, I’m not sure if I can even say it to, it’s becoming more clear too. This is exactly who I serve and how I help. And we talked about what what’s necessary, putting down the judgment. So first acknowledging it’s there and then putting it down. The second is comparison because anytime physicians have ideas, the thing we do is we look around and we see who else is doing it. How many people are in this space, because if there’s one, if there’s two, if there’s 10, that’s too many, I don’t have anything else to add. That’s that judgment piece too. And then the third thing to overcome, to really move along that spectrum, to getting clear and focused is to, to let go of needing, to know how you can’t possibly know how to do something until you start doing it. And really until you’ve done it, and then you’ll know exactly how you did it. When it comes to being an entrepreneur or being a business owner, there is no manual for you. It doesn’t exist because there’s no manual that says you with these interests, these skills, these hobbies, these networks, and bringing that all together to create what you envision, not just to create it, but to create it in service, to those who need it. Those who want help need help. Those who are suffering

Justin (12:15):
That is profound. And I love the example that you gave of, I want to work with and serve women to women, physicians, to early career female physicians, to help them maintain the joy of medicine. I think that progression really encapsulates this principle. And I went from thinking, Oh yeah, that’s, you’ve eliminated, you know, 48% of the population of the earth, but we’re still talking about three plus billion people that you want to serve, narrowing it all the way down to Holy cow. If I saw that on a billboard, I would want my wife to talk to that person. I would want my female clients to talk to that person. And I think this message is really critical to get out to many of the female physicians that I know. And obviously, as you get more specific, you do it. You know, you take it down from the 3.7 billion people that you can serve all the way down to a very small segment. So as you’re working with physicians to identify who am I really talking to out there that I want to serve with either my practice or my business do you find that they struggle with that idea of being specific because they’re going to, they want to be able to serve 3.7 billion cause there’s more potential customers or patients out there for me,

Dr. Dena George (13:20):
Right? It’s uncomfortable. They exclude others. And the way that I frame it, because it’s all about mindset and it’s about shifting to the mindset that’s inspiring. And so shifting into, you’re not excluding anybody when you narrow down, everyone is welcome. But what you’re doing is you’re really speaking to people who want something more who want something better in a business. I mean, in order to call it to a business is the ability to serve others. Meaning others are willing to pay for the product or the service. That’s what creates a business. Otherwise it’s a hobby or a volunteer process. So it’s uncomfortable to narrow down the message, but it’s so much easier to know who you’re speaking to and to share the value of what you offer, because you can share the results for them. And what I did. I recorded a talk recently and in it, I used the example of if somebody has a vegan gluten-free product, they could speak to all humans, but they’re really going to dilute the message and the value of that product until they’re really speaking to somebody who wants a vegan product or a gluten-free product, or both.

Dr. Dena George (14:36):
Now they’re speaking the language, they’re using the terms they’re showing the value they’re showing how this can improve that individual’s health. Is it excluding everybody else? No, they’re welcome to try it. They’re welcome to buy it. But it’s really speaking to those who have this problem. They want to solve that maybe they want more variety for gluten-free vegan products.

Justin (14:59):
Talk a little bit about the idea of identity specifically self-identity for a physician who’s kind of going through this process and they go from, you know, this place of insecurity and self judgment to sort of maturing in their perspective to a place of growing conviction, to the point where they think Holy cow, like I’m I’m doing a disservice to withhold what I can provide to the people that need it. How does that evolution take place? And is it, is it an intentional thing? Do you find something that you have to sort of focus on or does it kind of happened by accident as someone’s walking down this road?

Dr. Dena George (15:35):
I would love to say that there’s magic, but there’s not. It’s an incredibly intentional process. And it’s, as you said, it’s a transformation. So it’s the identity we have got us here. But when we’re working to grow our life, when we’re working to do what we consider better, when we’re working to especially to create something that is unknown, we have to shift into the identity of somebody who, who is willing to keep going, who is willing to learn, willing, to create, willing to ride the bike as many times as it takes and get up every time you fall. And that identity is not intrinsic in the physician mentality. Like we paid our dues, we trained, we got here, but not many of us really take risks when it comes to our patient care, we rely on what’s proven or what we know to be effective or what consensus holds.

Dr. Dena George (16:30):
And then in extreme or times of emergency, if there are no other options, that’s where we can become creative. For many of us, that’s not often. So it’s taking on this new, intentional identity. And here’s what it means. It means letting go of the rules that got us here, the rules that it has to be easy. Maybe the rules that it’s going to work the first time, the rules that you should be good at this, you should know how to do this. Like we come up with all kinds of stuff because we’re, we’re masters within our physician work. It’s like, it should be that way in everything.

Justin (17:08):
Absolutely. It’s funny, my wife and I have this running joke that she’s the rule follower of our couple and I’m the, the rule breaker or the one who’s a little more, you know, edgy. And then the way that we live our lives. And I think that wiring in her instance is part of what makes her an excellent clinician it’s because you can assess a situation, understand what the consensus says and decisively enact the consensus treatment. And that is a huge asset for somebody who’s making decisions in the, or, but I think in entrepreneurship that reflex, I think you distilled it perfectly when you said I’m going to look around, I’m going to see what is the idea that I have, who else is doing it? How many people succeed? Is there a room for me out there and it’s that same paradigm, but in entrepreneurship, in business, in serving the general public, it, it doesn’t have the same value. It’s actually, I think we agree that it’s it’s bad. It’s not effective. It, it hampers your ability to build what you are trying to move toward.

Dr. Dena George (18:07):
Right? So one of the things, when we’re doing something that’s unknown or uncomfortable, we tend to see ourselves rather than the person that we can serve. And the, the new identity really has to be focused on the person that we can serve. So I was talking with a physician recently that wants to develop a course that addresses burnout before it happens. It, it addresses really finding the deeper connection with patients and experiencing the joy of medicine. And we talked about, what do you have to, you have to let things go in order to move on, move forward. So T keep what works and then add to your tool set and let go of what’s not working. And so some of the things that that were necessary to let go of are it’s supposed to work the first time. It’s supposed to be easy. People are supposed to automatically come to me and sign up and that’s not how it works. And so we talked about every expectation, like that creates a larger distance between the person, you and the person you serve. And the more that you can be clear and focused that the narrower, that gap becomes so that they’re right there and you see them as right there and you speak to them as, as the right there,

Justin (19:26):
I find this is one of these other paradoxes. That’s so beautiful in life. Whenever I am struggling with the way that I serve clients, or I want to do a better job, or I’m feeling down in the dumps and I get out of bed and I’m like, Oh my gosh, am I even, am I even helping anyone out there? The thing that usually gets me back on the track and moving in the right direction is reaffirming in my own brain. I’m doing this for others and others to some extent, need and depend upon me being the best that I can be. And others are going to value and benefit. If I keep on providing, you know, putting in 110% each day, and it’s not the no, Justin, you’re good enough. You can do this. I mean, I think that works for some people in some contexts, but for me, that, isn’t what motivates me to step back in the batter’s box and take another swing. Even if you struck out the last nine times, it’s people out there need this and I want to, I want to deliver it.

Dr. Dena George (20:20):
Yeah. And you do in so many ways. It’s absolutely incredible. Meaning the value that you offer in your podcast, the information that you offer, the things to consider just in the podcast alone. And then the other avenues that you do that as well. And I think what you really embody is a, a spirit of learning and growth and being, being where the people you can serve, being where they’re at and talking to them and just sharing your ideas or sharing the value or helping them to dream bigger to what I found is really helpful just in terms of taking those steps to clarity and focus is to move away from title and not let title be what you’re about. And I was thinking about this in terms of you like the term financial advisor. I don’t know if you would use that, but financial advisor to many of us, it says something, but that’s not.

Dr. Dena George (21:14):
That might be what you do, but what you really do is you help people dream, dream bigger than they think is possible, and then devise a plan. So that, that dream becomes a reality because it’s so easy to sit back and have a dream and think it’s impossible. And it’s always the stream like winning the lottery, just this dream that you don’t take action on. But what you do is you help people say, you know what, that’s not impossible. You can create that you and, and here’s how you can do it and then get deeper. Like why do it, and really bring out that calling. And that’s like the greatest gift that you can give to others.

Justin (21:58):
Totally agree. I think you just described the highest and best application of what I do and when it’s really clicking and really working, it is freeing people to step into their dreams. And I couldn’t have said it better myself. I want to talk for a minute about this idea of mindset. We’ve talked about it in the past, on the show, and I want to share a little bit about sort of how I’ve come to understand what this means. And I’m really curious in your experience, how you’ve sort of how you were first exposed to the importance of this and how it’s evolved over time. So I’m here in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is the home of many things. Rocky is one of them, Sylvester Stallone. And I grew up watching this movie with my dad and I had this experience that will always stick in my mind.

Justin (22:39):
When I think about the importance of mindset. I read this book called Psycho-Cybernetics. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with it, but it was the one that opened my brain to what it means to basically apply all these principles we just discussed in the last eight minutes or so. And I was reading through this book. And at the same time, I, I went to see creed two with my dad here at the theaters in West Philly. And there was this, first of all, I’m a sucker for a good training montage. And Rocky’s obviously full of these where there’s this like, you know, and Rocky four is my favorite one where he goes to Russia and he’s like going through the snow, carrying logs and swinging an ax and all that. But in creed two, there’s this moment, this training montage, where Michael B. Jordan, he’s like running through the desert on the street.

Justin (23:23):
And Rocky’s like behind him in a Mustang to let them go faster. And he falls flat on his face on the pavement. And there’s this moment of he’s training really hard. And he’s had this sort of physical slash mental breakdown. And then, you know, it’s kind of dramatic and it waits. And then he, like, he gets up off the pavement and he reaffirms, or he pushes through that wall or whatever it is. And he, I think in this moment, not only is his body being forged and trained, but also his brain. And I would argue that that’s actually the thing that brings about his success ultimately. And so I was watching this. It was right after I read this book and I had this experience. I kind of liken it to, whenever you buy a car, I have a silver Honda fit. And I didn’t realize there were so many silver Honda fits out there until I bought one.

Justin (24:06):
And I was like, Holy cow, everyone drives this thing. They’re all around. And I have found that this principle is true when it comes to mindset, training, the brain, developing this identity and this idea about like, why am I doing what I’m doing? And then once you, once you see that and you internalize it, you look everywhere and it’s all around. And all the successes are marked by it. And all the people who are really doing big and important things they have, whether knowingly or not, they have internalized this principle to say, I need to understand why I’m doing what I’m doing. And I need to understand that when that voice, you know, that preface that a physician might say, this is a stupid idea, but they identify that voice. And they say, there’s no room for you here. And that’s a lie. And I got to like, you know, throw that off and press through. I think that is something that I’ve just seen all over the place. So I say all this to say, I’m curious how your journey with this idea has been knowing that physicians and entrepreneurs who really get their arms around this can be freed to greater Heights. And I think in many cases, it’s actually like a, it’s like an epiphany moment, like Michael B. Jordan getting up off the pavement.

Dr. Dena George (25:19):
I don’t remember where it started. So I know that I always really enjoyed motivational talks and self-help books like throughout my life. I thought I was the only one. It turns out a lot of physicians like the same thing, but one of the things that’s really governed my life is I can do that. Or maybe I can do that to help keep going. And I was thinking about that this morning, like back in 1993, I just graduated from college and I decided I wanted to go to Russia. It was not, it was very early for Americans traveling to Russia, but I decided I wanted to go found a way to go. And while we were there, we flew from Moscow to LANU day on Aeroflot the us state department released this thing. One don’t go to Russia, two don’t fly on Aeroflot. And there I was, and it was just based on the sense of, I want to do that.

Dr. Dena George (26:14):
I can do that. It took me four times to go, to be accepted to medical school. And each time it was this crushing defeat and this sense of, okay, I’ll try it again. Okay. I’ll try it again. And then the year that I got accepted, it was this resounding sense of I’m all in everything I’ve got is going into the, this application. And then I’m complete whether I’m accepted or not, I’m complete. And you described exactly the process, which is identifying all that limiting chatter that comes up and, and that’s the human brain. We personalize it because we often don’t talk about our doubts or fears or uncertainties with others, like in a deep way. So we think it’s just us. So that’s just me. That’s who I am. But it turns out that’s just the human brain and it’s doubt and it’s fear and it’s uncertainty and we believe it.

Dr. Dena George (27:05):
And so we play small. And the difference between people is not their capability. It’s just what they listen to. So if we listen to that chatter, we’re going to play small. We’re going to stay comfortable. We’re going to do what we know how to do. And those that don’t listen. They’re the ones that are saying, you know what? I don’t believe that I’m not going to tolerate that anymore. I’m not going to tolerate speaking to myself differently than I would speak to a patient or I’d speak to my spouse or I’d speak to my child. I’m only going to speak to myself that way. And every time I fall down, I’m going to stand back up. That doesn’t mean I have to keep doing the same thing that I’m doing. It means I’m going to stand back up. I’m going to hold my head up. And I’m going to decide what comes next. Rather than my mind telling me I failed. I’ve been defeated. This will never work.

Justin (27:50):
Absolutely. It’s funny. You say that I was working my way through a 12 rules for life by Jordan Peterson. He’s a Canadian psychologist. And one of the it’s like chapter two, it’s like one of these rules that if you follow it, you’ll be a better person and you’ll achieve more and all that. And one of the things he says is a paraphrasing. I’m going to treat myself at least as nicely as I treat other people. And he makes this observation of people who are just have a trouble, have trouble for him. He uses the example of taking your medicine and how the deep irony here, like people don’t take the scripts that physicians write for them. And as a result, they have problems either like abusing drugs or just chronic issues that don’t get treated. And he makes the observation, whenever that same person has a script that is written for their dog, they have a much higher compliance of helping their dog take the pills that they need to take on the, you know, the times that they need to take them.

Justin (28:45):
And he says, shouldn’t you at least treat yourself at the same thing to me that you treat your dog. And that’s kind of a funny example, but I think it’s absolutely right. Like, would you say that, like if someone said, Hey, I have an idea. Here’s what it is. Would you say, Oh, that’s stupid and silly. And maybe you shouldn’t try it. Like, I mean, you might, but you’d be a jerk and you shouldn’t. And if you say, no, I wouldn’t shoot down someone’s idea while they’re kind of in this vulnerable place and trying to brainstorm, you would probably, if you’re a good person and you care about them, you’d want to encourage it and help make it better and improve it. And this idea of being, at least as kind to yourself, as you would be to others in that context, I think is profound, or at least as kind to yourself as you would to your canine to put it in more, you know, interesting language.

Dr. Dena George (29:28):
Yeah. And it’s so simple. And it’s like so complex at the same time. It’s so simple to say that. And then we have all these reasons why we don’t, we shouldn’t, we couldn’t take too much time, just the, the excuses, but I, I think we can, I think it’s totally possible that high achievers can develop an intolerance to the things that go on within us to really see them as destructive as holding us back as keeping us from the people that we can help in any capacity, whether it’s as a community member, whether it’s as a parent or as a spouse, all that chatter, all that stuff that keeps us down keeps us from really experiencing the fulfillment of life, which I believe is deep connection.

Justin (30:22):
As you’ve gone on this journey personally, as well as professionally, have you had any role models or people who have helped you sort of unpack or apply these principles meaningfully?

Dr. Dena George (30:33):
Yeah, for sure. And that’s one of the things that I had to learn, which is to, to not, not do this, not be quiet and, and just whisper what my ideas were. And when I started making connections, there’s two individuals that I really appreciate their mentorship. It’s Leticia Alto. And she and her husband are the founder of semiretired MD and Sonny Smith who leads the empowering women physicians group. The two of them just have been a huge mentors as far as mindset and growing and developing a mindset that really stays focused on service to others. And that it has been so profound. So the, the influence of just their mindset of how they created their mindset of the resources and tools that are available and the network that helps them keep going and not just going, but going so that they’re continuing to reach more of who they are and to share that with others.

Justin (31:36):
Yeah. There’s this another book that I’ve talked about on this podcast in the past, the alter ego effect by guy named Todd Herman, and he makes this observation, it’s a lot of these same ideas. And he says which person is the actual person? Is it Clark Kent? Or is it Superman? Who is the most essential component of the identity? And he says, well, it’s, it’s Superman. Superman is the real person. And Clark Kent is the, is actually the you know, the, the facade or whatever, but because Superman has the ability to do all these things and that’s inherent to the who they are. And so if you’re feeling like Clark Kent, essentially, there’s a know this is going to sound super cheesy and self healthy. And I, it’s funny because I used to kind of laugh at this stuff. Like there’s a Superman inside you somewhere, but, but that’s the truth.

Justin (32:29):
And I can’t remember if I’ve talked about this on the show too. I have this theory about Tony Robbins. I don’t know if I’ve shared this. And my, I think that there’s three types of people who have opinions about Tony Robbins and I, I have gone through this progression in my life, but the first type of person is the person who says, Oh, I can do it. Anybody doesn’t know Tony Robbins, obviously motivational speaker. Self-Help kind of guy like empowerment and achieve and go con go forth and conquer kind of guy. There’s the people who I would say, like, they don’t know enough to know that when Tony says you can do it, that doesn’t mean you can do it. Like just cause some guy out there says, you can do this thing that doesn’t give you the ability to do it. That’s sort of like the bottom rung on the ladder.

Justin (33:10):
And then there’s the second rung on the ladder, which is like the people out there that are smart enough to know that just because Tony says, you can do it. It doesn’t mean you can do it. So there’s this cynical aloofness. That’s like, Oh, that guy’s like a charlatan whenever and they’re not necessarily totally wrong. But then I have gradually become aware of this third rung of the ladder. And this just happens to be occupied by hedge fund managers, world-class athletes, politicians, performers, and many of the greatest achievers of our time who say Tony, that guy, like he helped me do what I’ve done. And he has the secret sauce basically. And so it is a confusing paradox, looking at these ideas and someone like him, who is a very, you know, I think people fall on one side of the fence or the other, when they think about what he is and what he’s done, he’s a guy who’s basically majorly monetized many of these ideas, but the fact is they have transformed and enabled so many people who have done so many amazing things that you just can’t look past it. And I, I just have to look at that and laugh. And I, this, this is part of the process for me of kind of buying in more and more to these ideas that we need to intentionally cultivate these disciplines mentally and with our identity. And then sort of step into that reality. When we walk out our front door,

Dr. Dena George (34:31):
There are two takeaways from the, the business mastery that really resonate for me. The first one is anything that we want to do. It’s 80% psychology, which is mindset and 20% strategy. Like so often we think about, Oh, if I knew how to do it. And just going back to what we talked about earlier, if I knew how to do it, then I, you know, if I had the right strategy, that would make the difference, but it’s not that 20% strategy. It’s the 80% mindset. The why the being so passionate about what results are available and possible that you can create that only you can create and stay focused and determined to get on the bike as many times as it takes to reach the destination. So 80% mindset, 20% strategy. And the other is so humbling. It’s there are two fundamental fears in most people, the fear of not being good enough and the fear of not being worthy of love.

Dr. Dena George (35:30):
And when we think about those two things and how often they come up for the individual, it’s incredibly humbling because that’s what limits us. If we think we’re not good enough, we’re only going to get so far. If we think that others are going to judge us, if, if they’re not going to want to be around us, if they’re not going to love us, we’re only going to get so far. So it’s like overcoming these human things, puts us on a trajectory to really create the impossible to declare. It’s not impossible. It’s now become possible. And to be the one to create it and bring it to life.

Justin (36:04):
Couldn’t agree more. So the substance of this conversation has been a little bit, I’ll say esoteric for the last few minutes. So in the time that we have left, I want to bring this down to earth where the rubber meets the road and maybe somebody who’s out there listening, saying, guys, this sounds great. If I believe in myself, I can achieve great things, but how does this impact me? Because right now I’m at clinic, I got to see so many patients. I don’t have time. I can’t hit my RVU numbers. I’m stressed out of my mind, my spouses, you know, like isn’t happy with the way things are going. My kids are running a muck. And like, my life is about to go off the rails. And it, what is give us like a couple baby steps to take these principles, to take some of the disciplines perhaps that you have either practiced or help your clients practice to begin to make progress, to start to peel back some of the layers on the onion and start to you know, move towards that more ideal dream existence that, that we’re all sort of wired to move towards in some way or another.

Dr. Dena George (37:01):
So the first one I would say is don’t believe everything you think. So just because something comes up like our mind is constantly throwing us out stuff to snack on all the time. And just in the form of various thoughts about people, about the job, about the day ahead, about the spouse and what they should be doing. So just because our mind comes up with something, it doesn’t mean that we need to believe that it’s true, but don’t have to believe that it’s necessary. And we don’t have to believe that it’s going to be helpful. So if I think about my husband and he should have taken the trash out last night, that’s not helpful. It’s not going to inspire a positive communication between us. If I think about my husband and I think what, what it is that I value about him, and then I’m going to step into a conversation to problem-solve things that are just minor irritants.

Dr. Dena George (37:52):
So, and so don’t believe everything you think the second is I think that we really lose our value in medicine and lots of encouragement to kind of step into back into that space of here’s what I’m able to do. I’m able to not just see patients in clinic, but help them in this variety of ways. So help them survive a surgery, help them have less pain, help them be more functional, help them get back to work, whatever it is, and to start to see yourself through that lens of being valuable, to see your true self through the lens that your child is going to see you as the best parent that they know your spouse is going to see you as the one that they can’t believe they’re married to, to, to really take off that criticism and that judgment through the day. Because a lot of the things that we deal with are merely irritants that don’t need to steal our energy and don’t need to steal our joy. And I’m going to believe for many people they do.

Justin (39:03):
Is there a way to, and I’m, this is a little bit of a leading question. I’m just thinking about what I do to sort of capture this and build it into my life. But how do you recommend if someone says, Oh, that’s great. Like, I should think these things, do you, do you have a recommended sort of structure that that can take on, if someone who wants to grow in these, like taking your brain to the gym and your identity and your attitude, how do you, how do you do that in a regimented fashion?

Dr. Dena George (39:25):
I think it’s like anything else in terms of setting a goal, there are lots of ways. So like, let’s say I wanted six pack abs, I’m going to, if I set that as my goal, there, there are probably a thousand ways to develop six pack. Abs, I’m going to just start, I’m going to pick away and start. So the way, how do we speak more kindly to ourselves? One is identify when we’re not. And two is to develop a practice that we get in touch with ourselves. And for some that, that might be a prayer practice. It might be a breathing or meditation practice. It might be a writing practice. It might be a volunteer practice, but picking one place to just start and see what you can learn from it and then adding on from there.

Justin (40:11):
Awesome. What other principles, ideas have you bumped into as you’ve worked with different physicians and you’ve seen the problems and hurdles that they faced, what other things have you helped them address that you think warrant mentioning in the time that we have remaining?

Dr. Dena George (40:27):
I think that community is essential. So being surrounded by a community that’s, that’s challenging themselves to do better and it doesn’t have to be in the same way, but just challenging themselves to do better so that you’re sharing a struggle of growth because there is a currency to growth and it’s uncomfortable. So having those that are in the same thing so that you see, Oh yeah, this is how it’s supposed to be. Okay. I’m going to keep going. So that’s number one. Number two is investment. So really investing in the process, we as physicians, we’d like to do as many things on our own as we can, but we can only take ourselves so far. An investment might look like a book or a course, or a seminar or a conference or hiring somebody or approaching somebody to be a mentor. I mean, there’s lots of different and at different ways that it can take form, but investing whether it’s money or, or the time to create that resource, just making a commitment to invest in it because that’s really going to accelerate the difference. It’s going to help accelerate the results that you want to achieve. And then the third is to grant yourself a lot of grace, like no matter how high achieving or high-performing that we are, we’re still human. We’re still imperfect. We’re still going to fall and have to pick ourselves back up and, and having grace for that, for that part of, of who we are,

Justin (42:00):
If there’s somebody out there listening, thinking, Holy cow, I need to talk to Dr. George immediately and have her help me fix my wagon. How can people get in touch with you?

Dr. Dena George (42:08):
Yeah. So on LinkedIn, Dena, George MD on my website, George MD, coaching.com I’d be happy to help. I think that the physician community is amazing and it’s truly an honor to be here and to see that the way that you serve and how you’re committed to serving with, with ethics, with standards, with transparency, with integrity and it, it’s just a joy to see you do that. And it’s situated to help amplify again, amplifying the voices that are doing great things.

Justin (42:43):
Awesome. Well, thank you for those kind words. I’m blushing here for anybody. Who’s listening to this on the YouTube channel. Dr. George, thank you for your time today. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you.

Dr. Dena George (42:52):
Thank you so very much. I really appreciate it.

Justin (42:56):
If you liked what you heard this week, head on over to APM success.com, where you can find more content and free resources to help you build a successful career in anesthesia and pain management. If you want it to leave a review in iTunes, that also really appreciate thanks for using some of your valuable time to join me today on APM success.