Episode 47 Good Things From 2020 Career Rx Podcast Marjorie Stiegler MD

Was there any bright side to 2020? To be sure, 2020 was pretty rough for a lot of reasons. With so much going on in the world that is inarguably terrible, it can be hard to focus on any silver lining from 2020. Yet, happiness experts and researchers agree that we should indeed look for and celebrate positive moments or events.

Today’s episode comes from Kristin, a long-time friend and colleague of mine, asking a private Facebook group, “Tell me something you achieved 2020. Not even humble brag, modifier, good girl, downplaying, minimizing…just brag! You’ve earned it.” Indeed, well over 500 women physician members commented with their wins, large and small (myself included). They have many, many reasons to be proud.

So I was inspired to start off The Career Rx 2021 by reflecting on my own wins from 2020. I’ll share with you four practices I implemented this past year that really made a difference. But they aren’t just wins for me – they each come with a nugget of wisdom I hope you can apply to your own life. Start off 2021 by giving these some thought, and take this year to an entirely new ‘best’ level!

In this episode of The Career Rx we’ll discuss:

  • Habits and boundaries, boundaries, boundaries
  • Turning off and unplugging – for real – with a daring email autoresponder
  • Meditation practice like you’ve never experienced
  • The benefits of fulfilling commitments, no matter how small

Follow this episode as I map out four things that were great for me in 2020. I’m sharing my experiences in hopes of each one having a little bit of a lesson or spark of inspiration, that you can take to apply to your own life for a really fantastic 2021.

Knowing that you can trust yourself makes pretty much anything possible.” – Marjorie Stiegler

In this Episode:

[1:15] Acknowledging the positives of 2020
[2:30] Celebrate your big or small wins with me on Twitter
[3:05] Putting my own advice to the test (highly recommend)
[3:30] The magic of setting your quitting time (see Episode 11 for more)
[5:00] Do you take time off work to catch up on work?
[6:50] My bombshell email autoresponder might blow your mind – and it works!
[8:00] Cut the cord and free yourself from the guilt of not responding
[8:56] Truly learning to meditate (from a person who’s always ‘failed’ at it before)
[10:00] A meditation milestone of success that transformed my year
[11:55] What I learned about myself from this podcast in 2020
[13:00] The benefits of goal-oriented behavior (no matter the goal)
[14:50] The magic of consistently ‘showing up’ for yourself (see Episode 18 for more)

Links and Resources:

The Branding Rx 18 hours of CME, mastering digital strategies for advancing your career, building your business, and growing your professional brand

Episode 11 – Work from Home Tips During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Episode 18 – How to Build Self Trust

Dr. Jill Wener – Reconnect With Your Life in a More Meaningful Way



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TRANSCRIPT: Episode 47 – Good Things in 2020

Hey there, welcome to The Career Rx. I’m your host, Marjorie Stiegler. This podcast is all about the important stuff. They don’t teach you in medical school, about how to treat your career, like the business it really is, and how to be strategic about your success. I’ll show you how to use modern strategies to get ahead, create your own path, and do more of what you love. Every episode is inspired by questions from listeners just like you. So be sure to subscribe and of course, send me those questions, so I can use them on a future episode. So you don’t miss anything, be sure to always check the show notes on my website. Are you ready? Let’s get into it.

Hey, everybody, welcome back to the career prescription. I’m really excited for this very first episode of 2021. There can’t be a first episode of 2021 without being a little bit New Year’s ish. So I’m going to be talking about good things that happened in 2020. And like many of you, you know, we’re still in the throes of the pandemic. I am indeed, today, hiding in my closet to record this podcast episode. So the audio may sound a little bit off. And I wanted to respond to a question that a good friend of mine just posted in a Facebook group, which I think was intended to just lift everyone’s spirits and let people really reflect not all of 2020 was bad. And she said, you know, “what are the big wins, or even the little wins? Like, what are some things you accomplished in 2020?” And sure enough, hundreds and hundreds of people had plenty of things that they accomplished.

So it’s not all bad news, I’m going to list a handful of things that either I accomplished or that I really looked back on the year and think this was really noteworthy. And, of course, as always, put in a little, you know, less than what I think you can take from it, right? It’s not a podcast about what was good for me. But what worked and what might work for you as well. So I’m really glad to have you joining me for this.

And if you are inclined, I hope that you’ll look on my social media feeds. Particularly on Twitter, I pretty regularly link… just asking people or post, rather, just asking people to go ahead and give some kudos or go ahead and celebrate a win, you know, big or small. I do this on a pretty regular basis. Sometimes, of course, it gets more traction than others. But I really think it’s important that we celebrate things, and that you don’t need a big reason. And you don’t need a big forum, you know, so if people don’t feel comfortable kind of bragging on themselves, or celebrating with others, I try to put that out there on a pretty regular basis. So come look for it and add to the comments, tell me something that was good for you, in 2020, or whenever you’re listening to this episode.

Okay, one thing when I look back on 2020, and I think about what was good for me, especially because I worked from home for almost the entire year, starting around mid March, because of COVID, is I really got to, to deploy a lot of the habits and rituals that I thought were helping you to be the most productive, and I got to really put those to the test. One thing that really stood out that I think absolutely saved me that I hope you will start to think about employing if you don’t already right now is the idea of establishing a stop work time, every day, basically a quitting time. I’ve talked about this before, I know I talked about it back in Episode 11, I will put the link in the show notes on my website. But picking a time at the beginning of the day that you are going to stop in this time could be a physical time, like I’m going to stop at four o’clock or seven o’clock or whatever time or it could be a milestone I’m going to finish when I wrap up this last mentoring session or I finished this last patient encounter or whatever. So whether it’s an event or a specific time, if you choose something and then you absolutely stick to that quitting time. Otherwise, work just bleeds over into all hours of the day. And I have found that to be extraordinarily effective for me. It was really, really great.

And I know at first you think well, I can’t do that. Because stuff always comes up. And you know, stuff does always come up. And that’s why this is so important. It’s it. And it only works, of course, if you do it, and you stick with it. And everyone has different work circumstances, you know, if you’re on call, then, you know it’s a little bit more complicated, right? But there are probably some ways in which when you start your day, you can make a deliberate intention when you’re going to stop your day and turn your focus to yourself or a family or something other than work and I got to tell you, that was an absolute game changer for me. I tried it and it most certainly works. It works really, really well.

The second thing that I did this year, even though I had nowhere to go is I absolutely used my vacation. You probably have some vacation you have some mechanism for which you have either earned or accrued paid time off or that you can just take vacation. However it is that you do that. I know so many of us either don’t take it at all, or when we take it, we take it so we can catch up on work, which is really just insane when you think about it. And I know that for many of us, myself included, when you have a lot of stuff that’s left undone, you feel more stressed. And so you want to take those days off to get stuff done.

But it, I spent a deliberate effort this year taking vacation when I had literally nowhere to go. And so I didn’t go anywhere. And I did not check work. I did not do, you know, I didn’t play that catch up game, I just didn’t do it. And there were a couple little things that helped me to do this. I got much better at my out of office responder, and I stopped hedging and saying things like, I’m going to have intermittent access to email, I just said, “I’m going to be out and I’ll get back to you when I get back.” Sometimes I didn’t even say, you know, like, I might say the dates I was gonna be out, you might be out this week through Friday. And I’ll get back to you when I’m back in the office. So I wouldn’t even necessarily give a time somebody might expect my reply. I had an extended vacation in the middle of the year that was maybe like 10 days long. And I got really bold in that one. And I even just straight up said in my autoresponder that if what they had was important, and it was not yet solved by the date that I expect to be back in the office to email me again. And what I did basically is take almost all of those emails, I mean, I did do a quick scan. But I took almost all of the emails that came over almost two weeks, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of emails. And my friends, I did not read them, I just put them right in the archive, I got rid of them. Because I had told people, I know that by and large, like what you need done is going to be fixed over the course of the two weeks that I’m gone. In my absence, most more than likely, right? There are a handful of other things. Obviously, if I’m an author on something, I need to do it. But the vast majority of things, you get copied on stuff, someone else is able to take care of it, it gets delegated, it works itself out.

So I told people my autoresponder if this is still a problem as of such and such a date, call me again. And then I didn’t check my email. And I didn’t have to go through that mountain of email either. When I got back, I just came back to a fresh clean slate. A handful of people, of course, did get back to me to say, you know, I still need to talk to you about this or that I need an action on this. It was great. But I’ve got to tell you that the refresh and the rejuvenation from being able to completely, completely disconnect from work on vacation is something I don’t think I’ve ever really done so fully before as I have this year. And it was ironic because again, stuck in the house, didn’t have anywhere to go, it would have been very easy to fall prey to what I know a lot of my friends and colleagues are having happen, which is the people know you aren’t going anywhere and so they feel free to continue to email you, ping you and expect a response. But I gotta tell you put, experiment with it, put a strong autoresponder on there, resist the urge, take it off of your phone if you can, just really unplug and you will find yourself, I think, really benefiting from that completely disconnected time. And I think it also gives a little perspective. Not everything that everyone thinks they need you for, they really don’t necessarily, and that can really be very, very freeing.

I’ll also say because I know a lot of people will wonder, you know, would I get you in trouble? Obviously only you know that culture where you work. And only you can decide how you want to phrase things. But this was pretty advanced as far as the office responders in my office. I mean, it certainly was taking things further than what I usually see. But I didn’t perceive any kind of penalty from it. And in fact, I did get promoted. I got a pretty sizable promotion this year. So those are two great things that when I reflect back on 2020, I’m going to continue to do. I hope you’ll think about doing them as well.

Okay, third thing from 2020. That was absolutely fantastic for me is my meditation practice. For those of you who know me, this is relatively new. I first learned to meditate about two years ago, by learning to meditate. I mean, I took an actual course from an actual teacher. Her name is Dr. Jill Wener. She’s actually a medical school classmate of mine. I’m gonna put the link again in my show notes because I recommend her program so strongly.

I first learned to meditate by taking a comprehensive program with her two years ago. It requires 20 minutes twice a day. It is absolutely effortless. It is the easiest thing on the planet to do. Now, finding the 20 minutes is a little bit hard, right? Just like any habit showing up for it was a little bit tricky. And that was where I struggled. And so the first year I don’t, I don’t know that I met my goal of 20 minutes twice a day at all. This past year, I did not meet my afternoon goal, right, my end of day goal but my morning goal, I absolutely did meet and I’m super, super proud of this. I spent 7400 minutes in meditation in the morning in 2020, and I have an app to prove it, which is how I can tell you all that. But I set this goal 20 minutes in the morning, there were some days that I didn’t even do it at all that I did skip, right. I’m not a perfect person, I did skip some. But that was very, very few. And I got right back on, there were some days where was a little bit shorter than 20 minutes, other days where I was a little bit longer, but on average, over the entire year, I averaged just over 20 minutes a day, 7400 minutes in meditation, and I have got to tell you, and you know, just hear me out. I know a lot of people feel like I can’t meditate, can’t quiet my mind and all that stuff. And you don’t even need to and that’s why I recommend Jill’s program so strongly, because I am not like that either. I don’t like to sit down comfortably. I cannot stop my thinking, all that. But I’ve got to tell you the amount of gosh, I’m so much more calm, so much more relaxed, so much more creative. I’m so much more efficient. I have so, so, so many benefits from this meditation practice. And it brings me the time back, you know that the time invested in that, I get that back. You know, many times over from being better at other things that I’m doing, right? I’m better at life from this meditation practice. So that is something that when I look back on 2020, was a really big win for me, because it really is the first time.

Now this year 2021, I’ve got to get my afternoon meditation going because I can only just imagine how amazing those benefits would be. If I were as dedicated to that, as I have been in the morning, that it was hit or miss for me in 2020. But in 2021, I’ll turned that around. And I strongly recommend it. So again, come check out my link for Jill’s programs. So, so, so, so profound, I can’t speak to whether or not you would get meditation benefits from anything else, like the calm app, or any other kind of program, I really have no idea. This one is enormously game changing, and also super easy to do, especially for people like me, and perhaps like you who feel like, “Oh, I can’t meditate, it’s too hard.” And you kind of feel like you’ve failed at it, which is a terrible feeling – to feel like you fail at meditating.

Okay, the fourth thing that I feel like was a really good thing out of 2020 is this podcast. So this is the 47th episode. So I’ve done 46. And when I launched the podcast in early 2020, I made a goal that I was going to show up and do it once a week, that was my goal. I don’t believe I had a podcast out on New Year’s. So I had a year, could have been 52 weeks. COVID was a little crazy, I didn’t always feel very inspired. I’ll be honest. And I also didn’t feel sometimes, like it was socially appropriate to be I mean, there was just so much going on in the world that was devastating. Socially, politically, there was just, I wasn’t sure I was the right person to speak to some of that and there were times that it didn’t feel right to be speaking about anything else. So I skipped some episodes. But and if you’re 46 episodes in, I feel really proud of that. Because to me, that is like a consistent showing up, you know, these podcasts, they’re pretty short. You also know I don’t really edit them, right? This isn’t like a big huge production for me.

So the lesson I think that you can take from this is if you have a goal, and you have a small one, right? You’ve heard that 10,000 Mile March or whatever, you just have to do a couple of steps each day, right, and you get to the finish line. It’s the same kind of analogy to showing up being consistent.

Whether it was a longer episode, a shorter episode, whether it felt sort of, you know, a fun and lighthearted topic, or whether it felt really like this can be life changing for people. I mean, it was different every time. But I I set a goal for myself, I showed up and I did it. And so, I mean, if you’re listening to this podcast, I hope you like it. But regardless of, you know, what the impact of the podcast itself is for me, and I hope for you. What was most impactful over 2020 was having that project, having that sort of goal oriented behavior. Not in a way where I was constantly striving to achieve something unattainable, or constantly hustling is an episode that will be coming up about that soon. But instead of just the consistency of showing up. And if you’ve done that for anything, you know that if you want to learn a language, if you wanted to learn a new skill, if you want to lose weight, if you wanted to, you know, develop some kind of strength or run a marathon. It’s all about that consistency, right? It’s just showing up. And there’s something incredibly rewarding and self reinforcing, right that you can trust yourself to deliver on your promises. And so that might sound sort of grand, talking about just having shown up and done a podcast but, I think, having goals that you set, the required showing up consistently that you achieve can really teach you a lot about how much you can trust yourself.

Knowing that you can trust yourself makes pretty much anything possible. So I feel really inspired by my success with that. I hope listening to this helps inspire you as well. All right, so those are four things that were great for me in 2020. And I hope each one had a little bit of a nugget, a little bit of a lesson, that you can take to apply to your own life so that you can have a really, really fantastic 2021.

That’s all for this episode. Bye for now.

Thanks for joining me on this episode of The Career Rx. Be sure to leave me a review on Apple podcasts or whatever podcast player you’re using to listen today. And definitely send me those questions so I can answer them and give you a shout out on a future episode. Bye for now.

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