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About Philippa Kennealy

 

Philippa Kennealy MD MPH CPCC PCC is The Entrepreneurial MD Business Coach who wants to help you build your business!
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Physicians - Fact or Fiction?
How to use constructive self-talk to overcome your trash-talking brain

What do you do when confronted with those dry spells of feeling overwhelmed, underachieving, and lacking in creativity on the job?

As an entrepreneurial physician business coach who has been “at it” for many years, I know what it's like to stare blankly at a computer screen or submit a proposal and wait weeks or sometimes even months before daring to request a response or be turned down by a prospective client.

Sometimes this entrepreneurial thing just feels like plain old work!

Having recently watched a lot of NCAA college basketball on television and attended many UCLA games in the past, I have been struck by all the trash talking that goes on between competitive players. This got me thinking about the non-stop trash talking that goes on in our brains.

See if this is familiar! Does yours sound something like this?

"I really need to make that phone call or send an e-mail to X today"

"You’ll make an idiot of yourself, The reason why they didn't call back is they've already picked someone else, they don't think you're any good. You probably charged too much"

"Well, I don't want them to think I'm bugging them, so maybe I should wait a day or two"

"It's not going to make a difference -- you're not going to get the business anyway!"

"So what should I do next? All I really want to do is surf the net to plan my next trip"

Spend enough time listening to that kind of inner chatter and anyone would soon want to throw in the towel.

Trash talking is powerful -- it stirs up strong emotions. Your brain’s trash talk is designed to agitate you, distract you and lose you points.

And the only antidote to its poison is your ability to separate fact from fiction.

What then does that look like? Let’s try this instead:

"What if you make an idiot of yourself? The reason why they didn't call back is they've already picked someone else, they don't think you're any good. Maybe you charged too much"

Factual thinking: “This is pure speculation. I have no idea what their thinking is. Perhaps it’s time to follow up with a call to ask how the decision-making process is going and whether there are any more questions I can answer.”
This thought eases the anxiety and encourages an action step.

"It's not going to make a difference -- you're not going to get the business anyway!"

Factual thinking: “Again, pure speculation. In fact, if I don’t show my enthusiasm and interest and tenacity, I am much more likely to have someone else get the business instead. Time to follow up, ASAP!”

Ditto – time to get into action

“You’re such a loser, you'll never get this business off the ground"

Factual thinking: "This is harder than I thought. At times I feel discouraged, but I know this feeling won't last. No one said it would be easy, but here are the reasons why I've chosen this course. I want to be my own boss, I want to create something, I want more control over my schedule, I love doing this work and I know if I hang in there long enough and get the right help and support, I stand a much better chance of being happy in the long run than going back to x work!"

It’s a calming boon to remind yourself why you have chosen your new path, and helps you stay focused on the objective.

Factual thinking has the following characteristics:

  • It accurately describes the situation
  • It accurately describes your feelings
  • It denies your feelings the opportunity to spiral out of control
  • It permits you to pause and assess what you have already accomplished
  • It encourages you to look ahead and plan what needs to be done
  • It prevents you from generalizing and catastrophizing
  • It keeps you grounded in the present, which usually isn’t a terrible place to be  (you’re still breathing, you’re not freezing cold or boiling hot, you have food to eat today, you have family and friends that love you, you have a closet full of clothes, etc, etc)

What brain trash talk do you need to eliminate today?