126: Enhance Your Life with Coaching: A Conversation with Dr. Sarah Witry

As a podcast for high achieving women, it’s important to engage in honest conversations with those that both talk the talk and walk the walk. And I think being a compassionate physician and a dedicated mom of four perfectly encapsulates that concept, which is why I’m so excited about our special guest.

Dr. Sarah Witry is a Hospice Palliative Physician and a certified mind-body coach, as well as a member of my HOPP small group coaching program. She’s joining me today to share her story and explain what coaching has provided her and, in turn, what it has allowed her to offer her clientele. 

Tune in to this episode to learn about the field of coaching, some of the myths associated with it, and how it can help to alter your physiology and psychology to enhance your life and make the most of your time. As a bonus, this episode includes references to a ton of excellent resources for high performers like you.

Habits on Purpose with Kristi Angevine | Enhance Your Life with Coaching: A Conversation with Dr. Sarah Witry

As a podcast for high achieving women, it’s important to engage in honest conversations with those that both talk the talk and walk the walk. And I think being a compassionate physician and a dedicated mom of four perfectly encapsulates that concept, which is why I’m so excited about our special guest.

Habits on Purpose with Kristi Angevine | Enhance Your Life with Coaching: A Conversation with Dr. Sarah Witry

Dr. Sarah Witry is a Hospice Palliative Physician and a certified mind-body coach, as well as a member of my HOPP small group coaching program. She’s joining me today to share her story and explain what coaching has provided her and, in turn, what it has allowed her to offer her clientele. 

Tune in to this episode to learn about the field of coaching, some of the myths associated with it, and how it can help to alter your physiology and psychology to enhance your life and make the most of your time. As a bonus, this episode includes references to a ton of excellent resources for high performers like you.

If you want to be the first to know when my group coaching program HOPP opens for enrollment again, join my email list here!

To discover how private one-on-one coaching can beautifully align with creating the life you desire. Click here to explore the possibilities!

What you'll learn from this episode:

  • Why coaching is an opportunity to have, and spread, compassion. 
  • The myths that are so often associated with the field of coaching. 
  • How our physiology can impact our psychology.
  • Ways to use our time more effectively to enhance our lives. 

Listen to the Full Episode:

Powerful Takeaways:

12:04 “You’re not alone. And the things you’re going through, you know, other people experience as well.”

15:16 “Coaching offers that deeper look. Where we turn inward in a compassionate way to see what’s under the surface of that.”

16:46 “When people do feel safe, they can share more comfortably because they maybe don’t feel alone.”

21:07 “Watching other people get coached is a situation that creates a lot of compassion, a lot of empathy.”

30:28 “Your physiology is directly affecting and informing your psychology.”

Featured on the Show:

Related Episodes:

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to Episode 126. I'm Kristi Angevine, your host for Habits On Purpose, and today I'm joined by Dr. Sarah Wittry. She shares her journey with coaching, what shifted with her experience of time, and what it was like to be a client in Habits on Purpose for Physicians Small Group Coaching. Let’s get started.

Welcome to Habits On Purpose, a podcast for high-achieving women who want to create lifelong habits that give more than they take. You'll get practical strategies for mindset shifts that will help you finally understand the root causes of why you think, feel, and act as you do. And now here's your host, Physician and Master Certified Life Coach Kristi Angevine.

Hello, hello, everybody. My guest today is Dr. Sarah Wittry. Dr. Wittry is a Hospice Palliative Physician and a certified mind-body coach. She's also a client of mine in Habits on Purpose for Physicians.

The reason I wanted to talk to Sarah on the podcast was as I was watching her through the HOPP small group coaching program, I was inspired. She navigates being a physician, a mom of four, and she took all the things she learned and she applied them in such concrete, tangible ways. So, without further ado, let's begin this conversation.

Kristi Angevine: Alright, we have the lovely Dr. Sarah Wittry here. Sarah, welcome to the podcast.

Sarah Wittry: Thank you so much for having me, Kristi. I'm excited to see you.

Kristi: Yes, I am too. These are always fun, because selfishly, not only do I get to share you with my listeners, but I get to have some time with you where we just get to chat. And I think that's just one of the funnest things in the world, to connect with other physicians, other physicians who are coaches, and talk about things. So, for the people who don't already know you, could you just take a minute and introduce yourself?

Sarah: Sure. I'm Sarah, like you said, and I live in Columbus, Ohio with my family. I live with my husband, and we have four kiddos, they range from two all the way up to 12; two boys, two girls. I practice Hospice and Palliative Medicine, mostly palliative medicine nowadays, doing inpatient consults. I love reading, I read as much as I possibly can. It’s my favorite pastime. I also love yoga and traveling. They're probably my favorite thing. I'm also a coach for women in healthcare, in general.

Kristi: That's so great. Okay, I was going to ask you if you could share something a little personal, besides just the things that we might know from a bio or something. So, I don't know that I knew… I think I sort of knew you liked yoga, and I knew you loved reading. Alright. So, I have a follow-up question then. Can you think of a book that you've read in the last six months that is a must-read?

Sarah: Recently, I finished Die with Zero. I don't know if you've read that one.

Kristi: I haven't. But I know that the title.

Sarah: Oh, good. It's about how to plan your money to maximize your life experiences over the course of your life. He talks about, sometimes you can't go to certain places or do certain really physically active things, go to Machu Picchu or something when you're 75. It's just a really, really, totally countercultural way to consider how to plan for life. I loved it so much.

Kristi: Oh, so good. Okay, all right, I'm going to write this down. I'm going to take a second right now and write Die with Zero to the list, because I think I'm going to have some reading time coming up. So good. Alright, and then, what's your favorite type of yoga? Do you have a favorite type of class? Or are you one of those amazing people who has developed a home practice that the rest of us don't do?

Sarah: I do. I do it at home a lot. That's just because it's easier with the kids. My practice is 5 or 10 minutes. I really just like stretching, deep stretching, and holding a pose for a long time. That's what I do. I'm not into Hot Yoga; the ones where I get super sweaty. It's not a workout. It's just stretching.

Kristi: Yeah, I think Yin is becoming a favorite for me. Those where they say, “Yeah. And you'll be in this pose for somewhere between 6-15 minutes.” Thank you. This is where I fall asleep. I've definitely had the experience of… We have a studio here that’s really close to my house. I mean, it's close enough that if I was organized enough, I could walk down there. It’s maybe, I don't know, not a mile, but like half a mile.

But I drive there. When I've driven there and done the Yin classes, at the end, I love when the teachers say, “Now, please move slowly. All the people who are doing this from home are so lucky because they can just roll into bed. But those of you who are here, you have to walk and you actually get in your car and drive.” And I was like, “Man, they are being so uptight about this ‘go slow’ thing.” I swear, I have almost tripped going down the stairs leaving there, just because I'm so relaxed. It’s awesome.

Sarah: Totally, it's amazing. Brilliant.

Kristi: Yeah, and the more productive exerciser in me never thought I would gravitate towards that style. If anybody's never done slow stretching, it’s so good. It might bring us to, later on, talking more about some of the embodiment work that can come from coaching.

But let me just ask you, I don't think I've asked you this, but before you knew about coaching, what did you think of when you heard about the idea of coaching or life coaching?

Sarah: I had heard about it at some point in residency, but I really didn't look into it very much. I think it was mostly career coaching. So, how do you get the job that you always wanted? Or how do you climb the ladder in whatever area of work you're in? And so, I think I thought it was like leadership coaching. That kind of was what I imagined it to be.

Kristi: And when you thought about that, related to you doing that, were you thinking, “I cannot wait till I can get a leadership coach?

Sarah: Nope. No, not at all. I’m the type that has always liked personal development work, right? But it was more that I got it from books, and I got it from podcasts as they started being more common. And so, yeah, that was definitely where I was at. And then if I needed any extra, if it was a particularly hard season of life, I would reach out to a therapist and have some sessions with them. But no, coaching was not on my radar for quite a long time.

Kristi: I can totally relate to this. And I always love to hear people who have sort of immersed themselves in personal development, found coaching either before or after that immersion, and then also become a coach, what their first ideas were of the notion of coaching?

Because for many of us, especially in medicine, we… I don't want to speak for everybody… many of us just had no idea that this entire field existed. That in other areas, it's just super common. It’s, “Of course, you have the coach for this. Of course you have.” But for us, it was, I don't know, it was a foreign idea.

And for me, I definitely had some connotations of it was either kind of an elitist thing, or it was kind of silly or cultish or this made-up, fabricated career with cheerleaders telling you that you're amazing, or something like that. That very much was a turnoff for me when I first heard of it. I heard it like a caricature in a movie; like lights and incense…

Sara: I imagined it with lots of acronyms, and all those types of things. I really did.

Kristi:. Oh, yeah. I have a part of me that just bristles at things that are so contrived in that way. What made you actually first get coaching?

Sarah: I want to say, we had just moved as a family, from Seattle, where I did training, to Ohio. And then, about six months after the big move, and kind of getting adjusted, just starting to feel like we were sort of meeting people, COVID started. It was my second year as an Attending. We had three kids then. I don't know, between palliative care and being thrown into the fire in the ICU, with no one knowing what's going on with the pandemic.

There was so much upheaval with the communication and how to even navigate it with patients’ families, right? Our team felt like we were… It's a group of lovely individuals who I feel are really emotionally intelligent and support each other really well; the social workers and the chaplain. Just very grounded as a team. But I felt like we were “Eek!”

And then, the home front was no better. You know what I mean? There were just so many changes forced; everyone's experience with schools and daycares and just so much uncertainty.

And so, I discovered coaching, I think, on Facebook, on Physician Moms Group. I needed something. I was grasping for another way to look at things, or another way to move through my life. Because it felt like all the stuff that was working was thrown out, right? It was like, “You're starting over. You don't know what you're doing, and you don't have time to figure it out. You just have to keep going.”

Kristi: My goodness. Nice shout out here to spelling Dr. Sunny Smith. I mean, she was a big part of… once I was in coaching and became a coach, and then connected with her because we shared… She trained right before I did. I remember learning about Katrina Ubell, and thinking, “Oh, a physician is learning about this life coaching thing.”

And then, when I was doing training, I realized, “There's another physician here.” That's how Sunny and I met; finding out she was there. I thought I was the lone physician going into this thing, right? Little did I know. So, sweet shout out to Sunny Smith. I like to think of her as the gateway. Instead of the “gateway drug” it’s like the gateway introduction to the world of coaching, and then a lot of the now amazing data.

So, during all this… I just want to sort of normalize it. Several people have shared… and you probably know this, that during the pandemic, when things were in external and internal upheaval, that is the time where a lot of people either needed coaching or found coaching. And so, I've heard that story several times.

I'm curious, if we fast forward through all the things that you got through, finding coaching… We met through Habits on Purpose for Physicians; I think it was the first time we worked together, if I'm piecing things together. I think we had some interactions prior to that. But what made you decide to do a group coaching program with HOPP?

Sarah: Yeah, I think I had done a coaching program, a group one for high-achieving women. I'd done that before. It was really my first kind of full intro into coaching. It was six months long, I think. And I just learned so much. I felt like I was opened up to this whole new world, right? And then, when it was over, I wanted more of that; I didn't want it to end. Because initially I thought, “I'll be fine. I'll take what I learned and just keep going and applying.”

And it works, but I really missed the community aspect probably more than anything. It was just that sense of ‘you're not alone. The things you're going through, other people experience it as well.’ It's that sense of vulnerability, and also normalizing, and then not staying stuck in that, mired in that. You know what I mean?

That's, I think, the beauty of coaching, group coaching in particular. And so, I think I found you because I wanted a place where there was that group component for sure. But also, obviously, with other women physicians. It was a perfect fit for what I am.

So, it felt like a very natural next step to go into your program, so that I could connect with all these other women, learn from each other, and have you hold space for us throughout that program. And, yes, so much more growth, I think for me, happened in that group setting.

Kristi: Yeah, I want to talk a little bit more about the group setting. Because for me, I like individual coaching and group coaching, I like them both, because I think they have their very distinct differences, as well as overlap.

And when I talk to people sometimes, about group coaching, sometimes there's a lot of hesitation about being in a group. “Will I feel like I belong? Will I be able to relate to these people? Will I be the lone person struggling with X, Y, and Z?” All the questions that come up around feeling comfortable and feeling psychologically safe in a group. What was your experience being in a group of women physicians in HOPP?

Sarah: I want to say that I probably had some of those fears, too. And I think that's really normal, right? Even if you've had the experience of sharing in a group, and feeling seen and not feeling judged, there are certain things that feel like it's just too much, it's too dark. It's too like, “No, people are going to definitely think this is strange,” or judge you for it.

So, I want to say that initially, like when we had our first call or two, I think that you really, really intentionally created that space where you normalized it all. You named it, as far as what people worry about. And your presence, right? How you showed up to the calls, and how well you actively listen; all of those good communication skills, interpersonal leadership skills, and all that.

I really do think that sets the foundation for that psychological safety that we all want to have, but are worried that we might not have in a group setting, when we're sharing vulnerable things about ourselves and our internal…

I think, so often there's a specific external thing that is really a sticky thing for us, something that we really want to work on, it's really a frustrating area for us. Whether it's our diet habits or our interactions with our spouse, or how we parent, lots of different things, how we beat ourselves up at work. And those are what we come with.

And then, coaching, I think, offers that deeper look. Where we turn inward in a compassionate way to see what's under the surface of that. When someone did share one of those problems they were having, and then we’d go deeper and deeper, it just kind of unfolded in a way that didn't seem so scary, right? Because you can start with this… and they might not even know. Usually people don't know what it is actually, all the layers, and that's why it's painful.

But I think that’s the skill of what you create. So, a lot of kudos to you. It's just the type of presence and kindness that you exhibit. Each call made it so much more comfortable for people to be able to share. And you could see this exhale for people, right? They're like, “Okay, I can share, too. And I'm okay to share.”

Kristi: Thank you for all those kinds of comments. You know one of my practices is receiving kind comments and not discounting or deflecting. So, thank you for naming all that. Because that is, for me, it. There are parts of me that feel really validated hearing that, because I work really hard to make sure I can create a safe-feeling container as possible.

Knowing that I actually have no control over somebody's actual experience, all I can do is sort of open the door and put out the welcome mat, and make it as cozy as possible, right? I love how you named that. When people do feel safe, they can share more comfortably because they maybe don't feel alone. They feel like it's okay and we're all in this together. We've got that shared humanity.

And sometimes people will share something that seems kind of… What's the word? It’s not silly, but it's petty… They share something that seems like just a petty occurrence in their day, not realizing that in 3-5 minutes it might take them somewhere that's a bit deeper than they expected. Because the layers are not clear to us when we start. And it is so important to have that really supportive group around you to do that.

Otherwise, you can share, get off the call, and think, “Oh, my gosh, did I say too much? What was wrong with me?” You'd go into that. And so, yeah. Anyway, that is so important.

I'm curious, a lot of people will say that there's something about being around women physicians in particular, as opposed to women professionals or physicians in general... Was there anything about being in a group of women physicians that you noticed that sort of contributed to that safety? Or was it sort of like, “Yeah, you know what? As long as the group in general feels safe, the physician part isn't as important?”

Sarah: That's a good question. I mean, I think that we just speak the same language in so many ways. Regardless of our specialty or what our day to day looks like, we all are swimming in the same water. Like in our culture, how we’re viewed by others, some of the same challenges we’ve experienced, like men being more the obvious leaders, or just the way that we're treated by ancillary staff sometimes.

I think that a lot of us have had a similar experience. And so, it's created different narratives for us that we're all still struggling against and that play in the background. And I just think that those narratives shaped so much about what our identities are like throughout our life, right? Not just how we show up. So, I do think that there's that element. That's a huge piece.

I was going to add, too, that the psychological safety, and the group coaching and stuff, that there's a lot of value that came as people were sharing. Other people were commenting and validating and providing that feedback in real time. Not that we need that external validation or whatever, but it is nice to be like, “Oh, you struggle with that, too.”

And you would often bring that up, right? If someone was getting coached, you'd be like, “Oh, so-and-so says, blah, blah, blah. I have had that happen too. I totally feel you on that. You're not alone.” I think there's a lot of power in that happening in the moment rather than feedback or a survey after a call. You know what I mean? It's a much more personal way of connecting.

Kristi: Yeah, I do think that is one of the things that's so powerful about a group dynamic. It’s that when you do feel safe, and you’ve got radical confidentiality, and you're able to share, in the moment you can have somebody say, “I had something very similar. I had a similar experience in a different set of circumstances. Yeah, me too. I've never gone through that, but that must be so difficult. How can I support you?”

When you have that in real time, it's different than just commiserating with a friend, right? And it's also different from one on one with a coach or a therapist, who's, in their singularity, validating, helping you feel seen and heard, but just them. We've got five people who are like, “Oh, my gosh, that's crazy. I can't believe you’ve gone through that.” There is something powerful about that for our psyche.

Sarah: Yes. And that they're not just posting things on social media, right? If people’s postings are vulnerable, like so often in Facebook groups or something like that, people will just give advice. “Well, that happened to me too once, and this is what I did.” And sometimes, that's not what we're looking for.

Kristi: Right, yeah. Sometimes, but sometimes not. So, on this topic, when you’re in a group, what’s your experience like with observing other people being coached, or being coached yourself in the group setting? So, it's not just you and I, it’s not just you and your therapist, but you're with other people exploring. Or watching somebody else do the same thing? What was that like for you?

Sarah: Watching other people get coached is a situation that creates a lot of compassion, right? A lot of empathy. And things come to the surface as you're hearing their story, because some of the narratives and emotions that they're experiencing are really challenging and painful.

It's very, very easy for us to say, “Oh, my gosh,” as they're talking. “Oh, if they could just think this instead. If they could just do this instead. They're so hard on themselves,” etc., etc. I mean, it’s obviously easier to see what is making them feel stuck or contributing to their suffering. Verses when you're in it yourself.

You think that you've done some reflection about it, and you think you kind of have a sense of why it might be continuing to be a struggle and a pattern that you're working through. But when you're getting coached one on one, it seems like you don't have that outside, external perspective on it, right? I think you told us about when you're in a jar, you can't see the label on the jar from the outside. And it's so true. Because then you know you're getting perspectives on things.

But also, it’s like one of those things… depending on the issue that you're getting coached on… you may get some nuggets, and get some “A-ha’s” as you're going through talking about whatever it is you. But then it's the integration afterward, and processing and kind of marinating in it a little bit, that I feel like there are more gems that come out of it; it's coming hours and days instead of in that moment. At least for me, that was my experience.

Kristi: Yeah, that's so good. This is a big question. And I find for some people, it's really easy. For some people, it takes them a second to sort of think about it. But were there things, when you look back on your experience in the coaching group that I do, that you see as takeaways? Or things that shifted in either your relationships or your concept of yourself, or how work felt?

Sarah: Gosh, some things that stuck out to me, that really got more solidified during the six-month program were: How does self-compassion work for me in action? So, it's kind of like, I get that, I love it, and I learn about it. And then, practicing it is really different, when it's in your real, daily, busy life. And so, I think that’s one.

I'm paying attention to what I need, what I desire, and working through it and being able to recognize that, right? But then also, “What do I do about that?” has been a huge thing too, for me, that I'm still working on. It's a practice for probably forever. It's been a lot about, “Okay, this is what I think I need right now. How do I honor that and give myself permission to actually do that?”

Going through that process brings up a lot of uncomfortable emotions; with just being able to say no, there's fear there, or there's worry about judgment there, guilt there; what would that actually mean to do that thing? And so, that has been a huge thing, that I feel like it's a daily practice for me. And just really knowing myself better, but also taking action that aligns with what I know about myself and what I need.

Kristi: It really puts to words my experience in a lot of things too. I understand a concept intellectually, it makes great sense in my head and makes great sense for other people, but when it comes to actually taking action, executing on this beautiful concept in my ordinary everyday life, that's where, for me, the work is, and that's where I get the most traction.

But at the same time, bridging that gap is a challenge sometimes, right? It is like a work in progress. Can you share, for people listening who think, “Ooh, self-compassion, that sounds really great for other people. That sounds really great, but I have no idea what that might actually look like on purpose in my life,” can you think of an example, in your day to day, where you have given yourself some self-compassion and it's been useful?

Sarah: Yeah, I think a lot of it comes up for me with the pressure of time. That's another one of my biggest takeaways from your whole program; the concept of time and how we think about it. But specifically with self-compassion, I would say, I know that so many people can identify with…

We’re constantly like, “What can I get done in this little period? Because I have to get here and here by this time,” and they're just playing Tetris all the time; you have your schedule, and your responsibilities for the different people you care for.

And so, I think sometimes if I'm able to recognize, in the midst of me feeling particularly rushed, or particularly anxious about something I need to get done in order to get somewhere to pick up my kid, I'm noticing, “Oh, my gosh, blah, blah, my head is spinning.” I just feel very activated and whatever.

If I'm able to pause and sense that, and then give myself kind of a check in, slow it down just for a second, and be like… I don't say the word. It's not natural at all for me to say the words, “Oh, this is a moment of suffering.” But it just doesn't come to me very well. But even to just say things to myself like, “Oh, it makes sense that you're feeling rushed. There's a lot on your plate right now. It’s totally understandable that…”X, Y, and Z.

I honestly think that just helped me to exhale a little bit and loosen up just a slight bit. Almost like, “Anyone in these circumstances would also feel a similar way. It's not a lack of my ability to manage at all. It's not some personal failing, that I'm not able to be flexible or quick enough or productive enough to be able to do it. It's literally, the circumstances are a lot and there's going to be some anxiety that's created in that.”

And when I can just recognize that for myself and be like, “Yeah, totally makes sense. You're doing the best you can right now,” that really does help me. And I do that throughout my day.

Kristi: Yeah, that is so good. I love that you pointed out that one person's version of self-compassion… If somebody's listening has never heard of Kristin Neff, she and her team has done so much research and has so many great resources out there for compassion, and self-compassion specifically.

But you could take the brilliance of Kristin Neff, and try it in your own life and be like, “This is like a scratchy sweater that feels horrible. It's from 2024, and my style is more like 2018. This is a horrible fit.” You have to personalize it, otherwise it's going to just fall flat. It's very easy sometimes to be like, “Well, this doesn't work for me, therefore self-compassion probably just isn't for me,” and just throw the baby out with the bathwater, right?

Versus what she said, “Oh, I need to make it my own. Something that I really resonate with. And for me, it makes so much sense. This is hard right now. Anybody else in this situation, they too would feel this.” And if I don't have a friend to tell me that, which is the fastest way to get that, if I can remind myself of that, then it's like a built-in button that gives you that exhale. Like you said, “Okay, thanks so much. I'm overwhelmed. It makes so much sense. This feels like a pressure cooker. Okay.”

Sarah: And then it also gets to, “What are my expectations?” Because it’s usually always my expectations of what I should be able to do, versus reality and time. They’re usually mismatched, Kristi.

Kristi: You might have been watching me for the last couple of weeks. It might be a mismatch, yes. It kind of gets to that idea that we learn things, and then we learn them in another set of circumstances, and we learn them again, and we learn them again. And it's not like we learned them and we're like, “Check. That's done. All my time pressure, poof, gone.” Even those of us who do this for a living, and too, like you, coach people and know this information, it's a practice on a regular, hourly basis sometimes.

Sarah: Right? Right. And that's okay, there doesn't have to be an arrival.

Kristi: So, as a coach, are there things that you love coaching your clients on?

Sarah: Yeah, I love… What's been really impactful for me personally, and so I love to coach about now, is anything that helps us to get out of our spinning minds and more present in our body. Sort of that integration into what you know in your body and what your body is experiencing. Just being aware that it's constantly affecting what your thoughts are, right?

Something I like to talk about is, your physiology is directly affecting and informing your psychology. And I love how that plays out all the time. And so I think, as I've been on that journey for myself with figuring out what helps me to recenter and even to just be aware of my reactivity, right? It's usually always from a place of, “Where my body's at?” What it's kind of sensing and feeling.

That has been a real game changer for me, in terms of being able to recognize more quickly when I'm activated. And that's where I spend most of my time. That's a baseline. But I think for so many women physicians, maybe moms, that becomes our default. Because we are always on. Our way to decompress is… I think you've talked about a lot of numbing or buffering ,or avoiding or busying ourselves more. Because that feels more comfortable to stay super, super productive and efficient. Even as self-care.

Sometimes we're like, “How much can we fit in?” You know what I mean? We’ve got to check these things off. So, I've definitely been there. And so, yeah, I love to kind of explore what that can look like to be in a place for a year. It's a lot of trial and error and experimentation. But figuring out a plan for you, for now. Knowing that's going to evolve as you evolve.

But in this season, how can you create that place for you? Where do you really know what your nervous system status is? Your body-mind state is? And then able to say, “Oh, this is when I know I'm feeling sedated or feeling more shut down, tapped out, overwhelmed, checked out,” and be able to recognize that, give compassion.

Also know what tiny things can help you to take a step closer to where you feel more capable and grounded. And like just that you want to connect with people again. Because there are a lot of times when I’m like, “I'm too busy. I don't have time to do that,” time for actual connection. But that is a signal to me now that, yeah, my system, my mind-body system is a little bit out of that green zone or that alignment.

For me, it's really powerful when you develop more of that. Because it helps you to know yourself better, but also what you need in the day to day, in the moment, and help yourself shift back a little bit quicker.

Kristi: Such important things to work on and to unpack the barriers. It just makes me wonder if you could take the things that you know now, and the things that you working on now, and the ways you're working on them, and you could go back in time and tell yourself, your 10-years-ago self, some of the things that you now know, what do you think you would tell yourself so that you could know back then?

Sarah: I think if I could go back to early med school or early residency, that time, I would be like, “There's no sense of running yourself into the ground trying to do more all the time. It’s not where the magic is; trying to as much as possible, achieve the highest level on every single aspect of your life. It's not a recipe for sustainability or wellbeing in general.”

But obviously, when you're in that, it's really hard to see that. Because you're like, “Well, I have to get… There's so much pressure. There's so much expectation.” And also very much rewarded for ignoring your own needs, getting to the next thing, what's ahead? What do I have to do now to get there? I think it's hard.

I work with a lot of residents at our institution, and they kind of intellectually get it, sort of right some of the things. But then they're like, “But it's not practical. It's not feasible for me right now, because I just need to pass my boards. I just need to do X, Y and Z. This rotation…” You know what I mean?

Kristi: Absolutely. Do you wish we could send little carrier pigeons back in time and say, “This is from a trusted resource.” Because I think if somebody had told me the things that I wish I knew back then, and things like you just said so beautifully, if somebody had actually told that to me, I would just think, “There's no way.” I would have to really, really trust that they saw the future and they understood exactly what I was going through.

Otherwise, I think it would be like opening, I don't know, a Hallmark card or a motivational poster you’ve seen in an elevator that says, “Be all you can be. Slow down, while you're at it.” So, I love the idea of, if it was a trusted resource like yourself, that you could really take it seriously. It would shift some things, I think, in a meaningful way.

So, when you reflect on your coaching journey, is there anything that we've missed talking about? Anything that you would want to pass on?

Sarah: I mean, I'd say that coaching, in general, really can open up space for you for rediscovering real, true passions. That's something that I think I've learned in the couple years of being coached and becoming a coach. I’m doing palliative medicine, and we are always talking about things like, “What do you value the most? What do you prioritize the most?” But that is nearing the end of life, right? The last couple years of life, or whatnot.

And that is really challenging too. It's still really important, I think, for people in that stage of life to kind of crystallize what is at the top of their list, and what matters the most. But I would say life coaching is this opportunity to get that clarity and keep it at the forefront of your mind on a more… way earlier in your life.

You could spend a lot of time with regret and “I should have done this differently,” and whatnot, but I feel like coaching keeps bringing you back to the things and the themes that are most deeply meaningful to you. And it sounds really like your purpose, I believe. What you're most passionate about. And what you tend to come back to again and again. Like, “This is where I feel the most alive, the most energized, when I'm doing these activities, in this type of setting and relationship.”

Just being able to figure out those threads over the course of your life, looking back where you are now and what you want, they're all connected so much. But oftentimes, we don't slow down enough to think about that process, and really let it inform how we choose to spend our time.

And so, I think that is something that is a beautiful thing that coaching can do for anyone. It’s just to have that clarity and do something with it now, so that you're not waiting, or keep pushing off what lights you up now. Spending your time and your energy on those things while you know about it. While you're aware of it.

Kristi: I love that you've emphasized that we can have this knowledge. But if we don't act on it or do anything about it, then we're on some sort of hamster wheel, with a lot of good ideas in our head that are not affecting our experience. Sometimes it’s just because nobody taught us how to do it. Right?

I love that you put that to words, because that's such a huge barrier to actually making a change. It's not, we need more knowledge acquisition, we just need to translate what we know, and that clarity we have about what lights us up, by taking action. We’ve got to figure out what's in the way of taking that action.

Alright, if somebody is listening to this and they're thinking, “Okay, this sounds appealing. This sounds interesting. I'm interested in clarity. I'm interested in perspective. I'm interested in figuring out my thoughts about time. All the things they're saying.” If they're on the fence when they're thinking about doing a Habits on Purpose program, or they're on the fence about doing one-on-one coaching, what would you tell somebody who's considering HOPP, considering coaching?

Sarah: I think that if you are considering it, and you imagine, I don't know, this question of, “What if things stay the same for the next one and a half, two years? What would that look like?” Try to transport yourself to that time in the future. And it's sort of that thing of, “If nothing changes, then nothing changes.” And if you're fine with that, if it's like, “Yeah, I'm kind of still stuck, but it's all right. I'd be okay,” then maybe it's not the right time.

But if that fast forward a couple of years from now feels like, “No, , I really don't want it to be the same swag that I'm going through now. And I want to feel different. I want to show up differently,” then I think that coaching is waving its hand at you and trying to get your attention.

And deciding to do coaching is an exercise in investing in you, which is different, right? I remember the first one I did. I was like, “I'm not going to pay that amount of money for investing in myself. That's ridiculous. I'll figure it out on my own.” But it was like, “No, that's what I've been doing. That's what I've been doing it.”

So yeah, it feels really scary sometimes to decide to commit to that and to make that investment. But I think, once you make that choice, then you're already are invested in the change. You're already invested in what is possible for you. Then, you just get to receive and let it marinate around and you absolutely are going to have change. That's just the beauty of it. You invest your time and your money, you're going to experience change.

Kristi: Thank you for putting to words this scary aspect of committing to something. Not just with your time, which is extremely precious, not just with your energy, but with your pocketbook. With significant amounts of financial investment to go along with the desire for change, that is not something that I grew up learning to do. And it can seem really scary. And that's normal for it to seem really scary, right?

So, for people who are listening, who are like, “Where's Sarah, where has she been my whole life? I want to connect with her. I want to learn about her. I want to participate in all the things that she's doing?” How can people find you? How can people connect?

Sarah: I say that my podcast is something that they can find me on. It's called Vibrant Humans, it's on Spotify. I'm pretty active on LinkedIn, so that's probably the best place to find me on social media.

And then, I'm going to be doing a little challenge here for women who want to have a little bit more energy, infuse some fresh energy perspective, and maybe shift mood a little bit. Where things are kind of, I don't know, oh-hum, and a little less exciting than you would want them to feel. I'm going to be doing a habit sort of challenge coming up on July 8th-12th, I think are the dates.

And so, I would love for people to join the very fun, free way to connect with other women and go through that process together. It's not a lot of time commitment, at all, like 10 minutes a day. But hopefully it can be a little bit of a reset for people who are just needing some more perspective on inspiration, on little tiny ways that they can help themselves throughout the course of their already busy days, to feel a little tiny bit more like themselves.

Kristi: Oh, this is so good. Okay, so it's worked out perfectly, because as people are listening to this, they're going to have the perfect amount of time to go sign up for the challenge; find it. Go listen to her podcast, people, you really should. This is great, Sarah. Thank you for your time and for connecting, and being able to chat about all things coaching. This is really fun. I'm just really glad that we got a chance to connect.

Sarah: Thank you. It's so fun to talk to you. And thank you for the awesome questions. But also just for continuing to show up, and having that beautiful space for people to really get to know themselves better and figure out little ways and tweaks that they can help without even having to change their circumstances, is what I would say.

They can totally feel differently in their day-to-day life, in whatever roles that they're juggling. I think that you do that perfectly in the HOPP coaching group. I loved it. And yeah, I recommend it.

Kristi: Thank you for that. And I definitely take the things that I grapple with the most, that I've studied the most, and I try to be helpful with those for people. Because I know how uncomfortable they are. So, thank you for sharing your experience. This was so fun.

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you.

If you want to take the ideas you're learning on this podcast and apply them in real life, so you can get real changes, join me in the next round of Habits on Purpose for Physicians. In HOPP, I help women physicians design deliberate habits.

The HOPP small group coaching program is a six-month program with coaching and teaching and an intimate group just for women physicians, all working on changing the patterns that take more than they give. Whether it is second guessing, a harsh inner critic, people pleasing, overextending at your own expense, perfectionistic thinking, or just perpetual guilt with feeling like you're not doing enough, or feeling like you aren't being enough, your patterns have root causes just waiting to be unraveled.

In HOPP, you learn practical tools and ideas, and get deep dive IFS coaching that helps you get to the heart of why you habitually think, feel, and act as you do. Want to stop living on autopilot? Want to stop ping-ponging between exhaustion and overworking? HOPP small group coaching is perfect for you.

There's bite-sized content designed for the busy doc-on-the-go, weekly coaching calls, weekly office hours, and an online community for 24/7 support and accountability between our calls. The group is capped to keep the community small and intimate. And I would love to have you join us.

Go to HabitsOnPurpose.com/HOPP. We start the next round in October, but stay tuned. There will be an early-bird flash sale, where for about a week you can put down a deposit to hold your spot for the October cohort before regular enrollment opens. Go to HabitsOnPurpose.com/HOPP and join the waitlist to be the first to hear about enrollment. I'll see you next week.

Thanks for listening to Habits On Purpose. If you want more information on Kristi Angevine or the resources from the podcast, visit HabitsOnPurpose.com. Tune in next week for another episode.

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