61: Overcoming Self-Doubt and Perfectionism While Finding Your Purpose with Dr. Devon Gimbel

My guest this week is Dr. Devon Gimbel, a physician, coach, and host of the Point Me to First Class podcast. Devon has created a successful business helping professionals and entrepreneurs have amazing travel experiences using rewards credit card points which is a long-time passion of hers. However, as you’ll hear, self-doubt and perfectionism have meant her journey wasn’t easy.

No matter how much you’re struggling right now, you are not alone. There is a way forward, and Devon’s unique career path makes her the ideal person to come and discuss the challenges that come up when you’re going for big goals. So, if you’re ready to live your life in a way that feels aligned with your values, your passions, and your overall vision, this episode is for you.

On her journey from physician to business owner, Devon had to make big decisions around what she actually values, what makes her happy, and finding her purpose. So, tune in this week to hear how she navigated this, how perfectionism, judgment, and self-doubt show up for us all, and most importantly, what you can do about them.

Habits on Purpose with Kristi Angevine, MD | Overcoming Self-Doubt and Perfectionism While Finding Your Purpose with Dr. Devon Gimbel

My guest this week is Devon Gimbel, a physician, coach, and host of the Point Me to First Class podcast. Devon has created a successful business helping professionals and entrepreneurs have amazing travel experiences using rewards credit card points which is a long-time passion of hers. However, as you’ll hear, self-doubt and perfectionism meant her journey wasn’t easy.

Habits on Purpose with Kristi Angevine, MD | Overcoming Self-Doubt and Perfectionism While Finding Your Purpose with Dr. Devon Gimbel

No matter how much you’re struggling with perfectionism and self-doubt, you are not alone. There is a way forward, and Devon’s unique career path makes her the ideal person to come and discuss the challenges that come up when you’re going for big goals. So, if you’re ready to live your life in a way that feels aligned with your values, your passions, and your overall vision, this episode is for you.

On her journey from physician to business owner, Devon had to make big decisions around what she actually values, what makes her happy, and finding her purpose. So, tune in this week to hear how she navigated this, how perfectionism, judgment, and self-doubt show up for us all, and most importantly, what you can do about them.

If you’re wondering how you can apply all the things I share on the podcast, join my Habits on Purpose small group coaching program! It starts in the summer of 2023, so if you’re interested in learning more, click here!

I’m offering one-off Internal Family Systems coaching sessions! This means 50 minutes of IFS-informed coaching sessions to deep dive into any issue, dilemma, decision, or habit you want to explore more and understand better. If you want a little taste of an IFS-informed approach, click here to learn more and sign up for a session!

If you find yourself curious about coaching even if you aren’t a woman physician and you’d like to connect, you can schedule a consult with me to discuss if we’re a good fit for your goals by clicking here!

What you'll learn from this episode:

  • How self-doubt and perfectionism show up for entrepreneurs pursuing their dreams.
  • The significant struggles Devon had with perfectionism and self-doubt when trying to create clarity around her purpose.
  • How Devon was able to start getting clear on the internal dialogue she had around her purpose.
  • The power of curiosity in understanding your self-judgment and pairing courage with meeting yourself where you are.
  • Why it’s difficult to catch yourself in moments of self-doubt.
  • What it looks like when you change your relationship with your negative self-talk.
  • How to normalize your experience of self-doubt, self-judgment, and perfectionism as you work towards your goals.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to Episode #61. This is Kristi Angevine. Today, I’m interviewing Dr. Devon Gimbel; physician, coach, and host of the Point Me to First Class podcast. Devon’s unique career path makes her the perfect guest to discuss challenges that come up when you’re going for big goals, and trying to live your life in a way that feels aligned with your values, your passions, and overall vision. Ready to dive in? Let’s do this.

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, everyone. Welcome back. I love bringing you these conversation episodes because they put a human face to the struggles we all share. They reinforce that you’re not alone, no matter how much you’re struggling. Today’s episode is all about the struggles we face when it comes to identifying values and figuring out how to take steps toward important life goals.

My guest, Devon Gimbel, is a double-boarded Pathologist, Master Certified and Deep Dive Coach, and entrepreneur. On her journey from physician to business owner she came face-to-face with big questions like: What do I actually value? What me makes me happy? Outside of practicing medicine, what is my purpose? Listen in and learn how perfectionism, judgment, and self-doubt show up, and what you can do about them.

Kristi Angevine: Welcome to the podcast. I have one of my favorite people in the world, who is joining me today as her debut on the podcast. I have the amazing Dr. Devon Gimbel. So, Devon, for the people who don't already know you, who aren't already listening to your podcast, and following you online, will you introduce yourself, say where you're calling in from the world, what you do, and maybe something that you're passionate about right now?

Devon: Yeah, absolutely. My name is Devon Gimbel. My background is, I am a physician, I'm a double board-certified physician. I live in the Chicago area with my family. I have a somewhat nontraditional career path, and I no longer practice medicine full time. And instead, I have actually pivoted into an entirely different professional arena.

Which is, that I help teach people how to earn and use credit card points to travel around the world. Which is actually, my biggest and longest passion. So, it's not completely arbitrary, but it's not always the typical path for people who have moved through the medical education system.

Kristi: I totally love this. For people who don't know that we have known each other for a long time, can you, it's hard for me to actually remember, can you remember how we actually crossed paths?

Devon: No, I have zero recollection of that. But I think in, it had to do something with… You and I, obviously both have the professional background of being physicians. And I think around the same time, we were both finding and getting involved in the world of coaching, and really understanding more about this entire conversation around the impact that our thoughts have on the way that we experience our lives.

And we're taking not completely parallel steps in life, but I think that we met each other at a time where there were a lot of similarities between what was happening for us, personally and professionally. And as is the beauty of the internet, I think we got connected and just became very close friends without ever actually having crossed paths in real life, outside of the internet, until probably a couple years had passed.

But I think that was really had something to do with that, even though I cannot remember honestly the exact scenario in which you and I first became aware of each other's existence.

Kristi: I think this really does share a lot about… Because that would have been my exact same answer. Every now and then I have joked, we have very twin brains, very similar things. I also have no recollection; I think that speaks to all the things that were going on for us in that time in our lives, as we were forging our own paths in ways that were very different from maybe what we had expected.

So, when you and I were talking about getting together on the podcast and think about what we were going to talk about, one of the reasons why I wanted to have you on here is because you have just started your podcast. We'll make sure that we tell everybody about it so they can go listen to that there. Because there's so much we can learn from that.

And the topic that we decided we're going to talk about might seem incongruent with your business, but there's actually so much overlap. So, we decided we were going to talk about, of all the things that you and I could just riff on for days and days and days, we're going to talk about self-doubt and perfectionism.

So, one of the things that my clients grapple with pretty routinely, that you and I also have lived, is that they might have a dream and then self-doubt and perfectionistic thinking patterns show up, and are like this cement blocks that keep them from actually taking action towards it. And since you and I can relate to this so well, I'm wondering if you would just speak to how this may have shown up for you.

Devon: Yeah, I think this is a great question. As you were talking, I feel like for me, there was even a step before that. So, absolutely. Please remember that exact question you just asked me because I have a terrible memory, and I probably won't remember it.

I do want to answer it, but I wanted to even shed light on what happened for me even before I got to that place. I think something that I realized, now in retrospect, really was an obstacle or just a block for me is that for a really long time, I feel like I didn't even have clarity about what I wanted, what I desired, what made me happy.

I'm not talking about in my entire life. I'm talking specifically about the big category of what I was doing professionally, and what I felt like my purpose was to be of service to the world. For a long time, that was medicine. What I mean by a long time is, I can remember thinking, as a five or six year old, “I want to be a doctor when I grow up.”

That became, as I think many people can relate to if you've been in a profession that requires a lot of education and training, that became a very singular focus for me. So, I didn't really have to ask myself or reflect on that question of, what do I want, what do I desire, outside of that one singular focus, for literally almost 30 years.

Once I had made that decision that was very much the anchor for so many of the other things that then came in my life. I found myself in a period, when I was about seven years out of training, and I was really at an inflection point where a lot of things, shockingly, were not exactly as I thought they were going to be.

And I really had to start questioning, “If medicine is not my singular, ultimate, professional desire, then what do I even have outside of that?” I think, for such a long time I had never even asked that question. I think partly, it's because again, it's just the rigor of that specific type of training.

But I think it goes deeper than that. I think that, to bring it like way, way out, I really think that the way that we are socialized within our dominant culture or within the subcultures that we identify with, is that we've received so many implicit messages, and I had very unconsciously taken on this implicit message that essentially, the unique singular things I wanted, and I desired, didn't matter.

There was a very, very long time ago where I had internalized that message. And so, I had stopped even asking myself that question, right? When I was in this period of, like I said, professional pivot, I don't even think I hit those other beautiful walls of self-doubt and perfectionism.

Because I think I was in a space, for a long time, of, “I don't even know what it is that I'm connected to in terms of my desire anymore. I don't even know what the answer to that question of, what do I want to do next, really looks like.”

That was really, really challenging for me. And for me, the answer came up as a lot of just, “I don't know. I don't know what it is. I don't know how to figure it out. I don't know, maybe I'm just the type of person who only ever wanted to do one thing. And if I don't want to do that one thing anymore, there's really nothing left for me.”

That was a place where I actually, I don't want to say I was stuck, but I think that was a place where that was my experience for actually a number of years. And for me, one of the biggest blocks was that I would have these little sparks of things that I actually do feel like I knew deep down I was passionate about, but I kept rejecting them, or I kept ignoring them.

Because I had an internal dialogue of “Well, those don't seem like they're important enough to be the things that matter to me.” I was so dismissive of some of the things that I really had strong desire for because I think I had this idea that they weren't valid enough to be real desires.

And so, I just wanted to speak to that point first. Maybe that seems very obvious to a lot of people or other people haven't had that experience. But on reflection, I just realized how significant an experience it was for me, even that initial piece of connecting to what are my unique desires. Not the things that the world or society tells us we should all want as human beings or as doctors or as whoever.

But what do I, as just my own individual person, connect to? And then, once I've really done that, that pretty quickly came to self-doubt, perfectionism, and all of those blocks.

Kristi: Yeah, well, so I love that you said this, because this is one of the things that I really wanted to ask you about. So great, that question is off my mental list. I think you've really put towards what so many people do feel when it comes to things that really deeply matter to them.

To these dreams that seem maybe a little bit ephemeral and unreachable. Is that when they actually think about them, one of the first places they go is, “Well, is that what I want? What do I want? If I've had this singular focus for so long, how can I even find that?” So, I love that you put that to words.

And I'm curious, you mentioned that it was challenging and talked about why, like, not even being able to identify what other desires might be there. And then the second part of that is recognizing that those passions actually do matter. So, what do you think was helpful to you? When you made that shift to believing that your passions mattered, and you stopped being as dismissive of them and saying, “Well, they're not as valid,” what made that possible?

Devon: Yeah, I think for me, this is really where the power and the impact of the work that you do with me… Because I'm your friend, so I forced you to coach me a lot. But also, your clients. And just the idea of really, the utility of developing that skill. Of just being aware of what's going on in our own brains and being willing and able to interact with it.

Not questioning ourselves as if we're just inherently wrong, but willing to engage with some of our really patterned thoughts and getting curious about, ‘well, what if this wasn't true?’ I remember, there was a time where, I don't know if you and I were coaching, like, formally coaching with one another, if we were just having a conversation…

I think it was around this idea of, ‘man, I just don't know.’ Like, all the ‘I don't knows’, kept coming up for me. And I think you were asking me, “What do you think is in the way?” Just really curious, “What's in the way of your knowing? If you did know, what do you think that would look like?”

And it was so interesting, it was just this moment of, for me, clarity of, ‘oh, I don’t actually have to solve for the not knowing.’ Because what's actually true is, if I didn't have any beliefs, if I don't have any judgments at all about what I actually want and I can just want anything, then what do I connect with in that space?

It was so obvious and so instantaneous for me. And it was a thing that honestly, I think I had just been judging for such a long time that I just kept separating myself from it. Being like, “No, it can't be that. No, it can't be that. It's got to be something bigger and more important.” And for me, that connection was really ‘wow, if we could be in this space where it's true. That we all have some unique or singular or specific desire, just the things that matter to us or light us up. And there was nothing wrong with whatever that version is for you. And no one else was going to have an opinion about it, then what would it be?’

I think for me, like I said, that was the moment were so easy for me to connect to the truth, because it had been my truth forever. This was not a brand-new thing that dropped out of the sky for the first time. It was just that, oh, aside from the whole world of medicine, aside from everything that really pulled me towards that world.

The one truth, the truth for me, had been that one of my deepest desires has always been exploration, in terms of travel and connecting with other people. Specifically, the type of connection that you can make when you leave your own personal geographic comfortable space, and go out into the world and experience other people as they are in the world.

And like I said, it was, on the one hand for me so obvious. Because that, like I said, was not like a shocking revelation to me. I mean, literally, outside of medicine, my whole world had been built around: How can I travel? How can I explore? How can I have more of these experiences with other people?

But for such a long time, I had really had medicine on a pedestal, in terms of how worthy I think it is as a profession, that I had this idea that anything else that isn't as worthy as medicine is worthless. It’s not valid. It's not a thing that is okay for me to really connect with.

That was one of the big pivotal moments for me, was just allowing myself to even acknowledge what matters to me, if there's no judgment on it from other people, but especially from myself.

Kristi: I just love how you described that. Because I think anybody listening to this, that really puts a very clear example of the power of curiosity, and the power of just genuinely looking at what's in the way and knowing that you don't have to rush to solve things. And when you do that, you make space to actually identify those implicit rules that maybe we've inherited, or we've internalized and didn't realize we're internalizing.

And for sure, later, let's talk a little bit more about what happens when we recognize the judgment that we're placing on ourselves. And when that drops away, that you're able to connect to that to the truth for you and how it didn't just pop out of the sky. So, I love how you put that together there.

Let's shift to when we're thinking about how once you get to that place where you do identify what you actually want. And you recognize, no, actually, it is worthwhile to pursue. And then you get to that next phase of things where self-doubt and perfectionism show up.

Why don't we just define what they mean. We toss those terms around a lot, and so a lot of people have certain things that they think of self-doubt, of perfectionism. But what was your experience when you encounter them? And how would you describe how they feel for you?

Devon: Oh, yeah, I mean, how much time do we have? For me, the flavor that it comes in, it's a lot of different ones. It'd be great if it was just one sentence in my brain that I could overcome. But no, I mean, it's like a whole, beautiful potpourri of things. I think it comes, for me, in the flavors of things like insecurity, inadequacy, comparison to other people.

So, when I finally connect to a thing I really want and then… I'm talking about this in the context of my actually pursuing it as a professional endeavor, so not just me connecting with my desires in the safety and comfort of my own home where no one has to know about it.

But really putting yourself out there in a way. Whether it's, again, taking something on as a professional endeavor, or claiming something in a public way. Like, this is a thing that I know about, or that I want to share my expertise in. It comes up for me, as basically, if anyone else is already in that space, then they must know so much more than me. I'm going to be completely inadequate compared to their expertise.

And in terms of perfectionism, which unfortunately I can identify with very strongly. I think the way it comes up for me is, anytime I think about doing a thing or creating a thing, I think it's probably always going to be my initial default impulse to have this perfectionist thought of, essentially, “Up and until I can create this entity in its most amazing, most edited and clean and impactful form, then it's not going to be good enough for me to put anything out there,” right?

So, to me, it's not even so much that it looks like procrastination, because it's not that form of it. It's an incredibly high bar of expectation in terms of, I can create something, and I can put it out there just as long as it meets these, ridiculously unattainable standards.

Kristi: Okay, I feel like you've bottled up the signature, hallmark skills of those of us who have really strong tendencies for self-doubt. So, insecurity, and then unfavorable comparison, in a very opportunistic way.

“At any moment, if anybody else is doing anything that comes within a million miles of my deep passion, then they are clearly the expert, I'm inadequate. And no wonder, I need to make sure that what I'm going to put out is going to be just tremendously polished, super useful, and this high bar expectation, that will always get ever higher, will follow us around.”

Devon: Yeah, I mean, it's an awesome experience. It's super enjoyable to be inside your brain when that's what you're surrounded by.

Kristi: Devon and I have talked about, for those of you who aren't the fly on the wall and see our conversations, we talk about the self-torture aspect of self-doubt, and perfectionism. And especially when you are somebody who is well trained in coaching, and thinking about thinking, when you watch yourself do this, it can be really difficult. Because you recognize that even though at the default, it's something over which we do have a modicum of agency, or a lot of agency, and that can add that extra layer of difficulty.

So, let's talk about self-judgment. This is a big piece. One of the things that I really want to talk about and just give words to, because a lot of people who listen to this, they do have really strong tendency for self-doubt, insecurity, self-consciousness, and perfectionism. And while they do that, they are constantly judging themselves.

The first part of this I'm going to talk about, is how all of our habits basically make sense. They are learned solutions, in some way or another. So, let's talk a little bit about the ways in which… And you can talk about your experience, or just what you've noticed in your clients and other people, how perfectionism and self-doubt, they actually make really beautiful sense. What would you say about that?

Devon: Yeah, you know what? Of course, I'm not shocked that you read my mind, because we do have twin brains. But I was thinking before you even said that one of the things that I think has been most helpful for me, in terms of being able to take steps forwards. To not eliminate these patterns and not to break free of them, but to really learn, how do I still productively take steps forward as I'm having this increasing awareness about, again, what some of my common patterns are?

And for me, I think something that has been so useful and so challenging, is that step that I just, in my own self experience, I just call it normalization. Like, wait a minute. Exactly what you had said, why does this make sense? Right? Like, if I have these patterns, why might that have been perfect for me at some point, or why might that have made so much sense for me to develop?

There's a lot of different answers to that. But I think for me, because so much of my young adult, my adolescent and young adult life, was within this context of medical education, and I think that medicine, at least in North America, has a really strong subculture of its own. I see, for me personally, where so many of my patterns that now maybe aren't so useful, were incredibly useful for me within that context, and within that subculture.

Some of the hardest work that I have done, and I continue to do, is when I catch myself in patterns of inadequacy, in patterns of self-judgment, self-criticism, is to really slow myself down. I literally remind myself, number one, I do that step of normalizing. “This is why it makes sense for me to think this.”

But number two, I have to remind myself, “This is not that.” And what I mean by that is, once I've identified why does a thought pattern make sense? Like, in what context, could it have actually served me or protected me in some way? I then have to actually acknowledge, “Okay, I'm not there anymore.”

I'm not a medical student trying to escape being humiliated on rounds by some attending who wants to pimp everybody, right? I am not a fellow calling a frozen section all by myself, and terrified that I'm going to get this call wrong. That is not my life now.

And so, the patterns though, that I think we develop in the context of other times of our lives, or other experiences of our lives, just when situations in our life change, the patterns don't just dissolve, right? And so, I think so much of the work is not only figuring out how they make sense, but then that next step of really reminding myself, “Oh, it's not the same anymore. I don't need the same patterns because I'm not in the same situations.”

And even if I was in the same exact situation, I think I now have the emotional maturity to be able to say, “Maybe those old patterns still aren't going to continue to be the most useful ones for me. In that case, what might serve me a little bit better?”

I don't say this as someone who's perfected this. I mean, this is like a loop I walk around, day after day or week after week. But it is a continual practice. It’s a continual practice of bringing myself back to normalizing the things that really are incredibly challenging for me.

And after that normalization, being able to converse myself in a way that allows me to take the next step forward, instead of staying in the same loop over and over and over again.

Kristi: I love how you're talking about things that you do. And I feel like you might as well just be talking about every single time I text you, saying, “This is what's going on.” The thing that you are so great about reminding me of. It does emphasize the point that when we are really living in the thick of self-doubt and in the thick of insecurity, and sometimes just can't see that we're in it.

Sometimes, it's super useful to have other people remind us of the very things that we actually do know. It's not news to me, or news to you, when somebody reminds you and normalizes things. And yet, it can be so powerful.

Devon: Yeah, I completely agree. And I think the nature of when we do get stuck in our own ways of thinking… Someone had described it like this to me before, it's almost like, imagine yourself being on the inside of a jelly jar. There's a label on the outside that tells you what's inside. But when you're inside the jar, you can't see it, right? You don't have the same vantage point.

That truly is the utility of having someone, a trusted someone; whether that's a friend, it's certainly a coach who's professionally trained and certified to do that. But someone who can step outside of your brain, who holds tremendous belief in you and your capability.

It's not about having sympathy for someone, but saying, “I can see you in your highest power. And I know that when you're on the inside of your own jar, it can be really, really hard to read that and to see that. And so, how about we just help each other out when we need that?”

I really think that is very useful for me, because I have thought patterns, when I'm in them, I can definitely go to that place of being a seven-year-old having a temper tantrum. It's hard for me to be my own adult while I'm a seven-year-old having a temper tantrum.

It can be really helpful to have that outside perspective of someone who can say, “Hey, let's just figure out what is this thought pattern? What is coming up for you? And let's walk through this discussion together.” So, the responsibility of doing that isn't just on yourself in those moments when it can be really, really challenging.

Kristi: Yeah, absolutely. The analogy… I love the jelly jar one, I use that a lot too. The analogy that crosses my mind is if my house is on fire and I'm trying to get my family out. And maybe the neighborhood’s on fire and there's just a lot going on. My primary focus is going to be on some pretty fundamental things.

I'm probably going to be filled with stress responses, right? In that moment, it is highly inappropriate to expect that I'm going to be able to thoughtfully reflect on my self-doubt when it comes to my business. Or reflect on maybe a little parenting thing.

In that moment, what would be the most helpful, other than the fire being gone, is for somebody who's a trained professional to come in and be like, “Ma'am, your focus needs to be on walking west. Go. Take this.” And then, later on, be able to say, “Okay, now that we're out of that, now we can consider…”

I mean, the idea of being the seven-year-old tantruming, not being able to actually think your way through it, it's nice to just normalize that that's just how that is. I think some of the listeners here think sometimes… And I hear my clients and I've done this myself; I don't know how many times; expect of myself to be able to, in those moments where I'm really living those emotions and believing the things that I know may not be the most useful, expecting myself to be able to think my way out.

Devon: Yeah, I agree. I think is one of the biggest fallacies that for some reason, it's easy for us to continue believing over and over and over again. I think, even if you do gain experience in some of these skills and these tools, that still doesn't mean that then oh great, you've reached some level where you no longer actually need to utilize the same skills and tools with the help of somebody else.

And so, I think more than anything, yeah, I just want to speak to that piece of, we can do a lot of things on our own. But it can be a heck of a lot easier if we get help. And if we're willing to ask for help when we find that we're really running up against walls trying to do everything by ourselves.

Kristi: This is going to be slightly repetitive, and I think it bears repeating. But I want to say and bring up and get your take on, many of the perfectionistic curses can be, to never feel that who we are and what we do is good enough; that it's always better to be better. And when we're not, we judge ourselves, right?

So, we can oftentimes walk around primed, to even in the meta way, to judge our perfectionistic tendencies. We hear about those, we're like, “Okay, so I hear it, I see it, I recognize I have these things that you guys are talking about.” And then we judge the very thing that we're struggling with.

I know we've both done this so much, we're like, “What is my problem? Here I am churning in the very thing that I recognize is problematic.” So, I'm curious if you can talk to how your self-talk has changed when you’re, not in the thick of things, but in the aftermath or right after, how do you talk to yourself about the fact that some of these tendencies hit close to home?

Devon: I think this is a great question, because the truth of the matter is that this is an area where I don't know that my self-talk has changed a lot. And that's okay. I'm a person where the more I've learned about things like self-compassion and compassionate self-talk, that is still very, very challenging for me to connect with. I'm going to be completely honest and transparent.

So, I think for me, what's different is not so much that my self-talk has changed, but one, my awareness around it has definitely changed. And the way that I relate to it is more different than the self-talk, actually itself fundamentally changing, if that makes sense.

And I think it really is reflecting on, what I had mentioned before, where I've really just expanded my ability to be aware. To be able to watch myself and not even catch myself, but witness myself when I'm like, “oh, yeah, this is a very, very well-practiced skill,” the one of self-criticism. So, it makes a ton of sense that this is what I default to, especially in times of stress, or especially in times of disappointment.

“And, this is where we are.” Even that, in some ways, I feel like it's a very little shift. Because like I said, my self-talk has not fundamentally changed. I have not gone into the land of self-congratulation, and thinking that I'm just an amazingly beautiful and worthy person all the time.

I feel it'd be great, and if you get there, fantastic. I'm not telling you, “Don't get there, you should leave that place.” But that has not been my personal experience.

And at the same time, I think still maintaining my default self-talk, still tending towards the critical, that didn't actually have to fundamentally change itself when I started to develop the skill a little bit more. And trust me, sometimes it seems like a very little bit more, of just being able to see that for what it is.

And to be able to say, “Oh, yep, this is where we are right now. And that's okay. Maybe that's not totally true,” my self-critical thoughts. Or “Maybe one day, I'll have 10% less default self-critical thoughts. But this is where we are now.” And that for me has actually had the effect of defusing the impact of the self-criticism. So, the self-criticism can be there, but its impact has felt a lot less intense for me.

Kristi: I love how you talked about this, that it's not like you've scrubbed clean, and all those patterns have dissolved.

Devon: Oh, no.

Kristi: So, they still show up. Because I think there's sometimes this idea that, once I understand it, then it will… There's an urgency to figure it all out so that it doesn't come back. And the truth is, that many of these patterns are like neighbors that will never move out. They're there to stay. And that's okay.

What comes to mind is, if you're learning a different language and there's that really subtle difference between somebody who is super fluent and has been studying the language for 20 years, who is great. And then somebody who, same thing, that has made just those tiniest changes and really sounds like a native speaker. Everybody thinks they're from there because they've made these tiny little refinements.

And those tiny little refinements go a long way. So, your tiny refinement… The change to your self-talk isn't that stuff went away, it's just that the way you relate to it has changed. “This is here. Of course, it is. It makes so much sense. This is hard, I get it. Here I am again.” That makes all the difference. Right? That one little degree?

Devon: Coming back to the theme of perfectionist thinking. I think originally, when I was first learning about this whole world of coaching and becoming a lot more aware of and intentional about my thoughts. And really, the power that our thoughts can have on our experience and our outcome in life.

I think one of my perfectionist ideas was like, “Great, I'm going to learn this, and I'm going to fix all of those thoughts,” right? Like, we're going to eradicate all these horrible ways of thinking or all of these very unusable patterns of thinking.

Again, that's more reflection of the perfectionist thinking itself, than of what is actually necessary or required to have a shifted experience of ourselves.

Kristi: 100%. That brings me to, in terms of what's actually required to change our experience, particularly when we recognize a passion, and we want to go for a goal. And the reason this is coming to my mind is because I mean, you worked in medicine, became a coach and a business owner.

And you shifted from doing primarily coaching to doing this work with your business. Where you are strategically helping people learn how to access travel in ways that utilizes a whole knowledge that many of us just know nothing about.

I think it takes so much courage and so much just a sense of guts for actually acting on such a radically different goal. So, can you talk a little bit about what was required of you, when you were looking at making these decisions?

Devon: Yeah. I don't know that I've ever sat down to really tease those things out, specifically. But I think there were probably a couple of things. And one of them was becoming very, very clear, and honest with myself about…

I don't do this ‘about to die’ exercise very often. But sometimes I go to the place where I'm like, “Okay, let me imagine that I'm at the very end of my life. I'm looking back and reflecting, all of our chances to make the big decisions are in the rearview mirror now.”

“And it's a question of, what do I think at that point? What would I regret more? Would I regret more having really gone for a thing that maybe seemed a little bit crazy, or out of the norm for what I had previously been doing? Or would I regret more just keeping that in my back pocket and continuing to do whatever the “normal” thing is?” Whatever the expected thing is, or the conformist thing is.

I hit a point where I just realized, I would so much rather go for this thing and have it be a spectacular, colossal failure, but know that I had really, really tried it. Than to have continued carrying it around like a little stone in my pocket. This thing that I could just hold in my hand, and no one would ever have to know about it, no one ever make fun of me about it, or criticize me for it. But that it would be a thing that never got to be realized in its full potential.

Again, I want to acknowledge something in case anyone is under the misapprehension that from the way that you and I are speaking that what happens in my brain is: I have a beautiful realization, I implement it in the next four seconds, and then the outcome is amazing an hour later. That is not the way my brain works. I really chew on these things. I mean, for months, years.

I mean, I think that's what it looked like, for me, when I say I get to the point of clarity, that's not an instantaneous point of clarity. It's a point of deep consideration. And then, after much deep consideration and time, usually, it was hitting that idea of, ‘there's something in me that I really want to see what it would look like if it was expressed. And it's really freaking scary. I have a ton of insecurity and a ton of self-doubt. And I want to do this anyway. So, let me just take that step and see what that looks like.’

Kristi: I just love how you described that and used… I mean, our mutual friend, Ali Novitsky, calls, “and” a power word. This is like when we make space for all the things. “I've got this, and I also want to see it and it's shit scary. And it takes me a long time to think about these things. And okay…” To me, that is courage. It's that making of space for things.

So, I, from the outside, watching you as a friend and a colleague, to me, it's been so inspirational. Just because what you've done is the epitome of paring courage plus meeting yourself where you are. Which I think is just really exercising the skill of curiosity. And, those are not easy things.

Devon: No, not at all. I'm just going to say wow, I wish I could spend more time in your brain, a lot of the time. Because from inside my brain, I'm like, “Oh, that's not how I would describe it.” But I think that really is the power of not just saying in your own brain, and thinking that it's always giving you the most accurate reporting of something.

Because what you were just saying about the power of the word “and”, I've never thought about it like this before. But in the context of our talking about this threat of perfectionism, I think the way that I realized perfection shows up for me, when I believe it, is it always comes with the word “until”. Like, I can't do X “until”, or I won't put this out in the world, or I won't try a thing “until”. I think it's that “until” that continually holds us back.

And I don't think I have a really nice way of wrapping up that thought, but it was something I really wanted to touch on that came up for me, in the context of what you were you were reflecting on what the word “and”.

Kristi: That's perfect. What that prompts for me is… “Until”; I totally hear that in my brain a lot. And then, “unless”. “Unless I… If I'm not as good as this, I can't do that unless I were…” Yeah, that's just such a great way to put it. And I think people listening are going to resonate with that.

Since you have this new, beautiful podcast, can you tell us a little bit about your business? And then, where people who want to find you, where they can find you?

Devon: Yeah, absolutely. Like I said before, I help people leverage their expenses into earning lots and lots of credit card points. And then using those credit card points to either travel the world or travel the country, but to have experiences that they otherwise would never have available to them. And it is the most fun thing in the world to do.

So, if you are someone who has expenses, if you've got to pay for some things in your life, and you want those expenses to send you to amazing places, to take some great trips, then the world of credit card points might be right for you.

I have just launched a brand-new podcast where I talk all about this. And so, it's a very easy way for people who are “points new or points curious” to learn about this whole world. You can check out that podcast, it's called Point Me to First Class, wherever you love to listen to podcasts.

And if you want to know more information, specifically about the work I do and how you can learn how to do this hobby even better, you can come over to my website at PointMeToFirstClass.com and I have all sorts of information there about next steps, if and when, you're ready to really dive into this amazing world of points travel.

Kristi: Oh my gosh, I love it. Yes, everybody go check out Point Me to First Class, the podcast, and the website. I just want to tell you, thank you so much for your time. I know we talked about this is just an excuse to get together for coffee, chat, and geek out about all the things, but it does mean so much to me that you took time out of your day, in your life, to come on and share with us all these things. I know it means so much to everybody listening.

Devon: Well, thank you for having me. I always appreciate the invitation and value anytime that I get to spend with you. So, thank you so much for doing this with me today.

Kristi: My pleasure.

Want to start applying what you’re learning on the podcast? Why wait to be more intentional with this one precious life that you have? Whether it’s with private coaching or in my small group for women physicians, you can get my expert guidance to understand why you think, feel, and act as you do. So, that you can exit that hamster wheel of anxiety, self-criticism, guilt over not doing enough, so that you can start being present, curious, and compassionate. The more of us who can stop living on default and stop feeling reactionary, the better.

To learn more about private coaching go to HabitsOnPurpose.com/consult. To learn more about single Internal Family Systems informed coaching sessions go to HabitsOnPurpose.com/IFSsession. And if you want to learn about the women’s physician only Habits on Purpose for Physicians Small Group Coaching Program, go to HabitsOnPurpose.com/HOPPwaitlist.

I can’t wait to see you in the next week.

If you want to learn more about how to better understand your patterns, stop feeling reactionary, and get back into the proverbial driver’s seat with your habits, you’ll want to join my email list, which you can find linked in the show notes. Or, if you go to HabitsOnPurpose.com, you’ll find it right there.

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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