Updated: Apr 6
This is a speech I wrote as a panelist for a webinar on Healthcare Provider Burnout in 2020. This was very early on in my journey as a teacher and in my path of healing and transformation. I think it is still important to share the stages of how I got here and where it started for me. One reason is so you can understand how I ended up here and what I went through along the way to learn the material I share and teach on as a coach. Another reason is because you may actually connect to some of these parts better initially depending on where you are in your life. So here it is…..from the archives…….no edits, no changes. Just the raw material from a few years back when becoming an entrepreneur and starting Resilient Healer was a quiet whisper. I have come a long way since then and much of this material has been refined over and over again. I look totally different. I speak and sound very differently now as well but there is still a lot of truth and power in this speech so I decided to publish it today.
Alright so this is a webinar about healthcare provider burnout.
INTRO TO THE 3 PARTS OF US
I want to talk to you about the 3 general areas that make up an individual. I am certain you are all familiar with this concept, and have heard various versions of it in many areas of life.
The first component is the Mind
- This is where we have thought, where we store data and knowledge, where our memory categorizes the past experiences we have, where we use logic and reasoning, this is also where our subconscious is most prevalent. It has been found that between 95-98% of our thinking takes place in the autopilot area of our subconscious. So that leaves 2-5 % for conscious awareness. 5% if you are really awakened as a person. 2% or less even if you are well “burned out”
Next we have the Body
- This is one of those areas where all of us in healthcare really think we have a huge leg up. You know because we had anatomy and physiology, we went through cadavers & developed our X-ray vision for what’s in these human bodies and how it looks. We studied how it functions inside and out, on cellular and system levels, we understand how it communicates and links together. We understand various diseases that affect it and how to treat those diseases to restore functioning.
Now we have this third area….Mind……Body…….and…………..
-Many of you right now already have the word formed in your mind and you already have a deep feeling connected to that word. You know this answer before I even say it. And the feeling may be blissful or it may be anger and hate. There is a reason for that too. This answer either gives you incredible relief because you finally feel seen and heard and understood or it gives you misery because you know you have denied it, you have guilt and shame around even acknowledging that part of yourself. Hold on to your word or your feeling for just a moment more…...
For those of you who do not feel you quite have the word in your mind I am going to list off a few options and hopefully you connect with one or many of them
OPENING OUR MIND TO DEFINING IT PERSONALLY
So is it our soul or spirit, our inner self, our true self, our authentic self, our higher self, our consciousness, is it our intuition or our gut feeling, is it God, Source, the Universe,………
I hope that each of you has a name Or definition for what it is because I’m not here to talk about definitions but for this portion of the Burnout series we’re going to just call it the spark!
The spark of energy that exists inside every one of us.
INTRO TO 'THE SPARK’
To carry-on with the theme of burn out and getting fired up - let’s introduce another phrase - the inner spark, the inner human spark within each of us, every human has it but how do we define it, or how do we tap about it, how do we express it. That is a very individual and personal part of us. It is the most unique part of us. It is the essence of what makes us individual. You see our bodies all function relatively the same and the mind, especially the 90+% that is subconscious that is fairly predictable too, it's all about habits and routines and patterns. BUT the inner spark that is truly unique and one of a kind in each of us.
SCIENCE AND START OF ENERGY TALK
This lecture is aimed at healthcare providers which means I assume we have a strong background in the sciences since we are practicing the medical science, the science of physics the science of chemistry, the science of thermodynamics, the science of biochemistry, all of these sciences include various laws and algorithms and understandings of energy.
Energy is the force that holds atoms together and those atoms form molecules and various molecules and molecular structures are also held together by energy which begins to form larger and larger compounds and eventually matter. all matter.....living objects in adamant objects all matter of our universe is technically energy holding together various atoms.
We are energetic beings we are full of energy we are full of magnetic energy we are full of electric energy we are full of the energy that holds together all the items that create our cells and our DNA and everything about us that is alive but there is this energy inside of us that makes up a complete of our being that I think gets ignored a lot in the healthcare profession we ignore it in our patients at times but more importantly we ignored it ourselves and we ignored it ourselves we end up burned out when we ignore our spark or burned out if we are burned out that all we can do is provide that level of burn out to our patients we can’t acknowledge the spark and then if we don’t notice the sparking us
Of our being that I think gets ignored a lot in the healthcare profession we ignore it in our patients at times but more importantly we ignored it ourselves and we ignored ourselves we end up burned out when we ignore or spark or burned out if we’re burned out that all we can do is provide that level of burn out to our patients we can’t acknowledge the spark in them if we don’t notice the sparking us
WE NEED TO TEND TO THE SPARK AND 3RD PART OF OURSELVES
It goes without saying that you need to take care of your mind and your body. Any medicine we're all great at giving people is a professional opinion about what they need to do to help their body and oftentimes especially for someone like me and psychiatry their mind to be their best. But what are we doing about attending to our inner spark, our soul or spirit. We can keep the body alive on a ventilator that's just a sex cells there's no spark in that
We need to start making it okay giving ourselves permission to take care of our unique inner spark, we as healthcare providers need to take care of that part of ourselves, we need to get permission to our peers and our colleagues to take care of that part of themselves, and I think we have to start making space for our patients to take care of that part of themselves. We can never be whole and we can never experience fulfillment and our jobs in our careers in our lives if we ignore 33% of ourselves.
I spent a lot of time today focused on discussing the Inner Spark, not because I think it is the most important part But because I think it is oftentimes in this field the most ignored part. The key is balance. You have to balance yourself out, and tend to all 3 of these areas of life: the Mind the Body and the Inner Spark. In healthcare it is so easy to focus on the Body, and it has become even easier as a provider to focus on your mind, the logic of it all for sure the evidence based scientific parts. It seems to end at the part where emotion and our inner being start to be a part of the conversation.
So yes I think you need to eat right, get exercise, stay hydrated, and find enough time for sleep. Those are areas that need to be worked on to fight off burnout. You need to keep a schedule, have a social life, stay on top not CME etc, but you also need to get in touch with yourself. You need to listen to your gut more, you need to trust yourself, you need to tap into the passion inside of you that made you want to go into healthcare in the first place. And that is the inner spark. This is not just a vocation or career for passing time. It is an area of work that taps into all areas of life. When you are a healer you live this lifestyle in all areas of who you are and so you need to feel connected and integrated into your true self.
You’ve all studied the ins and outs of the body, it's anatomy and physiology and you use your mind every day to pull up large amounts of knowledge and experience, assess benefits and risks and make a judgment call on best treatments for healing other humans.
But what about that third area of your being.......
I know this…….I do not have all the answers for you, I do not have "the ANSWER to solve your burnout" and I do not have the answer for how to solve the entire burnout culture in healthcare right now. But I know this is a direction that has answers……this is a direction we all need to be moving in. This is a conversation worth having and I know I want to start holding space for this conversation to take place. I want to hold a space open for each of you here attending this webinar to ask these questions or your self, to speak up and have a voice for what you know to be true….tap into the spark, that passion, that inner knowing, the gut feeling, the truth of your being. There are answers there and together if we have these conversations I know we can move forward better than we have been. aAnd I don’t know where it will all lead but I know denying an entire side of ourselves, a 3rd of our individual being. That does not get any of us to where we are meant to be, that isn’t our best, that isn’t our purpose, and that is not why we became healers and decided to participate in healthcare.
I can tell you to have better work-life balance, work on self care, set limits with your employer, eat better, get more sleep, BUT you already know all of that. That isn’t new and if doing that worked we would not all be here right now. That is only part of the puzzle and even if you master the perfect routine of sleep, exercise, diet, down time, socializing, hobbies, activities, CME, read the latest journals and work to optimize workflow, hire more staff to help with the burden……..that still will only leave you mastering 2 parts, or 66% that’s a failing grade. You can not be whole and fulfilled in your life or in your career if you do not at least attempt to work on the 3rd part, the spark,
There are so many other talks I would like to have that stem from this,
How do we incorporate this idea not our workplace?
How do we start on this journey?
How do we allow space for patients to be on this journey?
How do we support each other as colleagues?
I hope that there is an opportunity to go farther and go deeper into this together. I have a lot more to say and honestly even more that I would love to ask of each one of you. I want to know what you connect with here and understand more of what you know to be true in yourself because that is where the answers are. We are all on the same side, we all have unique experiences and understandings that bring so much to the table but here we are isolating shutting down, if it was not part of a double blinded study or published in the latest journal we are told it does not matter. We are told that to be professional means only sharing facts that are “evidence based” and that is a whole other talk and topic right there.
DISCUSSION AT THE END
I have a lot of ideas about how you can do this and a lot of examples also. I am happy to discuss these at length and I could go on for hours and hours on this topic but let me give you a few of the basics to consider.....these are things you have to do before anything else will make sense.
1- Give yourself permission to have an Inner Spark that shows up in you as a Healthcare provider.
2- And go one step further, give your peers and colleagues permission as well.
3- Become aware of your feelings and thoughts. What would you call them? And do they change? Are they more positive than negative?
4- Name it! It is there, it is inside of you, give it a name. I listed off a large number of options earlier and I suspect something touched you. Use that word and give it a name.
Movie quote from Into the Wild “