“The key is to be okay with being uncomfortable. To be okay with asking questions. To understand that it is perfectly natural to be asking questions and to be curious about the answers and to check in with yourself.” -Coach Gabriella Dennery MD


In today’s episode, Coach Gabriella and Coach Jill walk us through deciding to stay or go in our career or current employment. Gabriella knows from her own experience that this can be a difficult situation and Jill also has experience in making a career change. They draw on their coaching expertise and also their experience to guide us through what steps we should take to help us make these decisions, how to make them with the right mindset and what pitfalls we should stay away from.  

Excerpts from the show:

“Gabriella, I know as a coach you probably have heard from people and I know you had the lived experience of making this decision yourself. What do you think drives people to get to the point where they’re trying to decide to leave or stay in their career most often?” -Master Certified Coach Jill Farmer

“Well that’s an excellent question because what is the driver? I think the driver is two things. One, what’s kind of pushing you out of a career? In other words, is there a sense of dissatisfaction, perhaps burnout may be one of the reasons. And what’s pulling you out? Maybe it’s wanting to experience new things. Maybe to develop another skill set, maybe it’s going in a different direction. So I think the conversation really starts with clients and with physician friends who are going through this process right now. What matters to you most? I think that’s probably the first determination. What are your core values? Can you list three or four? So we will go through some exercises around that, simply because that’s probably your starting point. What is most important to you as you make these decisions? Because these decisions are not easy.” -Coach Gabriella Dennery MD

“So how do you decide what’s most important to you? That can feel like a really big and sometimes even overwhelming question.” -Master Certified Coach Jill Farmer

“Yes, there are wonderful inventories that you can do online, there are lists of core values that you can find online. Just search core values and they’ll pop up. Then just literally sit down with the printed list and circle your top 10. Then go to your top five from the top ten list. Then trim it down to three. So come up with three to five. It could be something like, ‘I value integrity,’ ‘I value honesty,’ ‘I value benevolence’ or ‘I value ambition’. It could be any number of things, there’s no right or wrong, better or worse. It really is what speaks to you. Be honest with it. I would say take one of those inventories and really just sit with it and take care of circling the ones you want. Because I have no doubt with the pandemic a lot has shifted, life considerations have shifted, age shifts a lot. So it’s good from time to time to check in with yourself and to have that list of values in front of you. That way you get to remind yourself of what those are. Especially when it comes to tough decisions like a career change, which can be made a lot easier when you have an idea of how to articulate what matters to you most.” -Coach Gabriella Dennery MD

“I agree with that 100%. I would even say once you get down to distilling it to those three to five values that really matter to you most, take another look and make sure they’re actually your values. Because what I see happens sometimes in clients is they actually have accidentally integrated somebody else’s values or dreams or wishes for them. And when they really look at it for themselves they’re like, ‘No.’ Or a season of life has changed and what they valued in their 30s feels different to what they are valuing in a new season of life. So I think it’s ok to look at them and just double check against your own kind of gut or what one of my coaching friends calls your hut, your heart and your gut, to see how that feels. I love this idea of really focusing on what matters to you. I work with physicians a lot but I also work in other sectors, financial services and law and other places doing coaching and time and stress management consulting. A lot of times what happens is when people are talking about career change they want to move away from something. ‘I’m sick of my boss.’ That’s one of the most common reasons that people make a job change is because of their direct supervisor or leadership, or, ‘I’m tired of XYZ.’ What I think, it’s similar advice that you hear from marriage counselors: If the only reason you’re leaving something is just to get away from it, there’s a good chance you’re going to repeat it. So I really like having the idea of those core values as a destination of what you’re moving toward as opposed to only thinking exclusively about all the things that are wrong with what you’re moving away from. Because I have seen it in physician clients where they end up accidentally repeating the same dang thing over and over again at a new location believing that’s going to fix everything as well.” -Master Certified Coach Jill Farmer

“Really again, it’s the motivation. Even if the situation feels untenable and it’s like, ‘I’ve got to make a change because I can’t thrive here.’ Then it’s still being clear on what you want to create or cultivate for yourself, wherever you move to and whatever it is you do, moving toward that. I think that’s a really important emphasis. If you all don’t take anything else away from today, it’s getting clear on what you want to move toward as opposed to just what you’re leaving behind. Another thing that I tell people is: Alot of times when people are feeling some angst or agitation around a shift, that it’s ok to sit for a minute and let some clarity come in. Sometimes when people start feeling irritated or agitated they just feel like, ‘I gotta go.’ I had a wise teacher once tell me, it’s like if you scoop up a cup full of river water. It’s kind of cloudy because there’s a lot of sediment and stuff moving, but if you let it sit even for a relatively short period of time, the sediment tends to go to the bottom and you get clear water. I think that’s a good metaphor for this, too. Sometimes if you’re activated, if you’ve had a situation that feels frustrating, in the midst of it, often I think it’s an ok thing to wait until some of that agitation or irritation has cleared before you make a big decision. It doesn’t mean you won’t end up making the decision to leave or stay but I think people tend to have more regret about decisions they make when they’re all stirred up in an emotionally activated state instead of waiting to sort of process that emotion.” -Master Certified Coach Jill Farmer

Get One-on-One Coaching with Coach Gabriella Dennery MD

Get One-on-One Coaching with Master-Certified Coach Jill Farmer

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Jill Farmer is an experienced physician coach who has been helping doctors live their best lives, increase their success, and move through burnout for well over a decade.

She has delivered keynotes, programs, and training everywhere from Harvard Medical School to the American College of Cardiology.

She has personally coached hundreds of physicians, surgeons, and other busy professionals to help them be at their best—without burning themselves out. Her coaching has supported professionals at places like Mass General Brigham in Boston, Washington University in St. Louis, Northwestern University in Chicago and too many others to list.

Jill wrote the book on time management for busy people. Literally. It’s called “There’s Not Enough Time…and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves” which debuted as a bestseller on Amazon. Her work has been featured everywhere from Inc. to Fitness Magazine to The Washington Post.

Nationally recognized as a “brilliant time optimizer and life maximizer,” Jill will cut straight to the heart of your stress to liberate you from its shackles. She has two young adult daughters. She lives with her husband and their poorly behaved dachshund in St. Louis, MO.

Life Coach Gabriella Dennery, MD OMD is passionate about helping busy physicians rediscover the joy of their calling. She draws on her training as a physician, a musician, and an ordained non-denominational minister in addition to health & wellness and life coaching to offer professionals from all walks of life the benefit of her broad experience and deep insights.

You can find Gabriella as one of the co-creators of STAT: Quick Wins To Get Your Life Back.

The daughter of a psychiatrist mother and a neurosurgeon father, both from Haiti, Gabriella and her five siblings were expected to choose from five noble callings: Medicine, Dentistry, Engineering, Law, or Agronomy (caring for the delicate soil of Haiti).

Gabriella, an innately gifted healer and teacher, chose Medicine and graduated with honors from Howard University College of Medicine, “The Mecca.” Following her residency in internal medicine at Duke University Medical Center, Gabriella moved to New York City to serve as an attending physician and clinical instructor in Harlem and later as medical director and attending physician at SUNY Downstate Bedford-Stuyvesant satellite clinic in Brooklyn.

Her greatest joy as a primary care physician was supporting her patients, shepherding them to Aha moments, and nurturing positive shifts in perspective that measurably improved their health and wellbeing–a strength that makes Gabriella so effective as a coach.

After more than ten years of practicing internal medicine, Gabriella chose to explore the integration of medicine, music, and ministry to promote better health of her fellow physicians by becoming a physician coach. She successfully coaches physicians to prevent and/or navigate through physician burnout, reach career and personal goals, clarify and take actionable steps to achieve their own personal vision, and is well known for helping doctors at all stages of their careers, from students to residents/fellows to practicing physicians. She maintains her work-life balance by playing percussion and violin, composing music, and enjoying a very fun and fulfilling marriage.

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