Lynn Marie Morski, MD, has played every instrument, every sport, run for every office and she quit them all to lie on the beach.  OK, none of that is true except the lie on the beach part since she lives in San Diego, but she is a quitting evangelist.  We discuss when to quit and more importantly, when NOT to quit, the psychology of quitting and what prevents us from following through.  She has a five point plan for strategic quitting, so we go through all five steps.  Even though her platform is quitting for EVERYONE, she is a physician, so she understands the struggles we face and specifically tailors her quitting strategy to our profession.

She helps people quit anything that’s no longer serving them, like jobs, relationships, or mindsets, through her book, Quitting by Design, and her podcast, Quit Happens, along with speaking and coaching. She is also a board-certified physician in family medicine and sports medicine, currently working at the Veterans Administration, and she serves as Chief Medical Editor for PRIME, the largest peak performance, optimization, and longevity marketplace in the country. In addition, she is an attorney and former adjunct law professor.

When not doctoring, lawyering, or preaching the gospel of strategic quitting, Lynn Marie can be found doing yoga, playing multiple musical instruments and dancing like everyone’s watching.



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Unknown Speaker  0:03
Welcome to the physicians guide to doctor, a practical guide for practicing physicians. Dr. Bradley Block interviews experts in and out of medicine to find out everything we should have been learning while we were memorizing the Krebs cycle. The ideas expressed on this podcast are those of the interviewer and interviewee and do not represent those of our respective employers. And now, here’s Dr. Bradley Block.
Unknown Speaker  0:28
On today’s episode, we speak to Dr. Lynn Marie morskie, Esquire, a sports medicine family physician, lawyer, yoga instructor, bassist and quitting evangelist. She has a successful coaching program on quitting podcast and book all about strategic quitting. We talked about when to quit, when not to quit psychological barriers to quitting and her five steps to quit strategically.
Unknown Speaker  0:57
Welcome to the podcast Lynn Marie morskie Thanks for having me. Thank you for being here. You are a very busy woman wearing many hats. So I really appreciate you taking the time out of your day and time away from your own podcast, which we’ll talk about in a bit to to discuss quitting with physicians guide to doctoring. So before we get to the quitting, let’s just talk about your training and how you ended up becoming a quitting expert. So what’s your educational background?
Unknown Speaker  1:28
my undergrad was in Media Communications, not pre med. And then I went to grad school for interactive multimedia design and got about halfway through and that’s when I made my first quit and decided multimedia was not my jam. And so then I went to St. Louis University School of Medicine, and then to Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale for family medicine residency and the University of Arizona for sports medicine fellowship. And then I went to Thomas Jefferson School of Law for my law degree.
Unknown Speaker  1:56
Is that in Philadelphia, is that the same TJ that then became the Jimmy Kimmel or Sidney Kimmel, medical school.
Unknown Speaker  2:03
No, it’s in San Diego.
Unknown Speaker  2:05
San Diego. Okay. Different Oh, which is where you are. Yeah. Now I can see once you get to San Diego not not wanting to leave San Diego?
Unknown Speaker  2:12
No, no, it was the fact that when I moved to San Diego, the condo I moved into happened to be next to a law school they were building I never planned to go to law school. I just looked over and just kept feeling really envious of the people who are going to get to go there. And I decided, well, envy isn’t a fun feeling. Let’s just go there.
Unknown Speaker  2:27
See, I hung out with some law students. And while I was in med school, I was jealous of the of the law students because they seem to be having a lot more fun. But I never thought after I’m done with medical school and residency, wait a second, let’s go back to law school. Let’s be a student again. Well
Unknown Speaker  2:48
Unknown Speaker  2:49
I’m like, didn’t end this is you know, like, foreshadowing for whatever’s gonna come later in our story, but I didn’t love medicine after I spent 10 years doing because, you know, I was a media major. So I had Do pre med completely from scratch, and then med school, and then residency and then fellowship. And I got to fellowship and the entire time I was just like, okay, I don’t like any of this. When you get to sports medicine, it’ll be amazing, which was just a totally flawed train of thought. But, you know, that’s why I’m partially why I’m passionate about teaching people went to look at signs now, because I had sign after sign, but I put my head down, like gonna make it sports medicine, didn’t love it. And so by the time I get to San Diego, I have the job I have now which we’ll talk about that. I don’t work a ton. I have like 10 hours a week, there’s a salary cap, and that’s why I only work that much at government job. And lo and behold, I live next to this law school and I just had this feeling of like, Oh my gosh, because I had studied on how to take the L sat when I was in seventh grade because my dad just had this book laying around. he’d gotten a bunch of book donation books to the house, and we had the seventh grade Pizza Hut book it program. Like if you read a book this summer, you’ll get a personal pan pizza, and that’s the book I chose was how to take the L sat So really, that book was like engaging enough. You’re you should be reading I don’t know. I?
Unknown Speaker  4:07
Yeah, like seven in one day. Oh, yeah, exactly.
Unknown Speaker  4:11
Yeah, I was a nerd. and still am. And yeah, I was like, Oh, the L SAT. And so I learned how to take the L sat in seventh grade. And then I tutored my brother on how to take bail said I’d never taken it. And I tutor my day is also dance partner How to say feels that they both got into law school. And I would like have so much fun tutoring them and like doing the practice problems that I was like, I just want to take the whole set really badly. And I think that’s part of why I thought like, Okay, if the outside is this, that must be what law school is kind of like even though partially, but I just was so envious by this point. And I’m like, Well, I worked two days a week and I live next to this law school. It’s I said, Okay, if I can get in for free because at this point, I’m a quarter million in the hole from med school, I was not going to take out another loan. I thought, if I can do this part time and get in for free, I want to do this. And I made that decision in August. And I was I was Law School by January. So when the universe lines up things, it really does a good job.
Unknown Speaker  5:04
So let’s talk about what you’re doing. So what you’re doing now full time, full time for your for your income will say yes. Is that what you were doing through law school as well? Yes. Okay. So I think this would be a good time to talk about what it is you do.
Unknown Speaker  5:21
Great. I work in the end, if you’re on one of the Facebook groups like you and I are these doctors groups, the fabled VA Compensation and Pension Exam, person contract position. And if you haven’t seen this talked about, it’s where when vets get out of the service, they need to have exams done. And all I do is fill in these forms and like occasionally make a decision. I don’t treat anything, there’s nothing there’s no call I make my own schedule. I don’t have anything that resembles a benefit. And if the patients don’t show up, I don’t get paid. So it’s not like okay, I show up for a day of work. I’m guaranteed this much pay. It depends on who shows up for the day. But I could you know, work two days a week I could work none there’s a salary Kept, like I mentioned, but that’s all there is to it. There’s no pager, there’s no call, and no prescribing medicines of any kind, you were just reporting on what they like what injuries they got. And occasionally you’re making a decision whether or not that injury did start in the service. And that’s what I do two days a week, five hours a day,
Unknown Speaker  6:18
but you’re not working up the injury, you’re just reporting what they’re telling you and what you’re finding on exam. You’re not making decisions about further workups. Like, okay, let’s get a CAT scan or an MRI or, exactly,
Unknown Speaker  6:30
it’s kind of like one of the least medical things you could do. It’s still be quasi clinical. Like, I think I draw the clinical line like do I have to touch a patient or not? And since I’m still touching patients, I believe it’s still clinical ish. Not very,
Unknown Speaker  6:44
and you do well enough to then fund your passion project. Indeed,
Unknown Speaker  6:49
yes. And not to fund it like rolling in a mother it in case anybody’s wondering, just to live in Southern California, and still have a little leftover for the bedroom project.
Unknown Speaker  6:59
Right. And you You live in San Diego, which isn’t some place that has a low, you know, you need to do fairly well in order to live a reasonable life and in San Diego, you know, when, when all of these other physician oriented and financial independence, you know, they’re they’re not exactly they’re not talking about, it’s much harder to do when you live in a place like I do on Long Island, or where you do in San Diego, where the cost of living is so high, so, but you’re able to live in a place with a high cost of living. And still, and I think actually, I apologize, calling it your passion project. I feel like take something away from from what you’re doing and the intensity to which you’re doing it. So so let’s get into that. So you are a quitting expert. You help people to quit and you have a podcast about quitting. You wrote a book about quitting and you coach people through quitting. So how did you decide to become that that was your niche that was your thing.
Unknown Speaker  7:58
I had tried so many Other things at the point where I made the decision I had been right multimedia designer, a sports medicine doc than a regular via doc and then I went to law school. Then after law school, I was in a startup where I was co founder, Chief Medical Officer an in house legal counsel. And then after that didn’t work, I taught law for a few semesters and then I was a delegate for Bernie Sanders, and did politics for a year and after all that, I was like, okay, none of these light me up. Like they’re some of them are fun ish. And some of them are terrible, but like, none of them are reason I would want to wake up and like jump out of bed in the morning, they give me like that. I’m too excited to sleep feeling the night before, like kids going to Disneyland. Like, that’s what I wanted for my life. I had spent so much time in training and schooling and I thought I this point in time, I should figure out what I really want to do. I owe this to myself for all the time I’ve put in. And I was listening to Tim Ferriss podcast, and he had Seth Godin on and they’re talking about finding your calling, and they said maybe you should ask people around you if you don’t know what you’re calling us. Ask you what you’re good at what they think of you as their go to person for. And so I made a Facebook post Hey guys, what do you think I should be doing? And then one of my friends responded, hey, let’s meet up and talk about this. And when I’m waiting for him in the parking lot of Starbucks, I put two sheets of paper out of my little journal. And so I’m just just sitting there and I thought like me for this thing. And on one piece of paper, I wrote things I’m good at. And the other piece of paper I wrote things I like to do. And on the things I like to do side, there is public speaking and there’s giving advice. And on the things I’m good at side, when I put pen to paper, what came out was quitting, like, number one on the list things I’m good at. And I think this is kind of forefront ish in my mind, because when I had done this speech at my law school graduation, I had done it on the power of strategic quitting. And it was really well received and then somebody heard it and wanted me on this this career podcast. And so after I was on that podcast, I realized, oh, like this quitting could be a thing but I never did anything with it after that, but I still had that nugget in my head of like, Whenever somebody wants to come to me for advice, like I, like I said, when it was like law school graduation, speech time, I was like, What am I gonna say to these people that can be useful? What are the graduates like? What What would they benefit from hearing? How did you end up giving a speech at your law school graduation? You just be valedictorian.
Unknown Speaker  10:17
Okay, so I just, you know, we’re trying to establish your street.
Unknown Speaker  10:21
I thought it’d be worth mentioning that working at the VA as a physician and going putting yourself through law school and managed to graduate valedictorian, so I, you know, I think that’s a have some significance, because, you know, there are things that you’re good at and things you like doing, and then there are things you’re qualified to do. Right. So I think I think all three of those things should line up because they’re, they’re Yeah, they’re these things. I like doing their things that I want to do. And I like yesterday.
Unknown Speaker  10:52
One of those lists was not one list is what I like to do in a second. This is what I’m good at. Like, yeah, I had two boys and the girl is very good.
Unknown Speaker  10:58
Okay, I guess you’re good at it. That is qualified to do. But I just, I think it’s bears mentioning that you were valedictorian of your, your, your law school class, which is, you know, hard to say yourself, I can appreciate that it’s easier when someone else pulls it out of you just in establishing, you know, what makes you an authority on something. And so I think, you know, if you’re, if you’ve graduated, valedictorian, it opens a lot of doors. And you chose not to go through some of those doors or you chose to, and, and then and then quit. So you didn’t have options available to you and then and then decided to quit, you’re like, you had a lot available to you and then decided, I’m not doing this stuff. I’m doing this.
Unknown Speaker  11:41
Yeah. Well, basically, law school is unfortunately, they don’t have any built in residency and so you can graduate from law school, like I did, having really no idea what to do outside of the classroom, because I didn’t do any internships or anything. Because I didn’t ever want to practice law. I knew that much going in. I just thought the last three would be fun to have. And since I was already working at the VA, I was like, I’m not going to do an internship on top of this, like I kind of looked into it and applied for like a summer one or something. But I never end up doing anything. So I was not super qualified to do any intricate law practice when I got out. But I figured I was qualified enough to do what I got hired for. Well, hired is a funny word when you’re doing a startup. I didn’t get paid. But like when I was asked to be in house legal counsel for a startup, I was like, Okay, I can review contracts and do kind of basic stuff. But yes, I mean, I did well in law school, but I was not good at med school, which is just another thing that like, when when there’s the What are you good at list medicine was not on it. Like it was. It was a whole different ballgame from medical to law school, which I think part of why I wanted to go to law school because I just suffered through 10 years of fighting against medicine, feeling like this was just never right for me. And law was I knew that, like if I was good at the outset in seventh grade, clearly my brain works in a certain way. That medicine just somehow didn’t jive with But anyway, yes, that’s how you end up doing a speech at your graduation. And then I sat there and I had those two lists, and one said, you know, okay, public speaking, giving advice, the other side quitting, I said, this is I’m going to make this into a thing. I didn’t have have had no idea how or what that was going to look like. But that’s what you know, my friend and I talked about it. And he’s like, well, I’ll put up a website for you. And then we’ll just kind of go from there. Maybe you do a webinar, and then I just end up writing a book. And then once I got a publisher for the book, and I had time, I was like, well, I’ll just do a podcast like, I like nothing was very well planned out. But now it seems like geniusly constructed but it was just a lot of trial and error. all facets of social media covered, right. I have all the channels.
Unknown Speaker  13:35
So you mentioned Seth Godin. And I think that’s a good segue into the first question about quitting because he wrote a book called the dip, right where we it’s basically the struggle through, you know, something like residency, but residency, we know when we’re going to be done. So if you’re really just slugging through residency and going through the motions, you can’t wait for it to be done. You know, when there’s a finite end, but if you’re sitting entrepreneur and things aren’t going well. And you’re, you know, you’re taking on more debt, you’re putting tons of time and you’re, you’re it’s not doesn’t seem to be working. The dip is you keep pushing through, because eventually the dip will be over and your product will be successful. You may need to pivot here or there. But you know, the people that find success are the ones that can work through the dip because there there is almost always going to be a dip. And Angela Duckworth is a psychologist who talks about grit, right? There’s value to resilience and just sucking it up and pushing it through. Because you know, what, if you’re trying to learn guitar at the beginning, it sucks because you can’t play anything and it sounds terrible and your fingers are sore and right all the rest of it. But you need grit in order to push through that in order to become Joe Satriani. So let’s first talk about not quitting. So when would you say someone shouldn’t quit?
Unknown Speaker  15:00
Okay, can I back up to both of those examples real quickly? Yes,
Unknown Speaker  15:03
I can’t. I can’t imagine you saying no. So forgive me for having to phrase it in such a stupid way. But I’m going to back up to those two examples for a second. The first one, okay. You said the entrepreneur you’re supposed to get through the dip and then push through it. Not all the time. Really, like I was in a startup. We were in I was in a dip. I could have kept pushing through that started eventually went under what I’ve been somehow, somehow a success of I just waited longer until it went under. No, I did the whole cul de sac thing that he talks about in the dip is when you see this isn’t going anywhere. You turn around and just sticking through a thing and gritting your teeth. Allah Angela Duckworth, you know, okay, I’m going to get through this thing is not always the way to go. Even if it’s residency, so I had at least one friend, she was in an OB residency, ob residency is really brutal, and she was having massive health problems. And, yeah, there’s an obvious okay. If you make This if you live through the five years or four years of this residency, I think it’s four years, then yeah, you’ll be done with it. There’s a light at the end the tunnel, you know where it comes. That still doesn’t mean you should keep going. she switched to a different residency is so much happier. I think so many people have this erroneous thought of like, okay, Angela Duckworth, yes, if I want to sit down and become Joe Satriani, interesting choice, I’ll go with Tom Morello. But if I want to be that person, and I know it, and I love the guitar, and I still admire this person. Yes, I’m gonna have to sit through how terrible This is. I’m a bass player. I would love to be many other bass players. And I have to fight through it because I’m not great. And I’m getting better. But if I and I did this before, like, I tried to play softball, I am not a ball sports person. The first day of softball, I got whacked in the shoulder, and I got knocked over. And everybody was like cheering me they’re like, Oh my gosh, you stopped the ball. You’re amazing. And I was like, You didn’t ask how I was. I’m clearly super injured over here. This is not My jam, like, I could just tell with every fiber of my being, like, I could have gritted through a year of softball, I wasn’t going to be great at it. And I really didn’t like it. Like you shouldn’t be. What Seth specifically says in that book many times is are you going to be the best in the world? And I mean, that’s a little exaggeration. But are you going to be great at this thing? Great. Stick through it, keep doing it. If not, turn around, refocus your energy. So back to your actual question is when you should not quit. That’s when your head is telling you, you should quit. So there are two signs you should quit. One could be your head telling you things. And one is when your body is telling you things. And in your body. I mean, I’m encompassing your physical and mental health. And I am making a distinction between that and then the voice in your head. That just is annoying. It says like, Oh, I feel like doing this today. Or Oh, man, it’s nice to stay in bed. I don’t want to get up and train for this marathon. That’s just like self talk. Oh, you’re not very good. You shouldn’t do this. Don’t quit when it’s just that little voice in your head. But you really want to do a thing like, oh, you’re really bad at the guitar, you sound terrible, but you really want to do it, like, fight through that guy. But say if you’re training for your residency, and it’s not the voice in your head, it’s the fact that now you can’t sleep because you have insomnia because you’re so stressed out about your cases, or you’re you’re getting adrenal problems or your thyroids all out of whack, because you haven’t slept and you haven’t eaten and you can’t get the right nutrition because your hours are crazy. Or just like maybe you’re doing something that really makes you anxious all the time. And so your nerves are fried. Like, if that’s happening, you should definitely consider quitting because you can’t be a great physician when your own health is terrible. So that’s where I make the distinction is like, if this is something you really should be doing, and you feel very called to do and you’re very passionate about it. But just a little voice in your head is is making you second guessed, then, probably best to keep it to increase your grit. Keep trying. But if you’re going down the wrong path completely, there’s no heroism in staying with the wrong thing. Unless it’s like another person is involved, and you need to work it out for that other person, but most of these decisions generally just affect you. Unless like this, of course, you got a family or somebody you’re supporting. But if the decision only affects you and your health is suffering, please consider quitting. Strategically, we will talk maybe about that reducing quitting and giving up but please strategic thinking about strategically quitting whatever it is.
Unknown Speaker  19:23
I think you bring up an excellent point there. There’s also accountability, right? Like your, for a lot of the things that we do, we’re accountable to other people. And so if your quit is going to affect other people that you’re accountable to it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. But it means you need to take those things into consideration and how it affects those people and maybe what they’ve done or sacrifice to get you in that position. Before you before you quit, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t just mean those are those are things that need to be considered as well.
Unknown Speaker  19:52
Right. I definitely quit the startup in a funding round. And for anybody who’s done a startup that is like the worst time essentially like Hey, guys, These give us money for our startup. Try Pay no attention, the fact that the co founder just up and quit. But this was a strategic quit in the fact that like, I was miserable for a long time, but I thought, Okay, I’m going to stick it out, I’m going to stick it out. And then when I started to be unable to sleep, and I started having anxiety and panic attacks, I was like, nope, my health is paramount here. Yes, I realize is affecting other people. But I cannot sacrifice my health, just so that their their numbers on a on a portfolio look good or whatever, like I have to put myself first, my health cannot go.
Unknown Speaker  20:31
So I think you’re making the distinction between being lazy. And actually, you know, whatever it is that you’re doing is, is taking a toll on you physically and psychologically. So the sacrifices that you’re making in order to to accomplish x, if those sacrifices are now greater than the value of x, then that’s time to quit. That’s time to consider a quick Yes, very left brain. Yeah, I like it. That’s exactly that Sir, it’s that’s how I think about everything my, we were just talking about that my It’s a family trait the blocks are nothing is not methodical. So um okay, so So when is it? So that’s that’s when it’s time to quit so what about the psychology of quitting right that you talked about self talk so sometimes it’s the self talk that’s telling you that you shouldn’t run the marathon that you’re not worth it that you’re you can’t do it you can’t accomplish this thing, which is different than like, this is thing is just making me so miserable that I’m having health issues. But what so what are the other some of the what are the some of the other psychological issues like the cognitive biases that go into quitting? I know you talked about some cost fallacy. So let’s start with that.
Unknown Speaker  21:49
We’ll start with that. And by the way, if you are laying in bed and not wanting to get up to practice for the marathon, and that’s the self talk then guess what you do have to quit the self talk. Like they’re all kinds of quits the be useful. Like in that instance, if you want to run a marathon, you have to make a quit. And it’s not quit training, it’s quit the self talk that’s keeping you in bed. So often free, you know, we don’t think about things in terms of quitting very often. But if you don’t, then it’s kind of just hard to say like, get over it, tell that voice to stop, like, no, acknowledge that it’s there and make a strategic plan to quit that voice so that you can get on to doing what you want to do. But getting back to the sunk cost fallacy, one of my favorite things and so applicable to doctors, because we have often put many thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars into our training and up to or plus a decade of time, right. And you can either view it as I did when I had started. So I thought, okay, I’m a multimedia designer, I want to become a sports medicine doctor. That’s the dream. So I am going to spend a quarter million of somebody else’s money and 10 years getting to that job. And when I got to that job, it was not a dream job, at which point I realized I wasn’t spending that money to get to be a doctor. I was investing that money in a career that I would like. And those are two very different things. Because if you said, Okay, I spent all this time and money to become a sports med doctor, I guess I better stick with it like that, that gives you this one kind of ball and chain feeling like I’ve done this thing. I gotta stick with it. But if you realize that the reason I was going to become a sports medicine doctor is because I thought it would be a career I would love not just to become a sports medicine doctor and sports medicine doctor as my fabled awesome career. And when it wasn’t that since I had already and let’s change the verbiage here. I had already invested a quarter million dollars, somebody else’s money and 10 years of my life into getting a career I liked and when sports medicine wasn’t it, I owed it to myself because of how much I had invested to keep going and trying to find a career that I would love. And and the sunk cost fallacy is essentially like if you Stop and try to left brain like, let’s go with the left brain. If you try to left brain why staying in a thing is logical just because you spent a lot of time and a thing, you’re going to come across a wall really quickly. Let’s just look at relationships. You know, sometimes they like, Oh, I don’t want to break up with the person I spent three years with them to stop and logically think why that would mean you should spend some more with yours with them. Like, you’re just a Apparently, the thought is, but I those years will be a waste. They didn’t get me any closer to being in a marriage that you know, or let’s just say the goal was marriage, just hypothetically, it they won’t have gotten any closer to a marriage. Well, guess what, if this person is wrong for you, after three years and you’re wanting to leave, that’s not going to get you here, not any closer to a marriage, you’re in closer to divorce, if you stay with that person, right? Like that person is not for you. So why don’t you cut your losses those that those years have already been sunk that is a sunk cost. You cannot get it back by staying. You cannot get the time and money you’ve spent back in medicine by staying It’s already gone. Let cut your cut your losses and then go because there’s an opportunity cost that you’re missing out, you can’t generally be with two people at once, you can’t generally be in two full time careers at once. So think of what you’ve spent as an investment. And you haven’t wasted it you have used that time learning what you do and do not like in in work environments, in jobs. And you’ve learned a ton of skills along the way. And if we’re talking relationships, you’ve used that time to know what you do and do what not wanting to partner so that time was not wasted time was an investment, but you owe it to yourself to cut your losses, and then go out and find the next opportunity that was better for you.
Unknown Speaker  25:38
If the market is down, and you invest more, the thought is you while you’re buying it when it’s low in order to sell it when it’s high, but if you’re having the same experience in your career, you’re if you’re at a low it’s not likely to come back up to to a high that you know In the same vein, write it low, you’re likely to it by just going to continue to get worse. That being said, this needs to be done strategically. So we will get to your your very methodical, five steps to quitting. But are there any other psychological barriers that people, specifically doctors, yes, because that’s the audience here. Either the self talk or you know, other things that we tell ourselves that talk us out of making decisions, because, and I think one of them is probably risk or risk aversion because doctors, you know, one of the reasons we come doctors, with a lot of people become doctors because we’re guaranteed a job right there. They’re always there’s always going to be a need. We’re not being replaced by AI, despite what the social media talk is. We’re not being replaced by AI anytime soon. So we’re not big risk takers. So So let’s talk about that. Let’s look at the risk associated with it and how we might be risk averse or any other psychological barriers. That you encounter for doctors who want to who want to quit,
Unknown Speaker  27:03
I would say the two two of the biggest. Because yes, it’s risky to quit. But again, when we get to the steps, I’m going to point out that I’m not saying hang up your white coat all together. I’m saying like you had done. We talked about a little before you start recording, you stop doing certain procedures, that’s a quit. That is a something you stopped doing. And if those are the procedures that were giving you the most friction or the most like, I don’t want to do this today. And then all of a sudden you get to go to work and not have to do them. Hasn’t your work, satisfaction increased? And the friction decrease? And there’s so many I mean, the practice of medicine is so broad, that we’re actually very fortunate. We can make all kinds of changes and still be within medicine. Like I said, my job is so barely clinical, I have cut out I quit all those things I talked about I quit call, I quit writing prescriptions like for a doctor to get to quit. That sounds a little crazy, but these things exist. So I’m not saying all of a sudden become like a carpenter. If medicine isn’t working for you, I’m saying there’s plenty ways to try to still carve out The degree where you can manage that risk, because then it’s not going to seem so risky. But what I think is a bigger psychological hurdle for doctors, especially if they do want to transition, at least from even clinical to non clinical. So you’re still maybe you’re like a medical director. Or maybe you want to transition completely out. So in any scenario where you’re going from patient care to not patient care, I think there’s the societal pressure of, don’t you want to still help people. And it’s a gross misconception, but very widespread that every doctor has gone into medicine because they want to help people. And that’s what people want to think because that’s what you want to think about. Your doctor is a person who’s here because he or she wants to help me, right. But like you just pointed out, man, there are other reasons. We knew this was going to be a pretty secure job, right? There may have been parental pressures on people to come become doctors, like, I’m pretty sure most people didn’t go into medicine because they didn’t want to help people. But helping people may not be the first primary reason and You’ve already done so much damage to yourself that helping people is barely even possible anymore, then that’s no longer your driving force, but society still thinks it should be. Or we think society thinks it should be whether or not we quit medicine and anybody actually ever says anything to our face. I think a lot of doctors fear or they have people say that if they’re like, I really want to quit medicine, will you want to help people? If a banker wants to quit banking, does anybody ever say but don’t you want to move money around anymore? like nobody else has the same pressure like not nobody, but probably very few professions have the same pressure. And so doctors have to be secure in themselves in knowing that what the rest of society thinks about you will not affect you. The only person’s thoughts who could ever possibly probably affect you are either if they’re under your same roof or if maybe like it’s a parent who’s going to write you out of their will if you’ve done something they don’t approve of, but it like 99% of situations. What Joe Blow down the street thinks of you. Putting medicine First off, he’s gonna think about it for like 30 seconds because everybody is living in their own, like distraction Laden, social media crazy world. So they’re thinking about themselves. And they’re spending most their time wondering if other people are thinking about that, like, that’s the kind of comical thing of our world, like, everybody’s worried about what everybody else is thinking. And the funny joke is that nobody’s really thinking about anybody else. So you’re really worried about that. Think about the fact that that guy might think about your decision to leave medicine for three seconds, but you have to stay in medicine for you know, 40 hours a week or all year long or however much.
Unknown Speaker  30:32
You’re just because you’re not treating patients doesn’t mean you’re not helping people, right? Like, absolutely are plenty of other careers where you can help people and maybe use your medical knowledge, maybe not use your medical knowledge, right, you’re you but you don’t you don’t know it. I think something is like I owe it to somebody in order to continue doing that. And really, you I think you want your family you might owe it to some people that helped you to get into the position that you’re in, but mostly you owe it to yourself to Do the thing. That’s, that’s, that’s right for you. But I think, you know, in terms of quitting medicine, that’s like a completely quitting medicine. That’s a pretty dramatic change. So let’s focus it down a little bit on just quitting a responsibility, right? Like, let’s say, you work in a hospital, you’re being asked to do something administrative. And then you’re being asked to like, I don’t know, go to the next ama meeting or beyond this committee, right? Let’s talk about that type of quit the type where, you know what, and, and I really like this saying that every time you say yes to set to something, you’re saying no to something else, right. When you’re maybe an undergrad or in your early 20s you have a lot of free time, so you can take on more responsibility. Maybe, you know, if you’re saying yes to another responsibility, you’re saying no to another show on Netflix, right? But, but you know, when when you’re our age Every time you say yes to something, you’re saying notice something in your life that’s of significance, right? Like every time I get another responsibility, it either means I have less time to take care of myself less time to be with my family, or less time to see patients. So do I have you know, I had to say no to a number of things. So let’s let’s talk about quitting something like that or even just saying no to something like that. What are the psychological barriers? How can you give doctors permission to start saying no, tell them it’s okay. Right? We’re not okay. Right. What are your What are your thoughts on that on the smaller quits
Unknown Speaker  32:35
on the small quit? Generally it requires asking right because somebody is asking you to a thing. And so for you to quit that thing. It requires asking if you can quit it like if somebody is expecting you to go to the AMA meeting. Essentially you have to ask somebody can I not go right? And the biggest thing that would be stopping them would obviously be fear. Oh, this person is going to say no, or this person is going to think I’m not a team player. Anything along Those lines, right? Oh, I might not get a promotion because I said no. And I have been there. And this is the thing that a lot of physician entrepreneurs get to is that we get tired of answering to another person. And if you’re not at the point where you’re willing to totally step out on your own, and you’re still in this situation where you have to answer to other person, then the onus is on you to make the best of it by the following means, which is you have to ask because you’ll never know if you don’t ask like for example, you might think, Oh my gosh, they need me to go to ama I gotta go to ama maybe there’s somebody like a little bit further down the line who really does want to go to ama but they can’t because you’re going because you’re higher up and you say, Okay, I really don’t want to go to me and you tell them why and you generally as much as you can make it about you and not the thing not like oh I am is really boring. It’s a lot of time, etc, etc. Say hey, I’ve got some important things with my family that week. I don’t want to miss this T ball game. It’s my wife’s birthday. Make it about you, or just say like, I have a Any reason that’s logical that you would not want to do it? give them that. And if they still say, No, you have to go, well, then First off, you tried. But secondly, the goal in everybody’s work situation who is working for another person. And by the way, these are all ideals and aspirational things. It’s not like we can go from zero to 60 and have this right now. But keep in mind that, you know, we do have medical degrees, which gives us a ton of flexibility compared to some other people. There are always needs of doctors, maybe not exactly the positions you’d want. But because of that, we should be working for people who have our best interest in mind. And so if you go to your boss with a very logical reason, you don’t want to go to this thing or you don’t want this extra responsibility. Okay, they asked you to do a bunch of extra admin. Well, I’m already having a hard time getting to pick you know, pick my kids up from school as it is or, or my spouse never sees me and that’s really causing some friction relationship. I think one more thing on my plate would really like be the end of us. If They don’t understand that, then you need to start looking for a place that does. Because if you keep being asked to do things, and you keep speaking up with your truth, because if you don’t want to go the AMA, you’re going to go and spend an entire weekend miserable. And that’s not great for your health, doing something that’s totally out of alignment with your values and your desires is going to at some point in time, at the least annoy you and at the worst affect your health. And none of those are good for preventing burnout. And they should not want a burnt out physician in their practice or in their hospital. They should want to promote physician well being and physician standing up and saying what, what they want to do and what they would rather not, if at all possible. Like if there’s a really great reason that you have to go to a thing, Fine, whatever. But if it’s something that’s not absolutely necessary, and they don’t understand, and that’s what I’d suggest starting to look around because you have to be able to speak up your mind to speak your mind. For those notes.
Unknown Speaker  35:52
humanize you’re saying to humanize the situation like you You need to rather than just saying no, no. Brad, would you mind Going to this meeting, know, and walk away. So that’s not the approach to take. No, of course that would be would be, you know, give them a specific reason that really humanizes it rather than Listen, I’m really so busy already or I’ve got a lot on my plate. You know, that’s just too vague. It should be something very specific,
Unknown Speaker  36:20
very specific because this is I
Unknown Speaker  36:23
will be responsible for my impending divorce. Bingo.
Unknown Speaker  36:30
But yeah, like, essentially, we’ve gone from this model where the boss is somebody up at the top, and everybody else is like a little minion and nobody ever shares their struggles. That’s the old paradigm in this new paradigm. Like what we’re talking about burnout and those kinds of things. We have to express our feelings and we have to do granted there’s always going to be that fear. When you’re going to your boss and you’re showing them you’re human. But at the point if they can’t accept your humaneness and they judge you for it or you get a demotion or whatever for it. Then find a boss who is okay with your humaneness because Guess what, that boss is also human. And at some point in time, that person might need some help. And you shouldn’t be in a situation where like one side gets to be human and the other has to pretend to be this perfect little carbon copy, you know, find people to work with who are supportive of you. It’s super important.
Unknown Speaker  37:16
And I think this dovetails really well with the an episode that I just recorded with Allison Escalante who talks about the shitstorm where, you know, we we go through high school, you know, being in all the clubs and all the honors classes and all the sports so in order to get the best college and then try to get the best grades and beyond all the clubs, we can get into med school and then we have to be active in med school, to get into the best residency and residency have to do all the research in order to get into the fellowship and then get the best job and then, you know, you gotta gunning for chairmanship and doing more research and getting grants. And, you know, it seems like we’re always saying yes to everything in order because that’s just the culture that That we have grown up in right in order to get into medical school and get into residency. This is what we’re being bred to think. And so it’s going to take a change in mindset to start saying, not only, no, I’m not going to do this thing, but even take a step further and say, you know, this thing that I’m already doing, this is detracting from my quality of life. And it’s not, you know, it’s not where I want to be at this time. So I think I’m going to quit this responsibility. I think that that takes a shift in mindset because we’ve been groomed to and, you know, and selected for, right because the people that weren’t saying yes to everything didn’t necessarily get into medical school, they didn’t necessarily get into residency so that the our peers or were ourselves in our peers are always people that have said yes to everything. And it’s going to take a mindset shift to not only say no, but quit some of those responsibilities.
Unknown Speaker  38:56
Yeah, it’s gonna take a mindset quit my friend.
Unknown Speaker  39:00
Yes to the mindset of we have to say, No, we have to do all the things. Everybody’s expecting us to do all the things and we are less than if we don’t do all the things. No, no, you are more than already, just by virtue of where you’ve gotten, you’re already good enough. You don’t have to prove anything to anybody else anymore. Take that mindset out, quit that entire mindset, you will feel so much freer. Like whenever I start to feel a should coming on, that’s when I know I and it’s outside of the job that I have to be up because something has to pay the bills, but like if it’s in a hobby or in a relationship or anything else that I feel like I’m doing something only because somebody else expects me to or that I those this should there that isn’t from the from a good place of like, actually came to think of a good place to show to come from Otherwise, I would just be enjoying to do it. Like, I mean, maybe I should practice the base a little more. But that’s just because I really want to be good at the base. If the show is coming from anywhere else. That’s what I’m like, oh, visit incoherency we’ve got to look at quitting whatever this is. But yes, quit that mindset that there’s anything that you need to be doing anymore. You’re enough. You’re good
Unknown Speaker  40:00
So what are the what are your five steps of quitting?
Unknown Speaker  40:03
Step one, decide whether or not there’s something that needs to go. And this is strategic quitting is a framework. So you just need to develop it, learn it and have it in place. Because you might be thinking right now, No, there’s nothing I need to quit. But then some new opportunity may present itself or some thing in your life may change to where you need to quit. And it’s good to have this in place so that you don’t start struggling and struggling and why do I have anxiety and reflux, and now I’ve got irritable bowel and all these things. Well, because you didn’t listen to your intuition telling you you needed to quit a thing. And then you got into a situation now you feel stuck in your settling. So step one to developing this framework is being able to tune into your intuition, which mostly manifest and we were all doctors here as health symptoms. So again, it’s the difference between that voice talking to you or the fact that every time for me in the startup, for example, every time I email will go off, that had a little little noise that I knew it from the startup, my stomach would sink. Every time I would see patients in a clinic and my sports medicine fellowship, my heart rate would start going through the roof. Little things like that your is your body kind of whispering like, Hey, this is not our jam. We do not like doing this, this is not for you, then it becomes insomnia. It could become panic attacks become chronic pain headaches, we’re doctors, we have the means to just go start treating them, which is where we need to stop. That’s what I did. I’m like, I’ll take propranolol, my heart is racing panel. Know, your heart is racing because you have an anxiety problem because you don’t like to be in clinic, not because you have a heart problem. And so we have to as doctors stop and realize where’s this coming from? And by the way, apply to see your patients do because most of your patients who are coming in with stress based symptoms need to quit somewhere. There’s something that’s causing those symptoms besides just the bad food or whatever. Like there’s probably an underlying stress causing a ton of things they may need to quit to. Anyway, that’s step one.
Unknown Speaker  41:45
That’s actually that that is interesting for what I see because I see a lot of people with your pain. Why? TMJ they grind their teeth, why they grind into something stressing them out. So that’s, that’s something Explore with them also very commonly causes grinding your teeth, temporal pain, and maxillary pain. So people come in thinking that they have sinus infections. But really, they’ve just got a lot of facial pain because they’re pushing their mandible up into the maxilla. And in creating that pressure, so those are those are people that might need to quit something,
Unknown Speaker  42:19
right? I mean, it’s very hard to think back in any situation where somebody’s got some stress based, you know, and of course, it’s a cascade of things like maybe they have this because they got this person that leads to that, but there’s probably somewhere in one of those conditions. That’s something I mean, even if it’s like, okay, they’re obese. Well, generally overeating is is self treatment of a stressful problem. Very, I mean, granted, there’s many other things, but there’s just so many times when quitting is the answer to many, many things. So that’s step one. Step two is like I was talking about earlier, drill down on exactly what it is that isn’t working for you and quit only that. Like if you’re unhappy in your medical practice, but it’s only because you don’t like the EMR. And you You see if you can get a different EMR like, instead of, I’m going to quit medicine altogether. Like that’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater, figure out exactly what it is. If you just don’t like the commute, switch to telemedicine, there are all kinds of options, little things you can quit just do one type of surgery or maybe you don’t like procedures will then quit doing procedures instead of having to quit all of medicine. Same thing goes with relationships or cities you live in, like, I didn’t love where I live in San Diego, do I up and move to New York? No, I’m probably gonna try another neighborhood in San Diego First, it might just be like the immediate vicinity. Like don’t make quitting harder than you need to. Don’t cut out more than you need to. And then step three is overcoming the more esoteric fears, which are the sunk cost, fallacy fears, fears of what people would think sometimes the pressure of like, Oh, you have a dream job. Should you just stay in the dream job, those kinds of esoteric fears. Step four is addressing the logistics. And this is a big one for doctors like I’ve got these quarter million alone. That’s not going anywhere. Ever. Now even after I die, I mean, I don’t know what happens then I have nobody to pass it on to but we have to prepare our finances, we have to prepare our own health, especially if we’re doing a lot of Doc’s are doing the whole got a day job and I’ve got a side hustle. Well, that takes a lot of energy, you better have your sleep in order, you better have your diet tuned in. And if you did, like what I did was I went from where I had actual health insurance to now I’m a contractor, we don’t have health insurance. So I had to buy my own and everything costs an arm and a leg, you better get every last exam you can while you have your health insurance before you make that transition. And the third thing to prepare in the logistics department is your relationships because if you’re in a marriage or some other close relationship or you live with your parents or whatever is going on, that will affect other people and they can either be your biggest supporters or your biggest detriment. So best to get them on their side get their buy into the quit before you dive in. And Step five is making the quit in the way that burns of you is bridges and preserves relationship as best as possible, which is essentially just doing what we talked about with the telling the know thing If you’re going to go and quit your job, or some part of the job, same thing, make it about you do the whole it’s not you it’s me thing and just be human about it. Like, don’t say, I don’t want to work at this hospital anymore hate everything about this hospital say, I’m feeling really called to try a different type of practice right now something that they can’t argue with. And they can’t feel heard about, like, Oh, it’s not us. It’s just that really he’s being called to go to like a rural practice. Well, good for him. Now, go try that. That way. If your rural practice doesn’t work, you can probably come back. Don’t leave in like office space, burn the place down. Tell them everything that’s wrong with it. That’s why you’re leaving. Leave in the way that keeps the relationships in case you need to go back. Same thing with religion. Did you take my stapler? I did get red stapler.
Unknown Speaker  45:46
Exactly. So when you left the startup, how did you if they were in the middle of what would you call they were looking for funding?
Unknown Speaker  45:54
Yeah. funding round
Unknown Speaker  45:56
funding round. If you left that, how did you manage do that? But in the nicest way possible.
Unknown Speaker  46:02
I mean, I did exactly what I said is I said, Look, I told him, I said, I have been trying to hang on for a very long time. I’m not sleeping. I am now having to see a therapist. I don’t eat. I’m super anxious. I cannot function and be the. And by the way, if you’re at that point, how great of an employee Are you like, I was a terrible co founder. At that point. I didn’t want to work. I was like not wanting to ever drive up to LA where the startup was, I moved back to San Diego I had lived in LA initially, and I was like, not there for it because it was making me miserable. Like, you deserve a good co founder. You deserve a good chief medical officer. it every time that it seems like what you’re doing is selfish. There’s the flip side where it would also be selfish for you to stay and be really subpar at that job. Specially in medicine, because patients can suffer. And so I that’s exactly what I did. I said Look, I tried to hang on. But you know, the co founder who I’m quitting on, or the founder had plenty of role to play and me being super stressed. And so it was, you know, and I didn’t say like, hey, you’re making me super stressed. But there was also like, yeah, I’m gonna be as nice as I can. But if this bridge has to be burnt, he’s clearly not somebody I’m ever going to work with probably again, because of the way he was treating me then. So I but I still went out at about like, I don’t need an enemy. And we’ll cross paths plenty of times, we both practice the same martial art. And so that’s what I said. I
Unknown Speaker  47:25
said, like, getting kicked in the face. And so, you know,
Unknown Speaker  47:29
small price to pay. But yeah, I just had to say like, I mean, because the stress was just 24 seven, like, I could not get this weight off of me. I was just eating like being eaten alive from the inside. And I said, I’m sorry. I tried to wait till the funding round was over, but it kept getting pushed back and I can’t wait anymore. My health is suffering. That’s what I you know, and if at that point at me, yeah, he’s mad. But like, if he cares about me as a person, then he’s going to know she has to do which is best for you. And if he does not care about me for a person, I do not care that he’s mad. He doesn’t get to be in My circle of five people
Unknown Speaker  48:01
very well put very well put So
Unknown Speaker  48:05
Dr. Lynn Marie You are the master of social media people can find you in all sorts of places to learn more about your five steps of quitting the psychological barriers when to quit when not to quit. So tell us where can people find you?
Unknown Speaker  48:18
You can find my podcast quit happens on all the places they have podcasts and my book quitting by design is on Amazon but you can go to quitting by design calm and find all the above there you can also find my coaching packages I have either an online coaching program or I have one on one so go to quitting by design calm for either of those. And on Facebook and Instagram I’m quitting by design. On Twitter, I’m quit happens because they have a character limit. And if you want to be all jazzed about quitting all the time, you can come to quit topia, which is the Facebook group I have for strategic quitters to hang out and support each other through our quits.
Unknown Speaker  48:56
Do you have a problem with people then quitting the group because they get so excited about quitting the join the group now I’m quitting this group
Unknown Speaker  49:02
hasn’t happened yet. Because this is the thing like, yeah, the second that they, you know, I would tell them and I’ve told people like, Hey, you can quit reading the book midway, but only strategically like, don’t give
Unknown Speaker  49:13
up on the book. But yeah, I mean, there’s always this is the thing is there’s always I mean, still even my day to day life, I’ll probably make a quit every one to two months, it may be a small quit maybe a big quit, but there’s always those to have that reminder, you know, to be always reminded about like, Hey, you can always quit, hey, these are the symptoms of maybe you need to quit some people who are not they don’t spend their entire day and night talking about quitting like I do. It’s good to have that continual reminder so that when friction comes up, you’re like, Oh, that’s right. I don’t have to have friction in my life. Is there a way I can quit something about this, that’ll make it smoother?
Unknown Speaker  49:43
It also sounds like it’d be a good idea to just maybe quarterly or annually to just take stock of your responsibilities and see what you can quit, see if there’s anything in there that you can shed so you can have more free time to do the things that you want to do and spend time with the people you want to spend time with.
Unknown Speaker  50:02
Yeah, just for everybody listening let me give you just to get your your juices quit juices flowing. These are some of the quotes that have made biggest differences in my life. I quit cooking. I have quit yoga memberships and moved to like a class card because I’m stressing out about getting to yoga enough times to make the membership worth it. stressing about going to yoga is counterproductive. So quit that gonna class card. My mom read the book her quit. She came out she’s like, I think I want to quit cleaning your dad’s bathroom. Amazing. Great like he can clean his own bathroom. Like just little things that were not
Unknown Speaker  50:37
or not
Unknown Speaker  50:39
live his own filth doesn’t matter. It is not her job to clean the bathroom that she never uses. And it’s just little quits like that. You might want to quit doing fitness competitions, quit the ketogenic diet. You may want to quit some type of workout hobby that you’re in because it’s taking up way too much time and energy and you’re not getting that much out of it anymore. They’re all of your wits are so San Diego
Unknown Speaker  51:01
Okay, what is the Long Island?
Unknown Speaker  51:07
I’m quitting going to the beach. I’m gonna quit surfing yoga class and cooking and Yeah.
Unknown Speaker  51:14
Like, I quit cooking for, like, doesn’t everybody have to put food in their mouth, right? So like, most people, the food gets there because they cooked it. I’m pretty sure no matter if you’re in San Diego or the rest of the world, people cook to put
Unknown Speaker  51:27
food in their mouth. Interestingly, in a couple of episodes, we’re going to have chef Collins zoo, a family medicine physician and Chef on the show and we’re going to be talking about cooking. Amazing. I know. He’s Oh, yeah.
Unknown Speaker  51:46
But that’s the thing like I quit it all together. Like that may sound crazy, but I have food delivery. I do not cook like somebody’s like, are you gonna bring anything to the potluck? Yeah, ice like I’m not going to cook I do not turn on the oven. And I am so much happier for it. And you can make these ridiculous Somebody quits in your life. Be creative. There are ways to get through it. Cookie was giving me anxiety and strife to cut it out much happier. Take that inventory, figure out what annoys you, what’s the like, low point in your day and see if you can bring that up a little bit by quitting. I’m going to take stock
Unknown Speaker  52:15
of all my responsibilities, and see if there’s anything out there that I want to quit right now. And I think all of our listeners should. And please, please check out Dr. Lynn Marie more skis book and her podcast and her website and her coaching. She has a lot to discuss beyond what we just we’re just scratching the surface with the podcast. So Dr. morskie, thank you very much for your time. It has been
Unknown Speaker  52:38
a pleasure. Thank you very much for having me.
Unknown Speaker  52:43
That was Dr. Bradley Block at the physicians guide to doctoring. And speaking of quitting, don’t quit the podcast, subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. We can also be found at physicians guide to doctoring calm. If you have a question for a previous guest or have an idea for a future episode. Send a comment on the web page. Also, please be sure to leave a five star review on your preferred podcast platform. Our show is produced by guilt free studios in NYC, you can find them at guilt free studios calm. Our theme music was written by our show’s producer voice actor Karen Gallifrey.
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