Unscripted | Episode 4

From Clinic to Coaching: Dr. Millermaier’s Tale of Leadership

Join us on Unscripted as host Addisyn Uehling sits down with the retired physician and coach Dr. Ed Millermaier. Delve into a discussion that traverses the realms of healthcare, leadership, and the art of coaching. Learn how a passion for science and a drive towards social justice led to a fulfilling career in primary care and beyond. Discover the subtle art of leading without directing and how coaching can revolutionize the healthcare experience for professionals and patients alike.

Published on
May 16, 2024

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Unscripted interviews physicians about common struggles in today’s world

Addisyn Uehling: Welcome to Unscripted. I’m your host, Addisyn Uehling. In this series, we have candid one on one conversations with physicians about common struggles that they face in today’s world. On today’s episode, we will be sitting down with Doctor Ed Millermaier to talk about leadership, coaching and much more on this episode of Unscripted. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Ed Millermaier has spent 33 years in healthcare, half in leadership

Can you serve by introducing yourself and kind of telling us a little bit about your career? Yes.

Dr. Ed Millermaier: thanks, Addie. My name is Ed Millermaier. I am a retired, general internal medicine doc, very much rooted in primary care post, residency. Let’s see, 33 years, about half of that in leadership and the other half in clinical, but always is maintaining a clinical presence. I’ve led, primary care teams. I’ve been a chief medical officer for a short time period. I worked in an emergency department. spent a lot of my career in federally qualified health centers. So I’ve taken care of a pretty stressed population clinically. And, in the retirement phase, I started to train myself as a coach for, and a mentor for mainly for those in healthcare. But I’ve done coaching and outside of healthcare and very much enjoy it. It’s kind of a fun thing to do in retirement, so that’s where I am.

Addisyn Uehling: Nice.

Why did you want to go into the medical field

What kind of drew you to the medical field? Why did you want to go into the medical field?

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Oh, man, it’s a great question. You know, during, high school, I had no thoughts of being a doc at all. And I late in my high school education, early college, I really found I enjoyed science training, a lot. Was trying to think, well, what am I going to do career wise? I thought about being a psychologist, maybe, and, just the two interests, I think, coalesced, and, there we have it. So, yeah, for sure ended up doing it.

Addisyn Uehling: That’s super cool. So why’d you choose your specialty?

Dr. Ed Millermaier: I was very much rooted in primary care. I, have sort of a. A. How do I want to say this? Maybe a tendency towards wanting to take care of populations, if you will. maybe a bit of a social justice perspective. And, just really enjoyed people, actually. I liked the procedures. I thought I might be an anesthesiologist for a while, or maybe even a surgeon. But at the end of the day, it’s the people in the office and helping them, be more successful, meaning a healthy, more vital life, really, was what called me.

Addisyn Uehling: Yeah, for sure. That’s super cool.

Ed Schultz says every clinician is a leader at any level

So you kind of mentioned leadership in the medical field. what does that mean?

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Good question. you know, I actually think every, ah, clinician is a leader at any level. So you can be a leader with a partner, with one partner, your medical assistant. you can be a leader of a clinic, you can be a leader of a team of clinics, you can be a department chief, you can be a chief medical officer, you can be president of a company. I mean, there’s. Leadership comes at all levels. there’s a dynamic that really is about leading and not necessarily directing. So, I actually think we’re all leaders in one respect or another. It’s just at what level and with what accountabilities and responsibilities do you have?

Addisyn Uehling: Yeah, for sure. So what kind of grew your passion for leadership and how, how does that play a role in your current career now?

Dr. Ed Millermaier: good question. You know, it’s funny, I always tell, this story that, I had no intentions of being a leader whatsoever. In the, late nineties, a person who was in charge of the medical group that I was part of asked me if I’d like to attend a management, meeting. And I thought, well, that’d be interesting. So I went to this organization and saw myself described, and it wasn’t very pleasant, I have to say. Oh, man, there’s a gap here between how we see ourselves and how many others do. so that was an interesting cultural aspect. But the thing that really intrigued, me more was, ooh, there’s a whole, if you will, a science, a technology, a technique, a pattern, a way of doing things in leadership that is, very important, actually. So I gravitated as much to the, interest in how do you make an organization of people even more successful than they currently are? sort of that old adage of the whole is much greater than the sum of the individuals, individual parts kind of thinking. And that light bulb went on. This is really interesting. My humor is that I think I had a high tolerance for meetings and a curiosity, and, neither of which was real strong. And a lot of my colleagues, I said, oh, good, Ed will do it. So, that’s a little bit of tongue in cheek humor, but there’s probably some truth to that. and one thing just led to another. I was grateful for the opportunity, learned a lot about myself, learned a lot about the other person who took me there and what it meant for them to be, in a leadership role, and, took on, at request, sort of some small tasks that then got bigger and then more complex and eventually became a chief medical officer for an ambulatory system, and then a chief medical officer for a small health system, and then a department chief for primary care for a very large system. And, there we have it. So these things just kind of evolved.

Addisyn Uehling: Yeah, that’s super cool.

You can maintain strong relationships with your residents and fellows, um, and peers

Dr. Ed Millermaier: So.

Addisyn Uehling: So I feel like our audience is mainly made up of residents and fellows and those newly attending and surrounding leadership. Sometimes there is, some bad thoughts that come with being a leader. How would you say? you can maintain strong relationships with your residents and fellows, and peers while also being a good leader, but not being, like, the boss of it all.

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Yeah, I already started. The theme of leadership is not about directing, and it’s unfortunate. A lot of the titles we get are medical director, and because I think we’re so trained to be the person in charge, clinically, that direction succumbs very easy, and that doesn’t sit very well with very autonomous, self directed individuals. So when you lead, you really have to, put on a lens of curiosity, understand what’s going on in their world, and align behaviors with the overarching goals of an organization. Of course, there’s some people that just don’t want that, and they don’t want to be led, and so you learn those things. But for the most part, I think a good leader is a good listener, and, someone who’s very attentive to the needs of the team, while still recognizing their accountability, is to guide an organization or move an organization in a particular direction. It’s not easy sometimes.

Addisyn Uehling: Yeah, for sure. I love that a good leader is a good listener. That’s such a good. It’s applicable in anyone’s job and any. Even if you’re not in a job. Right. Just in your role in life.

Addisyn Uehling: you.

Dr. Ed Millermaier: That is true. Yeah.

Addisyn Uehling: I need to remember that. You know, we all do. Yeah.

You mentioned coaching when you introduced yourself

You kind of mentioned coaching when you introduced yourself. What does that look like in your life?

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Yeah. it’s funny, during the a. My. The last transition I had, I was kind of questioning, well, what am I going to do next? And that happened when I was 65. I turned 70 this past, February. And I thought, what am I going to do? you know, I really need to think about a pathway to retirement, in the leadership role. We had invited a coach into our leadership team, and while the team was sort of lukewarm about it, I was blown away. I thought, wow, why didn’t I do this 25 years ago? might have been helpful career wise, but more importantly, I think it’s very helpful for all professionals in a high stress, very trauma, focused, or trauma exposed, work to have a partner or even people that you surround yourself with that can be helpful to your career. So I entered into a relationship with this particular coach and her encouragement was, you know, you feel like you’re not done, you’re not quite sure what you’re going to do next. and I didn’t have the energy at age 65 to say, I want to continue to do 60 to 80 hours weeks and kind of figure out what do I want to do. her encouragement was once you become a coach and I thought, well, that’s interesting. So, took a fairly rapid course over six months that at least allows you to get, to sit for the credentialing. And the wise advice I got for some seasoned coaches, ah, is ed, you’re not done. Keep, training. So I did. I’ve spent the last almost three years in various forms of training for advanced, coaching or team based coaching. And now I’ve had, I don’t know, three or 400 hours of coaching in and, several clients, seven teams now. So it’s been really interesting and fun journey. a lot of it is just the listening skills, being present, putting the lens of curiosity, intensely. And if I do one thing that’s more active, it probably is flipping the agenda from negative, to affirming and trying to, create an environment where affirmation can be part of the process, even in the setting of some difficult challenges. so, you know, it’s, I, you know, it just kind of grew organically in some respects and very much enjoying it.

Addisyn Uehling: Awesome. Awesome.

How could people apply coaching? Is it like a physical coaching

so how would you, for our audience, like, how could they apply coaching? Is it like a physical, in person coaching? Is there online coaching? Are there some like unpaid coaching? Like, what do you, what do you suggest?

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Well, you know, there’s really two ways to answer that question. What comes to mind for me is the concept of the coaching mindset that’s free. I mean, if you find out that really coaching really implies that humans are whole and complete, we’re not broken. now, some people need to be, they need stuff fixed, they’ve got, you know, mental health disorders or other things, but there’s less of that than we might think. And so much we, I think, call that is just, there’s emotion, there’s incomplete, alignment of values. There’s a bunch of stuff that goes on. So as much as we can in the setting of what we know apply that, that thoughtful curiosity and affirming perspective, and partner, with people. That’s really the coaching mindset. And of course, coaching can be very helpful for those who are trying to adjust to all the rigors of a career. So it really can be helpful for people to develop skills on how to, if you will, navigate the complexities of their new careers deal, with a lot of the things that happen. certainly the pandemic point, brought out a lot of anxiety and fear in people, which then got expressed, in a lot of very I want to say this positively. A lot of very creative ways, in the healthcare environment, some of it really, really challenging. so helping folks perhaps get through that, to get back to why did I do this? My personal why, the values of the work, the values of the profession, much of that I think got put on hold, as people were just surviving literally during the pandemic. And it really exposed I think a gap in that need. I think that for those early in career, being in a coach relationship can be quite helpful.

Addisyn Uehling: Yeah. And sometimes it doesn’t even have to look like a specific time, not like counseling, but it’s more like almost like a mentorship. You kind of learn from people who’ve had that past experience and who can help you through the situation that you’re in now.

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Yeah. The, the coach community will say coaching is not mentoring. And yet I have found, and I will tell people this is not a coach question, this is a mentor question. And I’ll be honest about it because, you know, I’ve been doing this for a while and I’ve been in a lot of different roles. So there are many that gravitate just to. Well, I also do want to hear what your experience was, but I almost never bring that first. It’s always anecdotal storytelling to perhaps embellish a point or to bring out something that I’m observing in someone, or to maybe help reinforce ah, an uncertainty that a client might have. so there is, I would call it mentoring light, Ah, or mentoring with a very much a coaching mindset, which is that lens of curiosity. The client is the driver of the bus in this. And it’s their world, their values, their lives that they are really leading. And to optimize that, it has to come from within. I can tell somebody something that gets back to that direction. Directing versus leading. health professionals, as is true for engineers or attorneys or accountants or anybody, in a sort of thinking profession. they’re smart people, they’re very capable of having insights and self awareness. It’s just a matter of tapping those things and asking sometimes the difficult questions about, you know, values and how they see themselves and such, for sure.

Authenticity and vulnerability come to play as a physician, a coach

Addisyn Uehling: So where do you feel like authenticity and vulnerability come to play as a physician, a coach, and even the leadership aspect?

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Yeah, that’s a really tough one. you know, I think when one is sort of being authentic, you can’t help but expose vulnerabilities. And it doesn’t mean that these are encounter sessions where is in a highly emotive state. It can be as simple as I’m uncertain, or tell me, or help me understand. those can sometimes be perceived as weaknesses or you don’t have all the answers. And while we’re human, first of all, and no, we don’t have all the answers, we have the relationship and we have that ability to ask questions, to be curious. when something is in our agenda and it’s different from the agenda of the other person, either force your agenda on them. Well, how’s that going to work? it, has its challenges. Or you declare the difference and then ask and negotiate whatever needs to happen. or you just say, hey, my agenda is my agenda. Let’s find out what’s going on in this person and bring, yours in when it seems appropriate. I saw a lecture once, years ago, by a primary care provider, who was struggling with understanding why it was that the 90th percentile in an outcome meant that you got something done 65% of the time. You can name it, it would be a clinical measure or a vaccination rate or whatever. And it dawned on this person, well, maybe it’s because we keep telling them, meaning the patients, what’s important to us and we don’t bother to find out what matters to them. And so he decided to flip his time, intentionally flip his time in the office visits from 90, ah, percent me thinking about my agenda, agenda to, can I force myself to think about this, the minority of the time and be focused on the patient? When he actually intentionally did this, it was very hard. the outcomes went through the roof, the engagement went up, the patient experience went up, the joint practice went up, and the measurable outcomes improved. So he claimed he did a 90 ten, flip. Good for him, that was great. I don’t know if that’s possible, but, was very eye opening. To me, and I fast forward maybe 1015 years later, getting the coaching education was like, oh, that’s what that guy was talking about. so for me it was, it was linking those, kinds of things. Yeah, I have to say I did start to apply the coaching conversations with patients once I started to get the training. And, while it’s very motivational, interviewing is a component of it. It’s not the whole experience. you use that as a technique to create a coached experience for a patient. And interestingly, there’s plenty of time for our medical agenda. There really is. but what happens when you do that is patient walks out with thinking it’s their idea. It’s great because then they do it.

Addisyn Uehling: Yeah, definitely.

How would you say you can stay engaged and enthusiastic about your job

So you kind of talk about joy in the practice. we all have set backs. We all experience that. how would you say you can stay engaged and kind of enthusiastic about your job, especially resident fellow attending in the whole medical field?

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Been a long time since I was a resident. And I do remember coming home and falling asleep in my soup and literally, that did happen. My daughter was.

Addisyn Uehling: What kind of soup was it?

Dr. Ed Millermaier: split pea soup. It was February and my wife, and daughter were watching me kind of do this and do this and do this. Stop it. They thought it was the most hilarious thing until my. Well, yeah, okay, I know what generation you grew up in that didn’t exist at that time. They’d have had to go get a camera. Yeah, this was the eighties, so.

Addisyn Uehling: Oh, okay. Okay.

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Imagine life with no smartphones. It’s amazing, isn’t it?

Addisyn Uehling: It’s crazy. I couldn’t imagine it.

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Yeah. A simpler life.

Addisyn Uehling: Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Ed Millermaier: And more difficult than others, so.

Addisyn Uehling: Oh, yeah, for sure. So how would you stay engaged and enthusiastic even now, as. Or a couple years ago when you were attending?

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Yeah, I told a funny story. you know, I think for me, the way to sort of navigate all this stuff is to, is to step out of it, come up, come up for fresh air, be self reflective. you know, we all have these, inner critics. and it’s good to get to know your inner critic. And sometimes you have to, you need to pay attention to it because it’s, it’s helping you learn. But it’s also something that could be very harmful if you let it, completely, take over. And that’s partly part of the coaching conversation. Can be, you know, I swung mine. My inner critic is because I stew all the time. So I named him Stewart. I call him Stewie. Oh, man. Stewie. And I are having a conversation. I better think about that one. because you do, you can make yourself, you can spin with these things, so.

Addisyn Uehling: Sure.

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Let go. Of course, little breathing exercises, some calming and centering activities can be really helpful in that regard.

How do you merge technical aspects of medicine with human connection when practicing

Addisyn Uehling: Yeah, you, kind of talked about that 90 ten going back to that, how would you say, like, the technical aspects of being a doctor and then the human connection when you’re actually practicing, how do you merge those two? Because I know.

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Yeah, that’s a great question. You know, I. This all came to me somewhat serendipitously. I, like to tell stories because I guess I’m in that phase in life. I can do that. I had a patient who was, lamenting the fact that he loved rowing machines but couldn’t afford them. I just could have casually suggested, oh, we’ve got a couple of fitness centers here in town. Why don’t you call them up and get on a waiting list to sell them? Because they often sell their equipment and it’s usually pretty high quality stuff, and they often sell it for, you know, a fraction of the cost. And I get this, this message in the patient portal, probably, I don’t know, two months later, said, hey, doc, that was great advice. I went over to, he named the fitness center, and they were selling rowing machines. I bought one for less than $200. he said it was like a $4,000 machine or something. He said, I’m in heaven. And then there was a dot, dot, dot. By the way, I’ve lost eight pounds. And I thought, well, kind of cool, he’s got the rowing machine, but even cooler is he’s lost some weight. This is great, you know? So the light bulb went on at me. I thought, oh, my gosh. when you’re coaching someone, you get a chance for a feedback loop, and it’s fairly periodic, and it’s much more frequent than we do when we encounter patients. I mean, even, even in the specialty world, unless you’re really, really ill, you don’t see people every week or two weeks. and in chronic disease management, you might have a formal visit every three months. And or wellness, it’s once a year. So how do you create a coach like environment for folks? If you’re going to say, well, let’s flip the agenda and have you determine what it is you’re willing to do to optimize your health or reduce the burden of a chronic disease or take care of something, where’s the, how do you build accountability? Where’s the feedback loop. Well, that patient, they’re like, well, there’s the feedback loop right there. I can see every clinician saying, oh, I don’t want more inbox messages. Heck no. So I would negotiate. I would ask people, what are you willing to do? So usually the patient will come in and say, I know I need to do this, this, this. And they see their labs or they see their blood pressure or look at their weight or something that was not optimized. And they’d say, oh, I know, I need to do. And they’d rattle off ten things. For some, they’d rattle off none. And then, of course, you have to then ask the question, what do you think? And kind of push a bit. And usually somebody comes up with something. I say, okay, well, what do you, you know, what do you think you can do? Oh, I’m going to walk 2 miles a day, five days a week, and they’ve barely gone around the block. And I think, m, okay. In my mind, I’m thinking, how likely is this? So I’ll ask them that. okay, scale of one to 1010 being, you’re absolutely going to do this, one is not likely. how likely are you going to do this? And what’s interesting about that question is so many people are so honest about it. Well, it’s about a six. Okay. So you’ve given yourself a 40% chance of this not happening. And they do exactly what you’re doing. They start to giggle a little bit or laugh and go, m, yeah. I said, I’m not passing judgment. I really am not. I just want to know, because you’re going to walk out of here and only do what you’re willing to do. So let’s have that conversation. What are you willing to do? well, I guess I could walk, you know, maybe that we’ll skinny it down to something. When we get to an eight or a nine or a ten, I’ll say, okay, I’m going to put in your record that we talked about this, and this is what you’re going to do. And I’m going to ask you to do something. No more than three sentences. If it’s three paragraphs, I’m going to ask you to come in, because I get a lot, I’m honest with all the time. I got too many inbox. Inbox messages. So three sentences on your progress. If you need a nudge, I’ll give you a nudge. So I had about a dozen people doing this, before I retired. and I will say, certainly the patient experience was so much more engaging. it didn’t take any longer than the usual conversations about me rattling off a litany of things they ought to do. I give them a piece of paper that tells them all those preventive things. it’s probably as effective as my voice is when it’s not their agenda, but when it’s their agenda and they walk out, it’s negotiated and it’s on their terms. That’s a different kettle of fish. So the patient with the patient portal telling me, here’s he gave me a feedback loop. I had been coaching, relationships where feedback was important, and I realized, oh, my gosh, if the patient sets the agenda, it aligns with where we know we need to go. So our thoughtful inquiry can be. It can be leading. and that’s. That’s not necessary, because coaching community wells, they don’t lead the client. But, yeah, we’re in an agenda based thing. It’s about health. It’s about improving something. So we agree that that’s sort of the contract, if you will, the coaching contract. and then we’re off to the races. And I would love to see a. Create a space where, I mean, a, physician can’t do all that. If you’ve got a large panel, you cannot do those coach conversations, respond to the in basket messaging, and do the accountability and all those things. You need it. You’ll need a teammate to do this. So the question is, can somebody design that? That would be really, really interesting. There are plenty of health coaches out there. Even if you partnered with a health coach to say, you know, you’re not, we can’t afford to hire you, but we can send you clients.

Switch agenda of conversation with patients rather than yours has greater likelihood of success

How about we partner? There’s lots of creative ways to do this. I just think if you instill that mindset. So what does that mean for residents? Well, maybe you take this away a little bit to say, as I develop my career, how much of that sort of coaching mindset will I put in place and can I do this? And I’m convinced it’s not just primary care. Anybody who’s in a conversation with a patient, hoping or expecting or asking them to change something in their lives, flipping that to their agenda of change rather than yours, my belief is that that has far greater likelihood of success. I’m not an academic person, so I don’t have data, to prove this. but I think there’s. It’d be really interesting to, study, this one of your young residents in academics hey, pick this up and put something together. I’d be delighted to work with somebody on this because I think it’s really interesting.

Addisyn Uehling: Yeah, I think that definitely does have a correlation with when you make it their agenda, their idea, they implement it a lot more and they have that drive and that, that want to do that. It’s personal. Told, you know, if you’re told to read a book, are you going to read the book? The whole book? Probably not, no. But if you’re told to read hey, these chapters and you came up with the idea, it’s a lot more motivation to do it, you know?

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Yeah, yeah it is. And yes, you’re going to get people who will probably figure out your communication style and tell you what they think you want to hear. it’s a bit our job to pull the tease that out. it comes out and you know that’s, if that’s what they’re doing, then you have to go there and say it’s not about me, this is about you. So yeah, I’ve had that conversation with patients and actually they’re quite grateful.

Addisyn Uehling: Yeah, that’s awesome.

Where do you feel like self reflection comes in when practicing medicine

So kind of you talk about helping residents. Where do you feel like self reflection comes in? When you’re a physician, right? You’re helping all these people, where does the self reflection come in?

Dr. Ed Millermaier: there’s probably an academic answer to that and that’s just lifelong learning. So did I do the thing that was best? practice all those kinds of things and that’s well ingrained in the medical education process. I think the other self reflection though is on personal growth, development. I don’t, you know, the career pathway is very intense from an education standpoint. So sometimes that personal development gets put on hold, for quite some time. and so emerging out of I don’t know, ten years post high school, or more training, where age contemporaries may be going through different developmental phases in terms of life, relationships, a marriage, income, all those things. it gets, it can’t, there’s a tendency for it to be somewhat delayed or it can be delayed. So I think that self reflective side is also on just personal, personal growth.

Addisyn Uehling: Yeah, for sure.

When people make career choices, you have to say no to many opportunities

so when people make career choices, and especially in healthcare, you have to say no to a lot of opportunities. How do you decide what to prioritize, what not to prioritize, what is top and what is maybe later in life?

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Good question. well it’s funny, I’ve watched and seen through patients. A lot of young people find their way career wise. And, you could, you can just negate all that by saying, I picked this specialty and the biggest inflection point is where am I going to practice, where am I going to do residency and where am m. I going to practice after that? If those things work out 35 years later, you can stop. That’s pretty amazing. what’s interesting about what’s going on in, the sort of medical care world right now is that with the ever increasing size of the companies that are providing services, physicians, are in large numbers now becoming employees. And there’s a bit of a shift going on in terms of, the stability of the, presence of physicians in one location. Over time, there’s much more mobility. People, are making choices. and, so I think that. How would I want to say this? Maybe that uncertainty of career choice is starting to emerge in docs. Although, there’s such a shortage of almost every specialty that, employment concerns are probably not the driver. It’s more just lifestyle and, value proposition of the organization for which you work. And with whom am I going to work, who’s on my team? How much control do I have over that? how much control do I have over my life? so those are different choice parameters. so it’s still pretty privileged in many respects to have careers that we can do. That’s what you’re saying yes to. But I think your real question is, well, when you say yes to those things, what are you saying no to? And I think that’s, that’s, I’ve had, I don’t know, 35 or, well, 20 physician clients right now. I think, I forget, would get 20 different answers, because it’s personal to each, clinician. Ah. For some they put hobbies on hold. For some they delay long, term relationships. many delay creating families. yeah, so those are, those are the trade offs that happen.

Addisyn Uehling: Yeah. Those are some of the main things that a lot of, When I talk to a lot of the residents and the fellows and the newly attending, that’s, that’s what they say, too. Those are some of the things that they have to say no to. But not, it’s not almost a no, but it’s a. Not right now.

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Yeah.

Addisyn Uehling: And I think that’s an important thing to remember is you’re not saying no. You’re just saying not right now, not in this moment.

Dr. Ed Millermaier: and there’s sort of that delayed gratification kind of, mindset. That’s associated with that which has its own, its own, I don’t want to say as many consequences might be the right word. and that’s a great coaching conversation to gain clarity on what’s important.

Addisyn Uehling: Yeah, for sure.

Dr. Ed Millermaier: And it might shift how people think, and it might shift what they do. Actually, that’s true.

Addisyn Uehling: Yeah, for sure.

Ewison: Taking time to focus on your body can be helpful

So if you had a room full of, just residents, fellows, newly attending, you know, going through this training, what would you. What would you want them to take away from this episode?

Dr. Ed Millermaier: you know, I think I, suppose, it take a little time for self reflection. You can do this in micro stages. It’s not like you. I mean, a yoga retreat would be great, but most enough time for that. one of the wisest clients I had was someone who was a vice president, not in healthcare, but he told me every time he went into a meeting, he recognized that being centered and grounded was extremely important. He always took about 5 seconds to just tune everything out, and focus himself, internally. Take a breath. It’s almost like being in the batter’s box. You just kind of settle down. You think about what you’re doing, and then you step to the plate. and he said that had been game changing for him, and I, you know, it’s. When you think about it, a lot of us did that when we were in the office before we went in. We just collect ourselves. Some of the times we collect ourselves, let’s say, oh, boy, Addie’s here. I gotta be careful, you know, I’m just teasing. but for the most part, it would be just okay. Now I know what. Where. What’s happening? What am I doing? Where am I going? And if. If that’s done both externally and on the circumstance, but also internally, can be very helpful. Yeah, I guess the other thing is, might. It might be weird to, wise to be aware of your body dynamics, so often, stress. You know, we humans are not different that too different from a lot of other animal species. We’ve got this big fight flight freeze fawn mechanism in us that’s very protective. and, often those get activated and they feel a certain way. Chest tightness, cold, clammy skin, maybe dry mouth, nervousness, back pain, those. The achy joint. All kinds of things can. Can emerge. Add good self awareness of your. Of your body and what’s going on there. That’s why that old gut reaction has meaning. or I got to get something off my chest there’s a reason it’s said that way or my head is spinning. all those phrases we use, they’re actually rooted in some old fashioned neuroscience derived biology here. So, being attentive to what’s going on with your body can be really helpful. And you can actually, do, ah, a quick inventory. okay, calm down. the one executive was talking about, he recognized he needed to take a deep breath just to kind of calm and get Stuart, out of his head because Stewie was going mile a minute. So he didn’t call his stewie. I didn’t ask him to nickname it.

Addisyn Uehling: You call it Stewie because of the soup that you, like fell in?

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Well, that would be a good way. I should, Yeah, I should call it soupy. no, it’s because I’m always stewing about things, so I named him Stewart.

Addisyn Uehling: Okay. Okay.

Dr. Ed Millermaier: Ah. for anyone who’s watching, this was name is Stuart. No offense intended. So.

Addisyn Uehling: For sure. For sure. Well, yeah, thank you so much for your time. I learned a lot. I learned that leading is listening, and so many more things to. But I just want to thank you for your time and thanks. I’d like to thank doctor Millermaier for joining us today as we took a deeper look into leadership and many other topics. I hope our conversation has shed some light on the importance of leadership and coaching in today’s world. Stay tuned for more discussions on important topics in the medical field. And one way to do that is to like and subscribe so you’ll never miss another episode. I’m your host, Addisyn Uehling, and we’ll see you next time on unscripted.