Self-Compassion! - Life improvement strategies for the surgeon who wants more ... in 10 minutes - Episode 45

Pump the brakes on your week and take 10 minutes to make your life as a surgeon just a little better…

In this episode of the mini-podcast, Jeff welcomes Leah Weiss, PhD. 

Dr. Weiss is a researcher, lecturer, consultant, entrepreneur, and author. She teaches Compassionate Leadership at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and is a principal teacher and a founding faculty member of Stanford’s “Compassion Cultivation Program.”

As the daughter and sister of accomplished surgeons, Leah is familiar with a surgeon’s life and the frustrations that come along with the profession.  Physicians caring for patients are not governed by the tech industry’s motto, “Fail Fast,” nor are doctors willing to lower their standards, she explains.

While self criticism can drive performance, as Jeff attests, it’s also not sustainable over the course of a long surgical career. Instead, we should focus on compassion for ourselves. Leah explains that criticism causes “rumination, anxiety, depression, and procrastination,” while self-compassion affords us a greater ability to “execute on a growth mindset.” 

What steps does Leah suggest we take to increase compassion for ourselves?

  • Step 1 - Pay Attention to where you are and the circumstances present when your self-critic creeps in. What are your triggers?

  • Step 2 - Write down how you respond to self criticism. Does it spur steps forward or hold you back?  

  • Step 3 - Think about ways you can increase compassion for self during times when self-criticism crops up.

Most importantly, don’t wait! Start assessing your online presence and patient review system - it will benefit you and your patients!


Leah Weiss, PhD

Leah Weiss, Ph.D. is a researcher, lecturer, consultant, entrepreneur, and author. She teaches Compassionate Leadership at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she created the perennially-waitlisted course “Leading with Mindfulness and Compassion.” She is a principal teacher and a founding faculty member of Stanford’s “Compassion Cultivation Program,” conceived by the Dalai Lama. She is also the co-founder of Skylyte - a company that specializes in using the latest neuroscience and behavior change to empower high-performing leaders and managers prevent burnout for themselves and their teams. Her first book, “How We Work: Live Your Purpose, Reclaim Your Sanity, and Embrace the Daily Grind” (HarperWave) focuses on developing compassionate and soft skill-based leadership while also offering research-backed actionable steps towards finding purpose at work. It has currently been translated into 7 different languages. Her latest book, "Bhavana: The Thai secrets of everyday resilience," came out in the U.K. at the end of May.


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