System Change! - Life improvement strategies for the surgeon who wants more ... in 10 minutes - Episode 27

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

On this episode of the podcast, Jeff welcomes back Karla McLaren to talk about System Change!

While we can all benefit from the many strategies that we teach on these mini-podcasts, Karla shares with us a concern that we are focusing too much on self-care for surgeons, instead of looking at the systems in which we work. She illustrates her point with a key example - the undervalued emotional work that we do.


Karla offers three steps to help the system become more emotionally intelligent:

  • Step 1 - Awareness: Become aware of the emotionally laborious work surgeons endure every day with patients, colleagues, and management.

  • Step 2 -  Take Inventory of the emotional work you're doing daily, and the emotional work that people are doing for you.

  • Step 3 - Acknowledgement: Look at emotional work as work and treat it seriously.

Most importantly,  just become aware of the emotional work you're doing and acknowledge the emotional work others are doing for you.

If you’re not familiar with Karla McLaren, M.Ed, she is an award-winning author and social science researcher. Her lifelong work focuses on her grand unified theory of emotions, which revalues even the most “negative” emotions and opens startling new pathways into self-awareness, effective communication, and healthy empathy. She is the founder and CEO of Emotion Dynamics, LLC. Karla is also the author of The Art of Empathy: A Complete Guide to Life’s Most Essential Skill (2013), The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings are Trying to Tell You (2010), and the multimedia online course Emotional Flow: Becoming Fluent in the Language of Emotions (2012).

Awareness of emotional labor is a perfect example of how surgeons can improve their effectiveness inside and outside of the OR.