[0:00:00.0] ANNOUNCER: If you’re struggling with your vitality, energy, mood, focus or sleep, this podcast is for you. Your host, Dr. Ann Tsung, ER doctor and aerospace flight surgeon will help you reach for the stars and remove the barriers or blockades that have been holding you back from living your best life. If you’ve been challenged by your health, relationships or productivity, then it’s time for a breakthrough. So, here’s your host, Dr. Ann Tsung.
[0:00:44.0] AT: Hello, welcome to It’s Not Rocket Science Show Session One. This is your host, Dr. Ann Tsung.
Have you ever gone to bed and lay there in bed because you have so many things going through your mind and unable to go to sleep for hours or you’ve gone to bed slept seven hours, and yet you wake up feeling like you haven’t slept at all, have you ever felt fatigued low energy, you need caffeine to wake you up in the morning, or else you’re not productive, or else you’re not yourself, or perhaps you worked all day, or you’re with the kids all day, in the end, you don’t have time for yourself, or you don’t have the energy to spend time with your loved ones or your friend to give them the presence and attention.
Well, I have felt all those things from my journey immigrating from Taiwan as a nine-year-old. And we were so poor back then I was eating on a cardboard box as my dining room table and then going to medical school, going through the emergency medicine residency, then completing on critical care fellowship, and then aerospace medicine fellowship, until now working as a flight physician for NASA. I have felt all those things and, in my path, to try to achieve the optimal health, vitality, productivity, and the best relationships with my loved ones. I have learned quite a bit on the hacks, the mindset, the tips and tricks, and this is why I decided to do this podcast. Throughout this past year, there has been so much social unrest, turmoil, health issues, there’s a lot of stressors for people throughout the year. And I felt like the one thing I can do to contribute is to share my voice and share what I have learned.
I no longer can be selfish, and be afraid of sharing my voice because of what others might think of me, If there’s just one person who can listen to what I have to share, change your mindset, change your tactic, change one micro habit and that makes your life a little bit better, then, I would have achieved my goal. My goal is really to achieve optimal human performance, full human optimization while you’re living your best self, your authentic self. And I promise you that if you come to my show, I will bring my full, raw, authentic self to you, I will share everything I have learned. And I hope we can go on this journey together.
And today, the first thing I want to talk about is imposter syndrome. And how that relates to self-worth. I had no idea that those two were related. I actually didn’t even know about the term imposter syndrome until a few years ago. And for those of you who are not familiar with imposter syndrome, have you ever felt like you’re at work, say, working at a hospital, like me, and if a consultant comes up to you, and tells you that this could have been done better, or I would have done this and then the rest of the shift, you just keep thinking about maybe I made that mistake. I’m not as competent or as smart as I thought I was. Or, if you’re a medical student, you made a mistake during rounds, and somebody points it out in front of everyone. Have you ever felt like you’re just kind of a failure? You should have known better? Why did you say that? Why didn’t you say the other answer? Or perhaps at work, you’re always scared that people will find out that you’re not as smart or competent as they think you are. Or you’re a perfectionist that nothing is ever good enough. When you look at a product or you’re submitting something, it has to be perfect, there’s always something negative that you’re picking out. Or you’re setting goals and you’re trying to achieve higher and higher and higher. And that’s never enough, either. You want lofty goals because the higher the goals that you can achieve, the better your self-worth, because that’s how you define your self-worth.
I went through quite a bit of medical training. And I think it’s very prevalent in this day and age in all professions, not just medical. And I went on a journey, starting about four years ago. When I finished my emergency medicine residency, I thought that I should be happy because I achieved my goal of completing medical school. Though I wasn’t feeling as fulfilled as I thought I should have been again, I decided to go to the Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within event at that time. And really that was the beginning of deep, deep self-introspection and self-work. I realized that my life was imbalanced. I was all career, work productivity and my relationship with my mother or friends. I was giving up that connection so that I could have time to achieve whatever I wanted to achieve in my career. I missed a lot of baby showers, a lot of bachelorettes, a lot of weddings and frankly a lot of even phone conversations with my mom just because I was working or focused on work and focus on working more, moonlighting more. And then I went on an eight months round the world trip with my fiancé at the time that led to more self-introspection. I attended the Date with Destiny event with Tony Robinson in Australia a few years ago. And that’s when I really, really learned my values and how I defined myself. In a way, I realized any time anybody ever points out a mistake I made. Anybody ever tells me I could have done this for my patients. I always felt like I failed as a person or as a physician. And I realized those events, through those events that I defined my self-worth by what others think of me. Again, it was a lot of self-work of forgiveness of all the traumas, perhaps from my childhood. And that led me on to an even further journey at 40 years of Zen.
For those of you who don’t know what 40 years of Zen is, it’s a five-day, very intensive brain entrainment meditative experience, you’re in the pod for many hours throughout the day. And you’re going through essentially, the life events that have made you feel any sort of resistance in any way, feeling of failure and adequacy, any trauma that you’ve had in your life, you go through that event, and then you try to figure out where that came from. You find the gift in it, and you kind of change the meaning. You go through forgiveness. And so, I want to talk about for this first episode, how I came about, to redefining my self-worth. While I was at 40 years of Zen, I realized that going back to childhood, where it came from was that from my mom, honestly. She is a very strict, extremely strict Asian mother. And every time, you know, since I was in elementary, I would, you know, get a really good grade on the test. And she would tell me, ‘Oh, you’re supposed to do that.’ And other kids got presents and things like that. I was like, ‘Oh, why can’t I get any presents? Or look at this, what other kids have got. ‘Well, that’s what you’re supposed to do. And even to medical school. And when I was picking my residency, I picked emergency medicine. And she said, ‘Well, why don’t you pick like internal medicine or family medicine, so you can open up your own clinic and I can help you manage it.’ So even after finishing medical school, even picking my specialty was still wasn’t enough for her. Down to other choices. Like, you know, when I decided to travel for eight months, and between fellowships with my fiancé. She said, “Why are you traveling? Everybody is working. Nobody takes off for, you know, more than two weeks in America. Why are you losing out money?” It wasn’t good enough. And then going on to my decision to do the critical care fellowship, and the aerospace medicine fellowship, she told me, “Well, do you make more money? Why are you doing it if you don’t make more money? Why are you spending this time?”
So essentially, the point I’m trying to get at is that nothing I did, or no decision I made was ever good enough, just because I wanted it, or I made it. And that led to my feeling of imposter syndrome because I had a feeling of not enough all the time. And that’s the reason why I decided to do emergency medicine. And I felt like well, I didn’t learn I need to go learn more, then I picked critical care, because I felt like I needed to learn what goes on upstairs, you know, after I admit the patient, and I set the goal of wanting to work for NASA becoming the flight physician 14 years ago, when I was 19. It was a lofty goal. And I decided that that’s what I’m going to go for because I need to do more and take more action and achieve my goals. And again, it’s back to the feeling of because it’s never good enough. So, I need to do more, I need to learn more, I need to do this fellowship. And I need to have higher, higher and higher goals. And once I reach the next goal, then I need the next one. And this is why there was a feeling of lack of fulfillment when I finished my residency. And then going on to the two fellowships, there’s always like a lack of complete fulfillment, though it has been an amazing journey. And I think I finally learned how to redefine my self-worth.
At 40 years of Zen, I learned that really, I don’t need to be anybody or do anything to be enough. I can just be myself, just be myself, and you’re deserving of everything life has to offer you. If you think about it, when a baby is born, or if there’s a beautiful flower. It’s a beautiful tree. Do they have to do anything, earn any degrees for you to show love and affection to them? Show care? No. And so I was defining my self-worth by the actions I take, instead of defining myself worth by just being who I am. And so, I finally realized that just about six months ago, actually, and what really hit home for me though, was just a few months ago, somebody asked me, “So, how much do you love yourself every day from one to 10?” And I was thinking in my head. Well, how much negative self-talk do I don’t have? I was like, “Well maybe like a decrease from like 50% to like 20%. You know, the negative self-talk in your head while you’re like, I shouldn’t have said that. Or I could have done that better or should have could have all the should. I’m like, Okay, well, probably an eight because I have 20% of self-talk daily, which is from my scientific mind coming in. And she said, well, why is it not 10? I’m like, well, I don’t know, I think it’ll get to 10. And when I decreased my self-talk even more probably, and she said, no, it’s regardless of what you do. Regardless of any feelings you feel, the self-talk, regardless of all that the self-love you give to yourself daily. This time you love yourself, regardless of anything, you do anything, you think anything you say, because you’re just being who you are, you’re just going through life. And all you have to think is every day, you know, I’m going to bring my authentic self, I’m going to radiate my excellence to everyone around me, it doesn’t matter what happened the day before or last month or last year, or when you were a kid, it doesn’t matter. There’s only today, I’m going to give myself love every day because I am worthy just because I am who I am. And that really hit it home for me.
I have this “Just be.” Just to remind me that there’s nothing I need to do, there’s no further action I need to take. There are no other goals I need to set so that I can feel good about myself. It’s all great to set goals to achieve to be productive, fully embrace that, though, you want to do it without defining your self-worth, you want to do it as your full authentic self, that you’re happy with yourself, no matter how things turn out. Just like this podcast, my intention for these podcasts before I did this first recording was that I will bring my authentic self. I promise you it will be raw, it’ll be true. I will leave that imposter at home. She will never come here. And that child who has gone through the trauma of always feeling not enough, she’s going to stay home. I thanked her, I forgave her, and did a lot of self-forgiveness. And I’m grateful because without her, without my mom, I would have never been able to achieve what I’ve achieved so far, to date.
For all of you listening out there. If this resonates with you, I would say the first step is you think about all the times when you felt any sense of failure, inadequacy, any sort of resistance in your heart, any sort of trauma that you can feel. And you think about that scenario, and you find the gift, try to find out how you have benefited from it. Oh, sometimes it’s going to be very hard. Sometimes it’s going to take many sessions. And then you go through a forgiveness, you can forgive the person who gave you that feeling. You can forgive yourself for giving yourself negative self-talk, perhaps. And then try to reach back from when you’re very, very little as young as possible from when you can remember where that feeling may have come from. Perhaps, what helped me was, I put myself in my mother’s shoes as well. And kind of went through her life with me to understand where she was coming from. And the first step really, to redefining your self-worth is to figure out the reason why you feel that way so that you can redefine it. Of course, so that you can change it. So, for me, I realized where it came from – from my mom. I redefined my self-worth, as well. I just have to be myself, there’s no action I have to take. And that little voice still comes in and out every so often. But now I’m aware. I recognize it. And I think about it and I go about my day. I remind myself that all I have to do is to be my best self. And so that I can radiate my own excellence, my authentic excellence to everyone around me.
Thank you for spending the time with me. I’m so grateful for us to be able to share this moment. And if you want to see the show notes, the resources, the information, please go to It’sNotRocketScienceShow.com and remember that everything you need is within you now. Thank you.
ANNOUNCER: That’s it for today’s episode. Head on over to iTunes and subscribe to the show. One lucky listener every single week that posts a review in iTunes will win a chance in the grand prize drawing to win a private VIP Day for a health and life makeover with Dr. Ann Tsung herself. Then be sure to head on over to It’sNotRocketScienceShow.com and pick up your free gift from Dr. Sung, then join us on the next episode.