It’s my pleasure to introduce to you, Dr. Sasha Shillcutt, who I have been getting to know through twitter and will have the honor of meeting in person when we both present at the Burnout to Brilliance Physician Wellness Symposium at Miraval Resort and Spa this April!
In the context of managing multiple roles as an Associate Professor, Cardiac Anesthesiologist and Vice Chair of Strategy and Innovation at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, mother of 4, active professional coach and speaker, she decided to create an online Facebook community for physicians with over 6800 members to help women support women in a predominately male-dominated field.
Her message will resonates with anyone who might be searching for a more authentic way to show up with courage, even in the face of doubt and fear!
As a psychotherapist who specializes in women’s health and wellness, I wanted to sit down and ask Dr. Sasha Shillcutt a few questions…..
In 2015, you started an online Facebook community for female physicians called “Style MD.” It quickly grew from a text group to a thriving online community now with over 6800 members! What was your hope in creating this online community and why do you think it resonates with so many?
In 2015 I created StyleMD, which started in a text group with less than 10 women, to encourage women. I started this group because I had come through a season of significant clinical burnout, and realized how isolated I felt. In the midst of working as a full time faculty member and cardiac anesthesiologist, along with raising a family, I had lost connection with other women. So I started the group for two reasons: to allow women to build resiliency through friendships, and to celebrate being WOMEN. When you work in a male dominated field, often times you hide your feminine side or the things you enjoy about being a women. Style MD celebrates all sizes of women, all races, all specialties of physicians, from all different backgrounds. We have over 6800 members and it is the most positive group on Facebook that I know.
Your message is a powerful reminder to remain brave and courageous even in the face of doubt and fear. When did you begin harnessing your own bravery, how did this journey begin for you?
I recognized about 7-8 years into my career that I was succeeding, but not being authentic. I am a woman, and my leadership looks very different than those of my male colleagues, and that is OK! We need both male and female leaders, we have different strengths and ideas and innovation. As such, I finally realized I needed to be ‘Brave Enough” to lead authentically, as me. When I did this, I actually found not only ongoing success but peace. I now hope to be a voice for others to embrace their unique style of leadership and goals.
Women face constant criticism of being too much or not enough. What’s your best advice for women on how to “show up” with confidence just as we are?
There is SO much pressure for women to walk a tight line: be strong, but not too strong. Be ambitious, but not TOO ambitious. Take charge, but also bring cookies to the unit’s pot luck (and make sure they are homemade). Be attractive, but not TOO attractive. It’s exhausting and bananas to try and be all those things. We as women are unique individuals with fantastic traits to help and lead our communities and work environment. When we stop trying to be everything, we get pushback, but REAL success comes when you ignore it and push through. I couldn’t be authentic without burning out from the constant push back if I didn’t have other women around me helping me up. So I believe in having a strong network of women around me, which is why I started Brave Enough.
Lastly, you manage a lot! A very busy career as Associate Professor, Cardiac Anesthesiologist and Vice Chair of Strategy and Innovation at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. You also manage professional coaching, blogging, a speaking circuit, 4 children, a husband, an online community and more! Is there such a thing as “life balance?” How do you manage it all?
This is the most common question I get in life. And I have no great answer. It is a constant work in progress. But I will say it is like anything else: it is work. I do a lot of things early in the morning and late at night when my kids are asleep. I also don’t waste a lot of time doing small things. I have learned if I want to do big things I can’t do small things. I am extremely focused and utilize any small time to work – aka, I sit at my kids sports practices and write, etc. I don’t think the way I work is for everyone, but it is what works for me. I try and work when my kids are unavailable so I can be available when they are free. My kids energize me. They are my biggest work. And I fiercely protect my free time with them. Also – I outsource things that don’t bring me joy: like cooking and laundry! Ha!
I think we can all learn something from Sasha’s wisdom here! We can gain a lot from uplifting and supporting each other, living from a true and authentic place, showing up brave, even when we’re afraid, setting priorities, not wasting time on the small stuff and quieting that critical voice that says we are supposed to do it all!
Or join us both for a restorative and educational weekend at Miraval Resort and Spa April 6-9 at the Burnout to Brilliance Physician Wellness Symposium!
Sasha K. Shillcutt, MD, MS, FASE is an Associate Professor and the Vice Chair of Strategy and Innovation in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). Dr. Shillcutt also serves as the Director of Clinical Research. She underwent her residency in Anesthesiology at UNMC and completed an Executive Fellowship in Perioperative Echocardiography at the University of Utah Medical Center. She is a board certified Anesthesiologist, is a testamur in the Special Competence in Adult Echocardiography (ASCeXAM) and certification in advanced perioperative echocardiography (Advanced PTEeXAM) through the National Board of Echocardiography. She is an NIH-funded researcher through the National Institute of Aging. She is a Board Examiner for the American Board of Anesthesiology and holds national leadership positions in the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiology and the American Society of Echocardiography. She also serves on the National Board of Echocardiography. Sasha is a wife, mother, physician, clinical scientist, national educator, writer, and speaker. In 2016, Sasha was awarded the national American Medical Associations Women Physician’s Inspiring Physician Award by her peers. Sasha’s greatest passion is empowering and encouraging others to achieve personal greatness in their professional and personal lives. She speaks frequently to health care executives and physicians on the topics of professional burnout and resilience. You can follow her blog at www.becomebraveenough.com.