Life Changing Moments: Embracing the Sky, Dr. Mary Beth Crawford

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Dr. Mary Beth Crawford has faced several challenges in her life.  She’s been able to navigate those challenges with a “Sky Mindset” that has served her well. In this week’s Life Changing Moments, she speaks with Dael about how she cultivated this worldview, and how it’s changing not only her life, but that of her family, her patients, and her colleagues.

And, if you find yourself having trouble changing your worldview, we might be able to help. Visit us at


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Are you a doctor struggling to provide the best care for your patients while dealing with financial and caregiving matters out of the scope of your practice?

Do you find yourself scrambling to keep up with the latest resources and wish there was an easier way?

Finally, our Virtual Health and Financial Conference for Caregivers is here!

This conference helps you and your patients enlist the best strategies around health care resources and the best financial steps for your patients to take while navigating care. You don’t have to go home feeling frustrated and helpless because you couldn’t connect your patients with the best services.

In just 90 minutes, on November 9th, our VIP Live Roundtable will answer your questions and be the lifeline that helps your patients put together an effective caregiving plan.
Find out more at and click on Conference for Caregivers VIP.


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Dr. Mary Beth Crawford is a highly esteemed Hospice physician from Maumee, Ohio, with over 30 years of experience. Graduating with honors from Ohio State University College of Medicine, she is renowned for her compassionate care and dedication to her patients. Dr. Crawford actively contributes to medical research and participates in health outreach programs, leaving a lasting impact on her community through her expertise and altruism.

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LCM 30: Embracing the Sky: Dr. Mary Beth Crawford


2023, Dr. Dael Waxman
Life Changing Moments

Produced by Clawson Solutions Group (


[0:01] Today’s episode is brought to you by the Virtual Health and Financial Conference for Caregivers.
For the best strategies around health care resources and financial steps while navigating, care, check out
That’s and click on Conference for Caregivers VIP.
This link will also be in our show notes. Thank you Virtual Health and Financial Conference for Caregivers for being a supporter of life-changing moments.
As I always say, this was a life-altering, life-changing event, but Dale, it wasn’t a life-threatening event, and I knew the difference.
There are times in our lives that change the way we see the world.
Navigating these challenges can take insight, trusted confidants, or even a coach.
Let’s explore those moments. In this companion podcast to Rx for Success, we will discover ways to learn and write our own success stories together.
I’m Dr. Dale Waxman, a physician coach with MD Coaches, and this is Life-Changing Moments.
The term resilience has become a word non grata among healthcare professionals.

[1:24] This is due largely to historically misdirected efforts at addressing physician burnout.
In that belief system, physician burnout was seen as due to lack of individual resilience.
It turns out, though, that studies show that physicians are actually more resilient than the population at large. Given the rigors of training and the human suffering we encounter, this just makes sense.
We are resilient at baseline, so much so that we don’t even use the word to describe ourselves.

[1:56] When I listened to the Rx for Success podcast that featured today’s guest, this word, resilience, kept popping into my mind.

[2:05] Not because she is like any physician in whom this is a standard characteristic, but because life threw many curveballs at her and she took resilience to a profound level.
Along the journey, she has developed so many pearls of wisdom that she shared in her Prescription for Success, that I just had to bring her onto this podcast that she can expand on them and we can learn something about how to bring some of her learnings into our own lives.
My guest is Dr. Mary Beth Crawford, who is a highly esteemed hospice physician from Maumee, Ohio.
Prior to hospice medicine, she had a long career as an emergency medicine physician, which involved many high-level leadership positions and significant community involvement.
As mentioned above, Dr. Crawford’s path into medicine story is chronicled in the Rx for success podcast number 163. Here she also speaks eloquently about navigating the intersection between her personal challenges and her professional development and contributions.
I highly recommend a listen. Mary Beth, welcome to Life-Changing Moments.

[3:14] Thank you, Dale. It’s a pleasure to be with you today. Well, I really enjoyed even our little conversation just prior to recording here.
You are quite a remarkable person with a lot of presence and I’m looking forward to hearing more about some of the things that I chatted about just above. For the listeners who have not yet heard the Prescription for Success podcast, can you tell us just what you’re doing right now professionally? Sure. Professionally, I’m doing all hospice care, hospice and palliative medicine.

[3:45] I’m the hospice medical director for four different business units in this region, and I am still working though as an independent contractor to all those organizations.
So I still, as I like to feel, I still work for myself, but I dedicate my time and my energy to my teams.
That’s great. And you know the other piece that was really important in the Rx for Success podcast was your family and you even refer to them as as your team and I wondered if you could just tell us a little bit about your family.
What’s there? What’s that situation right now?

[4:19] Sure, so I have five children. I have four boys and a girl and my oldest one is 29 and lives in Boston with his girlfriend of almost a decade and she’s a lawyer and he works in global health and then my next one lives in Dallas with his girlfriend and he has what in another life would be my dream job. He works for Miller Coors and gets to, you know, help celebrate and attend sporting events as well as do his job. And then my next one is a he is 24 and he lives in Washington DC with a significant other. He works remote, he works for an organization called Spot Hero and then his significant other is attending PhD in psychology. And then my next one is working in retail as an executive manager and lives in Akron. And my next one, she is my baby and she’s turning 20 shortly in a few weeks and she attends Temple University and she’s studying, why.

[5:17] I don’t know, but she’s studying biochemistry and she wants to go into sort of I think the forensic and genetics element of it. So she’s in Philadelphia, so. So the nest is empty, it sounds like. It is. I did volunteer. I had a friend of mine who owns some Airbnbs and all of hers were busy and there was a family of six, mom, dad, eight, six, four, and two-year-old who really wanted to come to the area for six weeks to visit family and they couldn’t find anywhere to stay and so I was like, really? They can’t find anywhere? So they actually actually just left on the 17th. They were here for six weeks and that if you…
I mean, you can imagine. So I hadn’t had any little ones for a long time.
So it was quite an adventure.
And so now I’m back to sort of my peace and quiet, but I’m glad that I did it.
And I think they had a nice time visiting their family.

[6:08] Wow, that’s a- I’m not gonna start an Airbnb business though.
I’m gonna stay where I’m at. So you’re generous, but you also learned a lot about your personal space, it sounds like.
Yes, yes. That’s awesome. Well, listen, there were so many wise moments in the podcast that we heard from Randy and Rx for Success.
You know, it was hard for me to kind of pull it all together into a central theme.
So I really want our listeners just to capture some of the wisdom that you imparted and ask you some questions about how you came to some of those points.
So I’d like to revisit a few of those. I’m just gonna be playing some of those recordings.
So the first one I wanna do is bring us back to a section in which you described a significant life-changing moment.
You were well into practice as a full-time emergency medicine physician.
You were the mother to five children. They were getting a lot younger than they are now at that time.
You had just taken on a new job, I believe, and that had mushroomed into quite a bit of responsibility.
And then there was this.

[7:15] And I didn’t pivot from emergency medicine for quite a while.
I had some life-changing events that I didn’t see coming when my youngest, who’s now 19, was three.
My husband at the time we had been together for 20 some years and married for you know whatever 19 and I didn’t know it was going to happen. People say you don’t see it coming and other people think how could you not well I didn’t and so I had a big life change at that time.
And had to adjust and adapt and learn how to become a single mom and work. And I had a- Darrell Bock Single mom with a lot of children. Mary Beth Frick Yeah.

[7:50] Darrell Bock And a very demanding job. Mary Beth Frick Yeah. So, I had to have a, I was blessed with finding my tribe. And the tribe sort of, you know, evolved over the years because a lot of them, you know, grew up and went to college, et cetera, or graduated from PA school. But I had wonderful people in my life helping me.
And at the same time that their father had, you know, sort of made some decisions and went a different path, my five-year-old son at the time was being diagnosed with autism.
So it was a lot.

[8:20] There is no doubt. It was a lot. So, but again, you know, my goal was, okay, this is what I have.
I didn’t ask for it, didn’t want it, but this is what I have and I can’t fix it, unfortunately.
I just was not fixable and so now I just got to learn how to do this.
I think that the phrase, this is what I have, is the thing that most jumped out at me.
And was curious, you know, how you get there or how did you get there?
Well, I think my children were big motivators for me.
You know, certainly they didn’t deserve that change. They needed somebody to be grounded and be there for them.
And I was going to be that. I chose to be a parent. I chose to have five kids and I was, you know, my five kids are a blessing to me.
And we don’t always get to pick what happens to us. I mean, look at my hospice population, look at my emergency room population, you know? So as I always say, this was a life altering, life changing event, but Dale, it wasn’t a life threatening event.
And I knew the difference.

[9:23] And so, yes, it was absolutely very hard, very difficult. There was a lot of sadness and I was okay.
I had to just learn, I had to grow, and I had to recreate my family as it was. And was it easy?
Absolutely not. You know, suffering is less about what happens to us than the story we tell about what is happening to us.
So I can have a story of my story, the way I tell it, is I had a wonderful marriage and for X, for 19 years, whatever it was, and I have five amazing children, period.
That’s my life. And things changed. didn’t have control of it. Or I can tell a different story, a woe is me story, you know, after 20 years he left and he betrayed me and you know I’m left with all my kids. I don’t like that story. I like the story that it tells a healthy narrative that is grateful for the experiences and the marriage and the life I had.
And accepts the change that has taken place without resentment, without bitterness, and has learned to grow into a different and new family, and still all the unconditional love I can give them.
Yeah, I love that concept of it’s a narrative, it’s a story that we choose to have for ourselves.
And many people don’t come by that kind of thinking easily.

[10:46] And I’m curious if you have some thoughts about what for you prior to all this, what maybe went into you having the ability to say this is life-changing but it’s not life-threatening. The story that I want to tell is this story rather than you know be I’m gonna use the word victim over here because we hear so many people who go the other direction. Where were you coming from that enabled you to move in that direction for yourself? I think probably a lot of things in my life, you know, as simple as it sounds, you know, just sports and being involved in team sport, athletics, you know, just to be able to, you know, face defeat from a learning perspective and then try to grow from it and play differently and sort of change during the game to try to be the best you can on the court or off.

[11:36] The court. Certainly my dad’s illness was a big learning experience for me as he was given a, you know, six months to live at age 45 and he lived to 72. And watching him go through not only multiple cancers but also Parkinson’s, he taught me a lot about patience and perseverance and accepting what is handed to you. And certainly going through the four miscarriages that I had also taught me that if I think I have control of things, I am very mistaken. You know, there are certain things that yes, we can control, but there’s a lot about life that is outside of our control.
And the more you fight it, the more suffering.

[12:14] The more you resist it, more suffering. The more you pretend it’s not there, the more suffering.
The more you accept it and you change what you can, you let go of what you can’t, you adapt, you grow, you learn, I mean, that’s, to me, that’s a much healthier way to live.
And just to be sure, I wanna just echo what you said, is that even though you have that mindset, which is, I’m gonna use the word growth mindset, there’s this growth mindset, and even though you have that, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Oh, absolutely not. Yeah, I just wanna really echo that. No, so I think if you look back at anything in your life though, the things that bring you the most joy, the things that are most rewarding are often the most difficult things you’ve ever gone through in your lifetime.
So yes, absolutely not easy, but worth it, yes. You know, and again, that’s kind of a, where you gotta let go of the short-term gain and go for long-term, right?
My kids needed me, and was it easy? the beginning, no. So short-term it was very difficult.
And long-term, I’m very grateful for everything. And I just want to acknowledge that I think I got the terminology wrong. I think I said team, but it was actually tribe. You said my tribe. Tribe, village, yes.

[13:25] What does that mean to you? What do you mean by tribe? Well, they’re my teachers. They are absolutely my teachers. I think a team is equally as, relevant because we can’t do what we do individually if we can’t be together collectively.
The whole is greater than the sum of the parts, right? All of us together. We build each other up. We encourage each other. We support each other. We listen. We are honest with each other.
It’s all of it, right? It’s all of it. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. So, you know, that’s not, that wasn’t the only significant event. There’s a lot of other significant events that you’ve already alluded to. And the next part of the podcast that I really wanted to highlight was was around this time when there were some changes and shifts beginning to happen in the healthcare system that you were working with.
And I’ll play that clip now and then we can talk a little bit about what others that you were working with, how they perceived you at that time as well.
During this timeframe before that too, my hospital, my community hospital was taken.

[14:36] Over by a large health care organization, you know, a big thing.
Pete Slauson I know what that means.
Mary Alvarado Yeah. And so, there was a lot of, you know, that uncertainty really can wreak some havoc with, people in your hospital, in your institution.
And so, there was a lot of angst as it was sort of evolving and, you know, I’d been through so much in my life.
I was pretty comfortable in having conversations about how to navigate through uncertain times and how to focus on the things that really matter and how to build and create and grow and learn together.
And so, I was sort of talking to a lot of my administrators trying to really build them up and encourage them, the ones that were struggling, and they said, you know, Dr. Crawford, could you do a book club?
And I said, I don’t know what a book club is. I said, but I know how to give a PowerPoint.
So, you know, before we hear something about what the PowerPoints were and what you did with that.
Tell me a little bit about why they approached you. What was it about you? How were you perceived?
Given my personal life and everything else I had been through, I think I was.

[15:49] Very accustomed to listening well and trying to understand where different parties were coming from and then find that common ground and build on that. And I’d already probably been working on that just as chairman of the emergency department in navigating some of the challenges in between, you know, specialty in ER and residence and so on and so forth. And I saw that they were just so uncomfortable with the uncertainty that it was starting to affect them, I think both personally and professionally, a lot of the team throughout the entire hospital. And so I felt that, you know, maybe I could help. And so the first thing I did, which is how the book club idea came, was I decided to gift many administrators a book which maybe based on the title it probably could have been perceived differently but the title of the book is called A No Complaining Rule by John Gordon and it really is just a very simple book that kind of emphasizes the importance of you know again seeing what we do have, seeing what already does exist instead of what we don’t have or what might happen or what might be down the road. You know, let’s just live in the present and try to live in this moment of uncertainty with grace and courage and the willingness to sort of stand up for ourselves too. I mean, there’s that nice balance there.

[17:13] Where, you know, you can do all of those things when mergers are taking place, but I think the worst thing you can do in that scenario is think you know the outcome because you don’t. Right.
And so I think being able to tell themselves, we don’t know what’s going to happen, but we do know that we’re here today in this hospital and we have patients to take care of and we have a team that is here to take care of patients, so let’s focus on that for right now.

[17:41] Are you a doctor struggling to provide the best care for your patients while dealing with financial and caregiving matters out of the scope of your practice? Do you find yourself scrambling to keep up with the latest resources and wish there was an easier way?
Finally, our Virtual Health and Financial Conference for Caregivers is here.
This conference helps you and your patients enlist the best strategies around health care resources and the best financial steps for your patients to take while navigating care. You don’t have to go home feeling frustrated and helpless because you couldn’t connect your patients with the best services.
In just 90 minutes, on November 9th, our VIP Live Roundtable will answer your questions and be the lifeline that helps your patients put together an effective caregiving plan.
Find out more at and click on Conference for Caregivers VIP.
That’s and click on Conference for Caregivers VIP.

[18:41] Practically speaking, you know, you’re in meetings with people and you are bringing some of that sort of philosophy into that, into those conversations. Every meeting.
Every meeting. So just like, similar to what you just said, as we don’t have any control over this, but we, here’s what we do have control over.
We actually developed a team, which was a nursing administrator idea in mind, where we got somebody representing almost every single floor, department, entity in the hospital.

[19:12] For a monthly meeting to come together so that we knew what each other actually did day in and day out and that kind of makes life more real. And so instead of, you know, well, we can’t take another patient up on the floor, well, but the ER has, you know, 15 in the hall.
Okay, so what could we do? And it really, really built a culture of teamwork that was just instrumental in doing some pretty phenomenal things during that time.
You know, it sounds to me like you navigated through this time of uncertainty and not that that things are any more certain these days in medicine.
But there is something about your ability to hold space for people to be able to share what’s on their mind, but also there’s something very grounding about that and something that creates some sort of sense of security.
That’s what I’m experiencing. Do you have some thoughts about how you bring that?
Well, certainly that’s one of my goals in any kind of connection with people is to allow them to be who they are, to give them that psychologically safe space, to know that they’re being listened to.
And as I think I mentioned previously, one of my big emphasis in relationships and connections is listening to understand, not listening, waiting to use your voice, to tell them how to think.
Most of us listen to respond And there’s no connection there.

[20:42] And that’s where it’s a us versus them world. And I would love to not see that.
I would love to just everyone listen to understand, find the common ground, we’re all human.
We all want to be happy and healthy.
I mean, there’s a lot of common ground and we can still build on that even if we don’t agree on everything.
So we can still have those differences, but it starts with listening to understand and being curious about the other person’s perspective.
I think that’s just crucial and I would love to see more of that.
I mean, there’s one of the books I’ve read in my lifetime and it’s the concept of from me to we.

[21:23] And I think that is just critical. And if it wasn’t critical before, it is really critical right now.
We need to eliminate the separation of each other. We need to learn to just be together and appreciate our differences and build on that common ground.
Yeah, I love your comment about listening. I just read this quote.
I’m a big Marx Brothers fan, and Groucho Marx apparently was, I didn’t know this, but he said, You know, I spent a lot of my time and energy in the situations that I was in trying to top the people that I was around.
And I realized, and like other comedians, who’s trying to be the funniest one in the room, because I spent so much time trying to top them that I didn’t listen to anything that they said.
And it strikes me that you’re saying the same thing. We tend to drop the actual listening, be more focused on getting our own point across.
Exactly, and I think that’s where new leadership needs to rise from, which is that curiosity about what other people are thinking and bringing different perspectives to the table.
I think that’s key. Brene Brown is one of my other favorite authors and her daring leadership model is just, I think we need to all take a look at that book and we all need to try to.

[22:48] The reality is, if we all work together, the leader that leads by encouragement.

[22:54] That team is much more successful.
So maybe you just want to take it from a numbers perspective.

[23:00] That’s the best way to lead your team. Like that’s not how I want, I’m not big on numbers, but if you wanna just take the science of it, those are the most successful organizations.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
By the way, so these people that you worked with recognized something that you could bring and they said, can you do a book club? And you said, well, I can do PowerPoints.
It sounds like you were asked to do talks a lot and maybe still do.
You said not so much talks, you said you wanted to make these real human conversations.
And so you would go into these places and have. So I’m curious what those were like.
Can you say something about how the audience conversed with you?
What were some of the things that got talked about?
Sure, I think one of my, well I had a lot of favorite ones, but one of my favorite ones was going down to the Lucas County, Ohio Housing Authority group.
And I mean, we got people from lots of different areas and these are people that are doing amazing things in our community.
And they don’t probably get as much connection with somebody like me, so to speak.
And so the thing I always wanted to do was to come in, and before I would start any kind of a conversation, like as far as a talk, I would walk around the room, introduce myself, ask people questions, get to know them.

[24:16] And then that made everybody more comfortable and much more conversational, which made everything more relatable, which means, at least ideally, people walked out of there with some kind of, you know, something that resonated with them that they could take on.
And sort of spread in a contagious way something that was healthy.

[24:34] And I wanted everyone to know how much they were appreciated.

[24:38] You know, I love to interact with different groups of people. I love to never stand at the podium not in a million years will I stand at a podium. I walk around so they got to know either I got to use my voice and project or some kind soul like Craig is going to hook me up with a portable unit and I can walk around the room. But you know that like eye contact, asking questions, asking them what stories they want to share. You know I think that’s how conversations can take place even though In theory, it’s a talk.
I think that’s how to create a conversation and people gain so much more from conversations.
Yeah, and it’s a lovely way to bring it forward. And just to be clear, you were asked to give talks and you said earlier motivational speaking around some of the issues that you’re talking about.
Is that correct?
That’s correct, yeah. And you got into just, let’s have a conversation about that.
Let’s hear your stories as well, yeah.
That’s what it’s all about, absolutely. Neat, awesome.
So the last thing that I want for us to chat about and maybe one of the more important ones also.

[25:40] In your actual prescription for success, you listed some of the things that allow you to live very fully and also some of the things to impart to some of the other listeners. So I want to play just one of the prescriptions for success that really struck me called the sky mindset.
And I think over the years I’ve sort of broadened that into what I call a sky mindset, which, really allows me, I picture it as when I’m flying in an airplane and you go up above the clouds and maybe there’s a storm and so there’s lightning and storm and all these things, but you’re way above it.
You’re way above the challenges, you’re way above all the kind of noise of life, and man And right there, that’s where I find this really peaceful and flexible mind state.

[26:29] That allows me to foster this like state of being with things, just as they are, without trying to resist them, without clinging to them, and without letting them overwhelm me. And then I think, okay, what now what? What can I do now? What can I do to help? What can I do to adapt? How can I grow?
How can I learn? Because I always want to learn. So Mary Beth, this sky mindset, where did that come from? Well, a couple things. One of my meditation teachers on my, the app that I use the most, which is 10% Happier, he talks about being the sky. Like, you know, that’s part of his, this sort of meditation focus. Instead of focusing on your breath, he sort, of puts you into a visualization of just, you’re the entire sky. You’re, you’re all.

[27:17] Of it. And you’re just watching everything go by you. And so kind of that, just that global perspective and then Sharon Salzberg also talks about, she uses a different terminology, but sky’s in there somewhere. And so I’ve read a lot, I’ve listened to a lot of these meditations, I’ve crafted some meditations my own and then one day, so my daughter’s going into her junior year, after her freshman year at Temple I needed to get her home and so I had to figure out a way to navigate all that. So I got a flight out of Toledo to Philadelphia and then I rented a car and we were gonna take that car and come back.
Well, on that day, the weather was horrible.
And my Toledo Express Airport’s my favorite airport because it’s so close and it’s so small and you can get around and navigate. And we were in this little plane.
And like I said, the weather was horrible.
It was stormy and cloudy and rainy, no lightning. And we got up above the clouds and I’m just looking, it’s totally blue sky.
And I’m looking down and you can see all of the clouds and the rain and the storm.
And I just thought, wow, this is it. This is what I’ve been trying to teach myself.

[28:21] But this is actually a sort of a visual example of what I’ve been trying to kind of train my mind to do, which is to get above the noise and above the clouds and just kind of have that state of mind where it’s a relaxed and an open and accepting state where you can see all of it for what it is.
You know, not give it a whole nother life, but see things just as they are.
And that allows me to then decide, okay, now what?

[28:47] Yeah, my guess is most listeners will have these moments in their life and they can realize they had similar moments like that. I also am struck with how you cultivated that.
And my question is, do you walk around in mind-like sky all the time, or do you find yourself having some life situations where you find yourself actually practicing that and cultivating that and going there.

[29:15] So, is my life all easy moments, you know, no, no, not at all.
Whether it’s being on call 21 days in a row for four different business units or whether it’s a challenge with something to do with one of my kids, no.
Life is life and it’s all of it and it’s very nuanced. And I don’t live in some kind of, you know, artificial, pleasantry world.
I live in the world just as it is, and I find ways to keep myself content and grounded.
And so I think I’m more aware of when I have those feelings of, okay, I’ve been on call too much.
I’m feeling a little punchy. So I’m going to, you know, just shoot them out an email.
I need 10 minutes and I’ll give myself 10 minutes or I’ll text my nurse practitioner and I’ll say, Hey, I need 20 minutes and I’ll go for a walk or I’ll get up 20 minutes early and I’ll do an extra meditation, or I’ll journal.
I’ll do something to kind of keep myself, you know, not only grounded, but sort of like a gut check.

[30:21] People talk about being like a work-life balance. There’s a big, you know, here’s the thing.
Whatever that is. So balance to me means that it’s just like always even, and there’s no way.
So I call it the balancing of life. It’s a constant sort of tweak or balancing of things.
And the goal is never to be perfectly balanced.
The goal is to just kind of keep moving, keep tweaking, keep learning, keep growing, keep accepting the hurt and the pain for what it is, and then figuring out if there’s something you can gain from that.
Not that you deserve the hurt or pain.

[30:57] What can you do with it? And how can you, you know, one of my other models is hurt, heal, help.
Somebody hurts you or you get hurt, okay.
So my immediate focus is recognizing that, like being real with it, like this hurts.
And then focusing on how can I heal?

[31:13] Do, you know, I need to go see my therapist? Do I need to journal more?
Do I need to exercise? How do I heal?
Or do I just need to be with myself? And then once I’m healed, I realize that the other part of the healing process is helping other people.
And that doesn’t have to be some big grandiose thing. Those can be tiny little things.
You know, if you’re at the grocery store and someone has one item and you have 25, let them go in front.
Or if someone has their cart and they, help them out with their cart.
I mean, little things.
Little things mean so much. You know, as you’re talking, Marybeth, one of the things that comes to my mind is life happens And in life, we often, and I’m thinking of your emergency medicine days, you, I think in the earlier podcast you said sometimes you saw 40, 50 patients a day.
And there’s just this running around, reacting, getting things done, very, very focused on all the stuff that’s happening.
There’s a lot of different metaphors for this. There’s like, you know, there’s running through the trees, but unable to see the forest.
But then, so I guess my question for you is, a lot of us, a lot of listeners of this program, that is how we spend a lot of our days.

[32:31] Because we are called to do that with the occupations that we have. There’s a lot of stresses in the practice of modern medicine. And we get very distracted from the self.

[32:43] As a result of all these things that we have to do and that get all piled on.

[32:48] So, what I’m wondering and I’m curious about is how do you notice that you’re in it, you’re in the forest, you’re running through the trees, and then how do you make that shift to let me go back up to the sky and watch what’s happening and make some choices about how to respond to things.
What’s the process for you?
It kind of depends on the situation. Say for example, I used to call, when I would work in emergency medicine, I had a phrase that I used that sort of helped me a little bit, which I called it controlled chaos, because I still recognize this is absolutely chaotic.
Again, it’s not a cure-all, but I think when we just focus on what can we do now versus oh my gosh, there’s 25 people in the waiting room and you start getting overwhelmed and I can’t believe there’s not enough nurses here, that’s not the time to address those issues per se.
What team members do we have? How can we deploy them? How can we remain calm?
Because you get more done when you’re calm. I think one of the simplest analogies that I can make from that standpoint is a code.
You know, you go to a code and one of my lessons I learned early in my career is if I want a code to go well, I have to lower my voice, slow the speed of my speech, and recognize all of those around me.

[34:08] Because if I do that, the code, everyone is smooth. It’s still chaos, but everybody’s smooth.
The moment you lose control and you start screaming at people because you’re uncomfortable, that’s what happens when we’re uncomfortable, right?

[34:19] We start doing things that maybe we wouldn’t do if we were comfortable.
So I think the first thing is to recognize when we’re not comfortable and then take a breath, you know, just take a breath and strategize the things that you can do.
I can’t control if they just left 30 people out of my waiting room, but I can help navigate bringing the critical patients back with some of my nursing supervisors.
I can’t necessarily have prevented that cardiac arrest, but I can use my tone and my attitude and my voice and my body language to calm the room.
For me, it’s being okay that sometimes you feel out of control, sometimes you feel chaotic, recognize it, and I think the more you practice it, the more you recognize and you feel that, whether it’s a tension in your chest, or maybe a pounding in your head, or some kind of physical sensation, because that’s usually how it comes out first.
If we can recognize that, acknowledge that, and then make a choice, what am I gonna do with that?
How can I calm that system down?
And sometimes it might be in the ER, if I could get 30 seconds, I’d go to the ambulance door.

[35:31] And I would go outside for 30 seconds. If I couldn’t, then I would sit at my desk with my eyes closed for five seconds before I looked back up at the computer screen. I mean, you kind of have to tailor it depending on, but finding those micro moments of calm. Yeah. What I’m hearing you say is awareness is the first step is what’s happening with me right now. And then how do I control this chaos by just dropping in, dropping in for a moment or five seconds or 30 seconds or whatever that is. And I also heard you say the practice of that is what that is, what’s important is to practice first noticing and then practice the actual, the doing of the relaxation or some, some sort of mindful exercise.
Yeah, whatever it is. And it doesn’t have to be fancy. And I think, you know, just the more we practice awareness, the more aware we are. And the more aware we are.

[36:28] The more present we are. And that is, I think, very important to living a full life even when it’s difficult. Yeah. Well, I think that’s a great segue to kind of wrapping up, which is, I really, really appreciate your presence with us today. And I made an earlier comment in our, in this conversation about the early words that we had with each other, I had that sense that you create that around you about a place for safety, a place for presence. And I certainly understand why people invited you to be having conversations and doing motivational speaking and things like that around your community. So I really appreciate your taking the time to be with us and returning to the MD Coaches family podcast. Just want to say thank you once again, Mary Beth.

[37:23] Dale, this has been a pleasure and I appreciate all that you guys are doing, Randy and yourself and Rhonda and your entire team. Like I said, conversations, because part of coaching is, conversation. And I bet that when you guys do your coaching and having conversations, I bet, you probably learn as much as you teach. Absolutely.
And I thank you for that.

[37:50] I really enjoyed this free-flowing and wisdom-filled conversation with Dr. Crawford.
Her down-to-earth and relatable style makes it inviting to adopt her many pearls for living intentionally.
Here’s my recap of the ones that spoke the most to me.
Number one, there are life-changing events and life-threatening events.
Know the difference. Number two, a lot of life is out of our control. The more you resist that notion, the more there is suffering. The more you accept it and change what you can, the more you learn and the less you suffer.
3. Speaking of suffering, it is less about what is actually happening to us, than about the story that we tell ourselves about what is happening to us.
4. When it comes to interacting with others, remain curious about their perspective.

[38:49] Listen well to understand them, not to listen to wait until they’re done to tell them what you’re thinking. Number five, cultivate a sky mindset. This is a relaxed, open, accepting state where you can see all of life for what it is. Seeing things just as they are reduces stress and reduces suffering. Well, I hope that you got as much out of this conversation as I did. When it comes to cultivating intentional living such as Mary Beth does, it can be helpful to engage a coach to help you along that path.
At MD Coaches, we help you identify and clarify your values and put things in a perspective that allows you to live the fulfilling life you deserve.
We’re here to help and you can find us at

[39:43] As always, thank you for listening and be well. Thank you for tuning in to Life Changing Moments.
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