Two Great Books from the White Coat Investor Conference Swag Bag

I recently gave two lectures at the White Coat Investor Physician Wellness and Financial Literacy Conference (WCICON24) in Orlando, Florida. This was the third time I have spoken at this conference. I feel that each year this conference is better than the prior year.

My two highlights of the conference were: Stepping onto the elevator and having the lady in the elevator say “You’re Dr. Fawcett! My daughter came to this conference specifically to hear you speak.” Another person stopped me in the hall to say, “Thanks for all you do. I have all your books.” I can’t emphasize enough how moments like these motivate me to continue to write.

I loved having a chance to talk with likeminded physicians about wellness and finance. Most of my time during the conference was spent in the halls talking with people who attended one of my lectures and had questions.

Every evening, I had dinner with several attendees, and it was fun to hear their stories and takeaways from that day’s lectures. It was also fun to catch up with prior coaching clients and hear how their lives have changed since we last talked. Meeting people on zoom is just not the same as interacting face to face.

Next year’s conference will be held in San Antonio Texas, February 26th through March 1st. I hope to be invited to share my thoughts. If you have never attended this conference, now is the time to sign up and get it on your 2025 calendar. You will also be able to chalk up a little CME.

The swag bag given out at the conference was better than most conference swag bags. Maybe I’m biased because they included my book, The Doctors Guide to Smart Career Alternatives and Retirement in the bag this year. There were two books in the bag that really caught my attention and I read them both on the airplane ride home. They were so inspiring to me, that I have already started implementing life changes from each of these books. Because of this, I decided to tell you about these books which just might change your life as well.

Lean Out by Dawn L. Baker, MD, MS

I first met Dawn at a FINCON conference several years ago, and we have been running into each other at conferences ever since. Her lecture at WCICON24 was, Staying Sane in the Era of Social Media.

Her book, Lean Out, is a guide for professional women to find authentic work-life balance. As I read the book, I noted that even though she wrote it for women, most of the ideas presented in the book pertain to men as well. If you are a professional struggling with work-life balance, it really doesn’t matter if you are male or female. Although there are some differences, I suspect you will find that about 80% of the issues women face are the same as those men face.

This book seems to be a rebuttal to Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, which encourages women to push hard for career success, which may be at the expense of their family. Sandberg is quoted frequently throughout.

Dawn struggled with infertility and shares her journey to motherhood. She believes too many professionals put their career first, thinking that someday, once their career is going great, they can think about starting a family. For many, however, once their career is on track, it is too late physically to start a family. Will the cost be worth the success?

She shares many troubling findings such as:

-Working consistently 55+ hours a week comes with a higher stroke rate. 

-Burnout rates are as high as 77% in many professions. 

-Infertility in US couples is 13%, but that doubles if the woman is a physician. 

-If professional women wait until they are in their 30s to begin thinking about a family, the risk of infertility begins to climb. 

-The average American woman becomes a mother at age 26, but if she is a physician, it is five years later, at 31. 

-Miscarriage rates among women surgeons are more than double the national average.

Her struggles with getting a late start on motherhood and the increase in infertility when one does, generated her message that the clock is ticking. Don’t let work or striving for success come at the expense of having a family. Work should be a benefit to your family, not a replacement.

She is challenging us as professionals and high achievers at work, to become professionals and high achievers at home too. In my High Performance Coaching program I emphasize that high performance doesn’t stop when we get home from work. We can be a high performer at home as well. This is also one of her messages.

She challenges us to think outside the box so we can reach a balance between work and the other facets of our lives. Have the courage to take charge and push for things that will help us do well in both work and at home.

“When I was burned out and ill, I pondered the ultimate question: Should I quit medicine…..I was blinded by all-or-nothing thinking…..Order a different arrangement that’s not on the menu: part time, virtual days, job sharing, a sabbatical, or even just a shift in roles. Just because no one has asked for it before doesn’t mean you can’t be the first. There are so many shades of grey in between the black and white that most people see at work.”

There is a call throughout the book to redefine what we seek when we chase success. 

“For many, success is comprised of two main metrics: salary and job title. Possessions are often included as well.”

If you are a professional, man or woman, and feel you have lost sight of the right things to strive for in life, then maybe it is time for you to Lean Out and consider a new path. One that will lead to the balance you seek. 

The Family Board Meeting by Jim & Jamie Sheils

I met Jim & Jamie Sheils for the first time during WCICON24. Jim gave a lecture titled, Family Strong: How to Enhance Your Most Important Relationships. This lecture stems from their book, The Family Board Meeting, which is a method of connecting with your family members within the hectic life of a professional work schedule.

We all say we spend time with our kids. But how effective is that time if no connection is made between the two of you. Think of how close you grow to your children in the following activities:

-Silently driving your kid to soccer practice while you listen to the radio, and they play on their phone. 

-Being home with the kids but you are in your office, and they are watching TV.

-Eating a family dinner in silence.

-Going on vacation with your family but taking a nanny along to watch the kids.

Each of these activities puts you and your child in close proximity but does nothing to improve or deepen your relationship. None of these foster a relationship that will prompt your child to talk with you first when they have a problem. Think about the following question that is posed in the book:

“When was the last time you spent a whole day alone with your child, with no electronic distractions, while enjoying a fun activity and meaningful conversation?”

If you can’t remember, or it has been more than a year, then I encourage you to read this book.

The basic idea is to have a “board meeting” once a quarter with each child individually. Turn off your phones and do a non-electronic activity of your child’s choosing. Do it together and have fun. At the end of the activity, ask the child, “What was your favorite part of today?” And let the conversation begin. Your kids will cherish these days you spend together, and you will grow closer because of them.

The other concept brought out in the book is the idea of only having 18 summers before your children leave the nest. We only get 18 summers with our kids, so we better make the most of them. By the time your kids leave high school, you will have spent the vast majority of the time you will spend with them over your entire lifetime.

When I compare how often I see my married son now vs. when he was 10 years old, the difference is huge. If you want to make the most of your first 18 summers, please read The Family Board Meeting soon.

Those two books are a snapshot of what this physician wellness conference is all about. It helps us become whole again. There is more to life than our careers. There were also lectures on financial wellness, but this year I did not concentrate on the financial aspects, I chose to focus on physician and family wellness. 

Hope to meet you at a future WCI Conference.

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4 thoughts on “Two Great Books from the White Coat Investor Conference Swag Bag”

  1. I was sorry to have missed this conference. I hope to make the next one.

    Thanks for this summary of those two excellent books. As I get older, I appreciate time away from work and bits of wisdom as you shared here.

  2. Cory, it was great to catch up with you at WCICON. I appreciate your takes on these books. Such as the statement, “Work should be a benefit to your family, not a replacement, in review of Lean Out. I am also acutely aware that I have only about 4 Summers left with my kids at home, so I need to start implementing Board Meetings ASAP. Blessings to you and your family, Eric

  3. Cory, thanks for reading and highlighting my book! It was a pleasure to write and share these ideas with other professionals seeking improved work-life balance. So glad the WCI and doctor financial communities recognize the importance of balance to our overall wellness!


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