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  • Ricka Robb Kohnstamm

What is essential to you today and tomorrow and actually forever?


When you've got a big decision to make or a new initiative to lead or are feeling pushed up against the wall, does the emergent energy come flying out of you in sharp words and pointy elbows?

Does it flood out in tears behind closed doors?

Does it shut you down into a frozen state so the only thing you feel really capable of doing is numbing down with the pint of zebra ice cream in the freezer?

Oooph. So much riding on knowing which way to go, what to do, getting it right.

With all of that energy swirling around managing the pressure, sturdiness flies out the window.


What would it feel like to ground yourself in a framework from which to work so that you feel confident internally, no matter what happens externally?


What would it take to embed that framework with what is essential to you today and tomorrow and actually forever?


And how might that make you sturdier?

As you think about what is essential and how that supports sturdiness, consider these four things...


What is my dream? In my sessions with clients, we often step back to dive deep into the dream. Imagine, create, think about what really matters to you. And then bring everything - every decision, every opportunity, every question - back to this framework.

  • "My dream is build appropriate subspecialty care for underserved children in my state."

  • "My dream is to practice failing so that I can live a fuller life."

  • "My dream is to create a cancer protocol that can be applied reliably through systems on an international scale."

  • "My dream is to thrive in my junior year in college."

  • "My dream is to create my forever home in my new community."

  • "My dream is to know my adult children better and to have them know me."

  • "My dream is to create emotional safety for myself within my marriage."

Take the time to do the work of imagining your dream. Own it.


Next, consider what is essential to make that dream happen... what do you need?

  • "My dream is build appropriate subspecialty care for underserved children in my state."

    • I need to work in a system that will support my dream.

    • I need to be courageous about vocalizing my vision to my CMO and system president.

    • I need to be willing to take risks.

    • I need to build supportive relationships.

  • "My dream is to practice failing so that I can live a fuller life."

    • I need to actively step out of my routine.

    • I need to take risks.

    • I need to share my dream with my wife so that she can support me.

    • I need to celebrate failing.

  • "My dream is to thrive in my junior year in college."

    • I need to think about what is important to me, besides grades.

    • I need to create a plan before I get on campus.

    • I need to grapple with my anxiety and actively manage it.

    • I need to reach out to people who "get" me and will support my growth.

  • "My dream is to know my adult children better and to have them know me."

    • I need to spend time getting to know myself better, including my growth edges and blind spots.

    • I need to invite my children into conversation, knowing that they may not have the same dream I have.

    • I need to give myself permission to take my time... relationships evolve, not only with myself, but with others.

  • "My dream is to create emotional safety for myself within my marriage."

    • I need to understand myself and my choices, growth edges, blind spots.

    • I need to look with compassion at why I have allowed myself to not feel safe for so long.

    • I need to invite my partner into conversation, knowing they may not view our marriage the same way I do.

    • I need to remember that I can handle whatever comes next, as long as I walk with courage and integrity and kindness.


What is essential to me about my dream?.

  • "My dream is build appropriate subspecialty care for underserved children in my state."

    • Children in my state do not have the basic care that they need to thrive. Building that for them is where I want to spend my professional energy. This work is essential to me.

  • "My dream is to practice failing so that I can live a fuller life."

    • I have been driven to succeed throughout my life because I grew up terrified that I would be left without support if I failed. I know, as an adult, that I am loved by my family and am doing fine professionally; it is time I that I take good care of that inner child and help him take some risks and expand what is possible. This work is essential to me.


What will become possible as I build that dream?

  • "My dream is build appropriate subspecialty care for underserved children in my state."

    • It is possible that I will build systems that save children's lives.

    • It is possible that our system will become a model for other states, which means that more children will be able to live fuller lives.

    • It is possible that I will spend my career doing something I am deeply passionate about.

  • "My dream is to practice failing so that I can live a fuller life."

    • It is possible that I will expand my capacity - I know that failing will not feel familiar or comfortable for me at first.

    • It is possible that I will model stretchiness and vulnerability for my children.

    • It is possible that I will experience much more of life so that at the end of my life, I won't have regrets.

Now put your plan where you can see it. And then bring everything - every decision, every opportunity, every question - back to this framework. Notice how that feels.


How can focusing on what is essential create sturdiness for you?


As always, behaviors aligned with values support optimal health.

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Hello, I'm Ricka.

Ricka Kohnstamm Executive & Physician Coach Profile Photo

I'm a Nationally Board Certified (NBC-HWC) Integrative Health and Wellbeing Coach. I specialize in working with physician leaders, corporate leaders, non-profit executives and their families to navigate complex work and personal issues so they can strengthen their relationships, heal, and feel hopeful about the future again. 

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