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  • Ricka Robb Kohnstamm

What would happen if you actively dealt with that nagging "what if"? 

If only, then what?

"I hate supervising! I spend too much of my time doing what I hate. If I could stop doing that..."

"I scream at my kids way too much. It doesn't feel good but I lose control when they are home so much. If I could stop doing that..."

"I am so frustrated with that person in my family who refuses to listen to me. I spend so much time trying new strategies to get him to listen and do what I am asking. If I could stop doing that..."

"You would think I lived in a sealed up box, I live in a neat and tidy life, but now the years are moving quickly and I sense I am missing out on a lot. What is wrong with me? If I could stop doing that..."

Notice how easy it is to identify what feels itchy, what is holding you back. Yet, also notice that it is easier to stay with what feels normal - even if it is uncomfortable - than it is to make a big change. And the reality is that when we make change, we actually are faced with the question, "Then what???"

What will replace the thing or behavior or habit we don't like? What will there be space for?

Imagine what is possible.

Consider these three strategies to increase your motivation...

Put a frame around the energy-sucking attributes that no longer serve you. Focus "out" and then "in" while you scan your life (and what better time to do that then as the New Year is starting?). a) Scan "out" on your relationships, your work, your home life, this past year... and while you do that, b) scan "in" on the sensations you feel in your body. Notice where you get flutters in your stomach, when your shoulder tightens up, where you start to breathe shallowly, where your mind automatically wants to cling. Notice. Take notes. Frame up what you notice in large sweeps. "I hate conflict." "I hate supervising." "I am doing what everyone else expects, but not what I love." Be gentle with yourself, exhale. Stand up and walk.

Now narrow it down.

1). What specifically do you hate about conflict? "I hate conflict with my work partner because I am afraid I will come to the realization that I don't want to work with the organization any longer."

2). Who do you hate supervising? "I hate supervising professionals who are trained differently than I am and who provide care for our patients that does not synch with my standards."

3). What are you doing that others expect and what do you want to be doing? "I spend my days creating financial spreadsheets for companies going through acquisition - it is the career my parents expected me to do, but I would rather be running a ski lodge in Montana."

If you couldn't fail, what would you do? Consider letting go of the predetermined story you have created about what will happen if you change your patterns and consider what you might decide if you couldn't fail.

1). "I will have an honest, kind conversation with my work partner, outlining what is not working for me, and before that I will start to think about what I am willing to do and what I want next so that I come to the conversation responsively rather than reactively."

2). "I will tell our CEO in an honest, respectful way that I am not comfortable supervising a particular group of staff members and that I am giving notice for that part of my position, and before I do that I will start to consider how I might bring additional value to our practice group doing the things I love and am really good at. As a practice leader, I want to work with my strengths."

3). "I know that my parents want me to be financially independent and that is fair - so I will stop blaming them for my career choices, and I will get busy considering what I need to do to make a career 180. If I really want to run a ski lodge in Montana, what will it take? It is scary to think about making a change and it is ok to realize that and not let it keep me stuck."

And then take the very next step that feels right...

Actions, aligned with values, support optimal health.


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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