Narrator [00:00:00] Creativity and a learning mindset are essential to succeed. Learn how these innovators put these skills to use to become the best in their fields. Welcome to Innovators to know brought to you by ideamix.
Sam Jayanti [00:00:16] In the first phase of her professional life, Dr. Cindy Tsai served as a primary care physician and medical director. In this more recent phase, she’s a writer and a coach, helping impact individuals by enabling them to take control of their own health and wellness. Her book, So Much Better, offers a practical toolkit for reflection and change. Her own healing journey informs her own empathy and advice to her clients, as well as her knowledge of a wide range of therapeutic modalities. To further holistic wellness, Cindy, I’m delighted to welcome you to the show.
Cindy Tsai [00:00:56] Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited for the conversation.
Sam Jayanti [00:01:00] So, Cindy, I covered a few topic areas. What did I not tell our audience that you’d like to share with them?
Cindy Tsai [00:01:08] So I like to see myself as a healer and someone who is here to bring love and light and to help others see that in themselves.
Sam Jayanti [00:01:23] I love that. That’s wonderful. We’re definitely going to come back to that concept. I want to take a quick look at this short video where you talked about it being a good thing to feel uncomfortable. And I definitely agree. Discomfort makes us push ourselves and learn new skills in my view. So let’s take a quick look.
Cindy Tsai [00:01:50] I just coached a client today about how the comfort zone can be very misleading because we may end up doing things or putting up with things to be comfortable, but it may not be for our highest good or for our growth. And as an example, this client has been dealing with challenging relationships in her life and it’s been causing a lot of stress and anxiety and worry, and it’s been really weighing on her and it’s taking up a lot of energy and also time in her day and through coaching. I taught her a lot of tools, techniques and perspectives so that she can move past it and advocate for herself. And if you are a modern superwoman who’s been feeling unsettled or stressed and overwhelmed, even though things look good on the surface because you’ve checked all the boxes, I want you to book a free break through. Call with me, because we’re going to talk about what’s really going on and you’re going to gain insights you’ve never realized. And if it feels aligned, I can share my thoughts and resources to support you to get to the other side with ease because you deserve to enjoy the life you worked so hard for and to feel so much better.
Sam Jayanti [00:03:10] Cindy so what do you think are a couple of great ways for people to actively push themselves outside of their comfort zone. We all fall into these patterns of our daily lives and how do we make a sustained effort to actually push ourselves out of that zone?
Cindy Tsai [00:03:30] So I think it takes intention and it’s also a practice. And I think you’re totally right that we as humans default to the comfort zone, right from a physiological perspective where our brains are wired for survival. And so we’re always looking for things, experiences that keeps us safe. And what that means is things that are familiar, right? Because we know what to expect. And so oftentimes we get essentially almost complacent in a sense, right, when we’re in that place of comfort. So it does take active intention and effort to continually evolve, to grow and expand. And also, I think recognizing that it is uncomfortable change and growth is uncomfortable, but it’s also on the other side, it can also bring you so much more. And really enrich your life in so many more ways that that’s why you do the work, right, so that you can experience the whole spectrum of life.
Sam Jayanti [00:04:47] Yeah, I totally agree. I think it’s fascinating because we in our coaching business encounter so many people who agree with the need to change to push themselves outside of their comfort zone and then struggle with the how. One of the pieces of advice that we always have for people is pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone doesn’t have to be in your workplace or in your role as a wife or parent or sister. It could be something as simple as push yourself to take up a new hobby or try something different. Right. That’s that’s not kind of so fundamentally threatening and challenging, but is almost a sort of enjoyable environment to try something new and. Tell us a little bit about that and in terms of how you help your clients put this into practice.
Cindy Tsai [00:05:45] Yeah, I think that’s a really good point of that. I always say that everyone is different, so the things you need are different and a lot of times I think we have a tendency to look external, to look at what’s going on in the world. You know, there’s so much comparison and we think it has to look a certain way or be a certain way in order for us to be successful or whatever it is. Right. And I think when you are talking about growth and change, whether it’s professional or personal, it’s a process and everyone can do it at their own pace. Yeah. And it’s really about giving yourself permission to do it your way. Right. Like, what are the shoulds that you have to let go of? You know, I think there are people who are like, Oh, I can’t do that. I’ve never done that before. And it’s like, okay, well, but the question is, do you want to do it right? Right. And really tapping into that and also breaking it to smaller digestible pieces. Right. It’s like if you want to run a marathon, you don’t just go out and run a marathon. You know, you got a train wreck. You don’t you don’t go for like, never running too like running 26 miles. No, it’s not really ideal. Right. So it’s and especially as we talk about how we have to learn to be uncomfortable, everyone has a different threshold. Yeah. And so it’s recognizing who you are, right? Recognizing what works for you. Yeah. And building up to that. And I think a common misconception is people think that, okay, if I break it down, if it’s really simple, it’s not going to work or, you know, it’s going to be too slow or like, right, we work with all the high achievers who wanted things done, like yesterday. Yeah. Oh, it’s. But it’s actually on the contrary. Right. I think we see this all the time where it’s like sometimes you have to slow down to speed up. Yeah. And it’s about being in full alignment with who you are. Yeah. Right. Knowing what you need and having that clarity so that you know exactly where you want to go. And then you can be very intentional about the steps, the how and all of that, as opposed to getting stuck in the first part of like, you know, just wanting it all done and then it’s too overwhelming for your system and then you don’t get anywhere.
Sam Jayanti [00:08:27] Now, that’s very well said. And I think it’s a perfect. Segway into. This idea of connecting to our intuition. As you said, everyone is different and we each of us knows ourselves best. No one else can tell us that, even in coaching. In the end, as a coach, you play an interpretive role as sort of a guide and a Sherpa and a way to help individuals map themselves better and understand themselves better. I want to take a quick look at this video where you talked about how hard it is to trust our gut. Let’s take a quick look.
Cindy Tsai [00:09:13] And I spoke on the topic of giving yourself permission to trust your gut. And it’s really important to know that you have all the answers within. You really do. But a lot of times when we’re really stressed out, when we’re overwhelmed, we can’t access, we’re in a state of survival and fight or flight. So we can’t access our inner wisdom and our true knowing. So I led the group in an exercise to connect to your intuition, and it was super well received. People were asking for the recording and so I was able to create a short recording that I wanted to offer to you as a free gift in case you are feeling stuck on something. If you notice yourself saying, I don’t know, I’m not sure. I’m confused. Please try this exercise out. Okay, it’s less than 5 minutes and I provide a simple practice and technique for you to connect to your intuition using your body’s intelligence and wisdom and using that to guide you so that you can make the best decision for you. So try it out. Let me know how it goes. And if you’re really feeling stuck, please come talk to me. You don’t have to be stuck if you don’t want to. Okay.
Sam Jayanti [00:10:23] Cindy, as you said, it is hard to trust our gut and stop second guessing ourselves in a decision making process. What are the steps that you recommend to your clients so they can start to listen to themselves? Start to learn to listen to themselves more?
Cindy Tsai [00:10:42] Yeah, I think it starts with very simple things, right? So I think intuition is a really great skill and tool that helps us in our everyday, whether it’s professional business decisions or also personal life, whatever decisions you’re trying to make and when you haven’t necessarily honed or developed the skill. Yeah, it feels. Very confusing to to like. It’s like, What do you mean, intuition? Like, I don’t know. Know? I don’t know what what answer is.
Sam Jayanti [00:11:20] I don’t even know what that means.
Cindy Tsai [00:11:21] Like. Right, exactly. And so it’s it comes from I always like to break things down and make it very simple. And it starts with the little things. You know, start with things like. The the decisions that are very low stakes. For example, instead of maybe you have to make a decision about, okay, do I let this team member go Right? I mean, that can be really, really stressful. And this this decision that could impact a lot of people, your team and all the things. And so instead of going there, right. Let’s start with something like, okay, what do I want to eat today? What I want for lunch? And just like in tune into your body to be like, okay, well, take a few breaths and see. Ask yourself, like, what do I feel like eating today? And then, you know, it could be the salad, it could be whatever, you know, whatever it is, and then go with the answer that you feel most connected to and then actually do it right. Follow through and then see how you feel after. Right. Because there are certain things. I mean, you know, for me, I know that there are certain foods that just don’t agree with me. Right. I can’t eat really having you like whatever oily, creamy things. And and so I know. But then sometimes you’re like, well, you really want to eat it. Yeah. Okay. So it’s just about really tuning in. And as you continue to build that practice of listening to yourself, yeah, that’s how you build trust in yourself and that’s what strengthens your intuition. Because think about it like a it’s almost like a friend who’s always been there. Yeah, but you haven’t been in conversation, so you haven’t been nurturing and building that friendship. And then it’s almost like all of a sudden you’re like calling them up and be like, Hey, tell me this. I mean, they’re like, confused, right? They’re like, What do you mean? Like, you’ve never talked to me, and now you want me to help you, right? So, So it’s about really rebuilding that relationship and connection. So I really hope people can see it like that and know that, you know, this, this intuition, this skill and ability, your gut, like the answers are there. It’s within, right? And it’s learning to cultivate that relationship again and rebuilding that trust.
Sam Jayanti [00:13:53] Totally agree. I think so much of this ties in to this idea. And I think especially as women, we struggle with this. I know I have in in at visas how to prioritize ourselves. Right. When there’s so many different demands on our time, it’s often a struggle to make an act of decision to. I am going to carve out some time to think about myself, to go exercise for myself, whatever it is you decide to do in terms of how you interpret that. But you had this too, to say in terms of how people can start prioritizing themselves. Let’s take a quick look.
Cindy Tsai [00:14:37] I led a workshop on how to prioritize you and redefine self-care to thrive in work and life, and I shared golden Nuggets for my signature connected program and how it all starts with see for clarity, because we have to know where we want to go in order to get there. Same thing as when we go into our car, putting the address in the GPS and then the GPS can guide us. Right? So same thing. And I wanted to offer you the questions that I shared earlier so that you can start this process too. So, number one, what does taking care of myself look like? Number two, what is preventing me from prioritizing myself? And number three, what does it mean to thrive in work and life? So I want you to pause, save this, take some time to reflect and think about this and really see what do I really need right now. And if you’re ready, if you want the tools and techniques to get you where you want to go, come talk to me about coaching. I’m excited to offer my signature Connected program in a group coaching experience starting in January. Applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis and I really want you to apply, especially if you’re ready to move from a place of constant stress and overwhelm to a place of calm and being unstoppable.
Sam Jayanti [00:15:56] So, Cindy, what are the acts of self-care that you recommend? So people start to do this on a systematic basis. So it’s not a question that they’re asking themselves once a month, but it becomes, as you said, almost part of their daily kind of mindfulness practice of what is the time you carve out for yourself during a day?
Cindy Tsai [00:16:19] Yeah, I think the first thing to know is that, yes, we have limited time in our days, but you actually get to choose how you spend your time. Yeah. And knowing that a lot of self-care practices don’t take long, you know, there’s, all kinds of self-care you can do. And I think a lot of times we have this idea that self-care needs to look a certain way. It’s like those pampering moments. You go to the spa, you know, you go on a retreat, you take this lavish vacation and absolutely, those are great. But it’s also the things you can do in the little moments throughout your day. Yeah, well, a lot of the things, especially with mindfulness, it’s about connecting to the present moment. It’s connecting to your body. It’s taking that simple cleansing breath. You know, it’s grounding, feeling your toes on the ground. Yeah. And these are the things that help you reset and recharge. And so I think it’s really important to recognize that. You are absolutely worthy and deserving of taking care, of being taken care of. You know, and that it’s only when you are well, that you can really be the best you can be. Right. I mean think about when I know for me, when I am so hungry, like if I have been able to eat on on time and it’s like hours. Like I’m hungry and I get hangry. Right? And it’s like I’m not in a good mood.
Sam Jayanti [00:18:10] You and me both.
Cindy Tsai [00:18:11] Yeah, right. And then, you know, so. So that’s an example of when I didn’t take care of myself, Right? And I let myself go way past empty. Then I’m not in a good place, even though I could be like, okay, yeah, you know, let me do this talk this presentation. But from, you know, at the core, I’m not necessarily in as good a place as I could be. Had I been or had I been at the time that I could have or, you know, whatever it is. And and that all adds up. Right. And so I really encourage people to recognize that, hey, it does matter. Right. People can tell when you’re not in a good place, even though, you know, you might look the same. But like, there’s just something there. It’s like you’re not able to be fully, you and bring that best version of you. And I think that, you know, it’s it’s doing a disservice to others and also yourself because you can we do have so much to offer. And it’s so important to to make sure you do take care of yourself along the way.
Sam Jayanti [00:19:16] Yeah, absolutely critical. Let’s shift gears a little bit, Cyndi, For all of us in our lives, in the various ways that we’ve evolved, coaching and mentorship have played a really key role. Whether that’s happened through more informal channels or through more formal ones. Tell us a little bit about the role it’s played in your life.
Cindy Tsai [00:19:39] It’s been so transformative. I can’t even tell you. I think that I. I love coaching work with so many different coaches have in the past continued to and I think that. We it’s we do have the answers within. But a lot of times there’s so much noise, right, that we can’t hear. What we’re really meant to do. And I think coaching offers that support, that very practical and tangible way of really moving past it and making really moving forward. You know, a lot of times when we’re stuck, it can feel it’s like muddy or like this, like sickness. It feels unsettling and, you know, just not a good place to be. But I think coaching for me has been really helpful because I can sort through all of this. I have the support, the wisdom and guidance and also the accountability, too. continue on.
Sam Jayanti [00:20:52] Critical piece.
Cindy Tsai [00:20:55] And, you know, having the discipline and all of that to to continue to evolve and grow and I think be something to to also pay attention to is recognizing that when I always I heard this long time ago and I really liked it, that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Mm hmm. And I think that is so true in terms of the coaching and mentors I’ve had where, you know, depending on where I was, where I am, there are different things that are going to be most helpful and supportive to me, right? And so recognizing that there are different people with different skills that can support you and guide you, and that we all go through phases, right? And that there are there’s so many tools and resources out there that can be supportive. And I think a big part is actually being open to it and giving yourself permission to to know that I actually see it as a huge investment in yourself, right? It’s knowing that you are deserving and worthy of this level of attention and care. Yeah, right. So that you can continue to grow and become better and show up better and share that with all the others in your life as well.
Sam Jayanti [00:22:20] You’ve been through that journey for yourself. Tell us a little bit about what made you want to write so much better.
Cindy Tsai [00:22:27] So, so much better is a bestselling self-help book that’s based on mindfulness. And I share my various tools and techniques. I created the inspiring success Story method, which is comprised of three key pillars of calm, confidence and curiosity. And I saw this. I wrote this book because I kept seeing the same things come up again and again through coaching clients, through my speaking, just talking to different people. And I saw that these things kept coming up again and again. And so I wanted to provide a very simple resource for people to start this process on their on their own right to learn about some of the science behind stress. You know, getting past the, you know, the fear, working through your comfort zone, things like that, and having tangible tools and techniques to really shift your life so that you can become that inspiring success story you’re meant to be.
Sam Jayanti [00:23:34] Love that, and I’m very much looking forward to reading it. Before we wrap up, Cindy, tell us so what message do you have for so many women out there who are sort of who feel stuck, you know, whether it’s in their own heads, whether it’s by their circumstances, they feel stuck in some way. How would you advise them to start to focus on taking care of themselves?
Cindy Tsai [00:24:06] Yeah. And I see this a lot because I, focus on helping these successful women. Right. Who are actually hiding their suffering behind the scenes. And we we live in this world where we strive. We’re expected to have things all figured out, this perfect life and everything in order when in reality, everything is a mess. Yeah. You know, life is messy. Yeah. And nobody wants to admit it. And I think a lot the way we picked up these messages, these beliefs about how we should act and behave in a certain way, that there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. You know, we have to check off the boxes, take care of everything and everyone else. And essentially all of these messages that we receive really, I think, feed into this mistaken belief that we’re not enough. You know that. That we’re not accepted as we are. Yeah. Right. And so the first thing is to. To stop this nonsense that we have to let go of what’s not working for us. Yeah. And so it first comes to the first step is really awareness, right? We have to recognize where we are, what’s not working, because we can’t change what we don’t know. Yeah. Right. And so I think a big part of it is taking those moments, whether it’s 2 minutes or 3 hours, but just creating some space in your life so that you can be with just you. Yeah. You know, having that space to be in silence, to allow the messages, the feelings to come up, to be like, Hey, well, who am I really like? What did I come to do? Did I come to, you know, check off all the boxes, know all of that? Or is it because I have some gifts that I really enjoy and I really am meant to share? You know, I think we talked about this earlier, about how in terms of the educational system, a lot of times we have we’re so focused on performance, on what success looks like, that it’s a very narrow definition and it can be very limiting. And, you know, we’re selling ourselves short. Yeah. And a lot of the clients I work with, they they’re they’ll tell me they’re like, Oh, I would really like to start my own business doing, you know, arts and crafts or this and that. And I’m like, that’s amazing. And, you know, and to really cultivate that and, and they’re like, Oh, but I don’t think I can do it. You know, this is a much safer job. I went to school for this and, you know, I like all of these beliefs that we’ve been fed and held onto.
Sam Jayanti [00:27:21] Conditioned to have.
Cindy Tsai [00:27:22] Yeah, exactly. And it’s about really pausing to question and to really ask yourself, like, things like. You know, if you knew, you couldn’t fail. What would you do differently?
Sam Jayanti [00:27:39] Yeah.
Cindy Tsai [00:27:40] Like if you had special gifts, which we all do, we’re all here for a reason. Like, if you had gifts only you could share. What would you do? And like if there are people out there waiting for you to shine your light, how would you show up? Yeah. Know, and really connecting to that essence of you, right. That’s within and knowing that, you know, it’s it’s you get to do it your way and to really enjoy the process as it unfolds.
Sam Jayanti [00:28:14] That’s great advice and I love the way you put it. You know, if you were guaranteed not to fail, how would you show up and how would you share your own unique light? Because that is the thing each of us has to bring into this world and give it to others. And that is ultimately the path to feeling fulfilled and happy and well.
Cindy Tsai [00:28:40] It really is. And I think especially working with high achieving women and us having our own experiences and journeys ourselves and working through so much of it. Right. It’s breaking through, letting go of a lot of conditioning. Totally. Also, I think for me, growing up in Taiwan, having a lot of the traditional Chinese cultural values and that part of my upbringing, and it’s also recognizing that it’s not either or. It’s not like, you know, having a business not practicing as a physician that’s a failure that, you know, it’s I actually am honoring my family, me and all the things. And so it’s, I think, really helping people see that they do have choices and options and that it’s never too late.
Sam Jayanti [00:29:31] It’s positive evolution. Yeah. Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for joining us.
Cindy Tsai [00:29:37] Thank you.
Narrator [00:29:42] Thanks for listening. Please subscribe wherever you listen and leave us a review. Find your ideal coach at www.theideamix.com. Special thanks to our producer Martin Malesky and singer-songwriter Doug Allen.
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