Personalised Medicine Meets Personalised Practice
Today we welcome practitioner business mentor Tammy Guest to Wellness by Designs. Listen in as Tammy reveals the many opportunities practitioners have to create a personalised practice that amplifies your gifts and talents, which manages your energy and your health and works for you rather than you working for it.
Hey There! I’m Tammy Guest.
Business Mentor, Speaker, Author, Facilitator and Freedom-Seeker.
It’s my mission to amplify the mindset, lifestyle and possibilities for change-makers like you, so that you can go out there and activate change for your clients, yourself and the world.
My passion lies in facilitating the expansion of possibility for driven entrepreneurs. Through guided mentoring and immersive experiences, I drive your ability to create a business and a lifestyle that is beautifully aligned to you and allows you the perfect environment to create, innovate, and lead in ways you haven’t been able to.
Connect with Tammy:
References and Resources
Tammy’s Business Resources: www.tammyguest.com/resources/
Andrew: Welcome to “Wellness by Designs.” I’m your host, Andrew Whitfield-Cook. Joining us today is Tammy Guest, a Bachelor of Science naturopath, who’s a natupreneur, entrepreneur, mentor, and pilot. And today we’re talking about personalized medicine meets personalized practice. Welcome to “Wellness by Designs,” Tammy. How are you going?
Tammy: Hi, Andrew. It’s so good to see you.
Andrew: It’s great to be chatting with you again. Now, before we go into the topic, can we… because there’s going to be a few people who may not know you, certainly, everybody in Australia knows you, but there may be some people overseas who don’t know you. Can you take us through a little bit of your backstory first because people don’t really recognize that you’ve got a long history in healthcare prior to naturopathy?
Tammy: Yeah, that’s right. I often get the kind of lovely compliment that I look a lot younger than my CV would actually say. So, after doing my first uni degree, I spent a decade in pathology and cancer research. And I used to joke that I chopped up people’s bits for a living because I spent a lot of time in histology. And the cool thing about that time in my life was that I learned a lot about being able to read and understand research, in particular, and contribute to research on the kind of backside of it. And then I spent a lot of time being excited about the human body, how it worked, what it did, you know, the genuine size. If you’ve ever seen a gallbladder, it’s such an exciting thing. You know, us as natural health practitioners, you know, we tend to conceive of these things and assist people through their healing journey. But to actually see and hold a gallbladder in your hands or other bits and pieces, it really floated my boat at the time.
There was something missing though, and the reason I got into it, in the first place, was because of the connection with the human that was in the body. And you don’t really get that when you’ve got a piece of them there or a test tube there. So, I retrained as a naturopath. And I had a really busy practice, where I went through a journey of burnout multiple times, like many practitioners do. But I saw thousands and thousands of people, and I didn’t realize a lot of practitioners didn’t have the opportunity to do that. So, I started mentoring practitioners and giving them an idea about how to run a practice in their own way. And along with their gifts, their talents and in alignment with them and being able to support their dreams. And one of my dreams was to fly a helicopter, as you mentioned. And so, yeah. One of the things that perpetuated and motivated me to do so well in my clinical practice was to be able to do these things on the side that really filled up my cup. And when I started doing that, things just changed for me, especially in the adrenal fatigue space.
Andrew: Okay. So, I have to make the comment that you are one of the most positively focused women that I know. Were you always like that even as a child? Like, I have this real hard time imagining you doing histology.
Tammy: So, I always want to do my best, and I have a little bit of a background in coaching and Clifton StrengthsFinder, so somewhere in six or seven is Maximizer which is that good to great scenario. So, whatever I’m feeling like I’m good at, I want to get great at it. So, whatever is in front of me, that’s exactly what I do, whether it is histopathology and staining it perfectly, chopping it perfectly with that thin blade, doing my best to converse with the chief pathologist, or, you know, flying a helicopter, or going and running retreats in five different countries, you know, that kind of thing.
Andrew: But there’s also that point that you make about dealing with parts of the human body. I can always remember going into the wet works. What do you call it? Forgive me.
Tammy: Yeah, the wet lab? Yeah.
Andrew: Yeah, the wet lab. Thank you. Where you get to see the inside of a belly button, and you get to understand just how thin the ankle is, and how much weight and pressure. But then if you can take that back to reality to how people move through their daily life, what happens when you get an umbilical hernia? You know, all of these sort of real human things. That’s when the importance of the wet lab stuff comes out, and you realize just how useful it’s been.
Tammy: Absolutely. And it just becomes so tangible. I think that as humans, one of our gifts is to have the patent recognition system that we do, that is the RAS in our brain and our mind. The thing about it, though is, once you’ve seen it in reality, and then someone’s describing it to you, and then you’re starting to consider the other underlying biochemical mechanisms, you’re literally just going from that macro to micro and back out again, to then convey it and educate your client. It’s such a wonderful, wonderful profession to be in.
Andrew: And I guess that’s a loose connection to what we’re going to talk about today. And that’s personalized medicine meeting personalized practice, slightly different. So, let’s frame this up. What exactly are we talking about here?
Tammy: So, we’re all kind of used to the idea of personalized medicine. We’re all used to understanding that each individual needs an individual prescription and individual lifestyle factors, whether they are at a particular age, whether they have grown up in a particular environment, particular experiences, whether they’re a parent that’s going through lifestyle changes with their children, we’re going to tailor what we suggest for them on the healing journey for them exactly right now. And the interesting thing is, we don’t just keep it the same for every individual, we were going to tweak it depending on what’s happening. And the thing about running a practice is, it’s a similar scenario. We’re not a stagnant being, we have different things happening in our lives that affect the way that we show up in our business or our practice. There’s different energy cycles that we go through, depending on if we’re a new grad who’s just full of information and slightly adrenally fatigued, whether were a new mum, or whether somebody is an empty nester, for instance. And I’ve seen all the way across that scope. But what we’re taught is not to change our practice, what we’re taught is to keep it the same one-on-one situation along the way. And there’s so many opportunities to have a practice that is personalized for you and amplifies your gifts and talents, where you are in your lifestyle, what your dreams and your aspirations are. And that manages your energy and your health and works for you rather than you working for it.
Andrew: So, what we’re talking about here is really evolution of us in our practice, because, like I take your point I could understand…forgive me, creating a picture in my mind, I hope I describe it well. But I’m thinking about, you know, for instance, the old doctors that I’ve met, and, you know, then the old naturopaths as well. But this picture in my mind is Dr. Whitworth [SP] who was my childhood doctor, in Orange. And he was the really lovely kind doctor, who used to give you a lollipop after the console, but he was a really lovely man. And I could imagine him starting out his practice as a young doctor, seeing my younger mother, and then evolving to bring along the children and see us sort of grow up and then taking it back to his perspective. His, as you say, his aspirations, his requirements throughout life, with his own family, with his own dreams, wanting to travel, dah, dah, dah, would evolve in its own way as well. So, we’re talking generations, lifestyle, disease progression as well.
Tammy: Absolutely. And we see it time and time again with practitioners going through different things, Patricia King [SP] describes them so well, in divorce, death, you know, detachment, changes that really…you know, we’re humans too, and we have this interesting opportunity in practice to be the change that we would like to see. And having the opportunity to change your practice based on what’s happening for you and your lifestyle so that it doesn’t become a burden, so it doesn’t become stagnated and it actually becomes part of the evolving profession in and of itself. So, what I’ve seen, particularly in this era that we’ve lived in, the pandemic era that we’ve lived in, is that we were kind of forced to change, we were kind of forced to move into telehealth even if we weren’t there yet. And I’ve been talking about telehealth for nearly a decade, but now it’s in the vernacular of both patients and doctors. And it’s something that we have the opportunity to pick up on because there’s been an evolution in society, not necessarily an evolution in our practitioner lives but there’s an evolution in society that called for an evolution in our practice. And we had the opportunity to step up and say, “Yeah, we can totally connect online.” In the same way that we have an opportunity when something comes inside of us rather than outside of us to choose it first, so we could choose telehealth first, we could choose educating first. We see so many practitioners in the education space, writing incredible books contributing to the body of work that is natural health. There’s so many chances to do this now, but it’s giving yourself permission to be able to do that before it’s kind of forced from the outside.
Andrew: Okay. But to get to that spot, you’ve got to identify it, like, for instance, you were working in pathology, you realized, “I can help other people rather than just giving a diagnosis or some sort of snippet of pathological information so that somebody else can make a diagnosis, I can actually help them heal.” You mentioned about during the pandemic, people will force to shift to online, tele consults, things like that. But there’s other choices that we make along the way as well. Some people decide they want to niche their practice in a certain way. Some people decide they don’t want to deal with patients. But in all of this, we have to identify that need. How do you identify the correct shift that you need to make, given that if you don’t, you’re just going to go down that rabbit hole of burnout?
Tammy: Yeah. So, that’s one of the biggest questions I get asked all the time actually, is…
Andrew: Right. Okay.
Tammy: “How do I know which way I’m supposed to go?” And I didn’t know I was in adrenal fatigue. When I had practitioner burnout, compassion burnout, whatever you want to call it, the first time around, I didn’t stop to notice the signs and the symptoms. And similarly, when we know that something’s not quite right about our practice, but we keep on pushing through, and doing the one-on-one consultations or doing the thing that doesn’t quite feel right unless we know what to look for, like you rightly pointed out, we’re not quite sure what to actually do about any of it. And so to identify the symptoms that you can look for when it comes to, do I need to actually personalize my practice to come in more alignment of where I am in my life right now, where I want to be going with my dreams, goals, and aspirations, and where I want to go with my health and my own well-being? So, some of those.
First one is the things you were always doing, that always seemed to work, don’t work anymore. And I’ve seen it time and time again with my mentees that it seems like there’s an invisible wall pushing up against you that the types of clients that you get are the ones that you don’t want anything to do with. The
ones that you see their name appear in the calendar and you’re like, “Oh, not again.” When the things that were shuffling through the word of mouth, all of those things that were working for you before that had that flow of clients, those wonderful clients that you just can’t wait to see, were coming through, and that starts to dry up or something different changes. And it doesn’t matter what you do, whether it’s mindset, whether it is marketing, whether it is tools around your business model, it just doesn’t seem to work. Something needs to shift there.
Another one is obviously burnout and we see it a lot in our profession. I’ve seen it from both sides of the coin, whether it is people who are burning out in the telehealth space. There’s a lot of really cool research coming out from Stanford about what it looks like to be on Zoom consistently and its impact on your health. And so is there burnout from the choices you’ve had to make around this? Or is it the other way around, that you’re sitting in your position in front of people, and then thinking, “I wonder if I could do this online, and how much quicker and shorter it might be?” So, I can see it from both sides, but when that little niggling feeling of burnout, things aren’t working the way that they always have done. Or the third one is that that kind of voice in the back of your head that says, “What if?” And I hear it time and time again from my mentees of, “Oh, what if…?” and then there’s quickly followed by a but, “What if I did teach because my background is in teaching? What if I did niche in such and such because I know them so well? What if I brought on another practitioner to help me in my practice? What if?” And then there’s a but. Usually, the but kicks in and goes, “Oh, no, but I’m not ready. Oh, no, but I don’t have enough money for that. Oh, I don’t have enough experience.” But, but, but, but, but. But those are the three ones. Yeah.
Andrew: Okay. So, there was something that you said earlier, and it was about that burning out on telehealth. I was speaking with Robbie Clark about, like, you know, consulting online and the support mechanisms that you are required to do that effectively. But one of the things that we both agreed on basically was that telehealth can do so much, and it certainly can do more than what we thought. We’ve had to learn that. But it can’t hold somebody’s hand when they’re crying. It can’t put your hand on their shoulder when they’re depressed and say, “It’s going to be okay.” You just have to do the eye talk. So, that physical contact or that closeness, that human social support, if you like, isn’t there. So, taking that back to the practitioner identifying a shift, do you think part of it is to have a good social support network so that if you can’t identify it, they can?
Tammy: Yeah, absolutely. It’s an amazing thing that’s come out of this pandemic era as well. You’re right on all of those levels, I feel like telehealth is here to stay. And the gold standard is obviously holding hands being able to pass the tissue, you know, at that appropriate time. But the other thing that’s come out of the pandemic that a lot of research has shown, particularly for practitioners is the debriefing mechanism that we have. Now, initially, when the first lockdown started to happen around the world, everyone was worried that that debriefing would stop because that usually happens over what they termed in some of the research the water cooler effect, to having those conversations in between clients over the water cooler. But what’s happened is, groups specifically for that have started to arise. You’re specifically finding people who are like-minded to have these conversations with, who are actually probably more worldly, more well-rounded, more…there’s a more of a breadth of the people who you’re connecting with that you wouldn’t have over the local water cooler, for instance. So, I do really believe that having the social circle of like-minded people around you to reflect back at you when things are going a little awry and starting to notice and having at front of mind your capacity for compassion, your capacity for clients, your capacity for what you’re hoping for in your practice, is really important. Great point.
Andrew: Well, great point by you because of that water cooler effect. I’ll give you a perfect example. With my previous colleagues, during the earliest stages of COVID lockdown, we had regular group meetings, and I actually felt more connected with the team than I had previously because I hadn’t had that opportunity to connect with everybody, at one stage, it was always like a one or another, something like that. Whereas, yeah, what we’re talking about here is this almost like a group water cooler effect, a damn big water cooler. But you mentioned something about when things don’t work the way they used to and people saying, “but,” and things like that, how do you then garner the courage to go, “To hell with it, I’m moving.”
Tammy: There is always going to be a “What if?” And when there’s that sneaky “What if?” Elizabeth Gilbert talks about it in her book, “Big Magic.” And she talks about that ideas come to play with us for a reason. They don’t play with every single person in the room, they play with us for a reason. So, she gives sentience to ideas. And if the “What if?” is playing with you, that’s happening for a reason, that’s happening for you. And the opportunity there is rather than “What if?” it’s the reframe of “Why not?” And I actually remember having a podcast about this with you a long time ago, Andrew.
Andrew: Yes. Yes.
Tammy: It’s the “Why not? A lot of well-known coaches use the “Why not?” to garner, you know, worst-case scenario, what’s going to happen? And, for instance, I help a lot of practitioners move online in the education space, creating ed courses and things. And it’s well, why not rather than what if? “What if it doesn’t work?” “What if it does work?” “What if it can get you into a little bit of a conundrum?” “But why not?” “Well, yeah, but…” “Why not?” “Well, it’s gonna cost me a little bit of money.” “Yeah, but it was gonna cost you a bit of money anyway.” “It’s gonna cost me a bit of time.” “Yeah, but why not? Because it could help so many more people, including yourself.” So, yeah. I think that’s one of the good fillips that happen.
Andrew: But you know what’s really interesting about that phrase, if you think about creative visualization, and I love repeating this, but if you think about creative visualization, they say, never motivate to a negative or never a negative in that sentence, which you are supposed to not do. But anyway, it’s like phonetic, phonetic…
Tammy: But a negative plus a negative equals a positive, right?
Andrew: The word that says spell it how you say it, having a PH and an OE in it. So, with regards to that creative visualization, and triggers and how the human mind works with danger signals and protection, and being safe, and that sort of stuff, “Why not?” is an interesting negative-positive, isn’t it?
Tammy: It is, yeah, yeah. And it’s a wonderful flip for your brain to quite, not quite handle and handle at the same time. So, it creates a cognitive dissonance enough for you to think differently.
Andrew: So, let’s talk about options. You know, what options do we have then to move on with?
Tammy: So, during this time, we have garnered that terminology of pivoting in business. And although it can seem a bit cringe-worthy, it is kind of true. Pivoting in a helicopter means that if you are turning one direction, even one degree, and if we’re talking about a long cross-country kind of navigation, if you turn just one degree, half an hour later, you’re going to be about 20 kilometers off course. And it’s a similar effect in what we are doing in our practice. If we just pivot one degree, in six months’ time, in 12 months’ time, they could make a massive shift in your practice. And so particularly over these past 18 months during this time, I’ve seen more and more practitioners move online, whether that is through telehealth, whether it’s stepping into the education space of creating courses, creating webinars, being part of the podcasting community and getting your message out that way, whether it is speaking on virtual stages, whether it is running virtual retreats. These are all education spaces that we probably didn’t take as much opportunity even as much of proactive space in before as practitioners. But we have an opportunity
to do that now, and it’s much more accessible for patients as well as other practitioners.
I’ve seen a lot of practitioners pivot into mentoring, people who have been in practice for 5 years, 10 years 20 plus years, with all of this incredible experience, creating opportunities for the next generation of practitioners to understand with the lenses that we’ve been possibly missing, possibly shifting over this past decade, in particular, in the natural health space. We’ve also seen plenty of practitioners move into writing books and leaving their legacy. And we’ve also seen a whole bunch of people doing what I call a side hustle, and many newbie practitioners, people who are just coming out. And the world has shifted and changed, everybody’s locked down, but they had something that they did prior to being a practitioner. They did something and often we hold them back, and we put an arm behind our back as though it’s something that we don’t want everyone to know.
Similarly to what you asked me, you know, “What did you do before you were in practice?” “Ah, I was in pathology and cancer research.” But if we bring the two of them together, I was in pathology in cancer research, and I’m a naturopath. And I brought the two of them together and actually made a course about pathology and interpreting pathology. It’s those kinds of meshes and side hustles that have been starting to happen in the naturopathic community. People who have a background in finance, who are in the naturopathic community, creating an ecosystem for naturopathic doctors and practitioners so that we don’t have to speak a really weird language of finance, or a really weird language of graphic design or website design, and things like that. There’s practitioners who have these backgrounds that they’re bringing to the forefront and creating a great ecosystem for practitioners to be able to help one another.
Andrew: Well, talking about helping one another, I mean, one of these focal points is the Natupreneur Hub, I’ve got to say because it just comes up from so many people time and time again, and disparate people. It just comes up as a comment, “I needed help with a website, so I got onto the Hub,” you know, “I needed help with loans, so I got onto the Hub.” It’s really interesting. So, anybody if you’re out there, Natupreneur Hub, we’ll put the link in the show notes for you. I also absolutely adore one thing that you said there, and that was legacy. How often have I said to these old greats, I called them, and sadly, we lost one last year, Alan Profke. Oh, I get teary. Damn. But how often have we said to these old greats, you know, “There will be a day where you will leave this earth, and if you haven’t left a legacy, your expertise will be lost forever.”? You know, like, we don’t know that certain dye that they used in ancient Egypt, we don’t know the true way of making Damascus steel, because nobody passed down the legacy. So, it’s so important. I hear you there, I really do hear you. The other thing was a, you said about pivoting just one degree, and it tweaked something in my mind about a movie with Susan Sarandon, and I think Orlando Bloom. And the only thing that I got from that movie, I know, it’s weird, and I can’t say it verbatim, but it was basically Susan Sarandon said, “Any forward motion is a positive thing.” Any forward motion is a positive thing. Just don’t step back, just go forward.
Tammy: I love that. I love that.
Andrew: So, along those lines, and along, you know, pivoting just that one degree, when we’re talking about overcoming fear, what sort of pearls, clinical pearls of wisdom can you give us about the fear, the reason for fear, and how we overcome that to move forward?
Tammy: Yeah. So, flying a helicopter and learning to fly a helicopter is definitely a lovely tester in the fear space. The thing is, fear is going to be there, no matter what. It’s a wonderful, wonderful place of wisdom around danger. You know, it’s a great thing. Fear is such a great guide. It’s when fear, instead of sitting next to you in the helicopter, comes and takes a hold of the controls that things go awry. It’s really great to have fear sitting beside you, or even in the back. And it might come and send it’s awooga [SP] alarms out there and all of the things in the back of your brain so that your amygdala and everything else turns on and reminds you about possible danger, which is really important. But it needs to sit next to you, rather than trying to push it out because the more we resist, it will persist. So, the more where you’re trying to push it out the window, the more it’s going to push back. So, instead, being friends with fear, knowing it’s going to be there, and then flying the helicopter anyway.
Now, same thing goes, we call it “pilot in command” in a helicopter. But as soon as I started to think about putting my “pilot in command” hat on in my business, things changed. If I was going to take a project, and I felt really fearful, I didn’t know what was going to happen, fear of failure, fear of stuffing it up, fear of judgment, all those types of things, it’s going to be there anyway. Instead of it being inside me, if I pop it to the side, have a listen, acknowledge it’s there, and still be the pilot in command of my business and my projects, then I can make a clear-cut decision, I can be more confident in what’s going on. But being friends with fear in the passenger seat, rather than letting it take control. So, as much as that old adage, “feel the fear and do it anyway.” I think there’s something in between there is feel the fear and be friends with it rather than resist it because it’ll persist and do it anyway. Because if that idea is dancing with you, it’s dancing with you for a reason. It’s there because you’re here to bring that to fruition in the world, for your clients, for your life, for your family. It’s there specifically for you, so it’s just up to you to take it. And if fear is trying to get in and tell you not to take it, it’s not fear’s decision to make, it’s absolutely your decision. So, yeah.
Andrew: I love the spin that you put on things to bring us back and go, you know, like, there is a negative to any positive situation, but it’s not just this blind acceptance. It’s giving it its reverence, if you like, but saying sit in your own seat, though. I like it. I love it. Tammy, you can teach us so much and too much for one podcast but thank you so much for taking us through personalized practice today. I just adore what you have to, it’s not just say, it’s you teach me every time I speak with you. So, thank you for teaching us about this today.
Tammy: Thank you so much for having me, Andrew. Thanks so much, Designs for Health.
Andrew: And we’ll put, of course, all of the relevant links up on the Designs for Health website. So, thank you so much for joining us today on “Wellness by Designs.” I’m Andrew Whitfield-Cook.