emDOCs Podcast – Episode 21: Perspectives on Success with Rob Orman

As emergency physicians, we experience a great deal of success, and failure, in our journeys. What can failure and success teach us, and how can we best use these to grow? Today on the emDocs podcast, Brit Long, MD (@long_brit) interviews Rob Orman (@emergencypdx), host of ERCast, the Stimulus Podcast, and Essentials of Emergency Medicine. The first part looked at Rob’s perspectives on failure and how to learn from it. Today we look at success in EM and life.

Rob Orman’s bio: Rob Orman is an emergency physician and multi-award winning educator. He is founder of the ERcast and Stimulus podcasts, and host of Essentials of Emergency Medicine.

For some amazing emergency medicine content, please see ERCast.

The Stimulus Podcast deconstructs ideas and strategies to live and work with intent.

Finally, Essentials of Emergency Medicine is one of the premier emergency medicine conferences. Don’t miss out!

We discuss:

1. Rob’s Impact [00:21]

  • Value your connection with others.
  • Responsibility of fact checking and making sure what is presented is accurate.
  • It has been a privilege to have connections with others and make their lives and patient lives better.

2. Defining success [02:28]

  • The gut reaction is to think about success as an external picture – position, notoriety, etc., but this is empty.
    • There is a lot that is not in your control. Some of it is right place, right time, right connections.
  • Success is not an external picture to Rob, but rather doing things the way they should be done rightly.
    • His picture of success started as mastery of clinical EM through practice, reading, taking lessons from every patient encounter.
    • 10 years or so ago it became education and filling gaps in medical knowledge.
    • Creating education should not only educate, but also bring a smile to you or me because even the parts that people don’t see get a lot of attention.
    • Now, his internal yardstick for success is to spark joy in the lives of others, facilitate awesomeness, and be present. 

3. What has been a driver for success? [07:00]

  • Internal drive to learn new things and get to know someone.
  • When he started ERCast, he wanted to learn the practice on non emergency physicians. For Stimulus, he is able to interview people on ways to improve thinking, structure a life and career to bring more joy.

4. How do you handle success? [10:37]

  • Comes down to a core question –> Who is this about?
  • If what you’re doing is about you and fame, then the only place it will go is to your head. If it’s about others and improving the lives of others, considering the well-being of others in your actions, then it doesn’t go to your head, because it’s not about you at all.

5. Did you have a mentor, and how did he/she help you succeed? [11:49]

  • Several mentors that have helped Rob.
    • Lenny Weinglass – taught self-confidence
    • Karate instructor – no slack, transformative ‘tough love’
    • Ken Walker – Emory physician, personal connection with medical students, importance of compassion
    • Parents – unconditional love

6. Summary of success and failure [16:35]

  • Success isn’t what society would lead you to believe. Focus not on accomplishments/titles/fame, but where is your internal compass pointing? If you can align intention of your actions with that compass, then you have success.
  • Failure is a great teacher, but it’s a gut punch when you fail.
  • Acknowledge the failure, give yourself permission to feel that way, and have self compassion. Look closely to see if you can learn something from it. This are means of accepting the failure, moving on, and growing from the experience. 


Thanks for listening, and check out Rob Orman’s tremendous content at ERCast and The Stimulus Podcast.

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