Rebecca Elia MD, CPCC was interested in wellness and self-care before it became trendy. Initially drawn to medical school because she saw it as a way to help people create healthy lives, she felt that medicine was designed around more of a disease-based model of care, than the holistic model she felt was her calling. Dr. Elia chose the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology because it gave her the opportunity to work in an environment with healthy women.
She combines her unique background, which consists of a psychology degree from UC Berkeley, her medical school education, her obstetrical specialty training and experience living in Greece with her additional qualification as a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach to guide her physician and executive clients and give talks and seminars in the US and abroad to help women along their path to wellness. Here Dr. Elia shares her insight about coaching highly motivated professional women who often find themselves working in a system that does not support them.
What made you think about pursuing work outside of traditional medicine?
I was always interested in helping women create healthier lives. Nothing about my interest in medicine has been conventional.
I was in conventional medicine for the two years it took for me to pass my board exams, pay back my student loans, and become a partner at Kaiser. Two months after making partner, I moved across the country to practice with Dr. Christiane Northrup in her holistic gynecology practice. She was the only person I knew at the time practicing the way I always envisioned practicing. So, in this practice, I was able to do what I do best--helping women create health in their lives.
I also became acutely aware of how the transitions that occur naturally in a woman's body connect to other aspects of their lives. Our menstrual cycles are set up in a way that naturally protects us--half of the cycle geared toward getting us pregnant, things that propel us forward in the external world--productivity, speed, etc, and the other half is really about preparing for a pregnancy--more rest, more heightened emotions, energy directed toward our inner world and needs.
I have always come from this perspective. I have actually been coaching for a very long time. So, when I realized that a coaching certification program existed that was consistent with what I was already doing, that I could become certified and create a career that allowed me to help women identify what they truly want and value and give them the tools to get there, I was thrilled. You see, my whole life has been about this. It just took years of experience and the rest of the world to catch up with me.
Now I work with physician moms who are so busy they are worried about their health and wellbeing and how this affects their children. I help them live vibrantly so that they can have extraordinary lives with their loved ones.
How do clients find you?
Most of my clients have come through referrals. I also connect with women physicians through various groups. I give talks and presentations that are highly experiential--filled with coaching exercises. I even have an experiential webinar through Kaiser Health Talks, called Finding Fulfillment that is available to anyone in the United States.
Right now I'm mostly doing one-on-one coaching, but this means I do not take on many clients as I wish to devote my full attention to those I work with.
I do give presentations and plan to create workshops and seminars for women physicians and professional women leaders, because I want to be able to provide support for more women.
What advice do you have for other doctors?
I direct this to women physicians.
Be true to yourself. You cannot fool yourself. If the situation you are currently in is not consistent with what you value, what you want in your life, then you are going to be miserable.
Practice kindness and compassion toward yourself.
Practice self-care--and by that I mean physical, emotional, and spiritual
Ask for help--this is actually a sign of strength, not weakness, as so many of us have been incorrectly taught. My motto as a physician has always been that my patients will be the safest if I know what I don't know. This is also true for ourselves and our own well-being.
Be courageous in blazing your own trail.
Seek a fulfilling life. Be willing to make changes. Believe in yourself. Change your perspective. Because, look, if you cannot visualize what you truly want, you have zero chance of getting there.
The most important: never give up on yourself and the vision you have for your life.
Rebecca’s webinar, Finding Fulfillment on KB Health Talk
Physician Success Stories