Getting Unstuck Phase II (with Butters)


Hello again!

I know a few of you are curious about what’s been happening since my last blog on getting unstuck in my business.

But I know most of you really want to hear about Butters the Goat! (Hang on, he’s coming).

Let me tell you, a good way to get unstuck is to make your situation public – nothing like a little pressure to get the gears in motion.

A long time ago I had an Australian tennis coach. He loved to tease me right before I’d serve by yelling out in his charming accent, “No presshah Heathaar, no presshah!

Right now I’m hearing his voice ringing in my ears, “No presshah Heathaar!”

Let me fill you in on what’s been happening…

If the first phase of getting unstuck was, Preparing the Launching Pad, this next phase is turning out to be The Phase of Exploration.

I’m calling this The Phase of Exploration because this part makes me think of some of the things the great explorers must have dealt with before embarking on their grand adventures.

There is research to do (lots), guides to hire, money to spend, mistakes to be made, and likely some wily critters to be reckoned with.

Lewis and Clark are high on my list of esteemed explorers. In his book, Undaunted Courage, Stephen Ambrose describes in great detail about all the preparations that took place before Lewis and Clark departed on their epic journey. Before launching into the unknown, Lewis spent countless hours learning from Thomas Jefferson, as well as the leading scientists and physicians of the day.

If only Lewis had had some podcasts to listen to!

For me, so much of my learning and research is coming from binging on podcasts. I’m listening to podcasts on online course creation, marketing, SEO (search engine optimization), copywriting, webinars, membership sites, and even podcasts on podcasting.

Holy cow! It’s incredible how much you can learn from podcasts. Through this little Bluetooth in my ear, whole new worlds are opening up.

What’s starting to shift for me is being able to picture what’s possible for my business in addition to what I’m doing already with the one-to-one coaching. Before, all I had were vague ideas. Now I have more concrete information and can see some actual steps. Getting closer to the possibilities through gathering information has bolstered my energy and sense of direction.

I realized what I needed next was a guide.

Finding a Guide.  I needed a Sacajawea. A Yoda. A Gandalf. Maybe all three. Since the things I’m considering doing, I’ve never done before, I’m eager for help – especially with all the tech stuff. Ugh.

Instead of one guide, I’ve found a lot of different experts whom I’m learning from through the podcasts and getting help from in different ways.

– I enrolled in Marie Forleo’s B School, which teaches the fundamentals of having an online business.

– I am learning an incredible amount from Amy Porterfield’s podcast. And I’m also in her B School Bonus program which is fantastic.

– Although I have not gotten very far, Pat Flynn’s podcasting course is excellent.

– I found a local vocal coach to help me with the issues I’ve had for a long time with my voice.

– I’ve hired a web designer to help me update and bring a fresh new look to the Doctor’s Crossing website.

I’m looking at all the learning and changes as an investment in myself and the business. No matter how much I spend, it will still never come close to the cost of my medical education! So I’ve been….

Burning the Credit Card

I’m more than happy to pay for help. Expert guidance saves a lot of time and money in the end. But there can be some trial and error in knowing who and what you need and when.

Making Mistakes

With all my binging on podcasts, I’m hearing about all these cool online courses and programs for business owners. I went a little crazy and bought a number of courses in a short period of time. I’m not normally much of a shopper, but this was EXCITING! However, four courses are too much to do all at once (at least for me). And there was quite a range of quality. Several I would NOT buy again.

However, I’m discovering what makes for a great course and learning experience. And I’m also learning I need to tell myself, Slow down Nellie because it’s easy to lose focus and get too far away from the basics that need to come first.

And finally, this brings us to….

Butters the Goat.

Down the street from my house is a coffee shop called, The Civil Goat. If you go for a cup of joe, you’re likely to meet Butters, the resident goat who’s not always the most civil of characters.

Don’t corner him or he may butt you out of the way. And don’t let him inside the shop like I did. Eeks! When I tried to go out on the patio, Butters pushed through the door and before I could blink, he was up on one of the tables knocking everything off.

Coming to the rescue, Butter’s “dad” grabbed his goat and shoved him back outside. I sheepishly slunk out to the patio with my tea. Outside, the miffed Butters tried to rifle through my purse. I think he wanted me to buy him an expresso.  Maybe next time if you don’t embarrass me, buddy!

You’re probably wondering what does this goat have to do with my process of change?  Right. So my recent encounters with Butters reminded me of when I sold my dermatology practice and people would invariably ask, “What are ya gonna do next?”  My reply was,

“Maybe something in international health, or perhaps I’ll try goat herding.”

Yep. That’s what I said.

I did try goat herding for a day. But the truth was, I didn’t know what my next career was going to be, yet I did have faith that if I gave myself the time, I would figure it out. My plan was to not have a plan so I could have time for exploration. Hmmmm….. I’m starting to see a pattern here.

Butters reminded me that it’s OK to not have it all figured out in advance. He also reminded me to have a sense of humor and keep things fun and quirky. As doctors, we can get caught up feeling like we have to be serious and “professional” all the time. It’s OK to kid around (pun intended) and step out of the box.

Is there some way you’d like to step out of the box more? Butters and I would love to know!

I’d love for you to take this short 2 minute (7 questions) survey to tell me what changes you’d like to see at The Doctor’s Crossing! Your opinion matters greatly to me. 

Click here to add your voice and have an impact!

In the next blog on May 15th, you get to find out what “Dr. Gigi” of the Career Transition Posse, is doing in her new career AND who she really is! Can’t wait for this!

I’ll be touching base again in late June with an update on my own progress and perhaps some more stories about Butters.

Thank you very much for reading, and hurry back!


If you want to see more photos of Butters, you can check out his Instagram site @buttersthegoat.

The top photo is used by permission from @kateandadamsaustin.








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  1. Dr. MindHacker on April 29, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    As usual great article dr. Fork. Thanks for sharing you journey and the difficulties you go through to make things work. I am a book person myself but now I think I ll take your advise and listen to more podcasts. As fulfilling as medicine is, I think having another calling in life adds value to you are. Please keep sharing, it really help guide me towards my own calling.

    • Heather Fork on April 30, 2019 at 2:53 am

      You are too kind Dr. MindHacker! Made my day. I hope you find some podcasts you like – please let me know what resonates with you. There seems to be a podcast now for almost everything. I’m really cheered to hear that the posts are helping you in finding your own calling. Would love to hear more anytime you want to fill us in! Lots of joy and laughter for your journey.

  2. Sue Zimmermann on May 1, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    Hi Heather – I appreciated your comment about planning to not have a plan. I think there is pressure (from within, and from others) to always be doing something. It seemed as if people were constantly asking what I was going to do next after I left my previous position. When I started my current job, I had to “explain the gap in my CV” – which really annoyed me because it implies that taking time off is somehow bad or irresponsible! Thanks again, Sue

    • Heather Fork on May 1, 2019 at 3:51 pm

      Hi Sue! You are so welcome. Thank you for commenting and sharing your experience. Yes – it is challenging when we are trying to figure things out for ourselves and everyone wants to know “what’s next?” It’s a very normal desire on the part of others, to be curious and want to ask questions. We just have to be comfortable with letting people know where we are at and not feel like we have to have answers – for them – or for ourselves. When someone gets divorced, people don’t usually ask, so when are you getting married again? It is understood that that person needs time and space to figure out if he or she even wants to date again. I hope with time we can become more accepting of the fact that a lot actually happens in the in-between time, and in the gaps. Actually an incredible amount. I’m glad you took time for yourself!

  3. Sara Taylor on May 1, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Hi Heather,

    Loving your series from the ‘inside’! So many of us go through these creative struggles and search for answers – I so appreciate your candidness. I consume a lot of similar podcasts etc too and wonder if you’ve ever come across Zen Courses ( with Janelle Allen? She does a great job getting practical on leveraging online platforms with her guests.

    Looking forward to your next update!

  4. Heather Fork on May 1, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    Hi Sara!

    Awe, thank you so much! This blog took a lot of time trying to get some good photos of Butters, so I’m glad you like it and the series. I really like Janelle Allen! She seems very down to earth and has some great guests on her podcast. All the best to you and Colin!

  5. Gail Miller on May 2, 2019 at 1:02 am

    Love the article – although I’m not surprised as I would expect nothing less than insightful and creative from you! Such a helpful reminder that not having a plan is ok – rather than feeling inadequate for not having life all figured out.

    • Heather Fork on May 2, 2019 at 6:15 pm

      Thank you Gail! You are so very kind. I’m humbled. Having a goat to write about really helps liven up any content! I think I will need to make Butters a regular – if he will comply. Life is an adventure, and if it were all planned out, if we knew exactly what we would be doing every day until we died, that would be so boring. The mystery and excitement and antipation would all be gone. You are so not inadequate if you don’t have it all figured out. No one does as no one really can, nor should they.

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"Heather’s approach was great! She would listen to me and helped me appreciate who I am."

I remember when she said ‘do your resume before our next meeting’, I was about to push back but she gently nudged me along and I’m glad I did exactly what she wanted me to do. We also did interview prep via Zoom and I was offered a great job in UM. She has continued to follow up even after I was offered this job, helping me with pointers about negotiating. I will totally recommend the Doctors Crossing and Heather to anyone feeling stuck like me and looking for a great coach! Thank you Heather!

- Modupe Oladeinde, MD

Family Medicine
Tim O

The coaching I have had with you has been life changing."

You helped me find the courage to seek out leadership positions and become a medical director as well as a physician advisor. I am grateful we crossed paths and am a different person because of it. You have inspired me to "believe" in spite of my inner skeptic. I consider you one of my most important mentors and am proud to also call you a friend. This says a lot given the apprehension I felt when I took a chance with our first coaching session. Even though I have already made a successful transition, I still value your ongoing mentorship and can enthusiastically attest that the value of your services is tremendous!

- Tim Owolabi, MD

Family Medicine
Lynette Charity

“I was at a crossroads in my medical career. I asked myself, "Do I stay or do I go?" 

I met Heather at the SEAK conference. She and I revisited this question.  Did I want to quit being medicine completely? She helped me to identify my needs, wants, and my vision for my FUTURE, not just in medicine, but in life!!!

She was able to listen to my "ramblings" about becoming a stand-up comic, lounge singer and voice-over actor and translate them into action steps.  I chose to become a composite of all of these. Now I am a more confident, healthier, happier person. I credit this in its entirety to the tutelage I have received and continue to receive from Heather.  She cares. She listens. She was there for ME.  She will be there for YOU!

- Lynette Charity, MD

Gail Miller

“I am forever grateful to Heather for helping me to recognize, I am more than just my M.D." 

Heather helped me understand that I am more than just a doctor and that my experiences in clinical medicine are valuable in so many arenas.  As a result I realized that there are other ways to use my background, still be able to help people and continue to challenge myself and grow.  To that end I discovered coaching - specifically health coaching.  I am on my journey becoming a health coach and truly loving it!

- Gail Miller, MD

OB/Gyn physician

“Thank you, Heather, for helping me transform my career, my faith and my life."

What started out as an initial thirty-minute consultation call turned into an amazing four-year journey that transformed my life, personally, spiritually and professionally. 

Heather helped me to discover my doing so, I discovered I still had a calling for medicine but it now came from a place of truth... wife and I are opening our first concierge medicine clinic in a community we love. I’m actually excited to have the opportunity to practice medicine the way I believe it’s meant to be, with a focus on the doctor-patient relationship and an emphasis on faith. I know if I had not reached out to Dr. Fork, my life would not be where it is at today.

- Steve Lapke, MD

Papillion, NE
Sue Zimmermann

“Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart."

She is incredibly knowledgeable about the range of careers available to physicians and provided me with advice and connections which I would not have found on my own.  From the start she encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try different things.  I was laid off unexpectedly in early 2017, and Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart and making decisions based on trust, not fear.  Now I am enjoying working part-time in a clinical setting in addition to teaching and writing.

- Sue Zimmermann, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon
Devki Patel

After months of struggling to find a non-clinical career that matched my values and passion, I stumbled upon Heather's website which truly changed my life."

Heather's insightful and personalized approach to career coaching made me think outside the box since she took the time to evaluate my personality, values, interests, and preferred lifestyle.

Through her encouragement, practical advice, and professional connections, I was able to find a non-clinical position at a state Medicaid agency that aligned with my passion for population health and serving low-income communities. In addition to her coaching sessions, Heather has built a community of like-minded physicians through her blog, and I feel honored to recommend her to friends and colleagues who seek to make positive changes in their professional and personal lives.

- Devki Patel, MD

Jay Macregor

Working with Heather ultimately helped me leave my job in corporate healthcare and find a path that was much more fulfilling."

My career was going reasonably well but I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling I could do better; or at least find a better long-term career fit.  

I was able to find a surgery job that better aligned with my goals and professional interests.  Additionally, Heather helped me start a consulting business which has allowed me to pursue a true passion: helping medical students, residents, and attendings surgeons navigate the challenges of high-stakes standardized exams.    

If you are reading this as a “Type A” surgeon who doesn’t think coaching is for you, I would encourage you to give Heather a shot.  I’m very glad I did!

- Jay MacGregor, MD

Colorectal Surgeon

“I gained the confidence in myself to develop an action plan that blended the best parts of my experiences and interests into a cohesive career." 

Through our work, I learned to trust myself to make good decisions for my own future – something I hadn’t realized I was struggling with because as an emergency physician, I make life-changing decisions with patients every day. 

By feeding my creativity and interests in other realms of my professional life, I’ve found renewed compassion for my patients and myself, making every shift an opportunity to actually care for people. Thank you Heather. I really couldn’t have made these changes without your help!

- Liz McMurtry, DO

Emergency Medicine Physician

The simple truth is - Heather Fork totally helped me change my life."

I never would have had the courage to make the changes I’ve made without her unwavering support, wealth of knowledge and commitment. 

When I first started working with Heather, I was downtrodden...I’d been practicing medicine for 20+ years and yet had never quite found my place.  During the first year I worked with Heather, I left the practice I’d been working at, and recreated an entirely new professional purpose.

I’m now an executive and leadership coach, a university professor, and a Brené Brown Daring Way facilitator, and I have never looked back.  I love what I am doing more than at any other time in my professional life and I credit Heather with seeing in me what I was never able to see in myself, until now.

Don’t hesitate, don’t doubt yourself, schedule your time with Heather as soon as possible- she can help you reconnect to your purpose and reinvent your life.

- Amie Langbein, DO

Family Physician
KB Karen Barnard Photo

"After 30 years in academic medicine, I wanted a career change but had no idea where to start. Medicine was all I knew."

I signed up for coaching with Heather and it transformed my life. She helped me get clear on what I wanted my life to look like. We reviewed my skills, values, and strengths. She instilled hope in me that change IS possible after 50 years! 

The outcome is that I have created a life I love! I practice endocrinology part-time and own a life coaching business! Coaching with Heather is one of the best investments I have made in my life. 

- Karen Barnard, MBBCh, MPH

Endocrinologist and Life Coach

"Heather was my source of hope during a time when I felt stuck and confused. She gave me the permission and confidence to reach higher than I believed I could."

After graduating from residency and starting a family, I lost sight of why I became a physician. I struggled to convince myself to stay in a career that was clearly the wrong fit for me and my family. My anxiety about work was at an all-time high when I reached out to Heather. She provided something that my mentors, friends, and family could not – rather than just offering career advice, she changed the way I think about my life so that I could understand how my career would fit into it. I realized I wasn’t ready to give up on medicine and eventually found a job in academic medicine. I finally feel that excitement for medicine that I used to feel when I was in training. More importantly, I feel like I can be the role model to my young daughter who may one day also face similar challenges between career and family. Thank you, Heather, for all your kindness, support, and skillful coaching! The experience was life-changing!

- Yuri Shindo, MD

Internal Medicine Physician
Camille Gardner-Beasley

"As a Physician, your personal and even professional needs are often overlooked. I learned how to prioritize my career goals by working with Dr. Heather Fork."

She taught me how to put into practice what I knew in theory, that taking care of myself was a priority. I learned to give myself permission to make the career choices that would give me the work-life balance I desperately craved and needed. The process of confronting fears and insecurities was a bit scary, but well worth it in the end. I am now a happier version of myself with a non-clinical job that I truly enjoy!

- Camille Gardner-Beasley, MD

Family Medicine
Anna testimonial

"After 10 years in outpatient family medicine I felt stuck and knew I needed a change but I didn’t know where to begin. Thankfully I found Heather and she guided me every step of the way."

She helped me carefully assess my interests, strengths and passions while also providing me with constructive changes to implement in my job search and resume. With Heather’s help, I just landed a fully remote UM position and I am also exploring coaching as well. Now I feel like the possibilities are endless and I’m excited for this next chapter in the nonclinical world! Thank you Heather for changing my life for the better.

- Ana Jacobellis, DO


"I'm truly thankful to have had the opportunity to be coached by Heather, she is not only a resourceful mentor but a wise and supportive friend. I'm honored to recommend Heather to all my friends and colleagues."

I had been a practicing Internist for 20 years when I reached a point when I needed to make a serious change in my career path. While I enjoyed seeing patients, I was not satisfied with my life-work balance. My job was taking me away from my family and left me little time and energy to do other things that are important and meaningful to me. I came across Dr. Fork's podcast; The Doctor's Crossing Carpe Diem Podcast, it is such an informative and enjoyable podcast for any physician who wants to do more with their career and life in general. Then I had the pleasure to get career coaching from Heather, it was truly an amazing experience. Heather has broad knowledge of all the different career paths that are available for physicians, she is so insightful and very easy to talk to. She helped me clarify my goals, examine my own mindset and definition of success. Together we developed a clear plan and actionable steps to reach these goals. I eventually made a career transition to a remote non-clinical position that allows me to do meaningful work which aligns with my personal and professional goals and priorities. 

- Abbey Awad, MD

Internal Medicine

"There have been a handful of people who have come into my life and changed it, and Heather is one of those people."

From the very first interaction with Heather, it became abundantly clear that she possessed a systematic approach and a methodology firmly rooted in my focusing on my goals and aspirations. Heather's coaching sessions helped me dismantle limiting beliefs and unearth the capable woman, mother, and physician within me. Under Heather's guidance, I began to dream again. I rediscovered my passion for writing, found the courage to share my stories, and even launched my own coaching practice. Today, I specialize in helping others conquer imposter syndrome and overcome burnout, empowering them to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives. Working with Heather fundamentally shifted my perspective and allowed me to show up authentically in every facet of my life, resulting in a profound sense of fulfillment.

I am deeply grateful that I can continue my work in the emergency department and serve my community as a physician as well as a coach. Working with Heather was a transformative gift that enabled me to rediscover my true self, find clarity in my life's purpose, and unlock my full potential. Through her guidance, I not only reignited the powerful, confident, and bold version of myself I had lost sight of but also realized the boundless possibilities that lay ahead.

- Maria Dominguez 

Emergency physician and coach