The mindset of an intrapreneur (an introverted entrepreneur) is one of determination to fix what is wrong, even while it is not in their nature to seek a position of leadership. Rather, intrapreneurs frequently find others inquiring of their wisdom, following their suggestions, and asking them to lead. Insight and depth of caring flourish in the intrapreneur, fueling their innate drive to improve processes and ideals in order to improve the lives of others.
In today’s episode, I talked with Dr. Evelyn Hsu, MD, a natural intrapreneur. She discusses how, as a physician, clinician, teacher and researcher, she has found herself in leadership positions without seeking them. She shares at length about pushing past fear and discomfort to achieve worthwhile ends. We discuss the mindset of being an intrapreneur leader, current and necessary paradigm shifts, and how being maladapted (I love this term she uses) can actually be your superpower.
“I can’t accept things just being bad… Accepting the risk to do what’s right is something I’m really willing to do… You can be afraid of everything and do it anyway.” – Dr. Evelyn Hsu, MD
What You’ll Learn
- Defining the intrapreneur
- Navigating difficult conversations
- The power of doing it afraid
- Allowing curiosity of how things work in this great organism
- Shifting the physician’s paradigm
- Capturing the quiet
Meet Dr. Evelyn Hsu, MD
Evelyn in her own words…
“The only way we can change this system for the better is to stay in it as leaders.
I am an academic physician; I am a clinician, a teacher, and a researcher. I’m a former people-pleaser and perfectionist in recovery.
I love academic medicine for the space that it allows for ideas and research, and for the opportunity it gives us to shape the future of what is possible. I don’t love academic medicine for how it is deeply steeped in patriarchy, and the way it encourages us to pay for our progress with our blood, our sweat, and our tears.
I’m in it as a leader and a coach because I want to bring calm to your chaos without compromising your dreams, cutting down your time, or quitting your job. Simply by getting to the point you are at, you are brilliant and effective. Coaching can get you to the next step faster, and with more joy.
I know what it is like to exist within the system that factors in the combined pressure of clinical work, administrative responsibilities, teaching, leadership, and research excellence.
Only a coach who is also a physician can understand the unique pressures of academic medicine.
We will begin with career visioning and goal-setting. Follow-up modules will be tailored based on your needs.
Module topics inclusive of but not limited to: time management, relationships, people pleasing, perfectionism, negotiation, stress, anxiety, writing, projects and mind/life clutter.”
Contact Info and Recommended Resources
Connect with Dr. Evelyn Hsu, MD
- Schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation: evelynhsumd.com/schedule
Connect with Kris Plachy
Kris Plachy: Welcome to Season Three of the Leadership is Feminine podcast. I’m Kris Plachy, and I’m so happy that you’re here. In this season, we’re doing something different. One of the things that I believe to be true is that there is so much unsourced beautiful wisdom in the everyday person. I really like to talk about what I call obscure wisdom. That means these are things that people know, that unless we meet them at a cocktail party, or at a barbecue, or sitting next to them on a train, we don’t hear about it.
And these aren’t celebrities, these aren’t people who’ve written bestselling books yet, these aren’t people that are on the circuit that everybody else is learning from. These are everyday women, who are CEOs, building, dealing with, working through all the pieces and parts of running a company. And I want to bring my beautiful clients, and their wisdom to your ears, because I know that you’ll find it to be validating, and insightful, and hopefully also some fun. So, without further ado, let’s get started with this week’s amazing personal client, and guest on Leadership is Feminine.
Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Kris Plachy, thank you for joining us here on Leadership is Feminine, I’m really excited to have another one of my amazing clients, Dr. Evelyn Hsu, who’s here to talk about being a leader. I think we’ll talk about all the things as it relates to being a leader, being in medicine, being a woman, all the bits and pieces. But Evelyn, you and I have been working together what? A little over six or seven months?
Evelyn Hsu: I think so. Although we first met, I think at the beginning of the pandemic.
Kris Plachy: I remember that.
Evelyn Hsu: When I saw your—I think I saw you through the life coach school, but then also just looked at the work that you’re doing, and you did the Leading Through Crazy session. And I was like, yes, that’s what I’m doing.
Kris Plachy: Yes, you were. You’re in Seattle, like you guys were at the heart of COVID before the COVID hit really, like…
Evelyn Hsu: That’s right, yeah.
Kris Plachy: … Washington was really on the front end of that. So, before we get too deep into all, we’re already just chatting, because that’s what I love to do with you. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are, and what you do, and start there.
Evelyn Hsu: Sure. So, I am by trade, so the work that I do is, I’m a pediatric transplant hepatologist, meaning I take care of children who have liver diseases, and usually before and after their liver transplants. I lead a group of pediatric gastroenterologists and hepatologists at the Uiversity of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Meaning I help a group of people who are really at heart trying to improve the lives of children who have gastrointestinal and liver diseases. So, I’m an academic physician.
Kris Plachy: Okay. How did you get interested in that?
Evelyn Hsu: Oh, my goodness. I think I grew up—I’m from Wisconsin originally. So, I grew up in the middle of Wisconsin, and a land of lakes, thinking that I wanted to be a marine biologist. I’m not sure where that came from, but I definitely loved science as a kid. I realized as I went to college, I was like, “Oh, there aren’t really any oceans next to me at [inaudible 03:34]. And I was on Lake Mendota, University of Wisconsin.
Did lake biology, which is called limnology. And I was always interest in science and medicine. And ended up going to medical school. I had been in a program that was a combined program. When I was in medical school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, kind of was a little bit like really liked the practical aspect of things, the technical of how things work, how the body works, how to fix things, but also really like the relationship of what it was to take care of somebody within, who is an organism within a greater organism, the parents caring for the whole family really, and complexity of the illness.
So, I settled on, I think it was between Otorhinolaryngology biology, which is EMT, surgery, and pediatrics, and I decided on pediatrics. And then when I went to residency at Seattle Children’s Hospital in University of Washington in the early 2000, really found amazing mentors in the field of gastroenterology, and it was like you go to different places, and you’re like, “Are these my people? Are these my people? Are these my people?”
And then when I settled in GI and hepatology, I was like, “These are definitely my people.” And it just took off from there, I went to Philadelphia, and somehow ended up on really liking the liver transplant aspect of things. I love transplant, I love the miracle of transplant. And came back here to do that, which I’ve been doing for the last 10 years.
Kris Plachy: Wow. Okay, so, I don’t think I’ve ever asked you this. How much practicing do you do still with medicine?
Evelyn Hsu: Right now, I would say roughly a little bit over half of my time is still in the treatment and care of patients.
Kris Plachy: Mm-hmm, do you do surgery still or post?
Evelyn Hsu: I don’t actually, because as a proceduralist, we do the GI side of things. So, I don’t do liver transplant surgery, we take care of the medical side, and help the team make those medical decisions. And I do procedures within GI, so endoscopy, colonoscopy, liver biopsies, things like that. Just a little bit over half of my time, and then the rest of the time is administrative, scholarly research, teaching.
Kris Plachy: Okay. So, what was it about your growth and development in your space that really drew you to more of a leadership role?
Evelyn Hsu: I do feel like leadership found me; it wasn’t that I found leadership. Naturally, when I was doing things, when I was caring for kids and be like, “This needs to change, this needs to change for this to be better. You know, X things need to change, this process needs to change, so that we can assure that every child gets the equal chance to the best care.”
And in order to do that, you can’t just have your head down doing your work. Which is really valuable work, but I really enjoy the big picture. I really enjoy moving the needle forward on policies, on changes, and I think I’m at heart, an activist, in that, I really love to work for things that are bigger than me. And I think that’s how I went into leadership, because you can’t get things done without understanding how the whole organism works. And then when people realize that you understand how the whole organism works, they really want to put you in charge. Which of course, I would run screaming from being in charge, because of certain maladaptive habits that I had developed. But ultimately that was—it found me.
Kris Plachy: Right. Well, when you have the ideas, and you see the opportunities in the innovation, people are like, “Yes, I will follow that. I will follow you, thank you for going in front.” And most of the women who are in how to CEO, I would say 99% of them, right? Are entrepreneurs. You’re an intrapreneur. And I do that by—we let people into How to CEO… How do I say this? I’m trying to be delicate. When we recognize those characteristics in our clients, right? Because there is a significant difference between leading in a company, and leading your own company.
However, the mindset of an entrepreneur is the same. So, like I used to work inside a company, my whole career, but I was always doing what you were saying, right? I was always trying to figure out no, that doesn’t work, how do we make that better? And then I would create something, and then write. So, we used to talk about being very intrapreneurial.
And so, the mindset of an intrapreneur to me is similar to that of an entrepreneur. You see what needs to be done, you have the vision for it, you take steps to make it happen, and then people are attracted to that, right? People say, “Oh, Evelyn knows what she’s doing, let’s go over here, let’s put her in charge of that project.” Right? It starts slow, until now you’re the head of the division, yeah?
Evelyn Hsu: Yeah, yeah, that happened.
Kris Plachy: Yeah, and that’s an innate element about who you are. Sure, it could not be learned, I’m sure. But because of that, that’s why this work, I think that you do with us is such a great fit. I don’t think you would honestly thrive as much in an environment where everybody was sort of heads of their space, because not everybody really thinks the same way, even though they’re in charge, right?
Evelyn Hsu: I love that word, intrapreneur, I don’t think I’d heard of that before. And I often like within your program, I’m like, well, it is the same concepts, all of these things are really important, and I’m just, I feel so lucky to be there.
Kris Plachy: No, well, you’re exactly where you need to be, and we’re thrilled that you’re there. And I can say that some of the conversations that you and I have had, there’s a lot of space in between, where a lot of people who work within a big system wouldn’t take initiative to address them, because it would feel so complex and difficult. So, that part of who you are is that entrepreneurial, like, no, no, there’s got to be a way, I have a vision, I know I can make this happen. And I think that speaks volumes for your leadership also, because that takes a lot of risk.
Evelyn Hsu: It does. I can’t accept things just being bad. I think that’s what I’ve learned, and that’s where your program is so helpful, is that accepting the risk to do what’s right, is something I’m really willing to do.
Kris Plachy: Wow, that’s really well said. I was just talking with some newer clients today in the How to CEO program, and we were talking about having that one employee…This woman in particular has an employee who’s been with her a very long time, but she’s incredibly toxic and difficult, and challenging to work with. And she’s in an industry where people can take their business with them, and so, she’s really afraid to address this person’s performance, and maybe even not have her in her business anymore, because of what that might do to her profit, to her revenue.
And that’s the conversation we’ve been having, is, okay, and you also have a miserable culture, you’re miserable, like that’s a worthwhile risk to do what’s right exactly. Not just for you as the person running the business…
Evelyn Hsu: For everyone, yeah.
Kris Plachy: But it can be hard, because we get stuck in a lot of the weeds of those decisions, and the fear. A lot of fear. Okay, what would you say—and I’m imagining this, so maybe I’m wrong. But I would imagine as a physician, when you’re in that practitioner role, you have a lot of authority, a lot of positional authority that you can move things. But then when you—at least for me, when I got into a higher-level leadership role, I thought people would do what I asked them to do. But what I realized is I just had more responsibility without a lot of power to make things happen, right? Other than threats, I suppose. So, what has been that biggest challenge? And you’re still straddling both parts of the role, right? But I’m kind of curious what you find to be the most significant challenge in that leadership space.
Evelyn Hsu: You know what’s so interesting is that, having difficult conversations with patients and families, I could do that all day long, every day. I love being in the environment, like, the honor, the privilege to take care of patients, right? Is like they share their space with you. You enter their sacred space to help them make the most important decisions of their lives, right? That are so high stakes, and you advise them in those moments.
You’re exactly right, it’s not as enjoyable, I’ll tell you that. Or at least I haven’t learned to make it that enjoyable. Definitely, there are moments where days later, weeks later, somebody will come to me and say, “That was amazing what you said to me, and it really changed things.” And then I’ll be like, “What was it that I said?”
Kris Plachy: Tell me so I can try again…
Evelyn Hsu: So, just tell me again so that I know. And that’s really gratifying, but there are some really difficult conversations to have. For people who are used to being the person who is having that difficult conversation, delivering the incredible clinical care, they don’t want to hear your input on it, because they’ve been doing their work for so long, and have definitely earned the respect that they deserve, but it makes coming to the table really hard.
And any environment like academics, and in the field of medicine, like we do thrive on challenging each other, we move the field forward by challenging each other. So, no one’s really afraid necessarily of conflict. And knowing when to say something, when to walk away, when to take a deep breath, when to know like, this is where we’re going, that is a way—it’s a completely different skill than what I’ve been trained for, for many decades.
Kris Plachy: Yeah, but such a valuable one, right?
Evelyn Hsu: That’s a valuable one, because that’s how you get things done.
Kris Plachy: Yeah, and then your role, which is true of every world, there’s a real lack of that in leadership. And so, I’m on such a personal mission, because I think the better we all get, the better organizations get, the healthier organizations get, the healthier people people’s lives are. I really do believe that there’s such an integral string, that thread we can find there. So, having…
Evelyn Hsu: And for me, the better the care we deliver to children…
Kris Plachy: Of course.
Evelyn Hsu: … of all things, right? Like that is the most important thing to me.
Kris Plachy: That is your end game, right?
Evelyn Hsu: Yeah.
Kris Plachy: Right, but this was not something you set out to do?
Evelyn Hsu: Not at all, no. I was mentioning this like, my maladaptive habits that got me here, right? Were that I in general, fairly likable, in general, like more people would come to me, “These are the things that we need to get done, go to Evelyn. Evelyn will get it done.” And that’s super maladaptive when you are becoming a leader. Because you then are not good at boundaries, you’re not good at delegating, you’re not good at explaining to someone, giving feedback…
Kris Plachy: You are the one who please everybody.
Evelyn Hsu: … to appear. You want to please everybody, and that does not serve the group.
Kris Plachy: No.
Evelyn Hsu: And so, I knew I needed to get help, to do the work that I needed to do, to come through for my team.
Kris Plachy: I love that you’ve used the word several times, maladaptive, I’m like that is money right there. First of all, I just love the word, and second of all, it’s so good, it’s such a great way. Because I say right, your superpower can become your poison, the thing that has made you so good at this, can be the one thing that really derails you over here.
Evelyn Hsu: Right.
Kris Plachy: And not to throw the baby out with a bath water, so to speak, right? Like, you get to keep that part of who you are. We just have to learn in those moments where you might want to compromise a boundary, or you might want to do something to make other people happy, instead of really doing what is the best thing for the team, that there are ways to navigate that moment, that’ll suit you.
Evelyn Hsu: Yeah. I think of it as like, I have a shih tzu, and…
Kris Plachy: You do!
Evelyn Hsu: Yeah. She thinks everything is an emergency, like literally, she’ll be like—you sneeze, and she’s like, “Emergency? Is it now time to go crazy?” And I think of my maladaptive habits as my shih tzu, Peanut, it’s like, no, it’s not an emergency. Not the moment right now. I know you think it is, not the right time.
Kris Plachy: That’s hysterical. Can you see her, Evelyn?
Evelyn Hsu: Yeah, I can see.
Kris Plachy: She doesn’t think anything is an emergency right now. But give her a couple hours, so… But that’s so funny, I love my like… She’s a toy, she’s only six pounds.
Evelyn Hsu: Ours is 10 pounds, I love like, oh, she’s so good.
Kris Plachy: Yeah, I know we’re off topic, but for those of you who are shih tzu lovers, you know what we’re talking about. I didn’t realize that they were bred to just be with you.
Evelyn Hsu: Yeah, they’re like Tibetan monk, right? Companion dogs.
Kris Plachy: Yeah, she is attached to me wherever I am. And it’s my most pleasing delight, because…
Evelyn Hsu: Mine is attached to my husband.
Kris Plachy: Well, it’s all about who’s around the most.
Evelyn Hsu: Yeah. She’s like, this is my husband, you’re only here for a brief amount of time, but that’s my husband.
Kris Plachy: That’s funny. I think my husband would say the same thing about her, right? Like, she barley tolerates him, but whatever. And they do that, there’s like they have their person, so you just need to get another one.
Evelyn Hsu: I know. That’s what I keep telling my husband.
Kris Plachy: Yeah, and have it be like a hospital dog, and you can have it with you.
Evelyn Hsu: Oh yeah, all the time.
Kris Plachy: I think it’s a good idea, I like it.
Evelyn Hsu: Yeah.
Kris Plachy: Okay, so when you think about other women who are in leadership roles, right? That’s who listens to this podcast, is women who are either running their own businesses, or thinking about it, or leading and running teams. What is your wisdom nugget that you like to share with people?
Evelyn Hsu: Just that you can be afraid of everything, and do it anyway. I am. I’m literally afraid of everything, and I do it anyway. And there’s a downside to not listening to it, like that call. Sometimes I do stuff and I’m like, “Oh, God, I feel like I could throw up, like, what am I doing? Like, I could be not doing this. I could be doing something else entirely, where I would never feel this way.” That’s not a real thing, to never feel bad, that you would be comfortable all the time, there’s discomfort on both sides.
Kris Plachy: I was just interviewing another client for the podcast, and she said this, I wrote it down. She said, “We’ve all been sold that happiness is the goal, and that’s not the goal.” And I thought that was such a great—because I agree, I think a lot of us intentionally avoid things that are uncomfortable, because we think we’re not supposed to feel it.
Evelyn Hsu: Yeah.
Kris Plachy: But no, it’s okay to feel discomfort, and say it anyway.
Evelyn Hsu: Yeah, and joy is on the other side, right? Like, the hero’s journey is through—I’m using my sister’s words of like, there’s a shit pit that you got to go through. And then I know it’s ironic, because of the job that I have at the gastroenterologist, but you got to go through the shit pit to get to the joy on the other side.
Kris Plachy: Yeah, but nobody wants to do that part, right? And more so, I think that’s getting harder and harder to prove to people, like, no, listen to me, this difficult employee, this difficult decision, this employee that you love that quit, this product that isn’t selling, this decision that you made, that failed miserably, all of that. That is not a sign to quit, to give up, that you’re doing it wrong. That’s just, as my client just said, data. Move forward, take the next one.
But what I love about what you’ve said, Evelyn, is you’re like, okay, I see this in me, and I could see how this is going to keep me from being able to thrive in my role. So, I’m going to ask for help, right? Which a lot of won’t don’t do either. I think a lot of women think they’re just supposed to be good at this.
Evelyn Hsu: Right, that self-compassion that is required to say like, how am I going to be good to myself, to be the leader that I want to be? I mean, we are not taught that in medicine. In the looks of score, you would get of like, I’m going to take care of me. And it’s not being selfish, it’s just saying, I need to care for me, so that I can care for…You know, the hardest thing to do is care for other people as your job.
Kris Plachy: Absolutely.
Evelyn Hsu: And to lead that group means that like, you just have to always put that first, because joy is where we all want to be. Joy in our work, to me…
Kris Plachy: So, what does it mean? Joy is, I think, a better aspiration than…
Evelyn Hsu: Than happiness. Yeah, totally different.
Kris Plachy: The joy is, yeah, that was really hard, but I’m proud of myself for that.
Evelyn Hsu: You have the remnant of the—I keep swearing on your podcast, but the remnant of the shit pit, right? Is on you.
Kris Plachy: Yeah.
Evelyn Hsu: Crap pit, I can call it.
Kris Plachy: Listen, you can call it whatever you want.
Evelyn Hsu: Okay.
Kris Plachy: Anybody who’s has been to one of my coaching calls, as we know, it’s very colorful. So, I have any problem with any of them. So, okay, a couple more questions, because I haven’t asked you this one. What’s the next big goal for you?
Evelyn Hsu: I continue to explore what is the next step above me, right? Like, what is the next leadership position that’s above me? Not because I necessarily want that, but that it helps me understand the context of how things work within this great organism, right? So, exploration and curiosity about that. But I’m a little bit still in it, of learning. My next steps are just like, what’s the next thing I have to do? Like, how do I get all of us online with our vision, our mission, our values, and rebuilding this team? And really taking our level of care to innovate and to teach, to train the next generation of leaders, to provide the most compassionate, collaborate care that is possible for any child out there with GI and liver illnesses. That’s what I want.
Kris Plachy: So good. I would come, if I knew anything about anything, like the closest I’ve got is a kid with celiac disease, right? So, I’m coming, what do we do?
Evelyn Hsu: Yeah, I mean, it’s it, right? I have these amazing physicians who I work with, who have developed celiac programs, who are creating boards and youth boards, and people together to talk about all of this and to look to the future, how do we make things better? Because it’s a little bit of a crisis. You probably, you know, the crisis healthcare right now, as to, you know, people get here, they work so hard to get here. And they come here and they’re like, “Wait, this isn’t what I thought it was, I’m really tired, I’m really sad, I’m really…” I don’t really like to use the word burnout, but I’m really stressed. And it’s my mission to make it so that they can thrive. Because the biggest challenge is to lose…
Kris Plachy: That’s massive paradigm shifting work, which, of course, you’re up for. And have you met Sunny Smith yet? She’s in the How to…
Evelyn Hsu: Yes, I’ve seen her on the calls, I see her face on that. What she’s done is amazing. Yes.
Kris Plachy: Yeah. So, she works exactly in the space. She’s a physician, but she’s no longer practicing, and she does work with other female physicians to really work through a lot of what you’ve just talked about. And I love working with paradigm shifting people, because ultimately that’s what I think so many of us are tasked to do, and it’s almost like, I mean, this may—I do not mean this to sound patronizing, but it’s like, you’re building these leadership training wheels right now. This space that you’re in, where you’re cutting your teeth on some of these decisions that are insulated within this space, so that bigger decisions can be made in the future. And I just think we’re in a huge paradigm shift anyway.
Evelyn Hsu: Right.
Kris Plachy: On the planet. And so, all of us who have the voices that maybe 10, 20, 50 years ago, no one would’ve given the time of day, there’s people now who are going to listen to what you…?
Evelyn Hsu: Right. I haven’t actually been able to look to the people within my field to find where that model will be, of the type of leadership that you talk about on your podcast, the feminine leadership. That is what I would want to do. My dream is to bring everyone from chaos to calm, and they don’t have to compromise their dreams, and they don’t have to quit their job. You don’t have to quit.
Kris Plachy: Wouldn’t they actually be better at it.
Evelyn Hsu: Yeah, and it’s amazing. There’s a lot to be said that is wrong about academic medicine. But there’s a lot of amazing in our sections that we get to stand at. And if we can just shift that paradigm, shift how we look at it, shift how everyone’s looking at it, everyone will benefit.
Kris Plachy: Yeah. But, you know, it’s like, vision, that’s why we’re all kissed with our own unique one, right? Is, when you can see something that other people don’t see, you have to model it, and demonstrate it, and create something tangible for people to believe in it. And that kind of leadership is always the one that is ultimately going to always be the most successful, because it’s born out of real organic truth.
And the more you speak a truth that other people haven’t heard, but know, the more you gain traction, right? And I’ve certainly seen that in my work. I’ve been saying the same thing that I say to you all for 27 years. When I was first saying it, I was saying it to a bunch of people who thought I was a crack, right? Or like whatever, you know? But then you say it enough, and you get at results, and it’s like, “Wait, that’s a truth I believe, I just haven’t seen it yet, I haven’t experienced it yet, but I like the way that you’re saying that,” and that to me, is what I hear you saying. You’re speaking a truth everybody’s talking about it at a dinner table, they’re just not talking about it at work.
Evelyn Hsu: Yeah. They recognize the problem. They don’t quite see where the solutions might be.
Kris Plachy: No. Well, it feels daunting, you know?
Evelyn Hsu: It does, it’s so funny, you know, there’s a lot of people whose attention is on physician wellbeing and resilience now. And I think that that’s important. However, there is some element where, the cartoon that people always will talk about, the analogy of the Canary and the coal mine. Of like you just get the Canary out of the coal mine, right? Like, don’t give them armor to go into the coal mine.
But the thing is, it’s still a coal mine, so like the armor—you wouldn’t send them in there alone. You have to send them in there with a mindset and a paradigm shift, and all of those things, those tools that they need, to say like, yeah, it’s a coal mine. That’s what it is. This is my job right now.
Kris Plachy: Yeah. And I can do it or not.
Evelyn Hsu: Yeah.
Kris Plachy: Or maybe differently. So, every change is… I just think we’re all being invited as thought leaders in our own unique space to—and I like that you brought this up at the beginning of the podcast, right? Like, choosing what is right over what is easy, and just making that decision, and being a voice for that. That’s leadership. Even if nothing changes immediately, just holding the space for other people to hear truth that they know exists, that they haven’t been able to verbalize or express. So, maybe you could just become the surgeon general or something.
Evelyn Hsu: Well, the old surgeon general went to med school with my husband.
Kris Plachy: Really?
Evelyn Hsu: Yeah, Vivek Murthy. He’s an amazing guy.
Kris Plachy: So, there we go. We’re just working on that, you know, who’s in charge of things? [Inaudible 28:20]. I just think of there’s so many people, if we could just pluck them from their own little space, and put them in bigger roles, we could completely change the planet, right? I have a girlfriend who is in social services, I’m like, “could you just please be president?” There would be…
Evelyn Hsu: The social services, people who are in social services, they are the absolute angel of the universe, 100%.
Kris Plachy: She’s so discipline, like she can hear anyone out, she can listen to anybody say anything, and there’s never a boiling point, it’s like, well…
Evelyn Hsu: They’re the most magical people on earth, they are, absolutely, like compare none.
Kris Plachy: All of them, they talk to the guys with the [Inaudible 29:00] and everything. Yeah, I think that we could just pluck people out, and make major substantive change. Okay, so last question, what would you say is the most important lesson you’ve really learned about being a leader, through the work that we’ve done? I’m kind of curious.
Evelyn Hsu: Oh, you might be the first person in your wisdom to say like, capture the quiet. Get into that quiet spot, and listen to your instincts. You know, I’m a scientist, we don’t talk about like instinct—although we have an inkling, right? But we really want our evidence to be behind all the decisions that we make. But it’s in the quiet that that magic happens, and it’s the magic that you need to fuel any big shift. And so you reserve that time.
Kris Plachy: That’s that. That, to me, is when you talk about that leadership is feminine, that’s that space, where intuition and knowing are as honored as evidential scientific proof. It doesn’t mean you don’t vet it, right? So, it’s not like a knee jerk, but it’s listening to it. I love that you just said that. It’s like recognizing, okay, this is a truth that is living in here for me, putting it in the world, right? And letting other people hear you and corroborate, like, no, no, that’s happening. I’m so glad that you said that.
Evelyn Hsu: Yeah. And it’s more powerful than data.
Kris Plachy: Always.
Evelyn Hsu: And I think, I don’t believe I’ve ever been in a space where someone’s like, listen to your instinct. Listen to that. You feel that you have this thought come up, like listen to it. And I think it is so right. I trust it so much, and I think that you’re really so wise in that.
Kris Plachy: I would bet, thank you. I would bet that that is in play when you are treating and caring for patients. But it’s so much a part—it’s sort of that maladaptive thing, right? It’s so much a part of you in that space, that you see it all as very integral. We pull you into a leadership role, it feels a little awkward, and so then you’re looking for the steps to follow, right? But that unseen is as important as vision, values, roles, goals.
Evelyn Hsu: And there is science to it, right? I just think I haven’t applied it to relationships with people, as much as I have to, you know, the reason that I make a decision in a clinical scenario, even if I don’t have data to back it up, is because I thought about X, Y, Z, and got through every single one. And been like, this is the right answer, because of all of these other things. I’m not as able to integrate that when it’s all just thoughts in my head.
Kris Plachy: Yeah, and I think also that comes with leadership wisdom over time, you just build it, you build it, you build it, it’s just all of the things, right? Just like it has in your practice. And that’s what I always wish for women as I work with them, is, it’s all happening exactly as it’s supposed to, and this belief that somehow you should have figured it out, or you should know, or you shouldn’t be uncomfortable. The woman I talked to today, she said, “Why am I always so anxious when I have to be a boss? Like thinking about being a boss just makes me so anxious.” And like, okay, but yeah, and you also have been flying by the seat of your pants, and you don’t have any structure to what you’re doing. So, let’s work on that first, before we just make it be that you’re a terrible boss, and you shouldn’t do this anymore.
Evelyn Hsu: Right. That’s just the imposter syndrome. Like I think the imposter syndrome gets put on women, as a way to say that, this is a syndrome you have, as opposed to like doubts are normal.
Kris Plachy: Yes, they are normal.
Evelyn Hsu: Questioning yourself is normal, this is uncomfortable. And more people are questioning women obviously, and people question young women a lot. This is not all in your head as a syndrome that you have to cure, it’s a systematic thing you have to recognize and move through.
Kris Plachy: Yeah, I can’t deal with my husband, he’ll be talking about his business, and I’m like, “Well, have you thought about this, this, this?” and he’ll tell me like, “No, that’s not…” He just missed… I’m like, “do you know what I do for a living?” So frustrating. I’m like, “listen to me, I love you, let’s just have dinner, I don’t want to have this conversation with you. You run your company exactly like you want to.” Anyway, I took us off topic. Okay, last bit of wisdom, anything else you want to say?
Evelyn Hsu: No, I think you do incorporate magic a lot. And I love magic.
Kris Plachy: Why are you coming to Hawaii?
Evelyn Hsu: Why am I coming to Hawaii?
Kris Plachy: Mm-hmm.
Evelyn Hsu: Wow, that was a crazy morning, just in that, like I had this conference in Prague that I was supposed to go to, and then all of a sudden, everything had got switched to virtual, and I was like, “I need to go to Hawaii. I need that quiet. I need to figure this out.” I had just watched King Richard, the movie about Serena and Venus Williams’ father, Richard Williams, and the signs that they would put on the tennis courts, the, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Like, I needed quiet to plan, and to figure out how to prioritize my… And it’s funny, I talked to my kids about it. I have an 11-year-old and a 12 year old. And they were like, “Yeah, you got to go.” And they love Hawaii. They’re going to Hawaii with us in April, with my nieces as well. And they’re like, “No, you got to go, you got to do this.” Which I… And so, the reason I’m going is that one, there’s that magic that was there. There was a sudden change of plans that I felt like the course had corrected, and I needed to go there. But also, the idea to show my kids, show my colleagues, show everyone, this is important.
Kris Plachy: Yeah. I felt that. I think that is a huge message for women, and especially women of daughters in general. I just think we could do a much better job helping people realize how critically important it is to spend time with yourself, and to do so lovely, in a lovely way. Like you don’t have to spend time with yourself at the gym, like you could take yourself to a beautiful resort and have lovely meals, and spend time with lovely other women, and maybe get a massage.
And if you have the means to do that, you can do that. There’s nothing wrong with that, to be your own best company, and indulge in your own joy that way. I think it’s a critical message for everybody, because having done this now for 10 years, and heard so many times, “Oh, I can’t, I could never, I couldn’t go to Hawaii without my husband. I couldn’t go to Hawaii without my family,” like, why?
Evelyn Hsu: Why not? Why not?
Kris Plachy: I’m very fortunate, I have a husband who’s like, “Yeah, please go do whatever.” But at the same time, I still don’t get it, I don’t get it.
Evelyn Hsu: Right. It’s just a mindset. This feeling that we…It’s a maladaptive habit.
Kris Plachy: It is.
Evelyn Hsu: To ask everybody else for permission. Because you need that before you can give yourself permission. But really to lead, you have to have this inner calm and confidence of doing it. And you don’t just develop confidence. I certainly wasn’t confident in making the decision, but in making the decision, I became more confident about my decision.
Kris Plachy: Isn’t that interesting? Like now, you have all the evidence to prove that I made the perfect decision, right?
Evelyn Hsu: That’s right, that’s right. But it didn’t feel that way right beforehand.
Kris Plachy: No.
Evelyn Hsu: I’m like, “I don’t know, I don’t know,” and then I was like, “Do it.”
Kris Plachy: You just do it. And I do love that you’ll be in Hawaii, leading a session in Prague.
Evelyn Hsu: Right.
Kris Plachy: That’s hysterical. God, what even time is it going to be? Is it like 2 in the morning?
Evelyn Hsu: I was going to figure that out whenever I get there.
Kris Plachy: Okay, we’ll…
Evelyn Hsu: But actually, a lot of the things are prerecorded, so it ends up being fine, yeah.
Kris Plachy: Okay, that’s good.
Evelyn Hsu: Okay.
Kris Plachy: I want to go Prague, too.
Evelyn Hsu: Oh, I was very disappointed when that got canceled, because it’s a great organization.
Kris Plachy: Next time, next year.
Evelyn Hsu: Yeah.
Kris Plachy: Right. Well, thank you so much for the honor of your time today and our conversation, you’re just lovely, and I so, so loved having you a part of this program. You also hold great space for everybody else too, which is, you know, I like to say, I believe that about everybody that comes into the Lab, right? It’s just such a…I don’t know, it’s just lovely.
Evelyn Hsu: It’s amazing, it’s really amazing, I feel so honored to be a part of it.
Kris Plachy: Wow! Thank you for your time today. Have a wonderful rest of your day.
Evelyn Hsu: Thank you.Download Transcript