About: Robyn McKay

Recent Posts by Robyn McKay

the time I lost my confidence on the French Riviera

I’ve always been a pretty confident person.

I make decisions quickly and navigate the uncertainties of life with as much grace as I can muster.

But about a year after I left my position as a university psychologist to focus on creating she{ology}, I lost my confidence. And I’m not just talking about figuratively losing confidence.

My confidence literally left me

Here’s what happened.

For the first year after I left the university, business was thriving.

I was at the top of my game.

I was working with amazing women from around the world.
I was traveling internationally, and really living my heart’s vision, all the while wearing cute shoes.

I’d bathed in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, spent extended time in the South of France, Paris, and London.

I even had a brief romance with a French economist (this was long before Mr. McAvoy appeared on the scene).

And then about a year into my work, something happened.
Actually, lots of things happened while I was in France one summer.

But here’s the jist of it.

when “blooming where you’re planted” is a bad idea

women leaders: when “blooming where you’re planted” is a bad idea

Up until year ago, a physician leader I know was doing doctor stuff on TV – like Dr. Oz or Sanjay Gupta. She loved everything about TV, from sharing her expertise in women’s health to planning her segments with the producer.


Secretly, she loved tossing aside her scrubs and clogs for her white coat, a pretty wardrobe, and stylish shoes.

And spending time in hair and makeup? Fab, of course.

Some people are born for TV.
She’s one.

She’s smart and funny in all the right places. She’s approachable and expert at the same time – like a board-certified, wicked-smart version of Kelly Rippa.

Every time I watched her on TV, I’d have a vision of her with her own show.

But then she stopped doing her TV spots when she got even busier with work after being tapped for a leadership role in her healthcare system.

Today when we talked, she told me that she’s been feeling super-anxious.
Not about her practice, BTW.
The patients, she tells me, are the easy part.

She’s anxious about the politics she has to navigate every. single. day.

Her colleagues – even those she considers friends – criticize her leadership style and whisper behind her back about her decisions.

They won’t, she tells me, say anything to her face. The twin imps of mistrust and jealousy nip at her heels where ever she goes.

She finds respite in her operating room.

And yet, she tells me, every day she does her best to get up and go to work with a good attitude.

She told me that she does her best to be helpful, to be kind, and to bloom where she’s planted (because she’s from the mid-west and that’s what we’re supposed to do.)

Can you relate? 

I told her that her life sounds a little like junior high or a college sorority. Or an episode from the Real Housewives.

She laughed, a knowing, pained laugh, and then quickly turned serious as she asked me what she should do.

Did I have advice or a strategy she could use?
Or maybe something to help her manage her anxiety?

I did.
But not what she expected.

I recommended that she call her PR department and get herself back on TV again.
As soon as possible.

Why? She asked.

Here’s what I told her.

Because you belong there.
Because you’re an influencer.
Because you’ve got a contribution to make that goes well-beyond negotiating salaries and designing call schedules for ungrateful burned out colleagues.

Because I believe that you’re actually meant to have a global impact with your ideas and your expertise.

And because sometimes the universe as a not-so-subtle way of telling you when it’s time to shift gears and to go do your work.

The way I see it, I told her, is that her work as a leader requires a much bigger stage than the one she’s currently standing on.

It seems to me that her environment is telling her that it’s time to blaze her own trail, rather than continue to do what she thinks she’s supposed to do, rather than continuing to try to bloom in hostile soil.

Now over to you.

What’s the cost of trying to bloom where you’re planted?

What creativity and leadership qualities are you stiflilng as you keep your roots in hostile soil?

What positive actions have you taken to transplant yourself?


Robyn McKay, PhD is an award-winning career and leadership expert for emotionally-intelligent, successful women in STEM, Medicine, and other high-performance fields.  Women leaders work with Dr. McKay to recover from burnout so they can reconnect with their unlimited reservoir of creativity and innovation and revitalize their careers and their lives.

If you’re ready to take positive action and get specialized advice and mentoring on burnout out recovery, you can apply for a confidential consultation with Dr. McKay <<right here>>

aren’t you supposed to be happy?

Aren’t you supposed to be happy? 

robyn-leadpagesAt this point in your life, you’ve got so much.

A good job.
Plenty of money.

You don’t go without.
You can take your kids on Disney cruises whenever you want.
Or jet off to Turks and Caicos when your schedule allows. 

And yet… in your quiet moments, you wonder…

Why am I not satisfied?
I should be.

Feelings of guilt crop up as the brief, but vivid, fantasy darts across your mind. 

What if I just quit?

If it were just me, I’d do it in a heart beat, you think.
But it’s not just you. You’ve got your family to think about.

Isn’t it selfish to want to leave?
Isn’t it selfish to give up a steady income to follow my dream?

And even if it is just you, the prospect of walking away from a steady paycheck feels at once terrifying and exhilarating. And, somehow, irresponsible. 

In your quiet moments, you imagine starting your own business, one that honors your creativity and reconnects you with your passion. One where you can be in charge of your own schedule, transform the lives of the people you’re meant to serve, and finally, feel happy and satisfied, and excited about going to work.


The last time it popped up, you ignored the brief, but vivid, fantasy. 
You told yourself that you’ve got so much to be grateful for.
You should just bloom where you’re planted. 
Why should you want more?

But today is different.

Today, I’m here with you.
Today, you’re reading what I’ve got to say about happiness and exit strategies and heeding the call of your heart. 

After 15 years of mentoring talented girls and women in their career paths, here’s what I know for sure:

You have a right to be happy. 

Happiness is the emotion from which creativity, passion, and wellbeing flow. 
The happiness – that brief euphoria – that comes from quitting your job is fleeting, especially if you don’t have a solid exit strategy in place. 

Here’s that social psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky’s research on happiness revealed

  • 10% of your happiness level is has to do with your circumstances (the job you have, the car you drive, etc.)
  • 50% of your happiness level is genetically predetermined – you get it from your parents.
  • 40% of your happiness level is based on the things that you dothe activities you engage in and intentional ways of thinking, doing, and being.

Since we don’t have a lot of control of our genetics, and only 10% of happiness is accounted for by our circumstances, I guide my clients to focus on the other 40% that they do have some control over – intentional activities. 

For women in medicine, engineering, and psychology, the best place to start learning how to be happy is to identify your mission, vision, and purpose.

Because living out your mission, vision, and purpose IS the pathway to creating life filled with meaning.
And I believe that what talented women desire even more than a happy life, is a meaningful one. 

To reaffirm: you are right to expect that you can and should be happy.
And the good news: you actually have more control over your happiness than you might imagine. 

Now, over to you...
Do you remember what it feels like to be happy all the way down to your bones?

In the comments below, tell me: how would your life be different if you knew exactly what your own mission, vision, and purpose was?

If you’d like to speak to Dr. McKay about designing an exit strategy or getting clear on your mission, vision, and purpose so you can bring happiness back into your life, complete an application here.
Dr. McKay’s team will be in touch with you within 24-48 hours to set up a 30-minute consultation. 

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