Through the Eyes of a Warrior
“I think of [warriors] as people who make sacrifices and take risks in the service of the values they hold sacred and the people they would give their lives for.” – Dr. Shauna “Doc” Springer
During their last session together, a patient gave Dr. Shauna “Doc” Springer a challenge coin and a letter. In it, he insisted that the psychologist write a book to help others like him — and that, in a year, he would reach out to see if she had.
On this week’s episode of “Authors Who Lead,” Doc Springer speaks about making good on that promise through that book she wrote, “Warrior: How to Support Those Who Protect Us” — as well as “Beyond the Military: A Leader’s Handbook for Warrior Reintegration,” which she co-authored — and discusses what she learned about trust from working from the warfighters at the VA, and how writing became her way of honoring them.
Faking It Doesn’t Work
Early in her career, Doc Springer realized that warfighters have a finely tuned B.S. detector. In a community where decisions and actions can literally mean the difference between life and death, a doctor needs to be there to walk with them and earn their trust, “in a way that communicates trust outranks rank,” she explained during our interview.
They will walk away if they sense you are faking it, she said, or that you are just there to use your expertise to try to “fix” them.
“The trust that we hold is what heals people,” she said.
Finding the Hidden Ivy
Doc Springer likens the work of a healer to finding hidden ivy in a garden.
Ivy can be beautiful, but it can also be like fire — in that, you can’t control it. Like the shadows you lock in the vault of your mind, ivy can shoot roots in every direction, making it nearly impossible to remove.
But we need to get to the root of our pain to ultimately transform, and understanding who we are boils down to empathy and understanding of those around us. Writing your book starts this process.
As you begin, your book will first transform you before it impacts others — so keep that in mind, as well as these takeaways from my discussion with Doc Springer:
- “Fake it ’til you make it” is terrible advice. It doesn’t allow you to be yourself and can prevent others from trusting you.
- What we can learn from veterans can teach us so much in our lives and careers.
- In order to write what we are trying to say to help others, we must first have a healthy inner life.
What was your biggest takeaway from the episode? What kinds of hidden ivy need to come into the light in order for you to heal and move forward in your life or work? Share in the comments below!
That’s all for this week. If you have a message inside of you that needs to be written, don’t delay — embrace the transformation it will bring you and then get it out into the world!