How your clients refer to you:
Worry Proof Consulting
How many years have you been in business in LA:
I have been a pediatrician for 20 years (!) and founded Worry Proof seven years ago. I started publishing books in 2004, so I suppose that makes me a writer of 13 years as well.
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
I became a doctor because there was literally nothing as perfect in my mind as the intersection of helping people and making sense of the human body. And I loved every second that I practiced medicine. I began writing – first in the parenting space and then for middle grade readers – so that I could message a larger audience about how to grow up safe and healthy. I became a consultant (basically meaning that I work one-on-one with families and one-to-many with businesses and large corporations) when I stopped seeing patients in the office. I feel lucky to have done one thing from so many different p.o.v.s.
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
I am a big picture person, which can be unusual for a doctor. I see trends and patterns and I have a clear sense of how people interact in the world. Medicine is often very “tree” oriented, with lots of attention to detail, and this is critical! But I am more of a “forest” gal who likes to step back, integrate, assess and reassess.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
I think my lack of fear of reinvention has been a surprising strength. At my core, I am a pediatrician – that is really my calling. But in my daily life, I have taken opportunities to care for people, to teach them, to listen to them, to write about them… I never tire of my job because I seem to have so many!
How do you positively impact your clientele?
I give them valid information. Truly, that’s the key. Whether I am consulting with a family in the office or writing a book that w illwind up in homes across the country, I feel deeply obligated to only share accurate and vetted information. If I don’t know something, I am not afraid to say so.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Interacting with so many different kinds of people. Kids are the best – they are, hands down, the greatest patients. But my multi-hyphenate career has allowed me to develop close bonds with parents who have questions about their family unit and then with executives who make decisions that impact scores of other people. There’s nothing I enjoy more than getting to know someone new and digging down to figure out how I might be helpful.
What is your favorite secret LA spot?
Where San Vicente Blvd. meets Ocean Ave. At that part of Ocean, there’s a path that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. There’s nothing like jogging down to that intersection, propping myself up against the rail overlooking endless ocean, and just taking a moment.
How do you benefit mamas?
By giving them good information. I am a mom, too. And even though I was trained to take care of babies and kids, when it comes to my own, I have always been a mom first and a doctor second. I know how scary it can feel to not know the right answer – doesn’t matter if the question is about health, behavior, social drama, cell phones, you name it! So, when I talk to moms, I wear my mom hat and put myself in their shoes. Before I dole out advice, I will often say, “If this were my kid…” and I mean it.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
I think we all remember the negative feedback more than the positive, which is sad but also important. Self-improvement is critical. The one that still stings when I think about it was a case of misreading some data and acting on it, even though the numbers weren’t at all consistent with what I was seeing in the patient. It caused a tremendous amount of stress for all of us. This must have happened a dozen years ago, but I still wince when I think about it, and particularly when I hear the mom’s words in my head. And she was right, by the way.
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field:
I adore my former partners at Tenth Street Pediatrics in Santa Monica because they give world class care. In the world of writing, it’s Judy Blume. She doesn’t know me, but I feel like I know her! I credit her entirely with opening up the conversation about puberty and body. I wouldn’t be where I am, writing body books for kids that have sold in the millions, if she hadn’t paved the way.
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
I got two pieces of advice from two different people, both while I was in college. They have remained tied at the top of my list of foremost invaluable life wisdom. The first was simply:“Never lie, and that way you never have to remember what you said.” The other was: “You have to close some doors in life, otherwise you’ll find yourself standing in a hallway with a bunch of open doors but unable to walk through any of them.” I know a mom who has a saying that is rapidly becoming my own mantra: “Hate me now, thank me later.”
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
Disable email, hide social media apps, turn off the phone, and work while everyone else is asleep!