Going from Medical Practitioner to Writer with Sarah Cook

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This transcript was created using AI. Please forgive any discrepencies.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Welcome to the first episode of Easy Style with Sami. Y’all I am so pumped. This is a project that I’m so excited about. And I can’t wait to introduce you to some of these amazing people that have crossed paths with that have just inspired me and shaped me. My name is Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And I’m your host, and I’m excited for today’s episode with Sarah Cook. She is my cousin, she is a fellow entrepreneur, we work on a lot of projects together. And I have just known her story from growing up with her and being able to hear and see all the amazing things that she has done in her life. And I knew you needed to hear about them too. I kind of embarrassed her a little bit later in the episode singing her praises. So make sure you listen for that. But I’m really excited for her to share with you her story on how she went to medical school, and then pivoted and ended up not being a doctor. So I think it’s a really great story to remind us and that no matter the path that we’re on, it doesn’t feel right and doesn’t sit right then it might not be right. And we might want to really challenge and push ourselves to do something different and that that’s okay. We are the creators of our own world. And the only thing we owe to anybody is just to ourselves to be happy, and to do the things that we love. So I am so excited about this first episode. So let’s get started with it.

[Intro] Welcome to Easy Style with Sami. I’m your host Sami Bedell-Mulhern. Each episode, I invite a friend, family member or colleague or just someone I’ve met on this journey called life to come and share their personal style and approach to business, parenting, life and everything in between. You’ll hear motivational and inspirational stories that will help you refine and build your own personal style. Remember, style is easy when it comes from within.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hey, Sarah, welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today.

[Sarah Cook] Hey, Sami so great to be here.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] And you’re my very, very first ever guest on the easy style with Sammy podcast. And I am so excited.

[Sarah Cook] I’m so excited to be the first.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, so we’re talking today about kind of your journey and your style when it comes to building a business entrepreneurialism. And so I’ve already kind of given people a little bit about you, but why don’t you just kind of start with kind of how you got into the health space like has it always been a part of who you were? Or why was that? Why is that a passion for you?

[Sarah Cook] Yeah, great question. I was really interested in nutrition, natural medicine, herbs, homeopathy ever since high school. And I didn’t know that it really could be a profession until actually, one day it was my aunt Joanne and she said you know, there’s this actual thing. It’s called natural Pathak medicine. And when she explained to me that that isn’t thing, I just it clicked for me. And instantly I was like, that’s what I want to do. And I know your podcast Today we’re chatting about style. And I think like, one of the things about my style is that I make a decision and I execute on it. And I made that decision. I remember the moment I made that decision. I was in high school. When I said to myself, I’m going into naturopathic medicine. And I am so the execution was like ensuing process as soon as I made that vision. And so I went to undergrad specifically for pre med and went to a really good I went to Washington University in St. Louis, which is really well known for their pre med program and their medical school. And I have a funny story about that though, when I was then applying to go to naturopathic medical school, I asked one of my favorite professors in the biology department to write a recommendation letter, and he actually said to me, Sarah, you’re wasting your education by going to naturopathic school. Wow. To real medical school. What do you even know say that it just breaks my heart. But I think that story also reminds me how much going to the natural medicine route is not the mainstream and you’d have to have a little bit of grit and you have to believe in what you’re doing and really be committed to go on that path and make a career of it. No matter you know, how you use your degree. Of course, I’ve used it in in unique ways but but I always on that path like purposely doing pre med to go to naturopathic medical school and that’s what I did. And so, very typical,

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] right or is it usually a pre med track or is it like a biology track or is that nor More for naturopathic doctors. It is,

[Sarah Cook] you know, the requirements to get into naturopathic medical school are very similar to those to get into medical school, you have to have a lot about biology types of Yeah. prerequisites. So yeah. So I guess what’s not normal about that is a lot of people don’t necessarily know they want to go that

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] route when they start.

[Sarah Cook] Yeah. But yeah, so I went went to southwest College of naturopathic medicine. And I add, what’s funny is, I think that that whole process, I wasn’t actually thinking, I want to be a doctor, I was thinking, I believe in this type of natural root cause medicine, I know the world needs more of this, I want to learn about it. And almost just really didn’t have that forethought vision of what that means when I graduate, that I actually have to be a doctor. And it’s sort of it was a bit of a shock. I mean, I graduated in 2004. And at that time, it was very much expected. You just graduate, you hang your shingle, you start being a doctor, it wasn’t there weren’t those opportunities, there are now where people are doing a lot online, and they’re teaching online courses, and they’re running programs, and they’re showing off what they know, on Instagram, and all these unique kind of creative ways to help people with naturopathic medicine, we’re not a thing. I mean, 2004, that was also the year that Facebook launched. So there was just not a lot. And so it was hang your shingle and be a doctor. And that was kind of my only choice. And I tried to do that, and really quickly discovered it wasn’t my style.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah. Well, I remember coming to visit you in Colorado, and seeing your practice your room and like, oh, you had everything all set up, and you were like very much. It’s almost like you had just convinced yourself, this is what I’m doing. This is where I’m going. Like, this is my only path. So like, what was it like? Then in the moment? Like, what how, how did you come around to be like, you know, what? Enough is enough? Like, I’m gonna figure out a different way to do that. And how did you kind of, since you, like you said, all of these things weren’t existing, like what there is now? How did you figure out where you were gonna pivot to? Yeah,

[Sarah Cook] well, you know, there was certainly a process of even coming to the realization that I did not want to actually be a doctor for the rest of my life. And part of that decision process. It really was a self awareness, understanding, getting to understand myself and who I am. And I just love that this topic we’re having it’s about style, because I think a lot of it was recognizing, what is it about my style that does or doesn’t work? Yeah. How can I, you know, what will work with my style? And I think, a couple of the things. For one, when you’re a doctor, you’re working with people hands on, at least the style of practice, right that I was expected to, I’m supposed to be examining people looking in their eyes and ears and throat and listen to their heart and drawing blood. And you know what, I am a shaker.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Nobody wants somebody shaking when they’re drawing their blood.

[Sarah Cook] nstill confidence in your patient when you go at them with trembling hands, and it’s just literally how I am even it can be slight nerves, but it’s anytime I’m just trying to do something carefully with my hands. I tremble. Okay. Yes, that’s a fine detail that you think oh, you can work with that you can get over it. But I think bigger picture is that I like to work with my brain. I don’t like to work with my hands. Yeah. And just being Doctor data, you working with your hands. I think another thing I recognize is just this aspect of being introverted now not like all doctors have to be extroverted but you’re working, you’re going from person to person, you’re having interaction with many people in a single day. You’re constantly switching to, okay, I’m interacting with this person. Now I’m interacting with that person. And to me, I’m great working with people one on one, but for like one person, yeah. Our

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] time to rest and recharge and fill your energy.

[Sarah Cook] work by myself with little snippets of working with, you know, interacting with people. And so that that sort of I’m needing to interact with people throughout the day constantly shifting, constantly changing all of that was a real drain on my energy is recognizing like, oh, yeah, I mean, I actually don’t. It doesn’t it doesn’t feel good to me. Yeah. So a lot of things. And actually, I guess one, there’s one other thing that stands out about being a doctor that was hard for me is how unpredictable everything is, you know, first of all, what’s going to walk in the door, but also you never know how they’re gonna react to the treatment you give them? Like everything is is very much. You never know what’s gonna happen next. Yeah. Like, that’s

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] really interesting that you say that, because when I look at doctors, my experience of doctors across a plethora of fields, like they’re so analytical and almost like, controlling so it’s, it’s almost like maybe that control side of things is like a, like the kind of the pendulum swing of like, well, I’m gonna control absolutely everything I possibly can. Because I can’t control this, but I’ve never thought about it in that standpoint of you, you can do your best work, but you have no idea what the outcome is going to be because everybody’s different.

[Sarah Cook] Absolutely. And one of my dearest friends who is a practicing naturopathic doctor, she thrives on that unpredictability trees thrive on the most difficult pieces, or the most scary cases really, to me that would be scenario, this person gonna go into the hospital? Or am I going to be able to keep them out of the hospital and dehors, this sort of adrenaline rush that she thrives on it? Yeah, and me, I’m like, hired my head under the pillow. I don’t want to deal with that I’m gonna have a breakdown. So I think you know, there are these different kinds of personality styles that work with professions. And I went into naturopathic medicine because I believe in root cause medicine. But the actual practice of being in being a clinician just really wasn’t, wasn’t my style. And so I thought, you know, us well, how do I make that transition? And I pretty much spent a summer just kind of what do I want to do? Thinking about the possibilities? For example, I could be a pharmacist, it’s like, oh, I have all this medical knowledge and pharmacists, I don’t have to always be interacting with people. And as a pharmacist, it’s more predictable, right? I can work with my brain and on my hands. So I had all these ideas of what I could do. But pharmacy No, that was against kind of the whole point of everything was medicine, right. And so I had this idea of writing and one of the things was I noticed my colleagues other MDS who I knew from school and stuff, they one thing were struggling with creating their content. At time, yeah, there wasn’t all this kind of online marketing. But blogs were a thing mid 2000s Everybody thought they needed a blog. And that I saw as an opportunity. Yeah. So just starting with some colleagues and friends, I knew I’d started writing their blog articles for them, like ghostwriting, it would go on in their name, right, I just writing behind the scenes, and I just started feeling out, like, what are those opportunities for writing, where I can still use all of this knowledge and education? You know, like I said, the whole thing about a pharmacist, I, you know, I put the brakes on that because I decided, I don’t want to abandon this profession into this for a reason. I love the the concept, the approach, like the ideology of naturopathic medicine, I love everything about it. I don’t want to abandon the profession. Yeah. And just finding a way that I could still be a part of the profession support it kind of help get the message out to more people about what is naturopathic medicine in a way that really tapped in more to my inherent skills, and right, so

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] was writing something you’ve always enjoyed, or was that something you kind of discovered and just leaned into and found out it was a passion of yours? It is,

[Sarah Cook] I mean, I have always enjoyed writing, you know, I did writing competitions in seventh grade. I mean, but I think I never really saw it as an option for a profession. I never thought of that until, yeah, until that moment in time of figuring out what are different ways that I use my naturopathic knowledge. So, yeah, well, we

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] started our consulting businesses ish in around the same same time and I really kind of loved watching our journey kind of parallel and figuring out, because it’s one thing to be like, Okay, well, now I’m going to be a writer, and I’m going to test it with these colleagues of mine. And it’s great. But you’ve kind of bounced back and forth between some more like real technical technical writing, you’ve, you know, more marketing writing. And so how did it how did you kind of figure out between those two things to kind of say, Okay, this is my, this is my writing style, this is what I enjoy. And this is how I can support people support people the most.

[Sarah Cook] Absolutely. For a long time, I did what I call content writing in the terms of writing articles for magazines, writing blog articles, I wrote for an organization called Tap integrative, which was more of a continuing education for naturopathic physicians. And so I think that’s what you’re referring to as technical. So it’s a lot more getting into the research and writing full referenced in this, like noted articles really in depth content. That made sense out first to me, because I really am knowledgeable in the naturopathic medicine, right. And so that was a skill I could bring to the table that a lot of other writers could not. And so that made a lot of sense. But during that process, because I was also writing blog articles for practitioners, I was really trying out a lot of different things. Yeah. And I think what it came down to was just, gradually over time, pretty much, you know, I do take a self assessment each year that’s like, which projects do I like, which projects don’t I like, which ones are sucking my energy, which ones are giving my energy? And so kind of each year, I go through that process, and I came to realize that what I love and what’s brings me the most joy is working directly with practitioners not working with a supplement companies because there’s all this red tape, and it’s just a lot of unnecessary nonsense and complicated things I like simple, right? And I love working with the practitioners because I can relate to them when I form relationships with them. And I can instantly see how my writing is helping them and, and so I think it has it’s it’s just this ongoing process of which types of projects do I like? Do I not like now, in that now, like focusing on okay, I want to help the practitioners directly. What has happened certainly over the evening, just like last five years, there’s been such a dramatic shift in what types of content they need to help businesses right. At first, it really was all blog, well, then that became not enough. Great, you have wonderful articles. But is it helping you bring in more patients? No, not at all. So have an amazing website. And you also have a free lead magnet. And you also have email sequences play in place, and you’re also nurturing your new email subscribers so that they will become patients. And so there’s all of these aspects, more of the sales copywriting that I saw, they needed to like, actually, for my writing and my words, to help them grow their businesses. And so with that, I started looking around, like, well, how can I learn how to do that type of writing. And that’s when I discovered story brand, which is,

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] and I want to stop you, I’ll let you explain what story brand is here for a second. But I remember distinctly the moment that you called me and you were like, I found it. I found it. And I was like what you’re like it all makes sense. I found this program. It’s story brand. It’s amazing. Like it’s really fun. I think as you like work through these journeys to like find that alignment. You’re like this is aligning everything I’ve been doing with everywhere I want to go and it’s perfect. And it has been like where you’ve been on this journey so far. So I’ll let you explain it but I just I that memories like seared into my brain like

[Sarah Cook] that similar moment of the moment when I was like, oh, there’s a thing such as naturopathic medicine Oh, there’s a thing storybrand Execute go in there. Like that’s what I do. And yeah, storebrand was definitely one of the pivotal moments. But yeah, it gives us a framework to get clear on marketing message gives us framework for copywriting. I have become obsessed with frameworks and formulas. I love organizing things, and a story where we get a very organized way to organize our words and our messaging and I think that’s part of why I love it but story brand is what kicked me in to being able to write those types of copywriting that actually sell so the way I explain it is the type of blogs and the article educational stuff. That’s that’s con tent writing is to inform and educate and be helpful. copywriting is to sell to get people to take action and to sell. And those two types of writing, they’re actually really different skill set that you have to learn. They those two types of writing, they work very well together. And so I love that I’m able to do both types of writing. But I think it’s helpful for people to understand that not all writers who are do the content, writing know how to do the sales type of copywriting and vice versa. But I love the I love the writing of the websites and the sales pages and emails, promotions, because that’s when you see the return on your investment. Yeah, 100%. I sent out this email, and then all these people signed up for my thing, or whatever it is. Yeah.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So would you say now that you’ve kind of really honed in now you’ve got wellness? writer.com, you’ve got all these amazing templates? Like, is it really fun to look back at like, where you made that decision in high school saying I want to be I want to study naturopathic medicine, to like, reflect on all of the steps and the things that you’ve done to get you to where you are now and like feeling just like you’re 100% in the zone.

[Sarah Cook] It’s kind of cool. Isn’t everybody’s life like that? I mean,

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] but But here’s what I would say where you don’t give yourself enough credit? Because I think yes, we when we reflect back, we see how far we’ve come. Like it takes courage to make some of those changes that you made throughout your journey. Like it takes courage to listen to ourselves and say, Does this feel good? A lot of people would say no, but and then insert a whole list of excuses. I think it takes a lot of courage to say no, this doesn’t feel good or right. And I’m going to explore what that will be for me. And I think that’s why I really wanted to share your story because it’s like, oh, I went to medical school. I can’t not be a doctor. Like that seems crazy, right? Or I went to law school, or I did this, I can’t not do that thing that I’ve been trained to do for all these years. So that’s why I think your story is so powerful. Yeah. But you’re also very humble. So you’re you’re you know, I don’t know, you’re very uncomfortable right now. Okay, well, we’ll move on, we’ll move on what I guess what I’ll say is what piece of advice might you give people? Like, even if it’s how to ask for support with your loved ones, when you’re challenging yourself? Or like how to really kind of look inward? Like what types of things might you suggest people do if they’re in a space where they know they need to make a change?

[Sarah Cook] Figure out who you are, and what you want. It’s all self awareness, I think, yeah. The more that you can understand your own style. Again, like, what you feel good doing what brings you joy, it’s getting in touch with that. Because, I mean, if I had been able to do that, before I went to Washington University pre med, you know, it’s like, if I had had that self awareness back when I was 18 years old, then maybe I wouldn’t have gone all the way through naturopathic medical school, like I would have found a more direct path, right, like, Yeah, I’m not saying that. I mean, I think that everything I have done has happened for a reason and all of that, but it has been becoming more aware of who I am and what I want that has allowed me to, I think, make each decision as I go to bring me more towards a business that I love and a life that I love.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yep. I love that. I think that’s great. Well, we’re gonna ask some rapid fire questions that I’m wrapping every single episode up with some of them, which you’ve already answered, but we’ll go we’ll go through them real quick. There’s only five. But where is your go to place for personal development or to learn and get more information?

[Sarah Cook] Instagram, I’m just kidding. I’m not expecting personal development, that I love the I love personality tests. One of them that I love is the Enneagram. And there’s a book by Ian cron called the road back to you if you’re just learning about the Enneagram. I think that’s really helpful for kind of self awareness, self development. And I have just been introduced to the concept of human design as a personal development tool, which I’m so excited about learning more about, but probably can’t speak. Too knowledgeably about that right at this moment.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Complex. Yeah, you already answered this. But are you an introvert are an extrovert.

[Sarah Cook] Oh, that would be introvert.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I’ve learned firm with COVID. And extroverted introvert, which I’ve realized is what I am like, this is cool for me. But then like, if I go to a conference, I need to go rest for like a week. Yeah. What’s one thing that’s on your goal list for the next year that you’re excited about either personal or professional?

[Sarah Cook] For me, 2023, I’m focusing on connection. So I really just have a goal of connecting with more, especially other business owners, entrepreneurs, who are also helping the health and wellness professionals, maybe a little different ways than I am. And just really interested in more making those connections and callate collaborations because I think that way, that’s just the best way to serve our people.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love that. Yeah. What is one piece of advice that you’ve gotten from someone that stuck with you?

[Sarah Cook] You know, when I was at that transition, or what am I going to do? Instead of being a doctor, I reached out to Carolyn gazella, who at the time, she was the publisher of the Natural Medicine Journal. And she said, Well, Sarah, if you want to get into writing, the best thing that you can do, is just start to write. And I think that was, that was true in that situation. But I think that’s true for anything you want to do in your life, you have to try it out, you have to have that real life experience to know if it fits you. You know, to get good at it, you really have to get into the trenches and do it. So I feel like that was such solid advice that stuck with me. And probably was pretty big and getting me to where I am now.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] That’s awesome. Yeah. What is one non negotiable in your life?

[Sarah Cook] I’m gonna say exercise, I think I do so much mental work. Exercise, I gotta have that move my body and just don’t think about anything. And I think that helps let everything rattle out in my brain as I move my body. So that’s pretty good. I got it. I gotta move my body every day.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love that. Well, Sarah, if people want to connect with you more, just hear more of your story. Learn more about you and all the amazing things that you do, how do they do that?

[Sarah Cook] Go to wellness writer.com. Or if you are on Instagram of all the social platforms, that’s where I hang out more than any of the others. I’m at Sarah cooked out wellness writer.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love it. Well, thank you so much. You’ve been a fantastic first guest as I knew you would be. Thank you so much for joining

[Sarah Cook] me. Style episodes.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I know it’s gonna be so fun. It’s so fun. We will have all of the resources and other things that Sara mentioned in this podcast in the show notes. Thank you so much for being here, Sarah, they see me by thank you so much for taking the time to listen to this first episode, you can check out the show notes at https://easystylewithsami.com/1. And that’s S A M, I will have all of the resources and things that she mentioned in this episode are linked up there. But if you would be so kind, please make sure to give us a good old review on Apple podcasts so that we can get this this podcast out to even more people. If you liked what you heard here. You liked the story. Please give us that review. And we will be back next week with another great story for you to hear. I love interviewing all of these amazing people on their impact and the impact they make on other people and just the good humans that we have in the world around us. So if you know of somebody whose story has inspired you, or you have a story you think our listeners would love to hear email me podcast at easy style with sammy.com. Again, that’s s Ami. I’d love to meet them and share their story on a future episode of this podcast for now. We’ll see you in the next one.

Becoming a doctor is no easy feat. So what do you do when you get to the end, start practicing, and realized that it wasn’t actually what you thought it would be! That’s what happened to Sarah Cook, but interestingly enough, it was just the beginning of her story. She is sharing how she has developed her own writing and business style to help health and wellness practitioners and coaches build more engaged audiences with storytelling and email marketing.

In this episode we discuss

  • How Sarah pivoted from doctor to writer.
  • How to listen to yourself when it comes to your career.
  • Letting go of fear to and expectation to follow your dreams.
  • Storybrand, and how it helped Sarah find her sweet spot.

Want to skip ahead?

[2:28] How and why Sarah got into the health space.
[7:03] Deciding to pivot careers!
[14:31] How Sarah combined medicine with her passion for writing.
[22:50] Sarah’s advice for making a change if you don’t love what you do.
[24:17] Sarah’s go to place for personal development.
[25:01] Is Sarah an Introvert or an Extrovert?
[25:22] One goal for the upcoming year.
[25:53] Piece of advice that has stuck with Sarah.
[26:50] What’s a non-negotiable?

Sarah Cook

Sarah Cook

Founder, Wellness Writer