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The Leadership Podcast

The Leadership Podcast

Why do we do this?

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

How we do this?

#1 We interview great leaders.
#2 We review the books great leaders read and write.
#3 We have fun!

Jan 10, 2018

Dr. Jacquelyn Paykel, Director of Whole Health System at the Veterans’ Hospital and Clinics in Tampa, Florida, and Director of the THRIVE Program, reveals her grit in bringing ancient philosophies of care to meet the whole needs of veteran patients.


Key Takeaways

[5:11] Dr. Jacquelyn Paykel made herself over with introspection and self-compassion with four prongs: understanding herself and having self-compassion, understanding her veteran patients as part of the tribe, serving leaders by understanding their values, and understanding the VA’s organizational goals.

[11:52] Jacquelyn’s training years were filled with the stress associated with terror. Stress can be productive depending on how you perceive it. Negative stress can cause damage. Positive stress can be healthy. If you exercise grit, you build confidence in yourself.

[16:47] Early on, Jacquelyn collided with a medical practice’s traditional culture with her new ideas and agenda. This created tremendous stress and daily scrutiny due to the lack of trust. Her grit came into play when she was on notice every day for a year to perform under pressure. She learned that she wasn’t stuck. She could always change where she was and the way she behaved. It was a valuable lesson.

[31:47] Dr. Jacquelyn Paykel is at the tip of the spear of changing minds and behaviors in a field that’s not known for changing quickly. Hold your uniqueness without displaying it.

[36:51] Jacquelyn explains THRIVE, a multi-disciplinary 14-week program that brings veterans together in a standardized curriculum based on positive psychology, integrative medicine or understanding self, and acceptance and commitment therapy. In the 14 weeks, the veterans form a tribe and support each other. The teaching staff also learns how to teach again.

[42:35] Leaders find value every day in their own work, model their passion for others, and then allow them to find what makes them tick to interact with the world in a valuable way.


Email: Jacquelyn.Paykel@VA.Gov

Twitter: @DrPaykel_OBGYN

Facebook: @Dr.JacquelynPaykel

LinkedIn: Jacquelyn Paykel


Quotable Quotes


“It’s in belonging — feeling like we belong — that we really can live our best life.”


“Stress is a very significant aspect of my training years. … there’s a significant amount of stress even now … it’s a 24/7 job.”


“If you don’t have barriers up, people will naturally migrate towards you to help.”


You can change where you are and you can change the way you behave. And sometimes you have to change both.


Hippocrates emphasized the natural aspects of medical care and doctors are getting back to that.


“It really is about kind and compassionate care that will help these individuals heal. Each treatment has a placebo effect.”


“What I needed to do was acclimate and people needed to acclimate to me.”


When you move into a new situation, understand the environment and prove your worth to the people on the ground.


“When people have confidence in you then you can do those creative processes and move forward from there.”


“We as leaders generally find value in what we do every day ... but it’s our obligation to model that for other individuals.”


Dr. Jacquelyn Paykel is a gynecologist and integrative medicine physician who trained at the University of Wisconsin and completed a fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine under the direction of Andrew Weil. She is a United States Navy Veteran. Dr. Paykel has practiced in private and academic settings since separating from the Navy but found her way back home with the Veterans Health Administration in 2014. Currently, she is the Director of Whole Health System at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and Clinics in Tampa, Florida. She is also the Director of the THRIVE (Transforming Health and Resiliency through Integration of Values-based Experiences) Program, a novel health care approach that is based upon the tenets of Integrative Medicine, Positive Psychology, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.


Books mentioned in this episode

Wired to Eat: Turn Off Cravings, Rewire Your Appetite for Weight Loss, and Determine the Foods That Work for You, by Robb Wolf