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Sabrina Runbeck: “Transform Your Day”

Transform Your Day — Ambitious professionals make difficult decisions daily, an experience that can injure them morally or develop them psychologically. When we pivot our perspectives with logic, we can turn a bad day into a good day, a problematic situation into an opportunity. At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s well-being, is diametrically opposed […]

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Transform Your Day — Ambitious professionals make difficult decisions daily, an experience that can injure them morally or develop them psychologically. When we pivot our perspectives with logic, we can turn a bad day into a good day, a problematic situation into an opportunity.


At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s well-being, is diametrically opposed to high achievement and high performance in one’s career. The stress, mental energy, long hours, lack of restful sleep and preoccupation that result from a high-achievement life seem to directly inhibit wellness. And yet, in order to sustain the creativity, flexibility, mental acuity and resilience that are necessary for high performance, wellness and wellbeing of the mind, body and soul are also mandatory. So how do we achieve both? This is the question I’m hoping to answer through conversations with high-achieving leaders and influencers who are practicing their own philosophies about how to maintain their wellbeing.

As a part of our series about “Social Media Influencers Share Their Top Self Care, Wellness, and Beauty Tips, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sabrina Runbeck, MPH, MHS, PA-C.

Sabrina is a cardiothoracic surgery PA with more than 10 years of experience in public health and neuroscience. After overcoming burnout and a draining career, she became an International Peak Performance Speaker to recharge and empower ambitious young professionals, allowing them to rekindle their original passions and thrive there. She is also the host of the Powerful and Passionate Healthcare Professionals Podcast, author of an upcoming book about professional Asian women, consistent contributor on Instagram and LinkedIn, and she owns the website, SabrinaRunbeck.com.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory of how you came upon this career path and to where you are today?

I’d say it all began a few years ago. I came to work in what you’d say the least-optimal state possible — barely enough sleep, with a fever, and cramping hands. Perhaps the worst thing on the day was that my hands were inside a patient’s chest during his open-heart surgery. A fellow nurse gave me a DayQuil to keep me going, which I did, but then my body would refuse to move the next day.

I called my boss to take a sick day, and his response was “Just don’t make a habit out of this.” I was so frustrated, feeling so unappreciated. The treatment we give to our clients is full of compassion and respect, but that to our teammates, and even ourselves, is often anything but.

My incident isn’t unique, and that’s the most worrisome detail here. I was not living a sustainable lifestyle. I have to take care of myself. I stepped back and did significant research to find a strategy that will get myself out of constant exhaustion and feeling that I wasn’t doing enough. I went back to my roots of neuroscience and public health research, and discovered ways from other experts to create a system that turned my life around — so that I could turn yours around if need be! Now I’m a peak-performance speaker, and people have told me that going through my program “is the best thing I did in my adult life” and that they were “finally able to find my excitement again.”

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

One of my best experiences was learning from well-known speakers attending the Growth Summit that Brendon Burchard, Dean Graziosi, and Ethan Willis hosted. Watching the stage of amazing speakers, I noticed only three are female. How is it that 70 percent of consumers in the self-help industry are women, but most of the motivational speakers are men? I was inspired to be one of those women on stage, who used their stories to emotionally connect with their listeners and empower them.

I then went all-in as a speaker, studying under Pat Quinn and Pete Vargas III in the Stage to Scale program. I participated daily and helped my fellow classmates perfect their speeches. I also took the courage to compete in two international speaking contests Rise Up A360i and Toastmasters.

I learned from several top named coaches and trainers, but the system that had the formula I needed was Knowledge Business Blueprint, or KBB, created by Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi. After joining KBB my momentum really picked up. With a love of teaching, I volunteered to be a mentor right after joining the KBB Facebook community. I am currently running my own virtual summit and podcast as well as appearing on other people’s conferences and stages on a weekly basis.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

When I first started to record quick tips and make short videos, I was shocked at how rough I looked and how rigid I sounded. To be fair, can anyone really say they like to listen to themselves talk? But I had to embrace it, to see it as a way to evaluate myself as a speaker and the content in my material.

There was also when, to make sure I remember to say everything, I would memorize my lines and talk into the camera without a teleprompter. Can you imagine how long that took me just to record a 10-minute talk? I would do 10 takes sometimes for just a few sentences then forgetting which one I liked more.

I then come up with three tips to better myself as a speaker. Of course, you can apply them, too!

  • Practice Practice Practice. The more you can review your content and practice what you want to deliver, the better you can naturally flow from one point to the next. Do not memorize every single word. You are the expert. You have so much knowledge to share.
  • Be Patient. Naturally, many ambitious professionals want to find the fastest and shortest path to get to our goals. However, no one is chasing after you or hunting you if you are not producing the “perfect result.” Perfection is tiresome and stressful to you and those around you.
  • Show Your Personality. Recall one of your favorite movies, what do you like about it? Do the people in it behave and live lives that are real to you? Are they relatable to some degree? Well, that is what your audience is looking for. Just be yourself, don’t worry about what others might think. The ones who truly connect to your message will be glued to you.

As an influencer, you have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. In fact, perhaps most people who tried to follow a career path like yours did not succeed. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?

Let’s re-welcome my ex-husband, shall we? “You are really not a good speaker,” “Look at the big well-known speakers, you don’t have that charisma,” “You shouldn’t speak on camera anymore,” these are the things he had said to me.

So, I joined multiple business and speaking programs, but nothing seemed to be working for me. I got overwhelmed, discouraged, and burned out before I even got started. Then my ex’s words would ring in my ears again. I could have stopped, but I didn’t.

I know that work-related stress results in 190 billion dollars In healthcare costs yearly. Healthcare professionals are experiencing burnout at a much higher rate than the average American. Suicide, turnover, and lack of support have skyrocketed for healthcare workers.

I had to go back to my roots in neuroscience and public health training. I also find coaches to remove my blind spots, take myself out of my mental gutter and prevent the thoughts of naysayers to define me.

Can you share with our readers some of your strategies you’ve used to build an engaged, loyal, and large online community?

You must be social on social media. Nowadays, it is not good enough just to create content that you think your audiences would like to read about and watch — they want real connections.

Once you have total clarity on who you love to work with, you know them as much as you know your best friends, then create a list of those 100 fans. Start by seeing who likes and comments on your posts. Find them on hashtags that you follow. Comment on their posts, like their stories, or send them a personal message. Know them and boost them so they will know you and boost you.

Ask your 100 fans what additional topics they like to hear more and answer those questions with additional posts. Then reach out to those who asked these specific questions to direct them to read your posts.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask your fans to share your content. And don’t forget to partner with other influencers in similar niches to elevate each other.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview. In my work, I focus on how one can thrive and care for oneself in three areas: body, mind, and heart.

You are a busy person with a demanding schedule, can you share with our readers two self care routines, practices or treatments that help your body thrive? (Kindly share a story or an example for each.)

✅ Stretch your body morning and night — A year ago, I worked out and was on a strict diet to check off “entering a figure competition” on my bucket list. Unfortunately, when I was working out at a hotel gym, I picked up a kettlebell that’s a bit too heavy than my normal warm-up weight and totally sprained my lower back. I couldn’t get up that entire day even though I got an acupuncture treatment and massage therapy. Once I got home, I started physical therapy, learned a routine to stretch and strengthen my core and glutes twice a day.

✅ Realign and adjust your body monthly — As part of my normal healing routine, I schedule a chiropractor appointment every 3–4 weeks and add massage therapy any chance I get. Be prepared. Preventive care is much easier and cheaper than active treatment once the disease has turned into a chronic issue.

Can you share with us two routines that you use to help your mind or heart to thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)

✅ Boost Energy Instantly — In our “always-on” culture, the lack of energy leads to lowered focus and increased irritability. When done right, taking a two-minute micro mental vacation can create stamina and focus to brighten your day without reaching for another Monster or visiting the gym. Use this audio exercise to instantly bring back your focus and energy: SabrinaRunbeck.com/Energy

✅ Transform Your Day — Ambitious professionals make difficult decisions daily, an experience that can injure them morally or develop them psychologically. When we pivot our perspectives with logic, we can turn a bad day into a good day, a problematic situation into an opportunity.

Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

We all have a tendency to be hard on ourselves, but we must have to avoid that trap. Shift your thoughts into positive ones to bring out the inner lioness and fall back in love with yourself again. Use these 3-C confidence boosters to look better, move better, and think better!

  • Have the Courage to face your next challenge

Life doesn’t get easier, but you get better. Through our struggles, you develop strength. When you show courage, you develop the confidence to do more. The more confident you feel, the more competent you become.

  • Have Compassion for yourself

As ambitious people, we are often too hard on ourselves. That’s why we tend to link our self-worth to our achievements. To feel that we have to control the situations to make sure they turn out perfectly is to beat ourselves up.

  • Have a Coach to lead you into success

We are smart and can learn anything by ourselves, but we need assistance to really take things to another level. A coach can provide accountability and guidance, allowing us to leverage the expertise of someone who helps people solve their problems every day.

Is there a particular resource, a practitioner, expert, book, or podcast that made a significant impact on you and helped you to thrive? Can you share a story about that with us?

Take advantage of the early hours like Richard Branson and Warren Buffett. Branson gets up to exercise and has an early breakfast. Buffett starts his day by reading the newspaper. I would wake up to listen to DarrenDaily by Darren Hardy. His program offers a quick motivational boost under five minutes, giving my brain a charge and my start to the day a good one.

Studies have shown that early-risers have been associated with positive traits such as more persistent, self-directed, and agreeable. However, just being able to get up early doesn’t not change the course of our day. What you do in the first couple of hours after you get up does.

Do you have a story about the strangest, most bizarre or funniest wellness treatment that you’ve ever experienced?

Have you heard that chronic pain is a sign that emotional suffering from an event that happened to you or generations ago is trapped in your body? In the book The Emotion Code by Dr. Bradley Nelson, he studied how we trap emotional pain in our body and manifest it into physical pain.

His method of using muscle strength to test if your subconscious emotions would admit to a problem we have buried. I was so skeptical when I first heard of it, but perhaps there’s merit to it.

As an influencer, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I would ignite the “Strong Women” movement. To me, women can have both, a powerful career and a passionate life. They do not have to choose.

Did you know that women have made up a majority of college-educated adults for roughly four decades? Women also tend to take on more responsibilities, even if some of those don’t align with what they are truly passionate about or efficient. Don’t you just wonder why women have not been standing up for themselves more?

In the field of medicine, 80 percent of the workforce are women but only 1 out 6 are in C-level leadership or are dean of schools. Additionally, Asians are not as well represented as successful career symbols. Women can be strong, unique, and feminine at the same time. We do not need to accept any other people or our own judgments.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂

To have lunch with Brene Brown will be amazing. She helped me live in my true self without shame and without having to assume a tough face. I want to have a conversation with her on how to better break down the shell of ego, as well as how to be seen as someone who holds the answers for our patients so that other healthcare professionals avoid anxiety and over-criticism.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

I’m very active on Instagram.com/SabrinaRunbeck, FB.me/SabrinaRunbeck, and Linkedin.com/in/Sabrinarunbeck

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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