Guest Post: John Nocero. Research Program Leader | Duke Office of Clinical Research at Duke University School of Medicine

 John Nocero

John Nocero

Today’s guest blog post is from John Nocero, PhD, and the research program leader of Duke Office of Clinical Research, at the Duke University School of Medicine. 

I connected to John via LinkedIn a while ago, and when we connected via Old School technologycalled a telephone call, we discovered our different paths had many similarities.  We also both noticed that men have a difficult time discussing publicly their struggles with burnout and other challenges they face. 

John talks about taking care of yourself, and the power of being vulnerable.  You can connect with John at his LinkedIn page.


I have written about my personal triumphs overcoming my demons before, both in my marriage and how I developed my extreme ability to hyperfocus. What I’ve realized is that life is a journey and I am not broken. It is developing the great relationship with yourself that most influences your happiness. 

This can come in several forms, such as detachment, where you let go of outcomes and focus on process; self-love, where you prioritize self-care either through exercise, meditation, relaxation and spending time with loved ones, and work-life balance. 

Now, I am not the right one to talk about work-life balance. I feel like we are always skewed in one direction or the other, and the majority of the time, mine skews toward work. I don’t feel it is a bad thing, as my work is tied to my mission, vision and purpose in life. My wife shares a similar philosophy. For our 12thanniversary last month, we were driving to the beach to spend the weekend, and we took turns driving so we could each do work on our laptops. 

But as I am getting older (43 next month baby), I do realize that I am not as young as springtime any more, and I do need to prioritize recovery. I am changing my mindset to understand that recovery is productivity. I had a great talk with Michael about this a couple months back.  He is a subject matter expert in burnout and recovery. As we spoke, it was invigorating to learn that we had similar paths. I don’t know if it is a man thing about not being open to talk about being tired, or needing to take a break, but I do know it is not weakness if you do. 

A valued professional colleague taught me the CS Lewis quote, that love is being able to show vulnerability. But showing vulnerability is not only for the close females in your life. It is for everyone. If people don’t want to like you for you, that’s their problem. You need to be open and honest, and ask for help if you need it – sometimes that help shows up in a personal conversation, sharing stories over a professional networking session, or a smile from a stranger that lets you know they understand. 

Whatever this collaboration brings, I’m open to it and we look forward to sharing.