Bottom Line: Your best life is out there waiting for you to create it.
I was always told to focus. There was little to be gained by doing more than one project at a time. Little did they know… that they were right. Well, they probably did know that. My advisors in residency had been advising people for a while. Who was I to try something different?
Fortunately, they had the grace to not say I told you so after I didn’t get a fellowship. Twice. However, they couldn’t have known that it was the best thing that could have happened to me.
I was told my resume didn’t show that singular focus was required to get into fellowship. That I would wake up and think, “How am I going to get closer to getting into fellowship today.” Most days in residency I just woke up hoping to survive.
On days that I had more strength, I had hoped to learn something along the way. I had always seemed a bit scattered in residency. Working with the heart doctors, the lung doctors, and even the pharmacists. I kind of just went where I saw something interesting.
In residency, everyone and everything was interesting. Not much different than now. As you can see, curiosity is a strong suit of mine. For better or worse. When I graduated I had a choice, to double down on that curiosity or to start focusing.
When my life changed?
I decided to double down on my strengths. I decided to start an online course. I had to basically teach myself critical care because my hospital was one of the many that did not have in-house intensive care doctors. In my free time, I taught myself the basics of creating a course and created the foundation of a course. Not knowing if it would turn into anything, at least I was learning something new.
Around that same time, I made a conscious decision to put myself out there. Out where? I didn’t know. I just would be more willing to whatever life had to offer. I had joined a few online physician communities and thought they would be a good place to find some kindred souls.
There were plenty of other docs that were where I wanted to be. Fellowship wasn’t in my cards, but maybe something else that they were doing was. There was a post about a local meet-up in Los Angeles, and that was my chance. I offered to host it, set it up, whatever was needed.
What happened next was mostly luck and a little intention. I believe that you increase the surface area of your luck by putting yourself out there, getting over your fear, and being intentional. My current business partner reached out to me after he saw my post. He was trying to put himself out there too. We instantly bonded.
We had a lot of shared interests including education. He had a blog where he taught doctors how to earn passive income. I thought, hey I’d like to learn how to do that, and maybe I could help you get your message out through an online course.
Since that time, we’ve created an online course on commercial real estate taken by hundreds of doctors, had a live in-person conference, and another virtual conference with over 12,000 attendees. Based on those successes, we’ve also created an online accelerator for physician entrepreneurs.
What I’m working on now?
Throughout this process, I realized that there weren’t many people who had documented their journey. I knew a few docs who were pretty successful but they had started blogging later in life. Or blogged about other topics, not how they got to be where they were.
I was always looking for virtual mentors, ones whose path I could read about to help me guide my own. I was encouraged to make my own path, and that’s where the idea for this blog came to fruition. This blog will document what I’ve learned along the way and the many failures that will inevitably happen so other people can learn from my journey.
I have started a few projects from scratch that have been fairly successful. I’ve realized a passion of mine is to help other people get up and running on their interests inside and outside medicine. To help with that, I have also created a consulting service to help other physician-lead companies and startups. My strengths lie in helping either myself or others with the beginning stages of growth so my consulting service will help with that.
I’m currently working with an established venture capital fund to help them grow their educational platform and also a few docs who are just starting to help establish their brands.
The Concierge VA
I’ve quickly reached a saturation point in the amount of shallow work I can do myself on a daily basis. To help with that, I’ve hired a virtual assistant that has made a day and night difference in my entrepreneur journey. I can barely imagine how I was able to manage life before hiring her.
When we were getting acquainted and getting her up and running, I found that there weren’t that many great resources on how to best utilize a virtual assistant. The material was superficial or just out of date. I wanted help with the day-to-day. How do I structure the job so she could be her best self?
There was so much I learned in just the first few weeks of working together that I think I could save someone else countless headaches and time. To help others along this process, I’m partnering to create a virtual assistant company for other physician entrepreneurs. We will work with the physician to match them with a VA just for their needs and to help them with onboarding. The service is called The Concierge VA and will be launching soon.
Wake up. Wash face and brush teeth. Try to resist and fail. Grab phone.
I start most of my days like I assume most of you guys do. With my phone. Of course with a bunch of red notifications. Emails, news, text messages and of course a bunch of spam calls.
Picking up my laptop is worse. I’ll see notifications from my email or my RSS Feed. For some reason, it’s harder to resist replying to an email on my laptop.
My RSS feed is a black hole of procrastination. It is a updated list of all the podcasts I listen to, blogs I read, and YouTube channels I watch. And there are always updates.
Sometimes, I’ll pick up my phone or laptop, look at a notification and put it down. Completely forgetting why I picked it up in the first place.
It starts innocently enough. Let me respond to this email. Let me read this blog post. Let’s see if there’s anything happening on the news. Suddenly hours have passed by. And I haven’t done a single thing.
This happens every day, many times a day. I sometimes envy our younger less connected days. Forsaking technology and the internet wasn’t an option, so I’ve had to find a few workarounds. Otherwise, I’d get nothing done. And many days I still don’t.
Be mindful of what is able to send you a notification. When you first download an app, it’ll ask you it can send notifications. Think will you need it? Your attention is precious. Don’t give it away
Try and only use the amount of technology you need to get the job done. The internet is vast. Do you need access to it all to get this project done? I’ll open up a new browser window and only use that window while I’m working. My normal browser has countless tabs for articles that I’d like to read or need my attention at some point.
Mimic airplane mode. Turn off wifi. Hit airplane mode on your phone. Try to do that for 20-25 minutes and then give yourself a few minutes of relaxation. Then repeat.
Whenever I meet someone new, I ask what they do for fun. It beats the where you from and what do you do that they always get asked. I usually see a small twinkle in their eyes. People are excited to talk about their hobby or past time. I always am.
When I first met one of my students, she told me about her love for ballroom dancing. We talked about all the different styles. And I even got some tips for my wedding first dance.
By the time most people finish, I’m itching to try their hobby. They just sold me on it. And didn’t even have to try. It could be anything: sports, eating out, writing. And the conversation flows and leaves a lasting impact.
I can’t tell you how often I get asked what I do for a living. I like to change it up to keep it interesting. I’m a writer. I’m a teacher. Or marketer. All true at some point in my week. Don’t get me wrong. I love talking about medicine. It takes up so much of my life that sometimes I like to talk about what else is going on in my life. Like writing this blog or the newest restaurant I tried.
In all my hobbies, I’m considered an amateur. Every little thing seems like a mystery. When I learn something new, I feel like a kid again. Full of wonder. Of course then if someone asks me about it, I’d be happy to tell them. You can hear the wonder in my voice. Here is this new amazing restaurant I tried. Check out this new blog post.
We know how to sell. We do it without even thinking about it. We have to be talking about something that excites us. Why can’t we do it on demand? Selling has a bad connotation. It reminds us of used car salesman or those people that would go door to door to sell us something. But we have to sell on a daily basis.
Convince someone that already takes 8 pills a day to take another one? I have to sell them on why it’s important. Ask someone who has knee pain that they need to exercise? More selling. Convince my wife that she wants to try this new Mexican food place I found? Selling.
It’s a skill we need to use every day. And the best part is that we already know how to do it. It’s easy to get excited about our hobbies and sell someone on it. We are telling them why we love it and the best parts of it. We can do the same for other parts of our life that we have to sell.
You know why your patient needs to take the new medicine. Wouldn’t her improved health be exciting? I bet you’d be pretty happy if she came back and the medicine worked. Let that enthusiasm through. Think about the why behind what you’re doing. You’ll be able to sell naturally. You already do it all the time.
Now sell me on your hobby. I’ll highlight a few in future posts.
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