Life is Difficult.
This is the opening line of a landmark book by M. Scott, Peck, MD, The Road Less Traveled.
Dr. Peck had a wonderful insight into the human experience and especially our related behaviors. And for millions of people, his passing is still mourned. If you have not read his works recently, I suggest you do.
As many doctors do, he drew many life lessons from his experiences with patients. But way beyond that, he had an uncommon knack of distilling the key reasons why some people remain extraordinarily happy, especially in times of adversity.
You probably also know that one of the biggest reasons some doctors develop huge, successful practices, especially today Is their ability to regularly step back and look at the “big picture”, and then act, quickly. And if an action is somehow taken in error, or turns out not to be effective, they see to it that rapid corrections always take place.
In fact, one of the key skills to being a good doctor is that of making many rapid decisions and choices, often times for other people.
In our experience, the happiest docs set their entire personal and professional lives up so they are seemingly perfectly executed.
The reality is that their prosperity and fulfillment is due largely to their design. Living and practicing by design gives you huge advantages.
Just like professional athletes, superstar docs make it look easy.
The “Superstars” develop many skills sets and qualities. They are perpetual students. Marketing, clinical expertise, or technology upgrades. These doctors continuously learn, and develop new qualities.
But, what is the most important of all of these advantages?
Flexibility. Because the vantage point of flexibility gives you many more choices and options as time goes on.
Lets take a look at why this is so.
Lets take finances first. If you make a regular habit of saving money, and reducing debt, early in your career especially, this decision then gives you great financial flexibility later on. The ability to ride out an economic storm. The ability to take vacations and adequate time off, etc. A buffer against downturns due to regulatory changes and natural disasters.
Technological prowess also gives modern docs enormous flexibility. The tools and systems that are available today can help you not only with patient care, but research, marketing, and yes even a complete education in practice clinical skills, and management, growth and promotion.
The next big advantage is structural flexibility. An operating business framework of your choice that can accelerate you beyond any other practice in the area.
An entire team that is so well trained, that it can expand or contract at will. Patients remark on how you never seem to miss a beat. You hire no more staff than absolutely necessary, and add to the team as practice grows. Vacations or time away by a team member create new opportunities, not added stress on the practice.
Patient Care in these offices is thus based upon options, and letting patients know about all their choices. In healthcare, like many areas of modern life there are tiers of service. This is not a utopian world as some would have us believe about healthcare today. Given a chance, most people choose what’s best for them at any given moment in time.
It is in the honest presentation of these that the doctor serves his community the best.
The third and perhaps the most important is simply ownership and it’s inherent flexibility, that of being in charge. You call all your own shots. Hours, income, time-off, strategies for marketing, patients to accept or decline, yes just about everything.
For some docs, ownership can be overwhelming. Then the choice then becomes learn new skill sets or work for somebody else.
Now the good news, these are learned skills. When they’re applied to all areas of your practice and life, the result is a much more fulfilling experience.
And if not learned regularly updated and applied, practice can be a nightmare.
It’s all up to you.