The Secret of self-actualized life–blueberries, vegetables and exercise, or cigars, sex and coffee…

Some clinicians continually stress and never disengage long enough to really figure out who’s in charge of their life and private practice.

One weekend, I finally got to wind down after our months long SuperConference build-up. It was a great event; most docs were ecstatic with the content and opportunities, despite the very harsh realities of private practice today. It was great to be with all my special friends who helped make this event so powerful.

spockIn any event, another very special friend Dennis invited me on the water all day Friday, and Patti and I to his Yacht Club Friday night. (Turns out, we’ll be joining!)

Friday morning, the fishing was great again—just off the Boston Harbor hotels and airport runways. It’s a fabulous place, with tons of Revolutionary War (and before) history, forts, burial grounds, etc.

Friday night, the four of us cruised the inner harbor, back on land for a couple drinks, then had a fabulous dinner back at the club, and tons of laughs together.

Then, Dennis asked me if I wanted to smoke a cigar with him. I must have had one hell of an expression, because he immediately began to tell me about studies on cigar smoking and longevity.

Huh? I read research every morning, but I missed that one!

So, Dennis says, “It’s stress that kills us. Those that socialize, and have fun—maybe smoke a cigar and sip Scotch together, laugh and stay engaged, live longer, happier, and healthier lives”.

So don’t you know it, look up the studies on centenarians in Cuba, and other countries too.

My take after reading these studies? They live simply, stay engaged in life fully for the moment, and have moderate habits—nothing to excess. Interestingly, in Cuba, they smoke cigars, drink coffee, and still enjoy sex.

But most of all, they ENJOY life, especially simple pleasures, friends, and family; most every day.

And that’s it.

Boy, can we screw this one up, big time.

Look at the craziness some of us see everyday: people stressed out, never disengaged, never shut off the cell phones and TV, complain about everything, live sedentary lives, and don’t get outside enough.

Or some Docs that continually stress, never disengage long enough to really figure out who’s in charge of their life and practice, or who they care or work for. No good systems or organization that really serves them—and their goals and dreams.

What a mess we are capable of creating!

But there is an antidote. And it’s the very first step I often end up taking with new clients.

That is to work on and truly develop the essence of Practice by Design™.

But if it’s really this simple, why do so many of us, as very intelligent docs, especially every practice day, struggle with it?

I’m not really sure, but I can tell you a few things:

First, YOU have got to have complete design control in practice. This is really the most valuable part for me personally while working with my docs.

Next, staff needs firm—but still fun—environments and goals; very easy systems that still work (by design) when we all have those “no brain” days. And the government has made this one harder.

Three: patients need guidance, and the choice to accept or reject advice. When you can see them, what your game rules are. This must, of course, include finances. And, if they choose to reject your advice, why would you ever keep them under your care?

And you know what? It can be as simple as these three basic rules!

But you must have the certainty, fortitude, and underlying tools to pull this all off in your private practice.

To that end, as Mr. Spock admonished me 40+ years ago, “live long and prosper.”

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