Mainstream medicine works out incredibly well for some. Some doctors love their work and couldn’t imagine things being different.
The reality of medicine is that healthcare is always changing, and at some point, what we’re doing now may no longer be satisfying.
I want to plant a seed of change for those who are dissatisfied with their work now or might be at some point in the future.
Whatever you think isn’t possible right now in terms of career opportunities or private practice, or exiting medicine, it’s not quite as difficult as your brain makes it seem.
The Business of Medicine
Just like all businesses, you, as the physician, are offering a service or product to someone who derives enough benefit that they are willing to pay you for it.
I sell health, and my customers come to me because they believe I have the key to unlocking their health or I can help them navigate their chronic conditions.
There is no monopoly here. We’re talking super simple stuff here, regardless of whether you’re a Spine Surgeon or Pediatrician.
However, since most of those who walk into my urgent care doesn’t need to be there, there is likely a lot of fear due to lower health education.
This is the essence of medicine, the interaction of the customer and service provider. Now, let’s add in the rent-seekers.
The Regulators of Healthcare
From the state medical board to attorneys to politicians to pharmaceutical companies, these entities might be well-intentioned, but they add a lot of bureaucracy to the practice of medicine.
This is exactly why many of us are reluctant to go out on our own or do something unconventional in healthcare. We fear getting sued or thrown in jail.
All under the guise of a few rogue physicians out there – likely a smaller percentage of the profession than the percentage of criminals in mainstream society.
The Seed of Change
The seed of change I’m suggesting is to do something towards what you think is your ideal practice of medicine or alternative career.
Many may have no clue what that is. Others will throw out something like “Longevity” or “Meditation.” It doesn’t matter which camp you’re in. What matters is that you take one step towards change.
In behavioral health, the hardest thing is to get a person to change their attitude or behavior. That’s the biggest obstacle for most of us physicians.
In this case, the attitude to change is that you are stuck doing what you’re doing. It’s necessary to believe that something different than what you are doing now is not only possible but that you are the person who can achieve that.
The attitude change requires constantly questioning yourself when you tell yourself that you are stuck in this job because x, y, or z.
You don’t have to believe this to change your attitude. The seed is the act of questioning yourself.
Am I really stuck in this position? Is it because of my family or circumstances that I can’t do something else?
I can do something else. I am not stuck in this situation. I can see myself as a professional chef, an author, or a physician who is seeing patients in a practice where I feel fulfilled.
No Olympic rock climbing athlete started out climbing V8s. They all started as clumsy, uncoordinated climbers who just kept showing up to the gym.
The necessary behavioral change is to keep doing something towards that ideal career or encore career. Perhaps you won’t have the desired success, but something equally opportune will likely result.
The seed I would plant is to set 1 hour aside daily to work on your own business, project, or personal goal. If that 1 hour is hard to spare, then brother/sister, you is way too busy!!
When you wake up in the morning, instead of pouring a cup of coffee, it would be more valuable to work on your own platform/website/SM.
Planting the Seed – Slowly
If you know that this practice of medicine isn’t the right field or career trajectory for you, it’s worthwhile to plant several seeds. This has paid off for me in so many ways over my career.
To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.Tiny Buddha
It’s not mainstream to approach life this way, and people will question you. But weren’t the people who were doing unique things the most interesting people to talk to at a party?
Undoubtedly, you’ll feel like you have no direction at times. But from reading some amazing autobiographies, not knowing what you’re doing may not be a harbinger of failure.
There is no rush to get out of medicine or have your private practice succeed. But you can either build your online resume or learn the skills you need to run that ideal practice one day eventually.
Overcoming the Fear of the Unknown
When I first wanted to do something outside of medicine, I had a lot of fear. I wanted to do something in construction or the automotive world.
The Fear of Building Something New
Eventually, by chance, in 2011, a mechanic friend suggested we open a shop together. This is while I was a young attending Kaiser. It was a great idea, and it was successful and fun.
Perhaps the fact that I was in the automotive circles – the planted seed – helped me overcome my fear and threw me into the path of this young mechanic.
The Unknown World of Something New
By 2016 I had less fear but didn’t know how to approach the unknown. How do you get into healthcare consulting if you don’t know shit about healthcare?
For me, the answer was to apply to as many jobs as possible. Eventually, I landed a gig with a young healthcare startup (I didn’t even know what that was back then), and by the time I was done, I was a consultant with them.