[NOTE: In case you’re wondering, this post is a follow-up to this (which received more comments than I’ve ever received on this blog. I’ll do my best to respond to each and every comment!)]
OK…so I’ve gotten a number of comments from readers about the “cliff hanger” in my previous email and blog post.
Sorry about that. I just needed to buy some time to collect my thoughts and feelings. I have been both excited and reluctant to talk about this. But since this year is dedicated to “brilliant revelation,” here goes…
When I first left my plastic surgery practice behind almost eight years ago, I never in a million lifetimes DREAMED that I’d soon be working with entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies.
Every once in a while, I think I’m crazy and delusional, having bailed out of medicine, just short of a decade of being in practice. But I believe that I’ve been blessed to help other entrepreneurs transform their lives and the lives that they touch.
For a while, at the end of business workshops and seminars I gave, I had to consciously make an effort to maintain my composure, because I was so happy to be able to touch peoples’ lives in this way.
Just today, I received a surprise on my doorstep from a client: It was a box of Godiva Chocolates with a note of gratitude: “George, A thank you for all of the amazing support you’ve given me and putting up with my stubborn self for so long. With gratitude.”
And for sure, I’ve learned and grown a lot!!! And made a lot of mistakes along the way!!!
So here is what I have been holding out on for quite some time…
- Nicely asked
- Strongly encouraged
- Pleaded with
- Ruthlessly, yet compassionately directed…
…to share my thinking, my strategies, and integrated approach for how to:
- attract and work exclusively with highly profitable and appreciative clients
- set fees and prices based on value (rather than hourly or “what the going rate is”), and
- understand and apply solid financial management principles and “best practices” in your business (even if numbers give you the heebie-jeebies.)
For YEARS, I’ve resisted getting this stuff out there on a large scale.
Now at the core, I’m first and foremost an educator. I really believe I was born to be an educator. I thoroughly enjoy finding ways to present material in ways that people can learn it, quickly and easily, regardless of their learning style.
But when it comes to this stuff, I frequently made the usual lame excuses like “It’s good, but no one’s going to care about it,” “I’ve got other priorities,” and “it’s just material I use with my premium private coaching clients.” Or try this one: “It’s obvious. Everyone knows this stuff already.”
And while I like to think it takes a lot for me to get embarrassed, I’m embarrassed to admit that, it took many, many years for me to realize and accept that I have a gift for taking high-level business theories and principles and distilling them into understandable and actionable strategies and tactics. And from there, I can drill all the way down to specific action steps and tasks.
I don’t know if it’s ignorance or naiveté, but I wondered for a long time what the big deal was, (again, since I figured that everyone could see the very same things that were so obvious to me).
To complicate matters, I’m a serious perfectionist (as you might expect from a plastic surgeon. I could spend hours in the operating room, trying to get 1 cm of skin to sit just right!)
I get a real kick out of trying to turn something good into something better, which translates into making things:
- Easier to understand.
- More practical.
- Less effort to apply in the real world.
- More valuable.
So I’ve come to accept that if I’m going to produce material for people to use, I can’t live with just slapping something together, like I’ve seen others do and succeed with that approach. As far as I’m concerned, it’s “give it everything I’ve got,” or don’t waste anyone else’s time with shoddy material or work.
As I said earlier, I personally go cross-eyed when dealing with financial numbers. UNLESS, I have a spreadsheet that does the work for me and spoon-feeds me what I need to know! So that’s what I’ve been able to do for the past 6 years — show clients how to select only the best customers, clients, and patients; integrate financial tools that tell you how the health of your business (and do the heavy-lifting for you); and make it easy and natural for them set their fees for service, programs, and products based on value provided. And all of this in support of a freedom-driven business.
It’s Time for Me to Play a Bigger Game
Like a lot of other people, I have a fear of being criticized. Yeah, sure I can act “transformed” about it and talk about how it’s all “perfect,” but the reality is, I still don’t like it.
But I also know from surviving not one, but two brutal and malignant surgical training programs (General Surgery, then Plastic Surgery), that being the target of severe criticism is survivable. And I get to choose whether to allow criticism to stop me from being a contributor in the world.
Come to think of it, I talk a lot about “playing a bigger game” in life. And holding back the material I have to share, the ideas, inspiration, and insights I come up with on a daily basis, is simply small-minded. It’s playing a small game.
I’m Seriously Considering Doing This
Despite my fears, hesitancies, and perfectionism, I am seriously prepared to pull back the curtain and show you just about everything I know about pricing your services, programs, and products based on value, along with the financial principles and “best practices” you need to make the most profit and cash flow from your business AND make the greatest contribution you can make – all while making it more fun. Freedom – Contribution – Prosperity!
I’m “threatening” to share business success paradigms that I’ve only shared here and there, and with my highest paying clients, but have never blended value-based pricing together with my financial analytics skills and “diagnostic” approach to getting clients who are both profitable and rewarding to work with.
Because of my challenges in starting my plastic surgery practice, I was inspired to become the business guide and mentor that I wish I had had way back then. And I would have LOVED to have had this training 6 years ago, when I was just getting started in working with entrepreneurs.
If I Do This, It Will Be A LOT of Work
I’m excited about sharing this stuff with you, but I’ve been around long enough to know that my small projects quickly get out of hand and turn into major-league endeavors.
I’m only going to take this on if there’s enough interest.
Here’s where I need your help. I want to know…
- What do you think?
- Should I do this?
- Would you be interested?
- Would anyone you know be interested?
Your feedback and thoughts are absolutely the fuel that keeps me going.
And I don’t want to even think about taking this project on, unless there’s enough of you who think this would be valuable and worthwhile for you.
Anyway, if you have a second, please leave a comment below, letting me know what you think. It would mean a lot to me.
To freedom, contribution, and prosperity,
When things aren’t going as well as you’d like in your business, chances are that your natural inclination is to “try harder,” as in work harder and work longer hours.
Otherwise known as the “brute force” approach to success, the problem is that this approach doesn’t typically work. The only guarantee with this approach is that you’ll end up working harder and longer hours. But it doesn’t guarantee success, no matter how you define success.
When one “tries harder,” the predictable outcome is tension – inner tension of the mind and body and outer tension in how your thoughts, feelings, and attitudes get expressed in your daily life. No freedom here.
I’ve found that principles of success in sports apply equally well to the world of entrepreneurship. One of my friends, David Ranney (www.MaxTennis.com) writes in his book, Tennis: Play the Mental Game: “Although trying harder may seem to work in the short term, you will find that when the match gets tight or when it comes time to win, your game may break down.”
If “grinding it out” and working harder isn’t likely to win the day for you, what’s the alternative?
Relaxation means different things to different people. It may be meditation. Reading a good book. Going for a run. Maybe singing or playing a musical instrument. Or, if you’re me: hitting tennis balls.
Diverting your attention away from your private mountain of projects and tasks gives you a valuable opportunity to see solutions and opportunities from a different and unique perspective.
Most people don’t realize that Dr. Albert Einstein was an accomplished violinist. In fact, he attributes his experience with musical improvisation as contributing to some of his greatest insights.
Whatever you do, it’s vital to schedule regular, consistent times away from work. Of course this makes good common sense, but common sense isn’t commonly practiced!
To avoid the “I know this already” trap, I recommend that you schedule times for relaxation, “scheduled relaxation.” Go ahead, do it right now.
Put in your schedule the times for you to practice singing or playing an instrument, times for running or working out. And if you really want to stay on track, get a relaxation accountability partner, that is, someone who will help you make sure you both take regular relaxation time throughout the week.
If you’ve ever found yourself verbally, mentally, or emotionally berating yourself or berating someone else, I have a story for you that will help you to snap out of it, so you can go on being the best that you can be and living a life of freedom, fulfillment, and joy.
Over twenty years ago, when I was in General Surgery training, one of my service rotations was covering the busy Emergency Room of inner city hospital. We used to joke that we were right in the middle of the “gun and knife club.”
During this rotation, I was “on-call” every other day, which theoretically meant that I was awake and on-duty for 24 hours straight, then I supposedly had the next days off. In reality, it was more like being awake for 36 hours straight, crashing right to sleep, then waking up to start all over again. Functioning like this for three months was a physically, mentally, and emotionally intense and demanding time of my life.
One night, the paramedics brought in a young, otherwise healthy male, who had been stabbed in the chest, apparently while standing on a street corner. I don’t know any other details, such as whether he was an innocent bystander or involved in some sort of altercation or drug deal gone bad.
As the paramedics rolled him in on a gurney, the nurses hooked him up to monitors, so we could monitor his vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. We started cutting his clothes away, which is standard procedure when a trauma victim is brought in, so we could determine where his injuries were. Suddenly he “flatlined,” which meant that all the readings on the monitors went flat: his heart had stopped beating, he had no blood pressure, and he stopped breathing.
Anytime there’s a penetrating chest injury, “flatlining” is an indicator that the heart has lost its ability to contract and pump blood. There’s a sac around the heart called the pericardium. If there’s a penetrating injury like a bullet or knife wound, blood can leak out from the heart and into the pericardial sac. If too much blood leaks into this sac, the heart cannot fill with blood and then pump it out. It’s a showstopper.
When a trauma patient suddenly loses all vital signs, what we have to do is to perform a procedure called “cracking the chest”. This means that we literally cut through the chest to get to the heart, then open up the pericardial sac to relieve the tension, allowing the heart to start beating again.
And when I saw the flatline, I called for a scalpel, then immediately started opening his chest. And then something that never should happen happened: One of my junior residents took the scalpel out of my hand while I was cutting, the equivalent of surgical sacrilege. I was so taken aback that this happened, that I just let him continue opening the chest wall. I wasn’t willing to let my ego or rank get in the way of saving this man’s life.
So I switched my mindset to supervising the procedure, but I was still mentally thrown off. Once the incision in the chest wall skin and muscle was made and rib spreaders were inserted, we could see that indeed, the pericardial sac was tense will blood. So the next step is to take a pair of scissors and cut through the pericardium, to release envelope of blood that prevented the heart from filling and pumping. My junior resident opened the sac with scissors, just like cutting wrapping paper.
Immediately, the heart started pumping again, spewing a fountain of blood through the knife wound. To complicate matters, the patient also immediately regained consciousness as blood flow returned to his brain. So image this: His chest is spread wide open, his heart is gushing blood with each heart beat, and he’s trying to sit up, struggling and flailing about. And everyone on the trauma team is yelling at him to lie still! Yeah right! Got the visual here?!?
In this situation, what is needed now is an inexpensive medical device called a “Foley catheter”. A Foley catheter is a rubber tube that normally goes into the bladder. It has a balloon at the end, so it stays inside the bladder and collects urine. So the proper maneuver at this point is to take the Foley catheter and insert it into the knife wound and then inflate the balloon at the end of the catheter. This temporarily stops the blood from gushing out of the heart and buys you enough time to put sutures around the laceration, stop the geyser of blood. Simple enough. But for whatever reason – maybe it was my fatigue and/or the shock of my junior resident taking over this procedure – I didn’t perform this maneuver. Within a minute or two, the patient lost consciousness again, this time because most of his entire blood volume was now on the floor of the emergency room. I instructed the nurses to pumps resuscitation fluids into his body as I performed open cardiac massage – I placed his heart between my gloved hands and pumped the heart.
Lacking anything else to do, we started literally rolling the gurney to the operating room, as I continued cardiac massage. We took a shortcut to the OR, rather than taking the regular exit out of the emergency room. We rolled right through the waiting room that was jammed packed with patients and families of all ages. Can you imagine their shock and horror of seeing this bloody, wide-open chest, with me holding his heart in my hands, desperately pumping it?
But at this point, it was already too late to save his life; that opportunity had already been lost moments ago.
So for many, many years, probably for over a decade, I felt guilty about that incident. I felt guilty that I didn’t save this patient’s life. I felt guilty that I knew what to do, and I didn’t do it. I didn’t execute on my training. And with the thought of “I didn’t say this patient’s life,” what naturally came as a thought after that was: “I must be a loser;” “I must not be very good doctor;” “I am incompetent,” “I am not worthy,” “I just wasn’t good enough and will never be good enough.” And you can imagine the cascade of that “gremlin voice” that only serves to keep me small.
One day I was driving down the freeway on the way to my office when I was practicing as a plastic surgery and I was thinking about this. Wishfully, I was thinking, “Why can’t 100% of my surgeries go well? If I was a good enough surgeon, then it should always go well. Why is it that I see these guys present at the plastic surgery meetings and it seems like they all go well; they never have any complications, their patients are always happy, and they never get sued. Why is that? I must be a loser.
Then I realized, it’s none of that. I realized in that moment, that perfection is my life as it is this very moment. And, excellence is the process of fulfilling my commitments.
And I realized that I did my best given who I was and given the circumstances with that patient came in and when that patient died. And I also realized that in doing the best I could do, that that patient also had a role in his death. It may have been an innocent death, I don’t know. He may have been up to “no good; ” I don’t know.
But the point is, I discounted the role of this patient’s responsibility in being where ever he was when he was stabbed. And whatever he may have done or said that contributed to him getting stabbed. And I didn’t understand the role of responsibility, personal responsibility, and the role of living out one’s karma. I just focused on myself in a very subversive, egotistical way. But once I realized that I did the best I could under the circumstances. And that I am committed to excellence, and that there is something for all of us to learn and grow from, even when things don’t go well, as well as intended, I was able to forgive myself. And it gave me a tremendous degree of freedom.
I never used to tell anyone about this event, about what happened. I felt too guilty, I felt too ashamed.
So in forgiving one’s self, there is freedom. There’s the freedom to create beyond your wildest dreams and imagination. So in forgiving yourself for the beliefs, the thoughts and feelings and actions that you have taken and that you’ve held, there is also the flipside, which is forgiving yourself for the beliefs that you’ve not had, the thoughts you’ve not thought, the feelings you’ve not felt, and for the actions that you have not taken, that have either held you back, held others back, or hurt you or others.
Forgiving yourself is an area not commonly thought of when it comes to enhancing performance and productivity. You don’t usually wake up and say to yourself: “Today is December 2nd; I’m going to forgive myself today!”
I assert that if you are willing to take on forgiving yourself, it will open up a world of relating to yourself, to others, and to the world at-large that gives you greater abilities to make the impact, make the contribution that you are committed to. It will give you the ability to make all the money that you envision for yourself. It will give you a greater framework for the healthy, for being well, and all the other important aspects of being human. It will open up the possibility of possibilities in your life.
This is easier to talk about than to actually do. And in my personal experience, I’ve found that if you can practice, the more you practice forgiving yourself, the easier it becomes. And then, the easier it becomes to forgive others.
Conscious Leaderpreneurship Call, April 29 2010, with Rev. Suzi Schadle
Wouldn’t you love to be paid and prospered for who you are and what you love to do?
My Conscious Leaderpreneurship special guest this week, Rev. Suzi Schadle, believes this is possible, and… the best way to create a sustainable economy!
As Suzi says,
I believe the new economy is all about people awakening to their unique passion and purpose, and then fully expressing it as a path to prosperity. What we have the greatest passion for is often where we also have our greatest natural talents and the capacity to do the world the most good.
The intersection of our passion, talent and contribution is the sweet-spot where our life-purpose lies. To paraphrase Joseph Campbell, “Where your talent and your bliss meet the needs of the world, that is where your purpose lies and that is where Spirit wants you to be.”
So often we have had it backwards—“If I have money, then I will be able to do what I want and I will be okay.” Suzi contends the more powerful model is BEING who we are and DOING what we have come here to do, which will naturally lead to HAVING all we need and want.
“Let’s create a world where we all do well by doing good.” – Rev. Suzi Schadle
Come join our discussion about how a world filled with fully self-expressed and fulfilled people is a world of peace and prosperity.
My call with Rev. Suzi Schadle from the Center for Spiritual Living Eastside this Thursday, April 29th, from 12 noon – 12:45pm, PST. If you would like to receive the call-in number and code for my Conscious Leaderpreneurship calls, please opt-in at the bottom of this page.