Life and Career Goals:
December brings good times with friends and family over the holidays. It’s also a good time to take stock and reflect on your life goals. Career goals. Nine years ago at about this I came to a stark realization: my then-two-year-old son was afraid of me.
You see, because I was working eighty to ninety hours per week (research, teaching, and surgery), to my little boy I was just a stranger who visited sometimes. Wow. What an eye-opener. That was not my beautiful life! I did not own my career; my career owned me. That was not my goal…
My Transition out of Academic to Private Practice
That was when I pledged to transition out of my double-time academic position into a more sane private position. In fact, I transitioned to half-time shortly after moving to private practice. Sure – it was much less lucrative, financially; but sooo much more fulfilling to spend time with my kids, and not be a stranger! And to be away from the politics and government regulations.
My Transition out of Clinical Practice Altogether
It wasn’t long after that that I left clinical practice entirely, to help other clinicians run their lives more efficiently and achieve their goals. That choice was helped along by having to manage my own health challenges, but being able to participate in my family life was a great benefit!
Now, I help clinicians to optimize their skill set, whether they’re in active clinical practice or transitioning away from clinical practice. In fact, most of my clients now are clinicians who are struggling with burn-out: they love clinical practice, but hate the increasingly arcane business side of their practices. My other clients are hospitals and larger medical practices who recognize the need for patients to find them online: I help them connect with their audience. (Be found…or be gone!)
For clinicians, many are coming to the realization that their career goals have been taken off the tracks. Now, many physicians are looking for a way to continue helping patients, or helping other clinicians, but still earn a living without actually treating patients in a physical clinic. Or at least treating fewer patients, and spending more time with each patient.
I am not as pessimistic as some of my medical colleagues; many are looking to leave active clinical practice entirely. Yes, there is a rising rate of physician burn-out. I fully agree that if you are approaching burnout, it’s time to re-connect with what called you to medicine in the first place: that motivation is still present. But for those who are looking for ways to improve their practice of medicine and relieve some of the stress and time-pressures, consider ways to diversify your vocation.
“Productize” Your Skills
The thing I love about physicians – in fact, all clinicians – is their deep and diverse skill sets. Skill sets that provide value. As an executive physician coach and healthcare-business consultant, I see part of my job as helping clinicians to clarify their goals, and to “productize” their skills.
That is, I help them to present their skills in a way that offers value to others. And value means others will pay money for access to those skills. For most clinicians, that means packaging-up the valuable information they’ve acquired over years of study, training, and practice, and offering it in some form that people will trade access to those skills for money.
Other People Value Skills That You Take for Granted
There are many ways to offer to others your skills and information that you take for granted: articles; eBooks; information accessed through an online membership site; information accessed through recorded online courses; live online classes in the form of webinars; live online tele-consulting; tele-medicine; and other options. And all of these forms are reasonable options, whether you continue in active clinical practice, or want to take a sabbatical from your hectic clinical practice.
The beauty of living in a digital world is that the internet makes implementing any of these options straight-forward and inexpensive.
Scale Your Skills
As just one example, only a few years ago the cost of developing an online eCourse was in the range of tens of thousands of dollars, easily into six figures! Thanks to WordPress plugins and third-party online teaching platforms, it’s now possible to build and run an awesome online eCourse for low four figures per year. And those courses offer you nearly unlimited potential for revenue – because they scale your skill set!
You build it once; you sell it unlimited times.
One more benefit of this digital productization: once you produce your eBook, or your eCourse, or whatever your product may be…it’s forever. Sure, you will want to update it over time, keep the content current. But it’s not a full-time to maintain it. It’s not even a part-time job; it’s “evergreen.” It’s as close to “passive income” as you can get.
My point is this: the people reading my blog post (yes, you, right now) have information and skills that others are probably willing – even eager – to pay for.
So, my simple gift to you at this Holiday Season is this recommendation:
As you review your life and career goals over this holiday season and into the New Year, consider your skill set, and ask yourself: “How can I productize my skills to add revenue?” “How can I build the life I dream of?”
Your skills just may help you get back on track to your goals.
Realign your body, mind, and spirit … and recover your soul.
Speaking from Experience
Speaking from personal experience, and from helping other clinicians do this, this approach offers profound benefits: you may be able to spend less time dealing with those frustrating Medicare/Medicaid regulations; more satisfying time with each of your patients; and more time with your children or grand-children.
You may even be able to spend more time on those other skills that you gave up years ago, before the demands of becoming a clinician took over your life … remember art, music, writing … remember that thing called life?
In a future post, I will focus on ways you can apply this approach – not to leave clinical practice, but to streamline and optimize your clinical practice. And regain some sanity.
Until then … keep chillin…