This is a guest post by Dr. Mike Woo-Ming. If you'd like to submit a guest post, please contact me.
Why is it that so many physician conferences are littered with unhappy, frustrated, and bored faces? Are these the same people I went to school with? I remember the first day of medical school and the gleam of optimism and eagerness in my fellow classmate’s eyes. I’ll never forget that feeling; the whole campus seemed to pulse with excitement. We were committed, passionate and ready to make a difference.
Fast forward twenty years.
Where has that feeling gone? We didn’t abandon our principles - helping those in need and improving lives - so what happened?
It was the growing discontent. The frustration of working in a convoluted bureaucratic system. The grinding weight of routine, the long work hours, and the days away from family. The endless legal woes, the impersonal nature of new medicine, and the burn out.
When I first told my wife I wanted a change in direction she was startled to say the least. I told her I loved medicine but I didn't love what medicine was doing to me. So I took a "time out.” And it was the best thing I ever did. First I wrote a book, which, over time, developed into an online publishing company. I got involved in the early dot-com boom and ended up owning shares in a company that were worth less than the paper it was printed on. There were plenty of failures along the way and successes were hard fought, but I learned from my mistakes and pushed on.
I found the break I was looking for when I partnered with a fellow entrepreneur and started a software company. From then on I had the flexibility and freedom to work at my own pace, spend more time with family, and pursue other goals.
I recently attended a conference and a speaker made a point that really hit home. He said that the average lifespan of an adult male in America is 83. The speaker was 55 years old. Subtract 55 from 83 and you get 28. Take off another nine years for time sleeping and you’re down to 19 years.
There’s no better time to make a change than now. Every day we’re losing more time to create the life we want. Here are a few ways to take back control and reignite your passions:
1. Start a blog. You may be tempted to write about medicine but it could be therapeutic to have another outlet. As physicians, we bring our work home with us and are never really off call. It can feel consuming when work begins to encroach on all aspects of our life.
Wordpress (www.wordpress.com) is an easy-to-use platform that a beginner can use to start a blog. Because of your position as a physician, your opinion will command greater authority. Sign up to become an affiliate for products and services you find beneficial and recommend them to your viewers. For every person that signs up under your affiliate title you receive a commission.
2. Leverage your existing knowledge to develop a health product or expand on an established service. If you specialize in weight loss and have an incredible system to help others lose weight then spread the word. Write a book and sell it on Amazon.com or create an online weight-loss workshop and sell memberships to your webinars.
3. You can also combine your health knowledge with another passion. For example, if you are an avid outdoorsman get in touch with outfitting firms to work as an on-site physician for travel expeditions. Most of the major scientific and mountaineering firms employ full and part time medical personnel.
These are just a few ideas to get you started and thinking about new business opportunities. You can use these examples as jump off points to brainstorm ideas that work for you. The best way to find success is to combine the skills you’ve mastered with an area of interest to create a new product or service.
Mike Woo-Ming, M.D./MPH owns a health-based publishing company and encourages physicians to follow their passion on his blog. Go to http://www.incomemd.com to learn more on how you can transition to entrepreneurship.