I’m a former plastic surgeon. I left my practice in 2003, disgruntled with the overall state of healthcare—the legal, political, and business climate.
In 2005, I started my coaching practice, working with service-dedicated entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. In 73 days, I created a six-figure annualized revenue stream, and I’ve sustained it and grown it ever since. I’ve had clients best my record (70 days) or at least come close (99–226 days).
I’m writing this not to brag, but to set the context for what I’m about to say about picking your niche.
I’ve learned that just because I know a lot about something—for example, being a physician and surgeon—doesn’t mean that’s what I should focus on. For instance, I know a lot about cosmetic surgery, but I have no interest in writing about it. Or even advising about it.
Now, if you’re excited about writing on specific topics, then, by all means, follow your passion.
But consider channeling your skills as a writer and educator into fields that may or may not have an obvious correlation with your past experiences and training. In the end, you may still end up writing for the very audience you are considering now. And if you do, it will be with greater confidence and conviction.
Write and speak about subjects that you are naturally excited about.
Pick ONE area and test it out. That’s the only way to learn: by experience.
As an example, when I first started practicing plastic surgery, I was trained to operate literally from head to toe. So on any given operating room day, I’d do surgery, say, on someone’s head; then, for the next patient, something on their chest or back; then I operated on the next patient’s hand, and then I’d end the day with something on a lower extremity.
Over time, I realized I hated doing nose jobs. I quit doing that. Then, a couple of years later, I realized I was tired of getting up in the middle of the night for people who had cut off their fingers. I quit doing emergency hand surgery. Then I finally figured out that I was sick and tired of dealing with facial fractures at 3 AM. So I gladly gave those up. But tummy tucks—I was totally excited to do those!
My point is, I learned from experience what I liked, and my preferences changed over time as I gained maturity and experience.
I encourage you to do the same, in the roles you play as an entrepreneur, educator, change-maker, and/or thought-leader. Go out and explore working with different audiences. Experience what comes to you readily, what sparks your creativity.
Have fun with your exploration; you don’t have to hit a grand slam in your first at-bat.
Recently, I was a guest trainer at a business-building workshop for independent service professionals. All of the participants chose to attend this training, ostensibly, to help grow their businesses, to be more profitable, and to help more people.
As I got to know the participants, two things became readily apparent to me:
- 100% of the participants were 1000% passionate about their work, which ultimately was about making a contribution to their clients’ businesses and lives.
- Only about 10-20% of them were financially viable, even though they were all making a valuable contribution to their clients.
This observation both puzzled and troubled me. You see, for years, I used to believe that if a person was really passionate about something, success (however way they define it for themselves) was a foregone conclusion.
So, I wondered what it was that separated the financially successful and passionate business from the equally passionate (in loose, relative terms), but financially non-viable business.
After percolating on this for a while, I realized that the significant difference between a successful business and an unsuccessful one lies in the depth of commitment. Yes, the “C” word – commitment.
Commitment means being willing to take on a greater level of personal growth, to face the unanticipated challenges with courage, to take bold actions, even in the face of extreme pressure and uncertainty. Commitment is also about being willing to grow from the inside out, at a deep, personal level – being willing to face one’s inner demons – those limiting beliefs and lingering self-doubts that only serve to keep you stuck where you are.
(And, by the way, commitment is not about working hard, ‘paying one’s dues,” sacrificing, or suffering. That may be part of one’s experience along the journey, but that’s not commitment; that’s simply part of the ride.)
Without a doubt, having the passion for what you do, have, and experience in business and in life is an important element of personal fulfillment.
But having passion alone is not a surefire formula for success.
See, there are many people who are passionate about something, whether it’s ‘ending world hunger,’ ‘saving the whales’ or ‘freeing Tibet.’ But far fewer are committed to doing something about it, to taking action even against great odds and tremendous challenges.
Passion without commitment is akin to a rocket ship on the launching pad without fuel: It’s a great idea, but going nowhere – fast.
Conversely, it’s entirely possible to be financially successful, without having a passion for the business. But that’s a conversation for another day.
- Looking at your own business and life, where would you rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being high) as far as being passionate about the business you are in (not just a part of it, but the whole of it).
- Now, list your top three business goals for the next year or two. Go ahead, put them down on paper or screen.
- Now ask yourself, on a scale of 1-10, how committed are you to doing whatever it is you’ll need to do to have those business goals be a reality? Let’s be honest here.
The critical link between passion and success lies in the level of one’s commitment to the pursuit of ‘success.’ If you find yourself below a 5 or 6 on the level of commitment (and you are being honest about it), you really need to ask yourself what you’re really spending your valuable time and life energy on. Maybe it’s time to commit to something else.
But even at the highest levels of commitment, there are no guarantees of success.
For those of you seeking guarantees, I leave you with one of my favorite quotations from W. H. Murray, one of the first to climb Mount Everest:
Commitment. Until one is committed there is always hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.
“You have a mind, but you are not your mind. You have a body, but you are not your body.
You have emotions, but you are not your emotions.
You are a child of God; therefore, you can create anything within the constraints of Universal Law.”
– Dr. Michael Gladych, WWII fighter pilot ace-turned-yoga master
Behind every success story, there’s at least one key person in the background, serving as the catalyst for success.
Most of you reading this know the story of my struggles early in my career as a plastic surgeon in private practice back in 1995. In the midst of serious financial struggles (near-bankruptcy), studying to pass my plastic surgery boards, and going through a divorce, I managed to avert near-bankruptcy, turn both my life and practice around and live to tell about it. In retrospect, it seems miraculous that I made it through that challenging period of my life at all.
The part of the story most of you don’t know about is what I actually did that turned things around. How, in a span of three years, I went from broke plastic surgeon with no hope of financial reprieve in sight, living alone in a dingy, dark apartment, to buying a home in a neighborhood that was in the world of wishful thinking, marrying the woman of my dreams, and having children that would make any parent proud.
But, this isn’t just my own story. It’s really the story of how you can achieve anything you want in life. You see, during this period of time, I was introduced to a remarkable man, affectionately known as “Dr. G.” He’s my yoga master, but the work he does has nothing to do with yoga poses.
With Dr. G, I studied what he calls “yoga therapy,” which is the application of Raja yoga principles to everyday life. One of the first things he taught me was how to attract and achieve the things in life that are most important to me.
First, a little about the 96-years-young Dr. G.—Of all things, he used to be a WWI fighter pilot. Meeting him in person, you’d probably think he was in his late 70s or early 80s. A few years ago, he underwent open-heart surgery for a two-vessel cardiac by-pass procedure. The remarkable part is that he did so without general anesthesia!
What philosophy and physics have in common.
Years ago, Dr. G. told me that as a youngster in Poland, he was fascinated by physics and studied the work of Albert Einstein. When he moved to the United States, he had a friend who knew Einstein, so he asked his friend to arrange a meeting.
Dr. G. said to Dr. Einstein: “Philosophy and physics look at the same things in life, just from two different perspectives.” “Philosophy looks at life from the perspective of love. And in this sense, I define love as unconditional giving.”
My yoga master then asked Einstein, “Since physics and philosophy are looking at the same things in life, but from a different perspective, what is the physical correlate of love?”
Einstein and my yoga master walked around the Princeton University campus. Einstein scratched his head and thought for a bit. Then he replied, “Of course, the physical correlate of love is radiation.”
You see, radiation goes everywhere and is stopped by nothing. And, so goes unconditional giving.
One form of electromagnetic radiation is alpha-waves. Because alpha waves are low-frequency, high-amplitude electromagnetic oscillations, they are able to penetrate deep through the Earth, into the depths of the oceans. That’s why the military uses alpha frequencies to communicate with their submarines.
Guess what? Your brain produces alpha waves as well, mostly when you are relaxed, but alert, as in a meditative state.
Consider that your thoughts can ride the alpha waves to the far reaches of the planet. No joke. While I don’t know exactly how this works, let me just say that Dr. G taught me a process of “thought broadcasting” that enabled me to attract the people, seemingly fortuitous events, and resources that I needed to miraculously pull my life together.
So you think. So it goes.
Here’s the deal: Your thoughts create your reality. And your beliefs lead to those thoughts. Even if you don’t believe something is possible, if you begin thinking it is possible, you can “trick” your mind into accepting that belief. Once you believe something is possible, just thinking that it is possible then makes it possible.
This means you can really create anything you want, within the constraints of Universal Law. That means anything.
For example, since traveling faster than the speed of light violates a universal principle, there would be no use in thinking and believing that is possible.
- Flying without wings
- Landing a man on the moon
- Breaking the four-minute mile barrier
- Or traveling faster than the speed of sound
…were once thought to be humanly impossible.
Beliefs => Thoughts and Feelings => Actions => Desired Results
If you are ready to take on the process of manifesting what you desire in life, download the free Broadcasting Toolkit. I’ve turned what Dr. G taught me into a short eBook, summary guide, and included a mp3 audio walk-through as well. It’s not hard, but it does take a commitment to consistency. And it takes patience. But what a pay-off in return!
“You can make your life into a grand ever-evolving work of art. The key is your thoughts, the wondrous invisible part of you that is your spiritual soul.” Dr. Wayne Dyer
Sprinkled throughout the rest of the Freedompreneur blog, you’ll learn more about the many lessons I learned from Dr. G and how they apply to your business success.