When I coach entrepreneurial physician clients, one of the questions I often pose is "How will you define your success?"
Obviously, this question requires considerable introspection, even though the most obvious answer upfront tends to be "When the business is up and running, and I'm making good money."
The 10th and final Rule of successful entrepreneurship in Bill Murphy Jr's "The Intelligent Entrepreneur" addresses similar questions - Play the game for life.
Yes, success can be measured by the amount of money a business makes, or puts in the owner's pocket. But for most successful entrepreneurs like Ehsan Bayat who recently received the Mahatma Gandhi Humanitarian Award in 2010, there are many more intangibles that surface as non-quantifiable metrics of success.
This is indeed true for many of the entrepreneurial physicians I have interviewed in my "Conversations with Trailblazers" series. In my own experience as a physician business owner, my sense of satisfaction about how the business is doing is as much tied to what my clients are accomplishing and how meaningful my work feels to me on a daily basis as it is about profit and revenues.
The book recounts how a one of the candidates profiled, Marc Cenedella of TheLadders.com, tells each of his new employees "We're here to solve a mystery. And that mystery is 'Why am I here?'"
The same could be asked of you as a medical practice owner or a physician entrepreneur in your own business.
Howard Stevenson and Laura Nash, in their book "Just Enough" outline what they believe are four key elements to success in work and life: happiness, achievement, significance, and legacy. Since there is little correlation among the four elements and no guarantee that you can accomplish all four simultaneously, Stevenson talks about juggling.
"I don't like to think of it as striking a balance," Stevenson said, "because I prefer to think of it as juggling. In fact, if you think about juggling, you think about how hard it is to keep your eye on all the balls. And the most important ball is the one that's about to fall. It's not the ball in your hand – it's the one that's about to fall."
Here are three questions for you to reflect upon:
- What are you hoping to accomplish in your practice or business when you get up in the morning?
- What does your personal best look like for each and every activity you engage in?
- What is the legacy you are creating?
Wishing you every success in your Intelligent Entrepreneurial Physician venture!
Here are the first 9 Rules, in case you missed them: