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About Philippa Kennealy

 

Philippa Kennealy MD MPH CPCC PCC is The Entrepreneurial MD Business Coach who wants to help you build your business!
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Monday
Jan012007

What do YOU want for 2007?

1-1-07newyear.jpgIn my youth and early adulthood, I used to find the whole New year's experience quite depressing - filled with "rah rah" cheer and partying that felt urgent and falsely hearty!

So imagine my relief when, about 15 years ago, I discovered a truly joyful alternative - a dinner my husband and I loved preparing at home, to celebrate with a bottle of champagne (am a sucker for good French champers) and a few friends.

 And woven into the tapestry of the 31st and the 1st was some reflective time - to appreciate the past year's challenges, learnings and fun, and to anticipate and plan the next year.

Now I'm not a heavy-duty planner, as too much of my life has occurred as a result of a lack of planning - and it has mostly been very good! But as a business owner and as someone who stands for living life in all its fullness, I've come to appreciate the value of a touch of planning.

As an admirer of Kristi T's Home Business Blog, I was inspired by reading her recent post on Planning for a Profitable 2007, and I wanted to share it with you. 
 
I have taken the liberty of adapting her post for you, my physician entrepreneur audience, in the hope of encouraging you to follow suit.

Answer as many of these questions as you feel apply to you, and I believe you'll be on the right path to organizing your business and personal growth activities for the New Year!

BUSINESS PLANNING


What is the “theme” for your practice or business in 2007? Is it "Update, Update" or "Patients always come first" or "Our employees are our best customers"?
What are the new services and even products that you will develop this year? Could it be a self-care manual, an educational offering, or a new technique you get training to perform?
Where can you cut expenses in 2007?
What business activities will you drop to make room for new growth? Is it an unprofitable contract, doing OB, or providing service to less than ideal clients or patients?
What tasks that you now handle yourself are you willing to outsource next year?
Do you need to, and can you, raise rates?
After reviewing your income streams for 2006, which 3 were the most profitable for you?
How can you take those top 3 revenue streams to the next level next year?
What systems can you invest in or create to simplify your business? Is this in billing, accounting, customer service, selling, or marketing?

MARKETING PLANNING


What do you need to learn, to market successfully?
Where can you strengthen/improve your marketing for next year?
What are your top 3 marketing strategies you will focus on next year? Is it networking, requesting referrals, direct mail, joint venture, affiliate marketing?
What media outlets will you target to get publicity for your business? Will you write articles for your local paper, or sponsor a community event?
What keep in touch strategies will you use for relationship marketing with your customers or patients? Will that be sending birthday cards, writing and mailing or e-mailing a monthly newsletter, or learning how to use an autoresponder?
What professional organizations would be best to join, to align with your business goals and reach your audience? Is that your local Chamber of Commerce, a community organization, or a committee or board on which you can swerve?
What events and seminars do you want to attend for networking?
What new marketing collateral do you need to develop?  Will it be a blog, a newsletter, a brochure, a series of postcards, articles, speeches, free reports, teleseminars, or free workshops?
What existing marketing materials need updating?


PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANNING

In what ways can you enhance your performance through personal development to achieve more:
   - time management?
   - financial management?
   - goal setting?
   - focusing your actions?
   - overcoming limiting beliefs?
What business books would you like to read?
What professional skills would you like to develop?
Which mentors would you like to learn from?
In what ways can you enhance your office (and your home office) to make it more inspiring, organized, and efficient for you?

Thank you for the privilege of allowing me to show up on your computer regularly.

I wish you a very happy New Year, and may 2007 be THE year - the one during which you ask the big questions, perform with pride and cherish the moments of your life in all their variety!

Friday
Dec222006

For a joyous holiday season - a gift for you, to pause and cherish the moment

the dash.jpg

One of my favorite inspirational parting gifts to give participants in my workshops has been a copy of Linda Ellis's beautiful poem, The Dash.

Thanks to my great virtual assistant, Wanda, who sent me a virtual gift of "The Dash" as a movie, I am able to pass it on to you.

It comes from my heart, to honor all your efforts - for the time you put into caring for others sometimes at the expense of yourself, for the difference you make in your practice, your family or your community, and for all your aspirations to live a "life on purpose".

And it comes with my deepest wishes for a blessed and joyous holiday season, and a 2007 filled with interesting challenges, moments of deep stillness, and rewards for all of those efforts.

Enjoy the movie here (it will take a few moments to load).

Wednesday
Dec202006

I'm a Finalist!

voting.png

I am thrilled to have been selected as one of five finalists in the Blogging and Beyond Ideal Client contest - the prize is free mentoring on a 13 week radio show, Blogging and Beyond. The radio show debuts January 11, Thursdays at 11 a.m. ET and runs through April 5.

Blogging experts Patsi Krakoff, Psy. D. and Denise Wakeman will showcase their winning client and walk him or her through the steps to set up a blog, a newsletter, a shopping cart, and other Internet tools during the 13 week show.

Well, I am delighted, and I am also willing to ask for your help, as the winner is VOTED IN, a la "American Idol".

If you are willing, go here and check out the four other contestants. And then please vote for me, unless you are WILD about another person - in which case, please vote for him or her :-)

I'd love to win and have the experience of being coached in the public eye by two top blogging and marketing experts! I promise to share the adventure AND learnings with you.

Wednesday
Dec202006

The Perils of Productivity

12-20-06busytodolist.jpg

It must be THAT time of year - because the word "productive" has cropped in several coaching conversations I've had with physicians this week. And each time I heard it, my gut clenched with the heaviness of the word. It seemed to drip with the sweat of overwhelming pre-holiday to-do lists!

One client described her version of productivity to me this way: "It's about having to meet other people's expectations" and "it's doing all the stuff that is a building block to something else". It was even about "the stuff I'd never do if I had oodles of free time and the free will to choose what I wanted to do with it" . Ouch - and that is productivity?

Somehow the idea of productivity (the simplest non-economics or physics definition I could find is it's a measurement of output per hours worked ) as using the time you spend on a task in the most efficient manner has become subverted to mean "having to be in production mode the whole time".

I suspect this thinking is the culprit behind the habit we tout so proudly - our ability to multitask.

Well, guess what? Multitasking has been demonstrated over and over again to produce poorer overall results and take longer than if you separated each task and completed them one after another. Especially if any of the tasks are either complex or unfamiliar.

In contrast, being in the "flow state" results in higher productivity and creativity. What does this mean? The most well-known researcher and author on the topic of "the flow state" is psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Mee-high CHICK-sent-me-high-ee). In his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, he describes Flow as "a condition of heightened focus, productivity, and happiness that we all intuitively understand and hunger for".

In the words of an article in Fast Company August 2005:

Csikszentmihalyi discovered that the times when people were most happy and often most productive were not necessarily when they expected they would be. Passive leisure activities such as TV-watching consistently ranked low on participants' scales of satisfaction -- even though they often sought out these experiences. Instead, people reported the greatest sense of well-being while pursuing challenging activities, sometimes even at work, and often while immersed in a hobby.

In the flow state, Csikszentmihalyi found, people engage so completely in what they are doing that they lose track of time. Hours pass in minutes. All sense of self recedes. At the same time, they are pushing beyond their limits and developing new abilities. Indeed, the best moments usually occur when a person's body or mind is stretched to capacity. People emerge from each flow experience more complex, Csikszentmihalyi found. They become more self-confident, capable, and sensitive. The experience becomes "autotelic," meaning that the activity actually becomes its own reward. "To improve life, one must improve the quality of experience," he says. One of the chief advantages of flow is that it enables people to escape the state of "psychic entropy," the distraction, depression, and dispiritedness that constantly threaten them.

You can read the whole Fast Company article here.

What I conclude from this is that true productivity is NOT about scratching items off to-do lists (although I do confess to getting a thrill out of tossing a completed list!), or being in a constant state of motion and "busyness", or flopping into bed in a state of exhaustion after a day of work and an evening of desk-cleaning and laundry-folding and gift-wrapping.

Instead, productivity to me is about being immersed in the task at hand, experiencing a surge of competence, and aligning your actions and your awareness. This describes a way of Being, in relationship to the task at hand, instead of Doing (how much?, by when?, for whom?).

After all, we are Human Beings, not Human Doings - correct?

*************************************************

By the way, if you are going to succumb to an overwhelming urge to be productive, here are some useful books and tools:

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Mindmapping software such as MindManager, Inspiration 8 , FreeMind (yes it's free). Read reviews of mindmapping software here. And remember, you can create your own mindmaps just using a pen and paper!

And if you have any other resources to share, please add them here. All in the name of true productivity of course!! 

Monday
Dec182006

The Price of Perfectionism

12-18-06perfectionistic.jpgLast week, I received emails from two physicians on the same day, both addressing the challenge that perfectionism raises. One physician wrote: "Being a perfectionist can be a stumbling block and something I must work on!" , while the other wrote: "However, if I can't execute the idea perfectly, then it is worthless".

This got me thinking about what perfectionism really is and what it potentially costs us in our efforts to make a success of our lives.

How often have you talked yourself out of taking next steps because they have seemed like a waste of time - you'll never get it right, so why bother?

As a belief, perfectionism is a double-edged sword. It keeps us striving towards an ultimate result, AND it also becomes the very thing that paralyzes us, with the fear that we will never measure up to some impossibly high standards.

In his fascinating book The Paradox of Choice, author and psychologist Barry Schwartz describes two types of people - Maximizers and Satisficers.

Maximizers need to make the perfect decision. They research extensively, they scrutinize comparative charts, they bombard friends and colleagues for a dozen "second opinions" and they agonize over making exactly the right decision.

Satisficers, on the other hand, approach a decision with a threshold of minimum criteria that need to be met - they know their basic needs. Once that threshold is crossed, they make their decision or take action without much in-depth evaluation of the various options. Whichever one meets their criteria first is the one they usually select!

What was most intriguing to me in the book was the clear evidence that satisficers rate their happiness with life significantly higher than maximizers do. They also score lower on depression screening. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that, since the "perfect decision" or "perfect result" probably don't exist, the unfortunate maximizer is more likely to experience disappointment with the less-than-perfect outcome of his or her decision!

Although this book is written mostly about our choices as consumers, it reveals something about our psychological make-up and why the pursuit of perfectionism in the face of plenty of "good enough" options is so taxing to our well-being.

Here are some reasons for you to consider abandoning perfectionism:

  • You can take advantage of the opportunity to get a head start. Given that most others will be agonizing over whether to start a business, and that there is also a likelihood that at least one other person in the world is contemplating starting a business similar to yours, by jumping in and getting going, you will have a "first mover's advantage"!
  • You will discover what it's like to experiment and play. Being a perfectionist means you need to have figured out everything in advance of starting. This puts a big damper on creativity!! When last did you see a seven-year old who knew exactly what her sand castle would look like once she was finished finding decorative objects on the beach?
  • You will shorten your learning curve. Contrary to expectations, being willing to learn from your own mistakes and those of others will speed up your learning, rather than hamper it.
  • Your stress levels will drop. Wouldn't it be a huge relief to NOT have to make the perfect decision, or start a business with the perfectly perfected idea? Imagine if you could make it up as you went, being open to help and insights from others, and enjoying the actual process instead of being hung up on whether you will get the intended results or not.
  • You will have more fun. It seems to follow naturally that if your stress were less, and you were experimenting, playing and learning more quickly, that you'd also be relishing the experience a whole lot more - right?
  • You'll realize that most of your fears were the "False Evidence Appearing Real" kind. Lurking behind most perfectionists' facades are fears - the insidious "I'm unworthy", "I might be rejected or laughed at" or "I might fail" kind. Dig a little deeper and you'll be amazed to discover how much a creation of your own worried imagination these fears are.
  • You'll be able to laugh at yourself one day when you look back and see how much easier it was than you imagined. Self-explanatory - we are almost universally programmed to anticipate the worst and fill the gaps with the "negative"! I suspect this is true of even the most deluded optimists.

I think William Faulkner said it best:

"All of us fail to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible".

Or for a bit more levity: 

I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it.
-- Anne Lamott

PS: Here's a cool test to take to check your perfectionistic tendencies. Out of respect for my own privacy, I cannot reveal my own results!! They will offer you the opportunity to purchase the detailed results - I would only advise that if you haven't figured yourself out yet.

Which are you - a Maximizer or a Satisficer??