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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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Tuesday
Oct172006

When aspiring physician entrepreneurs have fears, what do they do?

10-17-06plunge.jpgWhen I talk to physicians who want to be more entrepreneurial, I am often asked:

How do I handle all the excuses, fears and doubts that surface every time I think about taking the plunge into starting a business?

Great question – and one that is hard to bring out in the open without somehow feeling exposed. After all, physicians are expected to be the ones with all the answers and advice! We aren't supposed to show fear.

I have a confession to make. I approached the start-up of my coaching business as if it were a repeat of building my medical practice – I’d just have to stick around long enough, coach a few people and have everyone suddenly figure out that this was the best thing since sliced bread. I expected clients to come knocking.

I recalled that it hadn’t been hard building a practice – most people already have an idea of what doctors do. All I had to do to set myself apart was to be nice, show a personal interest, explain what I was thinking and doing with my treatments – and boom, the patients poured in. I was also helped by joining an existing practice with an overflow of patients in the early days.

Well I was wrong!

Being a coach in my own business was a vastly different matter. A good coaching relationship is hard to describe under the best of circumstances – it is something that is better grasped through experience than being explained!

I struggled to communicate what it was I did, when at networking or business events. I felt awkward asking for a meeting with someone. I squirmed when I had to quote a prospective client my fees. Getting my business going was proving to be very difficult!

I knew I had to change my expectations about how to succeed and it filled me with terror. What if I had to make cold calls? How was I ever going to persuade someone to part with his or her money to work with me? What if I couldn’t make enough money, even though I knew how to coach well?

With the help of wonderful teachers, including my own coaches, I discovered that:

  • Fears and doubts are normal. No normal people are fearless! Successful people make it despite their fears. Unsuccessful people fail because of their fears. 
  • There is reality, and then there is the “fiction” of what we have come to believe is true. When you inquire carefully into your objections, excuses, and assumptions, you often discover that your ideas or beliefs are not founded in reality. They lack proof to substantiate their accuracy.

  • If you feel passionate about your idea and believe you’d buy what it is you have to sell, you are offering something of value. People should be allowed to buy your valuable offering if they want or need it! And your job is to put in place the processes that make it as easy as possible for them to buy it.

  • You don’t need all the answers right away. You need good questions! Good questions, that others ask you, lead you to test your assumptions (either those overly optimistic or those unduly pessimistic ones). Good questions are also things you can ask of others in your quest to figure out next steps.

  • There is NO shortage of helpful information out there. In fact, there is so much good information that there is only a shortage of time to consume and digest it all!

What is the biggest fear that confronts you any time you think of taking the plunge?

Friday
Oct132006

Are YOU Ready to Succeed?

Are you ready to succeed.jpgCreativity is a mysterious and intriguing force - one that I believe resides in all of us. And one that I am adamant is latent or even suppressed in many physicians.

Just how original and inventive can you really be in your routine of caring for patients? Perhaps if you are another Patch Adams, you can get away with it. But the majority of physicians spend their days adhering to a fairly well-prescribed set of "rules" that must be observed in order to generate a predictable outcome for patients. Physicians can't afford to play around with these rules.

It's therefore refreshing to encounter the voice of a well-respected business professor, whose goal is to foster creativity under even the most "restrictive" and regimented of circumstances.

Professor Srikumar S. Rao is a professor at Columbia Business School and the London Business School, who teaches a wildly popular and oversubscribed course on "Creativity and Personal Mastery". To MBA students! - what was he thinking??

After years of obtaining remarkable results with his course, he sat down to "write down the principles so that anyone who applies the tools can be transformed and live a life of creativity and personal mastery".

The result is his life-affirming and thoughtful 2006 book Are You Ready to Succeed?: Unconventional Strategies for achieving personal mastery in business and life, that have I just finished reading. I was so stirred up by the book that I want to share some of its ideas with you.

Here are just a few of the unconventional strategies that he writes about (in the book, the strategies have accompanying exercises):

  • let go of fixed notions of how things should be
  • examine the mental models under which you operate, and test to see if different mental models can produce different more satisfying results
  • uncouple your sense of well-being from the anticipated outcome, by decreasing your emotional involvement in the result (translation: be less concerned about the results and have more fun being involved)
  • let happiness find you instead of engaging in the relentless pursuit of finding it
  • separate your sense of self from your behavior (translation: if you don't hit a target you set, this does NOT make you inept or stupid or lazy. It simply means you didn't hit the target, and instead of beating up on yourself, you'd derive more value from understanding what is needed to hit the target next time.

There is plenty more to slake the thirst of a seeker who's keen to live a more creative and meaningful life! And who'd like to learn ways to cope with all the change that starting a business encompasses.

Yes, these strategies are MUCH easier to read about than to implement. While this may sound almost "woo woo", the exercises are some of the most rigorous personal development challenges to take on. I know how my coaching clients struggle with change - as do I!

Dr. Rao urges you to take the time and give the attention to the exercises he offers - the ideas and theory will never amount to much in your life unless they are accompanied by the learning that comes from practice and real life experience.

In my research on the Web, I was thrilled to discover a recorded interview of Dr. Rao by Patricia Wheeler of Leading News . Carve out some quiet time to listen to it - by clicking on the mp3 file link (just follow the instructions on the page to figure out how to listen to it or download it).

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday
Oct112006

Want to walk in the steps of physician entrepreneur "giants"?

10-11-06footsteps.jpgOne of the fun parts of my business is to play detective!

I track down the names of established physician entrepreneurs, using a combination of scanning health news digests (such as Health Leaders Media), Google alerts and weekly searches done through my HighBeam Library subscription.

The next step usually is to google the names I come up with, using all my available ingenuity, to sniff out their contact information. Sometimes this even involves e-mailing a journalist or writer.

My communication with them has to be sufficiently compelling to induce them to give up thirty minutes of their precious time for a good cause - inspiring people like you and me! 

Most times, because these are generous people who want other physicians to succeed as entrepreneurs, I prevail in uncovering the prize........ a coveted recorded interview with them!

I engage in this detective work to unearth these "stars" for a few reasons:

  1. It is a sheer delight to interview these talented and driven people.
  2. I feel as if I am forging a new set of relationships that I value a great deal. Occasionally, I am able to hook some of them up with each other....which feels good. 
  3. I am privileged to learn from them, and plan in turn share those insights with you.
  4. I am struck by the common themes I hear in the interviews - the most prevalent being, "I want to feel as if I can make a genuine contribution to the world, and it felt as though this business has become a better way to do it than practicing medicine full time".
  5. I am equally struck by all the different ways these physicians have chosen to express their creativity and talents
  6. All the interviewees seem to enjoy stopping briefly to reflect on their accomplishments - they tell me they had fun doing the interview. And that feels really good!

This week, I shall be interviewing Dr Tom Lee, co-founder of ePocrates. As you can imagine, I am excited to hear his story.

And in a few weeks, I shall be making available the first volume of Conversations with Trailblazers, a compilation of six audio interviews, with transcripts - so stayed tuned to hear more.

If you know of another successful physician entrepreneur for me to contact, please e-mail me with his or her name at philippa@entrepreneurialMD.com. Thanks.

Monday
Oct092006

A Beautiful Perspective to share with you

10-9-06earth.jpgEvery now and again, something comes into my Inbox that makes me smile, groan, or pause to reflect with awe and gratitude. This video falls into the latter category.

Even though I've been sent versions in the past, I've never seen this one, with the power of its imagery - I guess a picture is worth a thousand emotions!

It is worth 3 minutes of your time. I hope it moves you too.

Keep Things in Perspective:  This Miniature Earth

Monday
Oct092006

Delivering health to the workers - at work.

10-9-06healthprevention.jpgA Washington Post article today examines the trend of opening clinics in the workplace to provide handy quick access to medical care. At no or minimum cost to the employee!

Here's an excerpt from the article:

A quarter of Fortune 1000 companies are expected to have on-site clinics by the end of next year, up from the 15 percent or so that have them now, according to David Beech, a health-care consultant at Watson Wyatt Worldwide Inc., a benefits consulting firm. The trend has caught on so quickly that there is little comparative data: Watson Wyatt didn't even ask the question until this year.

Higher health premiums have helped nourish the trend: Employer health premiums rose 7.7 percent in 2006, according to the 2006 Kaiser Foundation Employer Health Benefits Survey. That is slightly lower than previous years but still feels burdensome to companies and employees alike.

Companies are discovering that not only are direct health care costs reduced (less $s spent on premiums as their employees tend to get treated earlier and take preventive steps like getting flu shots, fewer resources used as there can be greater oversight of the use of clinical guidelines for uncomplicated illnesses). Indirect costs of lost work time have dropped dramatically as well.

Seems like some smart healthcare providers have figured out that if the Mountain won't come to Moses, then Moses must go to the Mountain. For those employees who keep putting off their checkups and routine preventive care, to avoid taking that half day (getting to the doctor, being kept waiting 40 minutes, being seen, following up with labs/tests etc, and driving back to work), having a clinic they can walk to during their lunch hour must be a godsend. Now if only they'd take advantage of it regularly......

What's neat is that employees are encouraged to continue a relationship with their primary care doctors and specialists, as there seems to be no pretence that these clinics are substitutes for replacing the insights of a physician into the medical and psychosocial needs of a long-standing patient.

I loved the comment from one company representative: "They are not treating their body like a car where it gets constant care and checkups", she said. "That's what we're trying to do."

Can you just see the billboard or posted in the employee workplace?

"Get your quarterly tune-up at the Human Body Shop - quick lube job, realignment and exhaust check, to keep that engine ticking over smoothly. No co-pays, no wait, no outdated copies of People to bore you"

Whatcha think?

Joking aside, with an emerging trend such as this, what entrepreneurial opportunities do you sense for physician business start-up, or for your practice?