Using fear to fuel decision making

Jun 30, 2022

Fear is a deeply ingrained part of the human condition and a survival tool for our evolution.

In today’s world, we don’t need to rely on fear as much as our ancestors did to avoid injury, disease, and predation; yet fear-based decision-making often seeps into many of life’s mundane choices.

This fear can present itself in the form of worrying about embarrassment, failure, or lost time and money. It can also prevent us from taking on new opportunities that could lead to increased happiness, wealth, or career advancement.

Whenever I am confronted with a new project or considering a new opportunity that scares me, I like to pause to prioritize my higher goals.

  • I reflect on my fears and acknowledge what I’m feeling, but I try my best to not let worry overshadow my logic.
  • I challenge myself to forge ahead and overcome my fear.

This isn’t innate courage, and I am not always successful. It’s a practice that I continue to develop through intentional...

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A balanced approach to investing

Jun 23, 2022

There is a saying that can help you tell the difference between pessimist and optimist investors, it goes: “A pessimist is an optimist with experience.”

Investing can be a powerful generator of wealth but it also carries with it great risk.

For example, in real estate investing, you need to consider cost overruns, vacancies, interest rates, and the broader forces influencing the economy.

Equities hold even more uncertainty when you are one retail investor amongst millions, and while a meticulous proforma can improve decision-making, there will never be a line on the spreadsheet saying jump!

An optimistic investor is usually quick to act and doesn’t let setbacks hold them back.

A pessimistic investor will be overly cautious and will expect downward swings from doing the research.

An optimist is energized by positivity, and open to fresh opportunities.

A pessimist is better prepared to deal with risks.

Successful investors rely on a blend of both traits, also known...

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Tips for physicians struggling with investment anxiety

Jun 16, 2022

Earlier this year, I enjoyed a great meal with a colleague who was seeking guidance on how to incorporate his practice and on how to find time with his busy career to begin investing in real estate.

High-earning incorporated professionals like us have “good problems” (as I call them).

We are frequently bombarded with investment opportunities and the often time-sensitive process of weeding out the lucrative offers can trigger anxiety in the most knowledgeable investors.

Seasoned investors often rely on a series of questions to help them mitigate the risk-aversion and feelings of anxiety that often go hand-in-hand when making important investment decisions.

Tips for managing investment anxiety:

The trick is to ask yourself a series of questions.

  • Begin with quantitative questions. What is the expected return? What is the risk? How can I execute this in the most tax-efficient manner?
  • Then dig a little deeper. Can I afford it right now? Do I trust these people? How does my...
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Empower your staff by trusting their expertise

Jun 09, 2022

Last month, I wrote about effective leadership and how it relies less on how well you dictate and more on how well you radiate the energy you want to see in your work environments.

If you wish to see kindness reflected, be kind.

If you want your busy practice to feel calm, slow down.

In clinical settings, physicians tend to micromanage the details and execution of a plan. And rightly so! You rely on our medical training and leadership competencies to accurately diagnose and treat medical problems. As a patient, you don’t want your surgeon shrugging and saying: “Meh... good enough.”

While the efficient control of dictatorship can help save lives in critical clinical settings, micromanagement can take a toll on our personal well-being.

It consumes mental and emotional energy. And when it comes to handling our administrative teams, this can be especially exhausting.

Clinical education does not typically include executive management or administrative management...

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Mindful consumption

Jun 02, 2022

I grew up spending summers with my family in the beautiful Columbia Valley in British Columbia and it’s now my favourite place to take my children for vacations.

I often seek the pleasure and nostalgia of my summers in BC and play with the idea of making an impromptu trip. Every couple of years, I go so far as to consider buying a second home there, but I don’t want to add another fixed monthly expense such as a mortgage, taxes, and utilities.

Many of us make impulse purchases to experience a high or to feel better, and this doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but if we rely on it too much we feel buyer's remorse.

At this point in my life, I would rather have more money to grow our household’s net worth. I would rather work and stress less by investing in my freedom to visit B.C. more often in the future.

How busy physicians can use mindful consumption to handle their next major purchase:

Before making your next major purchase, take some time to consider whether...

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What is your medical “value proposition”?

May 26, 2022

The business side of medicine is rapidly evolving, and along with it, the role of the physician.

Now, more than ever, physicians need to understand the concept of value-based care.

In business lingo, a value proposition is a statement that intentionally and methodically establishes why a product or service is desirable to customers. A customer perceives value if the commodity or service matches or exceeds the cost paid.

How is this applicable to medicine?

Think about what comes to mind when you read “free health care.”

Like most people, you probably envision long wait times, doctor shortages, rude service, and challenges with health literacy.

We might also recall complaints, opinions, and feelings about the public health system that have been expressed publicly (often in real-time) through media channels.

In everyday medical settings—like in chronic disease management—it’s imperative that the patient accepts the assertion that the positive health...

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What’s your physician leadership style?

May 19, 2022

We ask a lot of our hard working clinic staff, and usually with that ask is an unspoken demand that they remain courteous and polite at all times.

Yet these expectations aren’t an accurate reflection of our own physician leadership style.

We can’t demand that our staff “be happier,” or enjoy their job more, when we rarely radiate such positivity on the job ourselves.

If we are irritable and rushed, we can’t expect our staff to be calm and cheerful.

It is up to leadership to set the pace and mood.

One simple yet effective way to shift negative thinking is to focus on a positive affirmation.

I like to remember the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Today, I challenge you to come up with a leadership affirmation that when put into practice, will serve as a beacon for positive change.

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Put the “i” in team: Inclusivity

May 12, 2022

In order to feel a sense of belonging to a team, individuals often need to overcome an attitude of intolerance.

Some of the most successful physicians I know have spent years cultivating credibility through the consistent practice of professional competence, yet we all know another type of clinician earning a reputation for being aloof, conceited, arrogant—and at times too academic (there is more to life than charts, graphs, and p values).

For evidence-based science to truly impact our world, it must represent all of the people who live in our world.

In our medical world, this includes nurses, MOAs, receptionists, porters, custodians, ethicists, HR managers, health economists, and many more whom we often neglect to acknowledge as contributors to our success.

As physicians, we are well-trained in the science of medicine, but in order to embrace the “i” of artful inclusive team building, we must first move past the “I” thinking of indifference,...

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Good health has an expiry date—choose happiness right now

May 05, 2022

As busy physicians, our careers are defined by delayed gratification.

Years of my training were spent looking toward the next milestone.

Graduating med school turned into finishing residency, and all the while I was telling myself that “I’ll be happy when...”

Fast forward to present times, and here I am, advising practicing physicians on the verge of burnout on how to get to their next milestone: a stress-free retirement that is still decades away from their reach.

Life has to be better. And it has to be better now.

This outlook is what inspired my friend and his husband to reconsider the way they invested their sizable household income.

By relying on the certainties of compound growth to cushion their finances, my friends no longer have to worry about their financial interests.

There is no crystal ball to tell us how many years of good health we have left, but I can share two simple tips that helped my friends be instantly rewarded:

  1. Spend money and time on having...
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Team-building secret: Stop the revolving door

Apr 28, 2022

Have you seen places where workers get hired and fired so often it’s like a revolving door?

Worse yet, managers come and go every few months. Imagine the chaos!

Years ago, a certain US football team was stuck at the bottom of the league. The resident coach kept firing or trading off the players every season. Finally, the players had simply had it. They teamed up with the owners. The result? The coach was fired! The new coach slowly rebuilt the team’s morale, leading them to become top-notch again.

So, if you as the owner, chief, or superior have been getting rid of people for never performing up to par, maybe the next one to fire is the one in the mirror!

Seriously, regardless of background, personality or skill sets, your team members have so much to offer, especially if they starkly differ from you or are even your total opposite.

If no one’s ever “measured up” in your team consistently, it’s time for a check-up from the neck up:

  1. How would my...
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