Never Enough

Jay Papasan, coach to fortune 500 CEOs instructs, financially wealthy people are those who have enough money coming in without having to work to finance their true purpose in life.”

If you haven’t found your true purpose in life, there is no amount of money that will satisfy you. You’ll never know if you have enough money. You can never technically be financially wealthy without purpose. Try finding that definition in any financial advisor or hedge fund brochure… As we say in southern Utah, it “ain’t gonna happen.”

In my work with private clients from all over the globe, I find it fascinating that a universal truth with human nature is our frequent tendency to never be satisfied. We can help our clients double or triple their revenue, but that’s never enough, especially when they don’t really know where they are headed and why. Doctors with a compelling “reason why” and defined purpose in life, on the other hand, not only reach their goals but they have three special traits I don’t see in the clients who chase after more money just for the sake of chasing after more money:

  1. They know exactly what amount of money they need to achieve true financial independence (no debt, 6 months of living and practice expenses in liquid assets, 20% or more directed to savings, 20% or more directed to charity, working on things they love but not because they need the money).
  2. They enjoy the journey, celebrate the progress and compare their results to where they were, not to some ideal that doesn’t exist. This is a big one. Our inability to accept that sometimes things work and sometimes things don’t work is a hallmark recipe for perpetual frustration and disappointment in our results. Don’t compare yourself to an ideal that doesn’t exist. Compare yourself to where you were this time last year. Are you making progress? Stop and celebrate the small wins.
  3. They attach their mission in life to something bigger than themselves. I half-joked with a client recently about exit strategy when I said, “ultimately we all have the same exit strategy in that we will all be equally dead in the end.” What are you doing with the wealth you create so that your time here on earth was worth all the effort and struggle? What will you leave in better shape than you found it? Our practices are committed to treating 1,000 adults through Sound of Life Foundation. It’s a big goal and it will leave the world a little better than we found it. This big goal drives my team. It gets them excited.

More money can temporarily make you happy but then it stops. If you want true fulfillment and happiness, find your purpose. When you have a more compelling reason or purpose for having the money, you will discover that what you can do with the money is much more important than the act of getting or having it.

End the Search Quickly

In training over 1,500 hearing care professionals and their treatment coordinators how to ethically help more new patients say “yes” to treatment, I’ve discovered several sacred-cow biases or status-quo biases that need to be killed. At the top of the list, is the excuse, “I have to go talk to my spouse.”

When consumers tell you they have to “talk to their spouse before making a decision,” they are really saying, “You haven’t convinced me yet.”

Consumer research has shown over and over again that only 15% of consumers must buy based on price alone. The other 85% will spend more than they anticipated for a long list of reasons, including a strong emotional desire, trust through removal of risk, convenience, status, quality, etc. Over 90% of consumers spend more than their budget on a vacation to Disney World. 72% spend double their budget. They all leave happy. Lee Cockerell, jokes about his time as the Executive Vice President of Disney World that the goal was to “take all your money and still make everyone happy.” It’s not that far from the truth.

So, why do we spend money with the brands, companies, products and services that we love and trust? And, what do trust and authority afford us in terms of time required to make a decision?

A consumer who is knowledgeable and well-informed about a potential purchase is less likely to search for additional information and more likely to end the search process quickly. Consider Southwest Airlines. Many consumers “know” they are the cheapest so they don’t even search for prices on other airlines. Or, think about the Ritz-Carlton. Many consumers “know” they are the best hotel in town, so they don’t even search for alternatives. I’m one of those consumers. If there is a Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons in town, I stay there and I don’t even ask how close the hotel is to my meeting or activity. They’ve got my mind “hijacked” to know without a doubt that they are the best. You and I both know there might be a private boutique hotel, St. Regis, Waldorf Astoria or other luxury brand that I might enjoy more than my pre-conditioned preference, but that doesn’t matter. What matters to the brand and to me is that I made a decision.

How are you helping consumers feel good about the decision they make to hire you as their hearing health care provider? What information, trust and authority have you built to end the search process quickly?

Standing in Your Own Way

Marcus Aurelius said, “Our actions may be impeded… but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

This simple but profound maxim became Ryan Holiday’s impetus for writing The Obstacle is the Way, a brilliant book I highly recommend you read at least once per year.

Today, if you’re honest with yourself, there are at least a few big, hairy obstacles that delay and impede your growth in the business, your spiritual life, physical fitness, in relationships and your ability to lead your employees. Have you ever considered that the things standing in your way are actually the way to move forward?

Aurelius was keenly aware of the power of our thoughts to either encourage or impede action. He knew a profound truth that many practice owners avoid or ignore: we often stand in our own way.

Sure, it’s easier to blame the economy, new competitors in your town, insurance rates, poor patient compliance, landlords, business partners, employees, changes in technology, consumer trends, etc. for anything and everything that’s not working in your practice to secure consistent growth. Yet, no one put a gun to your head and made you move to your town. No one put you in handcuffs and forced you to hire the employees you hired. Last I checked, no one threatened to take you out back and beat you senseless if you didn’t buy their practice management software.

At the upcoming Customer Service Summit, I will spend a significant portion of my teaching sessions working with doctors and their teams to help them divide everything in their lives into one of two categories: things you can and cannot control.

Over 1,800 years ago Marcus Aurelius knew what would still stand in the way of every man and woman, and he knew “what stands in our way must become the way” if we’re to grow and succeed. It’s not the things that are out of our control (the economy, the weather, the stock market, new competitors that move to town, technology disruptions, employee attitudes, insurance rates, patient compliance, etc.) that will do us in. It’s our own failure to take control of the things we can control (our attitudes, decisions, determination, confidence in problem solving, determination, loving kindness towards others, abundant generosity, curiosity, work ethic, gratitude and prosperous thinking) that will help us achieve and succeed.

Holiday said, “Through our perception of events, we are complicit in the creation — as well as the destruction — of every one of our obstacles. There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.”

Do this exercise tonight before you go to bed: think about a particularly frustrating challenge or obstacle in your practice. Ask yourself, “Do I believe in the obstacle more than in the goal?” Never stop asking this question. Never lose sight of what is in your control. Your mind will transform each obstacle into the way forward.