Pursuing Your Righteous Path as an Impact Physician

Being an impact physician is not about “changing the world” or “pursuing your passion.” It’s very much different from either of those misguided notions…

As you may well know by now, being an impact capitalist is about using business ownership to make an impact, or a meaningful difference, in the lives of others.

As an impact physician, that is done coupled with the art of healing.

But how do we, as impact capitalists and impact physicians, make a meaningful difference in the lives of others?

It starts with pursuing our own Righteous Path.

Before we get into the components of what makes a righteous path, let’s look at three primary reasons why people become physicians. Unfortunately, all three of these reasons have lost their luster over the last couple of decades. And, as any physician knows, it’s not getting any better.

  1. Prestige. While not completely gone, the prestige factor continues to degrade. Why do doctors continue to accept being called “providers” by insurance companies and hospital executives? After all, the word physician actually means “one who is skilled in the art of healing” not one who is skilled in the art of providing.
  2. Money. Most doctors in the US earn good salaries compared with other careers. However, most “providers” will tell you that their incomes are being squeezed and their responsibilities are increasing. Therefore, their real income is decreasing, especially when you factor in the amount of patients they must see on a daily basis, just to keep their income where it was the year before. And it continues to get worse.
  3. Helping people. Sure, doctors still provide a service that numbs the pain or provides surgery, but at less than 8 minutes per visit, how well does the doctor really know their patient?

As we’ve seen in the Stealing Medicine Back post, an Impact Physician practices at the intersection of Science, Medicine, and Business.

And, in order to do this, Impact Physicians must pursue a Righteous Path. There are three components involved in pursuing your Righteous Path:

The first of the three components is Purpose. Your purpose can be seen as your “calling.” Do you  (or did you at one time) consider being a physician your calling?

The second component of pursuing your Righteous Path is Passion. Passion for what you do and being passionate about how you do it. Contrary to fairy tales, telling someone to pursue their passion as the reason for starting a business or choosing a profession is the worst advice that you could give them.

For example, I played college basketball. I have, since the age of 6, been passionate about playing the game of basketball. In fact, now in my mid-40s, I’m still passionate about playing basketball. Even though I will beat you in HORSE and can still dunk a basketball, there is no one, in their right mind, that is going to pay me – a 6’2”, slightly out of shape, 40-something-has-been, to PLAY basketball.

Being a successful impact capitalist and impact physician is more than just pursuing your passion. While it is important – and good – to have a love for and/or derive enjoyment from what we are doing, it is not necessarily where we should start.

The last component of a Righteous path is Profit.

If you can’t make a profit, you won’t be in business for very long. And, if you’re not in business, it’s very difficult to pursue your passion in a way that you truly feel like you are making an impact in the lives of others.

Besides, regardless of what you’ve been told or might believe, pursuing a profit is righteous, both in a scriptural sense, and how a surfer uses the word while shredding an epic wave.

Impact Physicians use their skills in the art of healing to righteously pursue both Impact and Profit.

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