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Today’s blog post is VERY short and to the point. But it presents a great challenge because you have to dig deep into the creative parts of your mind to find the answers you are looking for…

“To reach people that NO one else is reaching, you MUST do things that NO one else is doing.”

There are a ton of people doing things that help others. But what can you and I begin doing that others are not, so that we can reach even more people? There are people out there who need us and we have to find them.

Let’s keep going. Let’s find extra time in the weeks ahead to do something special for someone who would not benefit otherwise. That child. That single mom. That elderly person who has no one else.

Perhaps you and I need to make ourselves a little more vulnerable.

Thanks for listening today. I know together we can all make a difference.

This is it. The last month of 2019. The last 31 days of the decade.

You have a few weeks remaining to close the door behind you…because we all know that the past helps guide our future, but that we also cannot change the past so we must not dwell on it.

Hope you enjoy this edition, the last of 2019.

Many of us get all hyped up on Thanksgiving (and then we crash after the tryptophan hit we take from the turkey and the array of excess calories that comes in various forms)…

Instead of feeling blessed and thankful tomorrow, make it your prerogative to start being mindful of the power of being thankful and grateful day after day.

I think you will see just how powerful having a mindset of gratefulness actually is.

But since we are here…enjoy that turkey, fish, ham or big green salad…it doesn’t matter what it is…the fact that we have anything at all is what counts!

For today’s post I wanted to venture down a different avenue. I quite simply wanted to wish a couple of my friends a HAPPY BIRTHDAY this week. Both of their stories (very abridged versions) happen to be in my recently published book Exceptional Every Day (which by the way could make for a great Christmas gift if you know someone who is perhaps struggling to get their priorities in order, or needs a little extra motivation as we begin a new year and decade).

I think you can learn quite a bit from both of these people…I know I have. Like the rest of us mere mortals, they have not done everything right. I would venture to say that they would tell you they have made more mistakes than they care to admit.

One has crushed it on the football field, and the other in a different sort of uniform (or on a motorcycle as seen above).

Both are examples of never QUITTING. Of taking a few punches here and there (or helmet to helmet hits) and getting back up and moving forward to accomplish the next goal. One picks up his teammates by displaying a work ethic like no other. The other inspires her marines and sailors by being a caring physician and motivating naval officer.

It’s not everyday that you can thank your friends for inspiring you to go beyond the limitations of your mind, while at the same time sharing their stories so others too can benefit.

Have you been waiting to share a public thank you with someone who has made a difference in your life? Why not do it now?

I recently came across the below photo and thought it would be one worth sharing…

Tom hosts his own show and he has also co-founded a few companies. He is excited by the prospect of helping people achieve their goals, dreams, desires, or whatever you want to call those thoughts that continue to consume your mind day after day.

I love the list he shares because it makes you wonder what all this “influencer” stuff is all about. I think it is a term that is both incorrectly used and definitely overused and its hard for me to believe that there are people out there who feel good about simply being known as “influencers” just because they have thousands or even millions of followers on instagram, facebook and whatever other platform they are choosing to succumb their lives to. The are of influence, which is a staple of leadership, goes so much deeper.

If you are one of those folks that simply knows thyself as an INFLUENCER, then I apologize for what sounds like a “judgy” statement above and below. I guess I am just looking for you to dig a little deeper. To find that thing that you are passionate about and to chase after it. If you want to truly have an impact on others, and if you really want them to see you as being an influence on their lives, then do the right thing, set the example, know your craft and actually make a difference.

Real differences aren’t made by just posting a photo or a message up on social media and then taking credit for your popularity. As Teddy Roosevelt once said (he likely said it many more times):

“IT IS NOT THE CRITIC WHO COUNTS; NOT THE MAN WHO POINTS OUT HOW THE STRONG MAN STUMBLES, OR WHERE THE DOER OF DEEDS COULD HAVE DONE THEM BETTER. THE CREDIT BELONGS TO THE MAN WHO IS ACTUALLY IN THE ARENA, WHOSE FACE IS MARRED BY DUST AND SWEAT AND BLOOD; WHO STRIVES VALIANTLY; WHO ERRS, WHO COMES SHORT AGAIN AND AGAIN, BECAUSE THERE IS NO EFFORT WITHOUT ERROR AND SHORTCOMING; BUT WHO DOES ACTUALLY STRIVE TO DO THE DEEDS; WHO KNOWS GREAT ENTHUSIASMS, THE GREAT DEVOTIONS; WHO SPENDS HIMSELF IN A WORTHY CAUSE; WHO AT THE BEST KNOWS IN THE END THE TRIUMPH OF HIGH ACHIEVEMENT, AND WHO AT THE WORST, IF HE FAILS, AT LEAST FAILS WHILE DARING GREATLY, SO THAT HIS PLACE SHALL NEVER BE WITH THOSE COLD AND TIMID SOULS WHO NEITHER KNOW VICTORY NOR DEFEAT.”

Teddy himself was an influencer. It doesn’t mean he did not make his share of mistakes. It doesn’t mean he always made the right decision. But he also didn’t just put on a costume hoping to make a difference.

What can you do today to have a positive influence on those around you? I am willing to bet it is a lot more than just posting a photo or a message.

I sure thought I had an awesome perspective on life. I did not believe I was blinded to hardly anything at all. I figured I had a good grasp on being humble and having humility. I thought that I had a sense of “vision” that was better than most. I thought that I had fewer blind spots than most of those around me.

That was until I met Tiffany. Tiffany had originally chosen a different physician. And she began working with her for a couple of weeks prior to being introduced to me. While the other physician was great for Tiffany, she was also getting ready to go on a vacation for a week or so and Tiffany would not have access to her. This was during a critical juncture in Tiffany’s medical care, and she wanted to take full advantage of having someone to bounce ideas off of as she explored this new realm of concierge medicine where she could connect with a physician 24/7/365 (Steadymd.com…check it out to see if it might be a good fit for you with no obligation; you can take a quiz and select one of several doctors that focuses on nutrition, exercise and practices medicine the right way.)

Tiffany opened my eyes to so many things.

I tend to be black and white in many ways. For me most things are either RIGHT or WRONG without much space in the middle. But I have made it my mission to work on this way of thinking. Having children has helped me overcome this weakness in many ways.

I tend to close my eyes when they should be wide open. This is humility at its finest hour. To think I could already see as well as anyone else. What a fallacy I had fallen in to.

Like I said earlier, Tiffany opened my eyes to MANY things. She had the best vision that I had ever encountered. It was off the chart. Better than any Navy pilot in the history of Naval Aviation…even Maverick.

And what I did not tell you is that Tiffany has been blind since the day she was born. Did you read that correctly? Blind, as in NO vision with which to view her surroundings. Unable to see anything at all her entire life. Never knowing what she herself even looks like.

And she taught me that none of it matters.

She displayed an amazing sense of self-awareness. She was in touch with her emotions and the emotions of those around her, while at the same time trying to make herself better each and every day.

Sure she has some anxiety, and she does not sleep well. Perhaps you and I would have the same issues if we were in her shoes; if we were actually unable to ever see. But she understands the things that matter. She understands making connections with other human beings. She understands what it means to have real uninterrupted vision without ever actually being able to see at all.

Have you thought about your vision lately? Have you been closing your eyes to the things that matter? Have you been late on getting an update to your prescription? Is your focus limited to yourself, or can you see across the room?

These are just a few questions to help guide you as you get ready to test your eyesight on the only real eye chart that matters…

Another month and another opportunity for lots of personal growth. I hope that this short but sweet newsletter can help you trample the obstacles currently standing in your way.

I guess it comes with the territory. If you put yourself out there. If you post a picture or two on Instagram, or better yet, if you write a book, you are bound to make someone mad.

And every once in a while some of us like to stir the pot. A few of us do it more often than others. When a celebrity does it, like Jenny McCarthy did, it can become accepted like FACT. For instance, if vaccines really do cause autism, then how come MOST of us that have had one, two or 40 of them don’t have it? I am just trying to paint a perspective for you, and perspective is in fact everything.

We must remember that correlation does not always imply causation.

For the past few years I have been struggling with how to express my thoughts about the way ____ nut (fill in the blank based on your experience) allergies are handled at schools. As a physician I understand the ramifications of anaphylaxis for someone with the most severe allergies. I don’t take the idea lightly; it’s something you don’t mess around with.

But this has been truly overblown.

Instead of being smart about creating and taking proper precautions teachers and principals basically pronounce that no “nuts” will be allowed in the classroom or schools all together.

This is one of the best examples of a “reactionary” versus an “active” way to make decisions.

For one, physicians and parents alike have caused more harm than good when it comes to keeping children away from certain foods due to allergies. Did you know that most allergy tests are less than 50% accurate or that those allergy shots that many people receive on a weekly or monthly basis don’t work for many who receive them? Or how about the FACT that restricting foods in infants such as peanuts and peanut butter has actually led them to being more prone to food allergies as they get older?

It is simply the truth. And to be fair to most parents, these ideas mostly come from doctors, followed by people with loud voices and others with the ability to spend hefty amounts of money on marketing.

Allergies do exist, but many of the claims are simply not true. If you eat something and your stomach hurts or you break out in to hives after doing so you are likely allergic to it. That is something we cannot deny. But many folks that I have met also claim to have an allergy (or better yet, that their child has one) so that they can simply fit in. I never would have thought allergies make you look cool, but I guess they can. I know what real allergies are. One of my best friends has celiac disease — he actually has it — and rather than just telling people he cannot eat gluten, he must adhere to a strict diet 24/7/365 or else he becomes quite ill.

But here is my argument and why I decided to share my thoughts today:

If my child is eating some almonds or pistachios or cashews or walnuts, or whatever nut I packed in her lunch, does that mean she is harming a student in her class or school who may be allergic?

My answer: VERY DOUBTFUL. Unless of course she is shoving a handful of nuts down another child’s throat, which I can assure you she is not or won’t be doing anytime soon. How my children act is a direct reflection of how we conduct our family at home. Likely this is the story for you as well.

But what am I really getting at…

My youngest daughter wears hearing aids; she has done so ever since she was 5-weeks old. She has had them placed in her ears every single day for the past 7.5 years. She cannot hear very well when when lots of people are talking — especially rowdy kids in a 2nd grade classroom or while running around on a soccer field. It is like a severe peanut allergy in many ways, as if she cannot hear adequately she might run into something; she might mistake one sound for another and have something horrible happen.

Yet the other children in her class don’t have to tape put across their mouths to remain quiet. I am pretty sure you have not thought about it this way. I would not expect you to. Or how about processed foods.

Juice boxes, cheetos, candy bars, soda….

…all leading to obesity and diabetes and at much faster rates than having peanuts in the same room as someone with an allergy. Yet all of these things are okay for our children, the ones we love with all our hearts, to be exposed to.

Nuts are a very healthy snack for more than 99% of us, and they quite simply shouldn’t be banned. They provide good fats, along with vitamins and minerals that most foods don’t come close to delivering.

How about we take a tried and true approach: we EDUCATE . What a concept! Educate! Physicians, parents, teachers, children and all of us. Instead of freaking out, let’s take a deep breath. We can be smarter about this. We can do more. We can in fact bring nuts back in to classrooms and cafeterias everywhere. We can use this as an example for so much more.

It really has nothing to do with a potential allergic reaction. It has everything to do with how we choose to react in life. If we react poorly, things won’t go well.

Are you about to react to something today? Do you have all the facts? Are you aware of the consequences of your reactions?

Think about that this week. And if you have a voice use it in the right way. Do your part to add something of value to the conversation.

Thanks for stopping by.

Over the past few months I have struggled with the idea of the ego and the good versus the bad that comes from its over-bearing presence. I thought about a book I had read, Ego Is The Enemy, by Ryan Holiday, an author I had brief conversations with over email. Ryan’s way of presenting the ego is one of the best I have comes across.

I am quite certain that much of my personal angst about managing the ego arose due to my almost immediate juxtaposition from a life devoid of social media accounts to one where it became an impaling necessity of sorts. I had already established a website that was live for two years — a sort of repository of free health and wellness resources, along with a weekly blog post, that I hoped would inspire personal growth and development in the hearts, minds and lives of those who chose to take a look. And I was receiving a steady flow of weekly traffic and downloads of those available items. I was feeling like my small contribution was in fact compounding in to good things for all who chose to make the connection. I was receiving comments on various blog posts, both publicly and privately (a lot more privately likely for various reasons).

I was feeling good about the mission I had pursued. I was fusing a demanding sports medicine fellowship with my private life at home and the public life I was creating because of my recent book publication — hence the latin word ‘publicare,’ meaning to “make public” is where publication comes from. Little did I comprehend that I was not simply making my written work public, but my entire life.

The book made its official debut on April 2nd, 2019, and that led to new time commitments on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, a tiny amount on Twitter, several podcasts (I met some truly gifted and amazing people that I otherwise would not have), interest from businesses and sports teams seeking executive coaches and speakers, and other things that would tend to sharpen and inflate the ego, but instead it NUMBED it.

It has gotten to the point whereI see my investment in the book (TIME & MONEY) and the marketing/social investment (SOME MONEY with lots of TIME), being something I am ready to take as a loss.

Now I will tell you up front I am NOT BURNT OUT. And this is my dilemma. I have more energy than ever. My sleep is improving, my workouts are intense and my FOCUS on becoming the best ME, FATHER, HUSBAND, NAVAL OFFICER and PHYSICIAN is better than it has ever been.

I will keep blogging as I know my small tribe enjoys it, but I think its time to take a siesta — at least intermittent ones — on the other social media outlets. Siestas are good. Truly beneficial. Ask the Spaniards what they think about them. They help enliven a new perspective within us. They help us block out the hate, negative comments and bullying that others throw our way. What they do most is they shut us down so we don’t feel compelled by the constant blast of selfies, videos and propaganda that gets posted daily.

I have tried to prevent my own “work” or “creativity” from doing such a thing, but I know I have added to the fire as well. It’s one of the reasons why I ended up ceasing the promotion of a few of the podcasts I was a guest on. It just did not feel right to send out a Facebook blast or Instagram blast any longer. I had already done it too much because everything, everyone, told me to do so. While I never had the intention of “look at me” it sure felt like it.

I am just seeing too many folks try to sell their perfect lives over the internet and I don’t ever want that to be me because I am not even close. People having to make videos of every waking moment, while at the gym, while walking through the park, and using filters so that selfies would come out perfectly. I also cannot stand all the fake labels that people give themselves these days and I have fallen prey to it myself. A real “life coach” is hard to come by and you cannot really be the “CEO” of a company that does not have any employees or an advisory board. But that is just my take on all of this.

Having a fire in your belly to do work that sells is some of the most amazing motivation known to man. But not all fires are good.

So I will leave you with this today:

Instead of “Just Do It” as the great slogan from Nike proclaims, “Just Be You” unless of course “You” is something you aren’t necessarily proud of.”

See you next time!

It is easy to trick yourself into thinking that you have it all figured out. That you have learned all you need to know to survive. That you obtained that award or degree and that it says everything about you that you want the world to know. But there is only one truth surrounding this: YOU CAN ALWAYS LEARN MORE.

Seth, a mentor that I have told you about several times over the last two years of this blog’s existence, recently wrote a post that I know you must see. I don’t like blasting you with the blog posts of other people, but when I read one that really makes an impression I feel obligated to share. Even if you might already follow his blog yourself…reading and seeing something more than once often makes it stick a little better.

So I hope you enjoy this one. Thanks Seth….

How much is that piece of paper in the window?

Four years at MIT cost about $250,000 all in. Or, you could engage in more than 2,000 of their courses on their site, for free.

What’s the difference?

When you do education, you pay tuition, plus you pay with a focus on compliance. Traditional education requires that students trade in freedom of choice, coerced by tests and exams. And what do you get? You get an ‘A’ and you get a certificate.

The power of that certificate is extraordinary. Students (and their families) will go a lifetime in debt to get that paper. They’ll make choices about time and focus and geography for that paper, ignoring what’s ostensibly possible in exchange for the certainty of acquiring it.

Learning, on the other hand, is self-directed. Learning isn’t about changing our grade, it’s about changing the way we see the world. Learning is voluntary. Learning is always available, and it compounds, because once we’ve acquired it, we can use it again and again.

Most adults in the US read no more than a book a year. That’s because books aren’t assigned after you’ve got your paperwork done.

We’re surrounded by chances to learn, and yet, unless it’s sugarcoated or sold in the guise of earning a scarce credential, most of us would rather click on another link and swipe on another video instead.

The exception: People who have chosen to be high performers. Doctors, athletes, programmers and leaders who choose to make a ruckus understand that continuous learning is at the heart of what they’ll need to do.

“Will this be on the test?” is a question we learn from a young age. If you need to ask that before you encounter useful ideas, you’ve been trapped. It’s never been easier to level up, but the paper isn’t as important as we’ve been led to believe.

Just a few days ago, on October 5th, I celebrated the anniversary of my graduation from the US Navy’s Officer Candidate School (OCS). I won’t give away myself too much, but it was a long time ago, so long ago that the school is no longer located in Pensacola, Florida, but rather Newport, Rhode Island, after military base consolidations in the early to mid 2000s caused the move.

It was on that day that I was awarded my commission as an officer, an ensign to be exact, and would be granted my first salute. And over the next several years (over a decade and nearly two of them) I would be transported from being not just an officer on land, in the air, and on the sea, but into a classroom as a professor at a major university, followed by the opportunity to attend medical school to obtain my boyhood dream of becoming a physician and serving others in that capacity. To be frank, it has been one HELL of a journey. My recent book Exceptional Every Day does not give the journey the justice it deserves.

And what is so interesting for me now is that I am the family and sports medicine physician for that navy school that I once attended before I really knew anything about what it meant to be a “real” leader.

But this day also reminds me of a “young” man’s birthday. My commanding officer from the Naval ROTC unit that I taught at. And if it weren’t for him I would not have been able to connect with the football team that I ended up devoting my time to (and building relationships with so many amazing people) nor would I have been granted the transition to my current life of serving in such a capacity.

Needless to say, this day, October 5th has much meaning in my life. I shared my OCS graduation with my roommate from college, who also after many years and several deployments is still journeying along in the navy, along with another officer who I would graduate on that special day with and then reunite with many years later as we checked-in to our family medicine internship. Little did I know just two years after that reuniting we would serve as the senior leaders of our residency program.

For me, had this event back on October 5th never occurred many of the things that I get to be a part of today would not be happening. I would have never made many of the friendships that I enjoy. I likely would have never met my wife. I also don’t believe I would have reunited with childhood friends and classmates from that small and beautiful coastal town located amongst the great Pacific Ocean and amazing redwood trees in Northern California.

Pivotal Moments. Pivotal Days. And what I would call a Pivotal Life.

Pivotal in so many ways. And my over-riding vision continues to be fulfilled as I help others figure out which pivotal moment is next for them.

Are you ready for your next one?

The journey has begun

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