What makes you a Rock Star Physician?

medical spa brandingThe big shots are only the little shots who keep shooting. - Christopher Morley

It's determined through your output: the work you do, the products sell, the services you provide, and the content you create. It determines how much money you make, and how much control you can exert over your career and your lifestyle.

If you're not exercising, you'll lose muscle tone and gain fat. If you're not working on your own brand, it'll backslide too. Rest too long on your laurels and you run the risk of undoing all of your hard work and fading in to the background. If your behavior, attitude and output contradict your existing position, your real positioning will change.

You're not going to need much to get started, just and understanding of how all of this fits together (this guide), some thought about your goals, and the effort to take action. Once you've determined your capabilities and decided where you want to be, you should be able to manage everything in your head, and a few bookmarks in your browser.

Your goals and were you want to be are up to you. We're going to focus on what actions you need to take to get you there.

Success is measured in years, not months.

It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety. - Isaac Asimov

Building your personal brand is, in essence, self marketing. If you take a look at the most successful (or talked about) people in any field, you’ll almost always see someone incredibly talented in the art of self-promotion.

To build a personal brand that makes you a rockstar, it needs to have some key characteristics. It needs to be unique, scarce, and remarkable, and you need to be comfortable promoting it. Robert Kiyosaki, author of the Rich Dad Poor Dad books, says that he’s a “bestselling author” and not a “best-writing author.” Dean Karnazes, known as “The Ultramarathon Man,” is not the best athlete in his field, but he is by far the best at self-promotion.

What's the difference?

The reason that self-promotion works and self-adulation doesn't is because self-promotion is the art of spreading ideas, concepts, and a greater vision. Self-adulation is just the promotion of accomplishments, deeds that have already been done.

When you promote your ideas, you give people something to cheer for that they care about. You give people a cause to support. People, in many ways, are selfish. They promote the things that make them feel good. Your accomplishments aren’t likely to make them feel good, but your ideas do.

Your ideas might inspire hope, thought, or action . . . but as a general rule, good ideas inspire something.

People promote Oprah Winfrey because she makes them feel good. Her ideas inspire thought and that warm fuzzy feeling we all get when we make a sincere connection. On the other hand, you and I aren’t going around bragging about how many books she’s sold or how many shows she’s recorded. We don't care about that because it's the ideas that inspire . . . not the achievements.

Look at Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest self-promoters in history. He was followed not just because he truly was “the greatest,” but also for his integrity and the boldness of his ideas. Compare your feelings about Ali to your feelings about Mike Tyson. Tyson’s boxing accomplishments were arguably greater than Ali's, but he never communicated a greater vision.

Consider what your personal brand is right now. As a physician, what type of service you offer? Are you unique or replaceable? Are there a lot of competitors who offer the same basic service or product? Do people rush to introduce themselves to you? Is your name the one that's 'name dropped' ? Do you wield influence?

A lot of physicians get caught up in trying to pad their credentials or add another suffix after their name; MBA, board certifications, chairman of this or that. It may seem that being a 'specialist' may give you a head start. If you want to be unique, as our personal brand suggests, then we should go with specialization right? Not necessarily. Credentials by themselves won't make you a rockstar and they're no longer the 'end of the road' that gives you lifetime security. They only provide a minimum threshold to be include in a group. If you need to be included in that group for your career, go for it, but rockstar physicians don't deal in minimum thresholds. Groups put you in the middle where conformity is demanded. It's boring in the middle, and the very worst thing you can be is boring.

If you raise yourself above or put yourself outside the group you’ll take some flak. People might label you over-confident or cocky and demand that you tow the group line. Good. Define yourself in such a way that people either love you or hate you. If you have a vision, let it loose and see where it can take you.

Rockstar physicians are thought leaders, not followers.

The Power Of Single Message Marketing

The first rule of advertising for anyone (including your medical spa): Present one, clear, single minded message.

Your ad will be stronger. Your message will carry more weight. You’ll create breakthrough in a world filled with cluttered, muddled messages, that simply go unseen.

Research suggests that you only have 3 seconds to communicate the message to your audience. Take longer and you could lose potential prospects. 

Think about the bed of nails analogy.

It appears to the spectator that anyone lying on this “bed” would be injured by the nails, but this is not what happens. Assuming the nails are numerous enough, the weight is distributed between them such that the pressure exerted by each nail is not enough to break the person’s skin. 

What if we replace the thousands of nails with just one nail? You know what happens. A person can’t successfully lie on just one nail. The pressure exerted by just one nail is much too strong.

How do you determine your single message? It could be the unique selling point of the product or service or even the biggest benefit gained by using the product or service.

But are times changing? 

We haven’t done studies directly comparing the effects of multiple messages in an ad or commercial vs. single messages, but we’ve studied how people deal with what used to be considered a bombardment of stimuli. They handle it just fine.

The Internet of course has led the way. Watch how even the less skilled with this medium use it – not just skipping from site to site, page to page, item to item at blazing speed. They absorb multiple images and information elements simultaneously. Watch the more adept moving their fingers across their keyboards like the fingers of a virtuoso violinist moving across the strings of their instruments. And the minds of those Internet users are moving even more quickly.

If we move multiple messages into fast forward, will advertisers risk losing their audience? Or will the viewers be less bored and watch or read the advertising. 

Trying to fit 'everything you do' into your advertising is common, but it's also amaturish, and less effective. I understand that you don't want to miss that one patient who's looking for something you offer, but you're tripping over your real purpose which is to drive a single idea home.

Do yourself (and your clinic) a favor and be harsh. If it's not supporting a single point, let it go.

Non-American Doctors In The US

While Medical Spa MD has authors, editors, and Members all around the world, I was struck by this article on how physicians from outside the US are treated when they come into the US.

In Southern California alone, there are an estimated 3,000 medically trained Latino immigrant doctors who aren't practicing medicine.

"We had always wondered, where are the (immigrant) doctors from Latin America?" says Dr. Patrick Dowling, chairman of UCLA's Department of Family Medicine. "And we stumbled upon them working in menial jobs."...

That's why Dowling and his colleague, Dr. Michelle Bholat, have developed a program at UCLA that helps fast-track Latino immigrant doctors into the U.S. health care system, the International Medical Graduate program.

The IMG program provides test prep classes and clinical observations with UCLA doctors. It also covers the cost of the U.S. medical board exam and provides a monthly stipend.

Funded by private donors, the program has helped 66 Latino immigrant doctors pass the board exams and get placed into residency programs in California. In return, the doctors commit to working three years in an underserved area.

Of notable success; this story on a migrant worker who became a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins.

One of his medical school classmates told him no one could pronounce "Alfredo Quinones," and suggested he change his name to Alfred Quinn. Instead, he lengthened his name to Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, honoring his mother's family. It was also in medical school that developed the nickname Dr. Q., which is what his patients still call him today.

It's not just unfortunate that American medicine has become the domain of special interests and protectionist factions, while at the same time disenfranchising main stream American physicians as our friends at Freelance MD can attest. It's a sign of a system that's bouncing along the bottom.

I've had some experience with physicians from outside the US who immegrated and then couldn't get licensed in the US and had to take other work. While there are a lot of countries in which the medical training is not as comprehensive as in the US, the regulation around this leans way to far to the prevention side of the equasion in my opinion.

Is American medicine really the meritocracty that it's held out to be?