Kids think they can do anything and everything when they’re young. What happens to them while growing up that cause them to limit themselves into having one occupation for the rest of their life? Dr. John Shufeldt, a serial entrepreneur, discuses the question we need to stop asking our children, which will force us all to look ahead when it comes to our professional and personal goals. Dr. Shufeldt has been practicing emergency medicine since 1986. However, his professional and personal identity extends far beyond the typical role of a doctor. He is a serial entrepreneur, having founded the largest privately held urgent care group in the US, and after selling in 2010, he created MeMD, an on-demand healthcare service that connects patients with medical providers who can diagnose issues and write prescriptions through a secure video visit. He is a lawyer, entrepreneur, professional pilot, a speaker, SWAT team doctor, and author. Dr. Shufeldt has started his own law firm as well as a publishing company among many other endeavors. He is an adjunct law professor at the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and has taught courses for the W.P. Carey School of Business, MBA and Health Sector Management program. Lastly, and perhaps his most admirable occupation, he is a self proclaimed “serial learner”, acquiring a new degree every 10 years since his medical degree. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
When I speak to groups and I talk to people aspiring to be leaders, the advice I give them is relatively simple: it's lead from the front, always be enthusiastic, always be the cheerleader, don't feel like you have to take credit when things go good, but accept responsibility when they don't, don't throw anyone under the buss, be honest and direct, even though sometimes honesty is tough, talk about the issue or the problem but not the person. Really stick to your game- perseverance is pretty much everything. And if your team sees you out there, engaged, enthusiastic, "in it to win it", not necessarily at all costs, but "in it to win it", you'll get a lot of enthusiastic support from people on your team.
You know when I started out Itended to be "let's get to the end", "let's cut to the chase", "let's get everybody moving". And over the years, what you'll learn is that it's much better to be collaborative at the outset. To gather opinions, to listen more than talk, to build consensus and then move forward together. You don't always have the opportunity that time to take time to while making some decisions, for example in the emergency department, decisions have to be made relatively quickly, but generally speaking in building businesses and entrepreneurship, gathering information, coming to a consensus, and moving the team together in a single direction that everyone helps define, really engenders quite a bit more "buy in" and really better results at the end of the day. So over the years, my leadership style has evolved from more directive, to listening, interactive and engagement, and then always being the cheerleader along the way.
So dealing with negativity is something that all leaders face. Sometimes it gets to you, sometimes after awhile the negativity can wear you down, if you let it. Dealing with people who are the chronic naysayers is tough, and, there's really two ways to deal with them. One is to try to engage and coach them into enthusiasm. And oftentimes that works, when you say "let's come up with a solution together, I want you to lead this, I want you to lead from the front. You've got to be enthusiastic about this, is that something that you feel like you can do?" If they say yes, great! Game on. You can observe them and try to encourage them along the way. I find a lot of times however that not everyone has that genetic ability to be enthusiastic. Sometimes with those people, you have to sit down and have a very honest candid conversation with them. And if they are on the wrong seat of the bus or on the the wrong bus, you need to help them exit the bus. Because at the end of the day, there's an old saying "one bad apple will spoil the barrel." I've seen it repeatedly and it's true.
So I have a lot of empathy for people starting school nowadays, I have two kids who just finished college. And it's tough, because how do you ever know in this day and age what your interest is going to be in four, five, maybe ten years. And the statistics are pretty clear that what you start with probably is not going to be what you end with. Not only in majors or degrees but also in professions. My advice to students is to have an open mind, enjoy the process, learn how to learn, and learn how to enjoy learning, because if you do that, then the whole world is your oyster. Because you can always figure it out. If you figure out how to figure it out, you're way, way ahead of the game. And if you can do it with some enthusiasm and some optimism, you're in the 95th percentile. So simply really enjoying the ride, keeping an open mind along the way, and trying to find your passion. if you can make money with your passion there's your business, and if you can't there's your hobby. I can never make money playing basketball but is been a great hobby. I've turned a lot of money into a little money flying airplanes but it's been a great hobby. But things like medicine and taking care of people, it's been a great business, because it's my passion, but it also pays the bills. Candidly I'd do it for free.