August 08, 2013
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BLOG: Part One: Is it just about the numbers? Does the quality of your professional life count?

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Read more practice management blog posts from John B. Pinto

Chances are, the eye surgeons who are most drawn to this blog about the business side of ophthalmology are competitive and financially driven. It’s for precisely this reason I’d like to take a brief  two-blog recess from counting your practice’s numbers and urge you, instead, to consider whether the quality of your life — in and out of practice — is adding up. Are there other more important dimensions of success that your quest for financial success in your practice is edging out? 

This is a question I ask clients rather often in my consulting practice. A client’s project, which usually starts out as an economic evaluation, can end up being as much about global career and life management issues as about the narrow realm of finance.

The most sentient surgeons I’ve known through the years, and certainly the happiest irrespective of their economic success, have developed their own metric of success and life quality.  I’ve listed some of these for you below. And since this blog is largely about numbers, it’s in the form of a scorecard.

For each of the 10 items below, give yourself from 1 to 5 points on the following scale:

1 = “There is a nearly complete deficit of this in my life”

2 = “I am significantly behind in this area … I could certainly use more”

3 = “I have just barely enough of this in my life”

4 = “I have a little more of this than most … but more would be nice”

5 = “I have so much of this, I could easily share my excess with others”

1. ___ A loving relationship with a significant other, with an equal mix of durable passion, mutual interests and a common history to reflect on with pride

2. ___ A deep knowledge that I have been an outstanding parent to my children

3. ___ A successful transition to an adult-to-adult relationship with my parents who are living and/or a sense of appropriate closure with parents who have passed away

4. ___ Numerous friendships, deeper than mere acquaintances, in and out of my professional sphere

5. ___ The confidence that comes from expertise and accomplishment in my professional field

6. ___ A correspondingly deep expertise in at least one personal pastime or hobby

7. ___ An understanding of the inner operating details of my practice in sufficient detail that I’m not held hostage to the unique knowledge of any one critical staff member

8. ___ The absence of professional jealousies or competitive battles that would make it uncomfortable for me to attend a local doctors meeting … my competition is “friendly”

9. ___ The incomparable good feeling that emerges from serving others voluntarily (as by mission trips, pro bono clinics and the like)

10. ___ An opportunity to mentor one or more members of my staff and watch them grow

What’s your total score? How does it compare with the score you would give yourself in purely financial or surgical volume terms? Are you a high-volume surgeon with a high-grade economic lifestyle but a low-quality life?  If so, what are you going to do about that?