Three years ago I was hungry. My name was flashing in black letters on a white background, shiny and new and hanging on the side of my office building. My office building. It held so much promise, so much excitement and so many opportunities to fail.
My appointment book was breathtakingly empty. I jumped every time the pone rang and begged for it to not be a wrong number or sales call. I needed patients. Pay roll, utility bills, the mortgage…all of it was due and none of it cared if I was busy or not.
I was hungry. I was scared.
Every spare moment of my time, which ended up being a lot in the beginning, was spent coming up with ways to fill the appointment book. I made lists of local offices that could be referral sources and then visited each and every one with bagels and a brochure in my hand. I hoped the manic look in my eyes as I glanced over their full waiting rooms wasn’t apparent to the receptionist who took my brochures and hopefully at least glanced at them before throwing them all away.
Brochures, ads, blog posts were all written and re written in a hope to attract people to my practice so I could have the opportunity to meet them and show them that I was worth their time and trust.
I was hungry.
Then an amazing thing happened. I began to see my hard work pay off. I secured a good referral source and started to get some patients. Then they referred friends and family and now, three years later, my schedule is mostly full.
I’m no longer hungry. I am comfortable.
This is an even worse place to be.
Now, my bills are being paid. Pay day is no longer a gut wrenching affair and I even had some extra cash to update my office a little. I could spend the next 25 years of my career just as I am: neither wonderfully successful nor failing. I find this place to be even scarier than when I first unlocked my door and challenged the world to come see me.
Being here means that I am locked: too afraid to branch out and reach for the stars for fear of ruining all I built, yet I’m still vulnerable. At this stage all it would take is someone still hungry to come in and steal everything from me. Someone willing to go out and take risks, pound the pavement and do what I used to do. Then I would find myself forced to do it all over again as I watch my business slowly die all around me.
Being comfortable means you aren’t failing. It also means your aren’t growing.
This past week I made a big decision to step out of my comfort zone. I invested in new technology for my practice, something I deeply believe in and truly believe it will help my patients heal faster and return to their lives sooner. It also cost more than my salary to purchase and is a service not covered by health insurance so patients will need to pay cash.
This investment could help my practice grow in so many ways.
This investment could put me out of business.
I’m no longer comfortable. I’m hungry again. Hungry to spread the word about my new offering. Hungry to garner a new demographic. Hungry to make this work.
Being is hungry is a good thing.