I don’t know how common it is to give up something that has been the single professional focus of your life. Maybe it happens more than I think. Maybe it doesn’t. Either way, it happened to me.
For years I followed the path towards private practice. But whether it was because I truly wanted it, or thought it was what I was supposed to do, or simply because it involved the fewest unknowns, I will never know.
I am a physician, and for all intents and purposes, have been working towards having a private practice since second grade. Despite attempts in my early college years to derail my dream, I turned things around and was accepted into medical school at the University of Colorado. In 2003, I finished residency and opened my first practice.
It’s no secret our healthcare system here in America is a mess, specifically when it comes to chronic disease. We spend more per person on health care —and it’s not even close — than any other nation on the planet. On top of that, our outcomes are terrible for every measure of chronic disease health. I’d seen these statistics before, but after starting my practice, I experienced them firsthand. These experiences led me to continue my education in order to find better ways to help people get and stay healthy.This drive to remain innovative improved the success of my practice and business model, while simultaneously allowing me to provide the type of care I feel everyone deserves.
I realized that alongside my journey to create and manage a business was an ongoing dedication to finding the best ways to care for and help my patients.
And so I created 4 Pillars Functional Medicine in 2017. At the time, 4 Pillars was meant to be the culmination of my 20 years in medicine – and the practice I would have for the rest of my career. Sure, there would be tweaks to be made along the way as medical science and the health care industry dictated, but I felt the core structure was an ideal home for members to create health and thrive in the long run.
Thanks to the strong foundation it was built on, 4 Pillars was a great success. It was on a clear path to financial prosperity and our members had great outcomes. In reality, it was turning out pretty close to what I’d hoped it would.
But as I mentioned earlier in this post, this is the story of how I gave up my private practice, so at this point you may be wondering: why the hell would I leave all this? Why would I seemingly abandon my dream? Why would I abruptly leave the members who had trusted me, many of whom had been my patients for my entire career? Why would I seek such a dramatic change?
It would be easy to just say I was burned-out, but that’s not the whole story. The reality is more complicated, and part of a much bigger picture.
[to keep following the story, be sure to read the next post — Part 2: Burnout]