Year of Sagely Living : Business and leadership in Chinese Medicine

Well February has simply FLOWN by. While I haven’t posted much about what I’m learning, it isn’t because I’m not learning. 🙂 It’s because I’m learning so much and enjoying it so thoroughly that I simply don’t have much time to write. I feel that my overall education has accelerated a lot in the last 60 days or so, which is a great feeling. I wanted to start writing about the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far from engaging with the business and leadership material this month.  I’ll follow this up with a couple more specific posts and, of course, some lead-up to March’s Year of Sagely Living commitment.

1. Business Seminar at NCNM : As part of our program we take a two part business seminar co-taught by two LAc’s in the Portland area. They both have different approaches to business and the medicine, and complement one another well. Much of the class has been taught through the five element model and through the archetypes associated with the 12 officials. This first part of the series has been focused on general business topics, the second part will present us with more detail.  We have been asked to conceptualize what kind of practitioners we would like to be, to start thinking about what our space will look like and what kind of financial structure we expect to have.

We’ve been asked to interview current practitioners, write mission statements and to grapple with our own relationship with money. It’s been a good class, overall. I have to admit I’ve been a little impatient with it, as I’ve done most of that work and I’m eager to get on to the nitty gritty details of opening and maintaining a practice. However, with each more general exercise I’ve learned something important about my future medical practice. In a sense, then, the greatest lesson I’ve learned from this class and my focus on it during February’s Year of Sagely Living is: You can never revisit the basics enough.

2. Dave Ramsey – Total Money Makeover : As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’ve been working through Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. While I can’t say I agree with everything Dave says, I do think that his fundamental philosophy is sound. It works for someone as systems oriented as I am. I also have an appreciation for “tough love” approaches that encourage me to reach for my dreams while keeping me fully grounded in the reality of the situation.

If you’re not like that, you won’t like Dave Ramsey. You also have to have a relatively high tolerance for evangelical Christian themes and statements, a sort of traditional American gender bias and lots of colloquial Texan phrases. Still with me? It’s a great program and has whipped my financial life into shape. I feel that I have a greater appreciation for the power and promise of money as well as its downfalls. Greatest lesson: grow up.

3. Tony Robbins – Personal Power II: As you can probably already tell, this month was very prolific for me. I find that while I need to spend a lot of time with material specific to Chinese medicine, my function as a Chinese medicine scholar is greatly enhanced by consuming material on personal productivity. That’s the lesson, really, of the whole month — Chinese medicine must be integrated into one’s life as a totality. Everything that I do to improve my life outside of Chinese medicine enhances my ability to understand Chinese medicine!

Wonderfully – the converse is also true. I started listening to this book of Tony’s on my iPod and have really enjoyed what he has to say about the true power of a single human life. He has that classic wood-style “motivational speaker” voice and while that takes a little getting used to, I do find it gets me pretty psyched after a while. 🙂 However, because of an error in loading my iPod, I ended up listening to another audiobook much more and that’s really what I want to talk about…

4. Steve Covey – The 7 Habits, Principle Centered Leadership : I’d like to write a few articles on the 7 Habits and how I see them meshing with the image of the Classical Chinese scholar gentleman. Steve Covey is simply brilliant. If I had more time, I would start a whole blog just to explore his ideas and how they intersect with other world philosophies. I’ve read several of his books, but this is the first time I’ve had an audiobook version. As you know, I’m a huge fan of the “Getting Things Done” system of personal organization as described by David Allen.

I absolutely stand by my endorsement of his system, as nothing has enabled me to keep track of my various projects and ensure that I forget nothing like his system has. However, I find that I need something more. I need a way to overtly keep myself balanced amid the many competing interests, a way to take care of my responsibilities while still moving towards fulfillment of my highest purpose. It’s incredible how much listening to this audiobook has enhanced how I understand the basic philosophies Covey espouses. It’s difficult for me to think of just one lesson, but if I had to pick one it would be: You need to spend the most time doing the things that are most in line with your life’s purpose(s).

5. Blogging and my thinking process around future business strategies:  I’ve learned so much than I’m revealing above.  I think it will take a couple of weeks for me to integrate it all.  It definitely has changed my vision for my practice as well as my idea of what kind of professional I want to be.  It has made me re-evaluate my blogging as well.  I now see that blogging is not just a hobby, it is an integral part of my life’s work.  Hopefully this realization will produce results that all of you can enjoy.  I realize that I haven’t put out too many blockbuster CM related posts lately and I’ve made a commitment to myself to reverse this trend.

About Eric Grey

Hi - I'm the founder of this site and the primary master of all functions here. When I'm not writing, you can find me reaching out to the Chinese Medicine community across the web and in my own backyard. I currently teach Chinese herbs at my alma mater, the National College of Natural Medicine. Additionally, I'm the founder of Watershed Wellness, a thriving local clinic in Southeast Portland in Oregon. No matter where I'm working, you'll find my focus on the Classical approach to Chinese medicine laced throughout everything I do.

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