Plastic surgeons are an interesting group. They are some of the most driven and creative people in the world combining art, science and business on a daily basis. With many of them being “Super Type A” personalities it’s no wonder why so many plastic surgeons struggle with running their practice while maintaining a sense of balance. I have told my clients before and will tell them again, “I would not want to be the surgeon and business owner” between seeing patients, performing the surgery, dealing with HR issues, accounting, marketing and a variety of other issues it’s not surprising to see why there are so many unhappy plastic surgeons, wondering why they got into this business in the first place. Knowing your “why” can inspire your team and propel your practice above and beyond the competition.
In a recent email newsletter from Dr. Herluf Lund – The Aesthetic Society President, he shared some insightful thoughts on happiness and plastic surgeons. We love data and statistics at MD Internet Marketing but to see a 2017 Medscape in which, only 35% of the plastic surgeons surveyed would go back into medicine. If they had to go back into medicine, only 42% of those plastic surgeons said they would go into plastic surgery. These are shocking low numbers considering the growth in overall demand we have consistently seen in the industry for the past 10 years. Why are plastic surgeons so unhappy? Or perhaps a better way to interpret the data is, can plastic surgeons working in today’s environment ever be happy?
Within the newsletter, Dr Lund shared Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky’s 8 points from her book, The How of Happiness. The 8 points explained what “happy people” do every day to increase their satisfaction with their lives and professions.
#1: They devote significant “quality” time to social interactions with family and friends. They spend time developing, maintaining, and nurturing their social bonds.
#2: They express gratitude for what they have and not anger for what they do not have.
#3: They share. They assist. They coach. They teach. (This explains why teachers who frequently are underpaid and in high-stress jobs consistently rank high in their happiness levels.)
#4: They practice optimism. The keyword here is “practice”. Let’s face it, by design, most of medicine is fairly pessimistic. Doctors spend a lot of time looking for things that start to go bad in our patients and not the other way around. And even with our best efforts, all doctors ultimately will fail because our patients will inevitably die. Great athletes practice optimism! They visualize the positive outcome of their shot, their swing, their pitch.
#5: They savor the pleasures of life. Small and large-they savor it all.
#6: They exercise regularly.
#7: They establish commitments to life-long goals and these goals become the “mission statement” of their lives.
#8: Ironically, the happiest people share not only their joys but also their sorrows and stresses. By sharing all of themselves, they build a framework and a perspective for their interactions with others.
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#9: They love to learn. Learning is a habit and the desire to be curious is the most powerful resources available
#10: Sales kills everything. When your seven-figure practice has a ton of website traffic, thousands of new leads and systems in place, you can focus your energy on other endeavors.
How do plastic surgeons who are for the most part happy achieve that when so many others fail? Professor Lyubomirsky notes happy people do not do these things because they are happy, they are happy because they do them. We know you have a busy schedule but you have to take time for yourself to become engaged, to become connected, and most importantly to be happy. MD Internet Marketing has the privilege of working with a few plastic surgeons who are thrilled to be a plastic surgeon and cannot wait to get up and go to work each day.
In a 2017 Medscape survey, only 32% of plastic surgeons reported being “happy.” Plastic surgeons were in the bottom third of the rankings (FYI-dermatologists came in highest and nephrologists lowest). Plastic surgeons, especially aesthetic surgeons, tend to be lone wolves, in a solo practice, withdrawn from the mainstream of medicine with an “in-office” surgical suites leading to isolation. Remember step #1 of the keys to happiness: develop, maintain, and nurture strong relationships. Socially, personally, and professionally. Isolation makes us uniquely vulnerable. Researchers found people with strong social connections manage stress better, have fewer mental health issues, and fewer physical health concerns.
MD Internet Marketing has been working directly with plastic surgeons for over 10 years, providing a safety net that supports your practice. Keeping your practice on top of trends and helping you deal with anything during shaky and uncertain times. Escape the isolation of your office and surgery suites to expand your network and maximize your practice growth.