Good Functional Medicine Doctors are Leaders.

Are You a Functional Medicine Leader?

I recently received an email from a friend, Derek Wahler.  He put together the list below as a result of listening to an interview with Simon Sinek.  Simon has worked with top CEO’s and military officials with a focus on organizational and leadership skills.  The reason I am presenting it to you is because as a functional medicine doctor, you should be a leader.  You should develop the traits below and work toward improving yourselves as you work to improve the lives of your patients.  Don’t get overwhelmed by the list.  As the picture to the right states, “Small daily improvements are the key to staggering long-term results.”

Below is a 23 point summary of the interview with Simon.

23 Traits of a Functional Medicine Leader

1.       Depth of leadership requires only 1 quality – Courage.

a.       Courage to put yourself after others.

b.      Courage to sacrifice

And I would add the courage to step outside of the mainstream box.  Doctors often fail their patients for fear of putting themselves in a position that is counter to their peers.

2.       You don’t decide to be a leader, you decide you’re going to commit to a lifetime of serving others.

Keeping your knowledge from the world can delay someones journey to wellness.  By writing articles, creating videos, and putting together educational materials, you serve others indefinitely.

3.       Leadership is not about intelligence or charisma, although those are nice to have, it’s about putting others before yourself……and that’s HARD!

4.       Everybody has the capacity for leadership, not everyone has the courage to do it.  It’s not about rank or position.  It’s the choice to look after the person to the left of you, and the person to the right of you.

5.       Vulnerability builds trust.

6.       The leader who acts like they have all the answers leaves no opportunity for others to help.  Then when you struggle, no one will help you, because they don’t think you need it.

Too often doctors play the role of knowledge gate keeper without being capable of admitting when they don’t know something.  We are all well trained and intelligent, but none of us knows everything.

7.       In reality, it’s the exact opposite.  When you admit you don’t know something, people will come to your aid.

8.       “When I struggled the most is when I thought I had to have all the answers, because I was “in-charge.”  If I didn’t have all the answers, I had to pretend I did, to demonstrate confidence, even if I didn’t have any.”

9.       Ego is belief in self.  It’s NOT thinking that you’re better than everyone else.  That is conceit.  Big difference.

10.   To be a leader, you have to have an ego.  You need to be confident without thinking you’re better than everyone else.

11.   It’s important to have ego to accomplish anything.  We all have our insecurities, but you must be confident.

12.   The only way you’ll ever learn that you’re capable of more than you thought you were, is if you’ve got someone who has your back.  A teacher, parent, guardian, leader, coach or boss.  Someone who gives you a chance, because they believe in you.  They see something you didn’t see.

13.   Find your “Why”.  You must know what you do, how you do it, and WHY you do it.  You need to have all 3.

What is the MISSION of your clinic?  Who are the patients that need your help?  What is your functional medicine niche?  What are you passionate about?  How will you bring your knowledge to help the world?

14.   Don’t worry about being perfect.  Simon’s TED Talk is one of the 10 most popular of all time.  Yet the microphone was horrible at the beginning, and had to be replaced halfway through the show.  Nobody cares.

Waiting for perfect is foolish because perfect never happens.  Think of it in terms of software.  We are up to Windows 8 because the first 7 weren’t perfect.  They were however good enough to be of great use.

15.   All good leaders are brilliant listeners.  That doesn’t mean you can simply repeat the words someone said to you.  It means understanding the motivation of why it was said in the first place.

16.   Never confuse leadership with rank.  Rank just gives you authority.

17.   “All great leaders are also followers.  If you’re not following something, than what are you doing?  That’s why vision is so important in a company, because what are the leaders following?  Without the vision, they just follow the results.”

18.   This means that the best followers, those devoted to a cause bigger than themselves, become leaders.

19.   “I fundamentally believe fulfillment is a right and NOT a privilege.”

20.   “I find it inadequate that only a few people get to wake up every morning and say I love my job, or I love my life.  I find that terribly unfair.  It’s not a lottery, it’s not for the lucky few who get to discover or find it.  We have a right to be fulfilled in life.”

21.   “We have to choose to be the leader we wish we had.”

22.   “Fulfillment is the willingness to serve those who serve others.  It doesn’t mean blind service, serving everybody.  It doesn’t mean everyone needs my help.  That’s like saying I love everybody on this planet….it’s just not true.  Some of them are bastards!  There are some people you just don’t like and that’s okay.  It’s about serving those who serve others.”

23.   “If you look at something like Alcoholics Anonymous, it all boils down to the 12th step.  It’s the 12th step that matters most.  AA knows that if people master the first 11 steps, but not the 12th, the odds are pretty high that they’ll start drinking again.  But if they master the 12th step as well, they will beat the disease.  So what’s the 12th step?

It’s the commitment to help another alcoholic.  The only way to beat the disease is when you choose to help someone else beat the disease.  Fulfillment is exactly the same.”

You should not only share functional medicine with your patients.  You should share the ideology with other doctors.  Try to convert them to a better way of practice.   

Podcast link –

Committed to your success,

Dr. Osborne

Dr. Peter Osborne

Dr. Peter Osborne