Create Your Integrative Medicine Future: Overcome Fear, Do the Work

By Glenn Sabin

Are you running on the conventional primary care hamster wheel but would love shifting to a direct-pay concierge or hybrid model? Or looking to segue from private practice (solo or group) to a hospital system and launch an integrative health program?

Your timing and opportunity for success has never been better, for the age of integrative health and medicine—and health creation itself—is upon us while its remaining skeptics are steadily dwindling. Don’t let apprehension keep you from flourishing as an integrative health clinician, investigator, administrator or entrepreneur.

Fear not and embrace the challenge. The shift toward Salutogenesis—health creation over disease care—is all but inevitable. The field of integrative health and medicine is steadily advancing and now’s the time to leverage your convictions and make your move as we further step in the direction of greater population health and the Triple Aim goal.

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Know that your quiver includes more tools essential for truly improving population health and reducing healthcare costs than the more limited conventionally-only trained provider.

What are you waiting for?

Owner or Employee?

Wherever in your career, you must decide if you want to work for someone else or yourself. Maybe it’s early in your career and you’re deciding which direction to take. Perhaps you’re mid-career and looking for change. Or, you’ve been practicing medicine for decades and are now ready to shift toward writing, speaking and thought leadership. Are you considering venturing out to the business of medicine by becoming an administrator or entrepreneur?

“Repeated surveys have shown that most people value “security” over just about everything else in their lives. People will put up with jobs that they hate, marriages that make them miserable, and habits that are killing them (think “comfort food”) simply to feel more secure.” ~Geoffrey James

Whether a physician, investigator, health entrepreneur or company executive—for-profit or nonprofit—you need to take some necessary risk, slightly get out of your comfort zone, elevate your relative standing and position yourself for the personally meaningful work and rewards you seek.

Getting Started

When coaching clients on career change and entrepreneurs and practice owners on business development, I generally focus on the following process:

1. Assess career goals, aspirations and economics.
Closely review biography, life-work flow and career history within a new forward-leaning framework.

2. Learn from your trusted network of experts.
You may be interested in pursuing a conventional, straightforward business or clinic model; or, exploring a uniquely profound vision to potentially catapult you to pioneer status. Regardless, selectively seek opinions from those health and business leaders you most trust and admire.

3. Survey the competitive landscape.
To effectively inform strategy and modeling, it’s essential to carefully assess those enterprises or individuals offering similar products, clinical services or educational programs. Even if your product or service doesn’t cleanly fall into an established category, there may be a relevant enterprise with helpful processes and intelligent positioning in place worth studying.

4. When positioning as an employee, not entrepreneur.
If looking to bring your concepts and skills to an existing institution or company, you must first extensively research that entity. If a nonprofit, review the organization’s open access tax filings and carefully search online to gain a deeper understanding of its financial strength, core priorities, initiatives and reputation. Are you a good fit?

5. Create limited auction pools.
By definition this means undergoing concurrent negotiations with multiple prospective employers (or partners, investors) to create a pool of interested parties for effectively comparing organizations, deal points and people, in order to influence and leverage the best possible employment terms.

This stuff is not rocket surgery (sic) but it is fundamentally critical for success and requires methodical assessment, strategy and implementation; and, most importantly, patience and perseverance. Good things happen when one effectively leverages fear and risk into action and excitement.

Shunning a career move and settling for job and financial security may seem prudent at the time, but only through 20/20 hindsight can one judge the overall long-term value and personal satisfaction (or lack thereof) derived from the “potentially safer” decision.

(Read: [Case Study] Negotiating Your Career in Integrative Health and Medicine)

Fear avoidance is all-consuming; pushing through fear by taking action is cathartic. (click to tweet)

Do you have an idea perfectly matched for the integrative health community? You don’t have to quit your day job just to explore your vision. Why not nurture your idea and create a draft business plan?

Capture and organize your thoughts while wholeheartedly embracing the discovery process and the adventure. Start with a pithy mission and vision statement detailing how your service or product will support these ideals, solve specific problems or speak to certain needs. Then, hone in on and establish your value proposition defining how your product or service will be differentiated in the market.

Seek Professional (Legal, Business, Accounting) Guidance

To ensure your business plan and pro forma are economically viable, legally sound and executable, make sure to secure expert advice.

What’s stopping you?

Remember, the majority of your fears are baseless…simply irrational. Don’t let them keep you from achieving your professional and personal dreams!

About FON

FON is a leading integrative health and medicine business development and strategy consulting firm. FON specializes in custom solutions for growing patient volume, developing programs, and increasing product sales. Our practical business models are driven by innovative marketing, clear messaging, and customer engagement via branded storytelling.

Contact us today to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your business development or personal brand needs.

Image of Glenn Sabin
Author: Glenn Sabin
FON’s founder, Glenn Sabin, is a nationally recognized thought leader with a reputation for successfully positioning integrative health organizations for sustainable growth. Combining media, marketing and business development expertise with an extensive professional and personal integrative health and medicine narrative, Glenn is deeply passionate about advancing the field as the new standard of care—accessible to all.
Read Glenn’s story.


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