I recently had a conversation with a colleague from the world of family practice and genetics. He is at a crossroads of sorts—30 years in practice and considering opportunities that are presenting themselves to him. As I told him of my path, I saw his eyes light up as he realized the next phase of his journey is taking shape.
Going through life, we sometimes receive signs that, if followed, can lead us into new directions and ultimately, opportunities that we would have never imagined. The trick is to recognize when such signs present themselves and most importantly, whether to act or not. Think risk versus reward.
As my years in clinical practice unfolded, I found myself evolving as a physician, and then the universe seemed to intervene. My willingness to share information with others led to not only speaking and teaching engagements but opened additional business opportunities that I would have never imagined when I was a student. The people I have met along the way have not only been one of the gifts I have received but have also opened doors I would have never known existed.
I sometimes wonder how I have gotten to this juncture, going from a young clinician who was content with life as a solo practitioner, to retirement from practice and being busier than ever. Understand, one of the attractions of choosing a career in medicine was that I would not have to retire from my career unless it was on my terms.
Thirty years ago, I began podiatry school without the slightest knowledge of chronic wounds or diabetes related complications. I am now the chief medical officer of a company (Omeza) whose products were developed as a result of me sharing ideas on wound healing with a brilliant scientist. I also have enjoyed being part of a company (MD Coaches) that was created to address the stresses and pressures encountered by physicians, regularly sharing experiences by way of writing, a podcast, and a YouTube show. You may be aware that I also founded and continue to lead a non-profit organization, the Save a Leg, Save a Life Foundation.
Along the way I have consulted and advised several companies, served on the boards of the American Board of Wound Management, Association for the Advancement of Wound Care and later, the American Board of Wound Management Foundation. In between, I am writing, presenting, and always trying to extract as much as possible from each day.
Please understand, this is not intended to be boastful or self-promoting in any way. I am hoping to convey that following your passion, staying true to your core values, and being willing to share without any expectation of something in return, can be a part of a formula for a life of abundance. A favorite quote from Dr. Norman Vincent Peale that I have recited over the years remains a bit of priceless advice. Simple and powerful: “lead with your heart, and the rest will follow.”
Dr. Desmond Bell is the Founder and President of “The Save A Leg, Save A Life” Foundation, a multidisciplinary non-profit organization dedicated to the reduction in lower extremity amputations and improving wound healing outcomes through education, evidence-based methodology and community outreach. He also serves as Chief Medical Officer of Omeza, an evidence-based medical technology company and consumer healthcare products company initially focused on healing chronic wounds and preventing their recurrence. In 2020, he joined MD Coaches as an Executive Physician Coach, serving as a peer to peer mentor.