Rick Schaefer MD bio
About the Author (from the ETM book sleeve)
Rick Schaefer M.D. is an established author and has many articles published. He is the creator of Extreme Thought Makeover... 37 Days to Maximum Life! He has a life coaching practice, teaching from the principles in his program. Rick also has 30 years experience as a physician in the operating room and running a pain clinic, and has 19 years experience studying personal development, success, and the Law of Attraction. He now dedicates himself to helping people at the root cause of disease ... their thinking. He is the father of three. He makes his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the shore of Lake Michigan.
He has been a guest on WISN Radio 1130 am in Milwaukee and WIND in Chicago. He has been President of the Anesthesia Society, has taught at the Medical College of Wisconsin, has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, on National Public Radio, and been a featured speaker at regional and national success seminars. He has also appeared on the Lifetime TV Network’s The Balancing Act.
"There is nothing that has ever been done that hasn't also been done with nothing."
— Rick Schaefer, M.D.
Get to know Rick
You might want to run... run fast! This bio is over 6,000 words long. Long! Ridiculous? Yes. But if you have time to kill in your doctor's office waiting room, and you have caught up on all your "Words With Friends" games on your mobile phone, then this can help pass the time. Just be aware that the receptionist will likely have to wake you up when the doctor is finally ready to see you... hahaha.
The Early Years:
“I was born a poor black man”... okay, that may not be entirely true. It’s actually a throwback to Steve Martin, and I suppose that says a lot. One is my vintage (I was watching TV in the 1970’s), and the other my appreciation for spicy humor. So my first statement is most likely not true for you, except of course depending on your perspective on reincarnation. Millions would find my statement most likely true, because if reincar- nation is a reality, I can’t imagine coming back over and over again as an affluent, Caucasian, Midwestern, American male. I’d probably want to mix it up a bit... king, pauper, slave, celebrity, female, athlete, and probably handicapped too. What an experience that would be! I will try to hold my comments to THIS life experience for the remainder of this bio. But who knows? There is likely much more we don’t know than we do know about this existence.
My early years were spent driving toy cars along the floor of my family’s small apartment above my Dad’s office. It was a pretty urban area, on a busy street. He was an optometrist in private “independent” practice with just two employees, a receptionist and an optician. My mom was a teacher but then stayed home to care for me and my older sister Judy, and of course care for dad who joined us for lunch each day upstairs.
Back to the cars. Looking at pictures and hearing stories from my parents I was crazy organized with the toys, always driving them in large lines of traffic all over the apartment, and park- ing them in “lots” around my room. This is an early clue to my organizing skills, and the future nickname of “Mr. Organizo.” Still to this day, friends and family call me to help load their trunk, SUV, or trailer when they take their kids to college!
We moved to a home in Glendale a few years later, and I then had a real yard and neighborhood and tons of kids my age to play with... ride bikes, play basketball, play board games, play
yard games like spud, capture the flag, and kick the can; and backyard football... my favorite. I was quite often in a bit of trouble. I tended to bend the rules a lot. If there ever was a dare given me, I had to do it. I felt invincible and adventurous. I loved to climb trees, especially maples and willows, really high... really, really high. Once we even played tag in a tree, until my cousin jumped out and broke his arm. Once I was dared to jump out a second story window onto a mattress... awesome... yes of course I did it. Climbing and biking with my friends on my Schwinn Sting- Ray Pea Picker were my favorite, and one of our best climb- ing spots was Nicolet High School. Once up, we had so many places and levels to go on. Climbing, jumping, riding bikes, homemade jumps, all kinds of risky stuff, and only one regret: I never was privileged to wear a cast. I remember wanting one so bad!
Well, along with this mischief, I was awarded two things: the nickname “rascal” from my mother Elnora, and a lot of trips to the principal’s office in grade school. I actually was somehow implicated in freak accidents that sent two of my friends to the hospital for stiches. A letter of apology later, and we are still good friends. I remember once in third grade, which was barely of any interest to me, hearing my name being called to Principal Magestro’s office once again. Oh boy, what was it this time? It could have been a number of things I remember think- ing. His statement surprised me. He said he had been talking to my parents again, and that he had their approval... to move me to fourth grade. Well, that was a bit of a shock. But what the heck, I was always game for a challenge or adventure, or dare.
The schoolwork was no challenge at all, but it did mess with my childhood friendships. I hung out with my new friends in fourth grade during the day, and resorted to my third grade friends after school for football in Randy Looper’s yard.
The first sign of entrepreneurism, and sales, that I remember was selling Just-A-Notes door to door in middle school. I am not sure exactly why, I imagine for the money, but I do clearly remember woman after woman at the door telling me, “I really don’t need any stationary, but you are such a cute little salesman, I’ll buy some.” I guess it’s all about the marketing!
The best summer decision I ever made was to take a typing class at the high school with my sister Judy in 1971. It seemed pretty dumb at the time... IBM Selectrics, trying to top 60 words a minute. Little did I know how useful that would be- come later in life. 1971 was before texting, word processing, and personal computers... heck, it was even before cell phones, cordless phones, CD’s, MP3’s, digital audio, and even VHS videotape! Remember those days? The only way to see a movie was the theatre or catching it once a year when it played on TV! Remember the excitement of watching The Wizard of Oz each year?
Freshman year High School was the first academic challenge I recall, really in two ways. The misery of trying to hold my attention to the lectures and homework in Political Science and Social Studies, balanced with the amazing joy of Honors Ad- vanced Math Freshman year with Mr. Johnson. He gave three hours of homework each night, and oddly, I loved it!
Then came the news that my Dad decided to move out of the city, and off to the Lake Country we went. It was actually beyond the suburbs, out in the farmlands, woods and inland lake area west of Milwaukee. It felt like a whole different way of life, and it occurred only 9 weeks into High School for me. So now I was the new kid, but lucky enough to find my new best friend right at my bus-stop living in the same neighborhood... Jeff Spade.
I remember meeting with my guidance counselor the first day to choose my classes, already 9 weeks in. He kept saying that he needed me on the wrestling team, cause I was stocky and strong, and still light enough for the 88-pound weight class. Did you know there even was an 88-pound weight class in freshman wrestling? I kept putting him off, stating I wasn’t interesting, and asking again and again about the math classes. “Are you kidding? The only option is Freshman Algebra with Mr. Hughes. No advanced classes? Oh-oh. This could be a problem.” I found a way later to satisfy my math aptitude and attraction, and I joined the math team. Also, for my schedule sophomore year, after being told I couldn’t, I signed up for Sophomore Geometry and Junior Advanced Math at the same time. It was months later before the school realized I had violated their class scheduling rules, and thus they decided to let me continue, as I was thriving. The following year they let four others do the same thing I had, and by the time I was a senior and had run out of math classes at Arrowhead, they let the five of us bus to University Lake School for 7 am Calculus each morning. Can you imagine? I actually liked that!
High School was the time of tennis, wrestling, diving, acting in plays, and gymnastics. My greatest influence outside of my parents was Mr. Groomer B. “Sam” Davis, my world history teacher and tennis coach for four years. He always had a way of helping me realize that my wishes were coming true all the time, just that they didn’t always come in the form I was expecting. I still stay in touch, and he delivers wisdom to me each time that still surprises me.
Over the years I had many, many discussions with my dad about business, and he always showed me the benefit of being a professional, and being in private practice. He was willing to talk to me and teach me about management, psychology, and finance. He taught me how he dealt with patients’ psychology by telling them it was a great decision for their eye health to upgrade their prescription lenses and frames. They were happy because they wanted an excuse to justify buying new frames to update their fashionable look, and he made money. A win-win situation. I also observed how he brought an optician into his office and was the very first Optometrist in Milwaukee to offer the fitting and grinding of lenses right in his office, enabling him to offer same day or next day service. All of his competitors were sending the orders out to a lab, and waiting. I saw what success this competitive advantage brought him, as well as his understanding of the psychology of medical practice... basically making the patient feel good about their decisions and providing them with a great experience.
During my high school years, my dad became insanely busy... running a practice, volunteering with the Optimist Club, the Antique Auto club, and actually being the Parade Chairman for the Bicentennial Menomonee Falls Fourth of July Parade. I remember he put together the Cavalcade of Cars... a line of cars from 1901 to 1976 within the parade. I got to drive his 1959 Cadillac Sedan with my other best friend beside me in the car, Hans Reuters. Jeff was driving our 1964 Chevy Corvair. And my dad was up front of the parade in his 1948 Mercury Convertible.
I remember him being really busy, really productive, and yet always having the time to sit and talk with me about anything, usually after my bedtime, to my mom’s dismay. Here’s a quick parenting lesson... the best time to hold your child’s attention to talk, is actually after their bedtime... because then they have no place better to be anyway!
The last important lasting memory of high school is my ex- posure to Leo Buscalglia, at the time an instructor at USC. I read his book Love, and saw him on public TV. It set in motion a desire for personal transformation, a connection to the emotional aspects of life, an openness to the unknown, and a lasting foundation for all my future work. I still repeat stories from his public TV presentation. A story about finding a hidden rose while scooping up poop from his puppy, a story about being labeled “too tactile” by his teacher in grade school, a story about riding an airplane with a negative thinker in the seat next to him, and of course his most amazing lesson about emotion, “When you are sad, that is great, because at least you know beyond any doubt that you are alive. So live!”
I had several awesome near-death experiences growing up, losing control of my bicycle going down a giant hill, falling thru the ice in winter and going completely under water, and denting the wall with my head trying to jump down an entire flight of stairs. I know, who would do that? I just would get an idea and find it impossible to say “no” to it! I think if you let these types of experiences, which most of us have had, sink in a bit, you will find enormous value in them too.
My dad gave me challenges and tests, and my mom gave me total acceptance and love and affection... and both gave me good examples. One was of pure analysis, and the other of pure emotion... the head and the heart. Somewhere along the line, I seemed to pick up ALL of both!
The Idea of a Career in Medicine (arthritis coming back to bite me!)
Although my dad had always demonstrated the benefits of a professional’s life, the first real thought I gave to becoming a medical doctor came after a series of events in my life. First I watched an amazing movie with Timothy Bottoms and John Houseman called The Paper Chase. It was about the stresses and challenges of Law School, and the super high level of teaching really intrigued me... I wanted that experience. I wanted the greatest academic challenge I could find. So I concluded that it would either be Law School or Medical School to immerse in the highest academic challenge available, at least that was my impression at that time. Dealing with the human body sounded more desirable than books filled with case law, so I set Medical School in my sights.
Soon after, I had a conversation with a doctor in the neighborhood, Daniel P. McCarty, M.D. We chatted, and he invited me to go on a house call with him in the neighborhood to visit someone who was ailing. He carried his little black bag, and was really appreciated by the patient for his care and concern, and I suppose for the antibiotic prescription. I thought the whole thing was really sweet, a country family doctor. He later told me about a pilot program at the University of Wisconsin for an accelerated program in concert with the Medical College of Wisconsin. I applied, and was accepted, embarking on a seven-year program combining undergraduate studies and medical school.
It is really interesting to me that years later I discovered who Dr. McCarty really was. He wasn’t this country doctor doing house calls, he was actually the Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He held probably the most influential academic medical position in all of Southeastern Wisconsin. He had also written the “Bible” as we called it, on Arthritis, and was the national authority on arthritis. Each time he saw me he encouraged me to go into the life of academic medicine. Isn’t it funny that 25 years after break- ing his heart by choosing a non-academic position in anesthesiology, I end up opening a specialty niche medical practice in Milwaukee dealing with knee arthritis!
The College Years... All Ten of Them:
Ten years of higher education... actually only ten because I took a few shortcuts! It’s true, I shortened undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee from four to three years, and then followed with the usual four years of Medical School, at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Typically a new graduate specializes by doing an internship and residency. This can take three to eight years. I chose Anesthesiology, which was at that time only three years. That’s a total of ten! At the end of that I was so ready to go into “real” practice... it’s funny they call it practice, eh?
Jobs and Businesses:
I have always been one to learn experientially. In other words, I usually don’t think by way between what I want and don’t want, but rather I try stuff to decide what actually feels the best to me. As you might imagine, I have tried a variety of jobs. My summer jobs included lawn mowing, landscaper, yard helper, painter, patio layer, door-to-door sales, restaurant busboy, dishwasher, clown, moving company mover, packer, and driver, health club assistant, assistant tennis coach, snow shoveling, restaurant supply delivery driver, secretary for the Physics department, chemistry tutor, third shift stocker at a grocery store, and my most memorable for being the most uncomfortable... a job loading frozen meat on to refrigerated trucks during the night outdoors in the winter. Wow, that was cold!
I had always wanted a business outside of medicine and had created National Toy which was a collectible toy distributor and auction company for highly prized Matchbox cars and Hot Wheels from the 60’s and 70’s. I also dove into the Multi-Level Marketing industry with a company called Excel Communications, and had some pretty significant success building an organization of over 10,000 distributors and making it to the top position in the company, and the Top 40 money earner list. I found myself speaking in front of over 1,000 people in Dallas at the national convention. All this was done part-time, on the side of a full-time medicine career.
Anesthesia and Pain Management Practice:
I took the same approach to my medical practice. I left residency as quickly as possible because I was really aching to and felt prepared to go out and work. I started with locums so I could get a feel for many different types of practice, and many different hospitals. Private, academic, trauma, neurosurgery, orthopedic, supervising nurse anesthetists, and even a three week stint in Rock Springs, Wyoming. My wife Jill and I ultimately decided to settle back in Milwaukee as she was pregnant and we valued having both sets of grandparents nearby. I then stumbled into an opportunity to take a position with a brand new facility opening in Milwaukee and a brand new idea coming to the area... an ambulatory surgery center. We were essentially doing surgery only for patients that could go home the same day. I took a position to build the anesthesia department with one other MD and provide medical direction for the facility.
My colleagues flat out told me I was providing an early death to my career, that only someone near retirement should con- sider that career move. Nineteen years later I had helped three facilities get started and find success in Milwaukee, and had helped birth an entire subspecialty in anesthesia... Ambulatory Anesthesia practice. I was invited to lecture on the sub-special- ty to medical students each year. In fact, the Chairman of my Residency program invited me to come back to the Medical College of Wisconsin to set up an ambulatory care facility, at the third highest salary in the department... which I declined, mostly because of the potential politics working within a large organization.
This was my first major career risk-taking move, giving up general anesthesiology practice to subspecialize, and it turned out hugely successful.
Building a Family
I was lucky enough to father three children, two daughters and a son, all very different in personality, gifts, and interests. I enjoyed parenting, vacations, and coaching soccer and basket- ball. My children taught me many lessons along the way, with perhaps the most valuable during Katie and Betsy’s teen years. I learned that you really can’t teach anyone anything unless they are asking. Any of you parents of teens know this. But there is a great lesson here, really no-one can learn unless they are asking. It is really wasted breath to try to tell someone else any of your opinions unless they specifically ask for help. And even then it is wise to stay specifically to the topic they asked about. I created a lovely t-shirt to wear at this time that said My teenagers “I Care What You Think” Club is By Invitation Only!
The Big Transformation
I seriously needed to change something, both on a personal ba- sis and a professional one. I had achieved professional success. I had been medical director, department chairman, and President of the Anesthesia Society. Yet, I felt some emptiness in my profession. I had also achieved personal success, married, three kids, house in the suburbs, two luxury vehicles in the garage. Yet I still felt an emptiness in my personal life.
One of the biggest things I noticed lacking in my career in anesthesia came to me thru the Pain Management aspect of the career. I was spending about 25% of my overall time treating patients with chronic pain problems with medicine, therapy, and injections. I noticed over the years that they usually re- turned... with a recurrence of the same problem or the appear- ance of a new one. I knew we in traditional medicine were missing something, because our diagnoses and treatments were not curing these patients. In training we are trained to discover symptoms and make the diagnosis of a disease. Then we are taught to treat the disease with some outside force... drugs, therapy, or surgery. I discovered over time that the this strategy is not looking deep enough. I have come to learn and believe the disease as it turns out is actually a symptom of something deeper. I looked into holistic treatments, preventative medicine, naturopathic medicine, even nutritional biochemical medicine for answers. I would later discover that the ultimate secret lies in the emotional basis for medical disease, which can only be treated thru changing the way a person thinks, thru creating habits of new thoughts.
There had been clues to what was lacking all along, but I ignored them. I had focused on everything external and had achieved great success on the surface. I discovered what was lacking in my like was all on the inside, so I set out to make an internal transformation.
The initial benefit from the network marketing business I had was all the emphasis on personal development. I desired to add to this more spiritual work, and met with several spiritual and personal development coaches, attended numerous weekend conferences, and read countless books. After a total of twelve years of research and study, I found that I had successfully reprogrammed myself to think differently. I was able to alter my thoughts, do it on a consistent repetitive basis, have that thought become a habit of thought, and ultimately change my beliefs. It is an amazing skill that we all have. Leo Buscaglia said years ago that, “Everything we have learned can be unlearned, and relearned. We can basically recreate ourselves any time we like, over and over.”
My “Buddha” Phase
As I was going thru this transformation, I was intrigued with the concepts of non-materialism and unknown possibilities. The first led me to what I call my “Buddha Phase.” I decided to release all physical objects in my life. I love stuff so much, I didn’t know how to start. I started selling and giving stuff away by sorting out the things I needed least. It was painful and prolonged. Then it occurred to me to get rid of my absolute favorite things first. That was easy to figure out. It was obvi- ously my two beautiful Robert Pence original oil paintings and my Steinway Grand Piano. I posted both to eBay and Craigslist and instantly had a buyer for the piano. It was a piano teacher who played classical music spectacularly. I felt that I had given my Steinway a new and beautiful life. Whereas it had been involved in my pop music every few days, now it was to live in the beauty of classical music daily and a truly gifted pianist.
Oddly, it took years to sell the oil paintings. One day, long after my Buddha Phase was complete, I got a call from my eBay ad. It was a gentleman who wanted to gift his wife with the paintings for a Mother’s Day gift. I really hadn’t been think- ing about selling the paintings any more, but felt obligated to do it based on my commitment to the idea that I don’t always know what gift lies in the seemingly random events of the world around me. So I said “Yes”. When he picked up the paintings, we chatted, and learning I was opening a new medi- cal clinic, he suggested that I speak to his manager Nikki at the temp agency he owned for possible staffing needs. It turned out Nikki, learning the unusual nature of the clinic project, sent me Robin and Taylor, my first two receptionists and the first two employees at the clinic. They were both perfect, and have been a huge gift. I really don’t believe in coincidences, but this sequence of events really is intriguing. It was literally a years-old eBay ad, and my willingness to say “Yes,” that made this connection.
The second concept is that of embracing the unknown, and allowing all the possibilities that exist to reveal themselves in your life. One of the ways I was able to do this was by literally moving every year for the last 10 years. Of course, the Buddha Phase has helped me, because I have limited personal posses- sions, and it is easy to move. This has brought me so much variety of experience: lakefront high-rises, a suburban condo, a residence hotel in Easttown, a lakefront ground level condo, indoor and outdoor parking, pool, no pool, walking distance amenities, suburban isolation, so many varieties of “homes.” It has really helped me to be adaptable, and to lose any fear of the unknown. Deepak Chopra has an amazing book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, where he speaks of the law of pure potentiality, and that is where you can “experience your true being, which is unfearful of any challenge, has respect for all people, and feels beneath no one... permanent power in the knowledge of the true self.”
Extreme Thought Makeover
In a marketing mastermind with Kevin Kowalke, I birthed the idea of sharing the lessons that had helped me transform my life, and started work on my book Extreme Thought Makeover... 37 Days to Maximum Life. In it I shared the 37 most valuable lessons that helped me transform. Again, the focus is totally on “inside” work. The book was originally published as an online autoresponder sequence of emails, each with one of the 37 lessons. After hundreds of people had gone thru the program and offered up dozens of “Personal Inspired Stories” around the individual lessons, I turned it into a physical book.
I would summarize my overall transformation as the shift from success to significance. Joy is achieved thru the habit of ap- preciation, and bliss is achieved thru the mastery of acceptance. I now am fully able to live with joy and depth, and to easily observe and appreciate all that goes on around me. And most of all live with total acceptance of the way the world is, and my place in it. This combination of appreciation and acceptance is a continuing journey, but boasts the benefit that with mastery, one can live in total bliss, with the richness that can only come with doing the “inside” work.
Many people have asked why I took the time to write a book. My simple answer is, “I couldn’t NOT write it.” The teaching I offer is the culmination of so much research, pulling together the wisdom of so many great minds, some living, some not, coupled with my personal journey and lessons specifically from that. Take all of that and add medical school, residency, and
19 years of Anesthesia and Pain Management practice. This perspective alone makes it valuable, but the fact that it is an experiential training program makes it unique among personal development, self-help, and spiritual awareness books.
This kind of transformation is within reach of each of you as well, and it is remarkable in that it is all purely an inside job.
You can shift away from the regret of your past, away from the worry about your future, and away from the idea that anyone around needs to change their behavior in any way for you to be happy. That allows you the total freedom for your mood to be completely independent of the world around you, to live totally in the “now,” and to be insulated from the ups and downs of what happens to you.
Part of the shift is in finding new love, love of yourself, deeper than you have ever experienced before. This is done thru the tool of total acceptance and appreciation of the self thru three specific daily lessons. When mastered, it feels the same as the feeling of new love of another... you might know the feeling, when everything in your world is more lovely: the colors are brighter, the sky is clearer, the flowers smell better, food tastes richer, and even the grass and the carpet fibers feel more won- derful between your toes. Every sensation is heightened with new love.
Anthony Dallmann-Jones, PhD, author of Primary Domino Thinking, Shadow Children, and The Phoenix Flight Manual, says “It is angelic work. Dr. Schaefer has removed all the ob- stacles in your way, and shares his secret formula.” Ultimately the book gives you a mechanism to create your own happiness irrespective of your circumstances. What a gift that is! And the best news, it is all an inside job!
Evolution of a Career
Having left traditional anesthesia practice to write my book and coach others in internal transformation, I then took some opportunities to help other medical practices market and master cash business models. I provided call center services, mail follow up programs, shared calendar scheduling, basically everything in between a newspaper or radio ad and the patient showing up in the doctor’s office.
It was wonderful, exciting, new, and profitable. I then found a few friends in medicine that wanted to experiment with me on a niche medical practice idea. They wanted to help fund the project, and share in the profits. Thus was born my next major business project in December of 2010, and what followed for me was 7 months of absolute chaos, controlled chaos, in setting up every detail of a brand new medical practice, The Knee Specialists of Wisconsin.
I’d like to detail a bit more about that seven months, because one of the greatest secrets to success lies there. I began serious work on launching the new medical practice with visualization. I envisioned the energy of the practice. I focused not on how the practice would look, but how it would feel, not on who the staff would be, but on the energy the staff would have, not on the patients but on the emotion of the patients. I was basically envisioning the non-physical aspects of the practice.
I like to compare envisioning to playing videos in your head. I would continually play imagined videos in my head with patients walking in to the clinic like Norm walked into the bar on the TV sitcom Cheers. Remember Cheers, “where everybody knows your name?” I envisioned all the receptionists (who I call the Directors of First Impressions) calling out the patient’s first name and welcoming them. I envisioned the staff walking up to me and saying, “Dr. Rick, this is the best job I have ever had in my life!” I envisioned the staff caring for each other in the same way parents care for their children. I envisioned the patients picking up on that energy and feeling it. I envisioned an environment filled with staff taking the time to truly listen to the patients, making them feel present and alive, an environment filled with gifting energy and the receptionists giving a gift bag to the new patients, offering coffee, chatting about their weekend... literally developing friendships. I envisioned a medical environment where healing takes place even before any treatment begins!
I was lucky to attract though this energy management some pretty wonderful people to help me. They acted as unpaid consultants to evaluate many of the choices I was making, and guide in the realization of the mission of the project. They simply wanted to be a part of the creation of the clinic because it was unique, creative, and exciting.
At the same time I was doing the less important work of choos- ing the location, negotiating parking, working with the architects to lay out the floor plan, choosing colors and textures, setting up the lending library and coffee bar, arranging the waiting room in living room-like seating sections, picking out the medical equipment and supplies, getting certification for Xray and Fluoroscopy, choosing the computer system, software programs, telephone system, hiring staff, training myself on knee treatments and researching the best treatment protocols.
I helped design the ads, hired the ad agency, and outsourced the initial phone calls from the newspaper ads to a call center after training them to follow my incoming call script. All of this before taking the keys and opening the doors June 1st to the first day of work for my two receptionists and office manager Jackie. What followed was three days of office setup, two days of computer EMR training, and then shazam!.. seven new patient exams the first day seeing patients.
On the day we opened in June of 2011, we already had 14 new patients on the books, and were up to a pretty nice pace with most of those entering into my knee arthritis rehabilitation program. The rest of that year is detailed in my DVD Create a Million Dollar a Month Practice in 24 Minutes. It is the presen- tation I did in Dallas in front of 1,100 attendees to the Glazer- Kennedy Insider’s Circle National Super-Conference. I was voted Marketer-of-the-Year for 2012 and won a $10,000 grand prize and consulting time with founder Dan Kennedy.
Again, I would like to emphasize that the most important work was the visualization of the end product, the visualization of the energy of the clinic, and the visualization of the emotion and personality of the staff and patients. Because of this energy, I believe we get results with our patients that are so good, they cannot be explained by medical science alone.
The L.I.T.E. Effect... Love Is The Experience
This award, Marketer-of-the-Year, made me realize just how unique this project is, and how valuable it could be to others. So many doctors need what I have achieved, from both an en- ergy standpoint and a financial one. Thus, a consulting business was born.
The mission of The Lite Effect is to bring love into a medi- cal practice, and to create an unmatched experience for the patients, the staff, and the physicians as well. This transforma- tion benefits everyone. It is so amazing to me that by spending more time with each patient, by allowing the staff the freedom to spend more time with each patient, and by spending more on gifts and follow up cards, you actually make MORE money.
Wow, what a win-win-win-win situation!
As the Lite Effect has evolved, it has attracted some pretty tal- ented and influential people, and now has an elevated mission: to certify one Lite Effect medical practice in every city in the U.S., and to grow to 1,000,000 patient members all expecting the personalized care and concern that has made Knee Special- ists so successful and life changing.
Ask me why I would start a new consulting business with such loftly goals when I already have such a nice balanced life with a successful medical clinic? Same answer as before, “Because I can’t NOT do it!” The Lite Effect is such a worthy endeavor, and right now it’s mission is so important... a way to trans- form the way medicine is practiced and delivered all across the country!
Life after the Knee Specialists Launch
Since the clinic opened I have taken up two sports or hobbies. Both are of the two-wheel variety, and both happened in the Spring of 2012. First was mountain biking. It turns out it totally feeds my reckless risk-taking side, and also provides great ex- ercise. I describe it as the combination of a great cardio work- out and a video game. My son James took it up with me, and he is really loving it too. We actually used the prize money from the Marketer-of-the-Year to buy the bikes, appropriate because James did the whole slide show and video accompaniment
for my presentation in Dallas. Mountain biking requires such concentration, focusing on the clear path ahead and not the ob- stacles, and offers an opportunity at its highest level to be “out of your head.” When at your best, racing thru the woods, thru puddles, up and down hills, tempted by countless obstacles... one can achieve an “in the zone” non-thinking state like we have seen in professional athletes when they are most inspired.
The second sport is riding a Harley. I took motorcycle lessons last Spring and my girlfriend Judy would simply not allow me to buy a starter bike... nothing but a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle would do! It has been a blast. I consider it the ultimate convertible. The ultimate freedom and oneness Judy and I experience as we ride together on my cycle is unmatched.
I also have moved back into an urban setting, being one of the first tenants in a new high-rise in Milwaukee in a very urban location. I am on the 27th floor, and have the most amazing view of the sun rising over Lake Michigan each morning with Milwaukee’s cityscape skyline and the Milwaukee River in the foreground. I also have the luxury of thirty restaurants, two sports arenas, and seven live theatres all within four blocks of my front door.
I would like to share two psychological profile ideas about my- self. Remember the movie City Slickers? In it Jack Palance (the tough-as-nails trail boss Curly Washburn) tells Billy Crystal (New Yorker Mitch Robbins) the secret of life. He states, “One thing, it’s just one thing. You stick to that, and everything else don’t mean sh**” Mitch asks, “That’s great, but what’s the one thing?” Curly replies, “That’s what you’ve gotta figure out.” My one thing is creating. I believe I am happiest when I am creating... writing lyrics, creating a new organizational system, writing an article, or building a new business. The energy of going someplace energetically that is new for me is life-giving to me, inspiring, invigorating, and filled with self-love and love of the world.
The second look into who we really are is with a simple inter- view I call the Yellow Penguin. Try this with me. Answer the following question for you: What is your favorite color? Write it down. Now write down three or four descriptive terms about that color, adjectives that describe what you like about the color. Next, think of your favorite animal, the one animal in the entire animal kingdom that you admire most. Write it down, and add three or four descriptive terms about that animal, ad- jectives that describe what you like and admire about it.
My answer is a Yellow Penguin. Yellow is bright, invigorating, inspiring, stimulating and reminds me of the dawn. My animal is the penguin. The penguin is contradictory! It is formal and casual, black and white, clumsy and graceful, soft and rugged, winged and flightless.
Now the profile part: the color represents how one sees them- self, and the color represents how one desires others to see them. Interesting, eh? I hope you have gained some insight now only to who I really am, but who you are.
What a life! We are all on this planet for a purpose, to have the experience of living a lifetime, and to find joy in the process. I try to immerse myself in each moment, and feel it fully. Right now I am feeling the creative joy of writing by bio.
So, that’s me in a nutshell... a very, very big long nutshell! – Rick
Addendum to My Bio:
It occurred to me several weeks after completing the writing of this bio that I completely overlooked one experience in my life, which many might consider a defining moment… I am a cancer survivor. What’s funny about it is that I actually take a thyroid hormone replacement pill every single morning, a constant reminder of my past thyroidectomy, and yet it never occurred to me as I wrote about the moments in my life that shaped my thinking.
In 1980, during my admission physical examination to medical school, the doctor noted a lump on my thyroid gland. After x-rays and scans and a needle biopsy it was determined to be papillary carcinoma, and subtotal thyroidectomy was performed, which revealed 7 of 13 lymph nodes positive for cancer. That was followed by radioactive iodine treatment.
I think that what has defined my life is NOT the fact that I faced cancer and beat it with the help of great doctors, but rather the attitude I held at the time of my diagnosis which shaped the way I approached the illness. I simply didn’t give it much respect. I knew of the infinite perfection of my body from the study of anatomy and physiology, and I simply believed that this was not going to be life altering… simply an inconvenience.
This experience was not without it’s lessons. I definitely learned what it is like to be in a hospital and be in the hands of doctors and nurses, and feel completely powerless. It was also very clear to me at that time that the smallest acts of human kindness by the medical staff meant absolutely the most to me, and gave me the greatest hope. Once again the lesson that the little things are really the big things… and I hold true to that knowledge today!
What's the takeaway from all this? It all matters. It's all connected. Everything that has happened in your life matters and has led you to this very moment in time... who you are and where you are. Embrace all of it, rejoice in all of it, appreciate ALL of it!