Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Second Wind  Physicians

Documented experiences of the second wind go back at least 100 years. The phenomenon has come to be used as a metaphor for continuing on with renewed energy past the point thought to be pas one’s prime, whether in sports, careers, of life in general.

Second Wind, Wikipedia

Mid and late career physicians are retiring in record number from private practices.  Some are quitting because of discontent with the present practice environment.  Others cease independent practice because of economic pressures.  Still others are going work part-time,  being employed by hospitals,  or entering cash only  or concierge practices.  For whatever reason,   health reform has resulted in a sharp decline in traditional private practices associated with 3rd party payments
Yet many of these  physicians  still believe they have something to offer society.    They feel  they have the energy and experience to develop a second wind.  They seek concrete ways to launch a second career.

I’ve been brainstorming with Tony Kubica of Kubia LaForest Consulting, a firm for helping individuals and organizations managing career transformations,  whether  they be in the corporate or medical worlds.

In the firm’s latest newsletter, which follows this blog, Tony chronicles the career of my son, Spencer, who left Brooks Brothers, became an Episcopalian Priest at 48, , and who is now in Honduras on a Fulbright fellowship teaching abandoned young girls in an orphanage how to write poetry, watercolor, and take pride in themselves and their heritage.

In our brainstorming, Tony and I have been focusing on persons past 50 interested in pursuing second careers. These individuals wish to remain productive. They want  to contribute to society and to their profession. In this uncertain economy, they also want supplemental income.

Some, like my son, seek to enter more spiritually rewarding professions.  A  recent article  Wall Street Journal,  ”For Second Careers, A Leap of Faith, “ documents how growing numbers of people 50 or older see retirement as a chance to “do good.” They  are turning to divinity schools for a more spiritual life in record numbers and comprise more than 20% of students in theological schools.

But most of us seek to stay in the profession or business we know best.  But how do we market ourselves? How to we connect with persons in the same frame of mind? How do we learn how to function in this brave new world dominated by information technologies?

The answer, other than networking with like-minded persons in the same fix, is often to form a website. But how and who?   Where does find a webmaster? Most of us do not know how to navigate this relatively new “information space.” We need to know the specifics of how to do so. We need a webmaster to sit with us for a morning or afternoon session, to teach us the rudiments of how to efficiently connect with our fellow second winders. We need an economic model that helps us master these new information technologies. That model, which we believe might  involve construction of website, is  just one thing  Tony and I are talking about.

Another approach might be to develop an online forum for “second wind physicians,” in which physicians could communicate with each other, exchange ideas, arrange meetings,  empower themselves to be a positive force for themselves and for society,

If  any of you physicians out there  are seeking a “second wind,”  or wish to show how you have embarked on a second career,  have ideas of how to do so,  or simply want to connect with second winders  I invite you to write me at or call me at 1-860-395-1510 to share your thought,  or contact Tony, whose  contact information is listed below after his newsletter.
Newsletter: May 2013, Kubica Laforest Consulting,  high growth business experts
Second Wind Profile: Rev. Spencer Reece
Last month we wrote about our new initiative: Finding Your Second Wind. Our Second Wind initiative focuses on people who left the corporate world voluntarily, involuntarily, or to retire. And, we define the corporate world broadly, as any organization in which you received a paycheck on a regular basis.
Our first profile was about Dr. Tim Warren, the retired Rhode Island chiropractor who successfully climbed Mt. Everest, reaching the summit on his second attempt.
This issue focuses on Rev. Spencer Reece. No, Rev. Reece is not a successful businessman who has earned a lot of money and leads the good life as a result of his second career. Rather, Rev. Reece is an Episcopal priest, who is completing a project in Honduras, where he teaches orphaned girls to express themselves in poetry and watercolors. This is a profile of a man who made an incredible contribution to one orphanage, in one town, in one country.
Before we introduce Rev. Reece, here is a paragraph from a profile of him in the Miami Herald:
“We live in a world that’s full of hate.” So begins the poem of Katherine Marisol Murillo, a 15-year-old girl who recalls the circumstances that led her to Nuestra Pequenas Rosas, a haven in the middle of San Pedro Sula, Honduras. It’s a city known for its maquiladoras (apparel plants) and murder rate (No. 1 in the world), where abandoned children live in cardboard boxes on street corners and find their nourishment from the charity of others or the city dump.
We were introduced to Rev. Reece by his father, Dr. Richard Reece. Dr. Reece is a retired pathologist and prolific writer. His blog is called Medinnovation. He is also a candidate for a future Second Wind profile.
After graduating from Wesleyan University (Connecticut), Spencer Reece started a corporate career as a salesman for Brooks Brothers. He rose to the position of assistant manager in the Gardens Mall store in Palm Beach Gardens. He was good at his job, and he was moving up the corporate ladder.
But that was his day job.
At night, he wrote poetry. For 23 years he wrote poetry, submitting his work often for publication and often receiving rejections. In fact, he received more than 1000 rejection letters during those years. But, he still kept writing poetry. Now that’s passion and commitment.
Then, one night, he got a call from Louise Gluck, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet. She called to inform him that she selected his manuscript, The Clerk’s Tale, as winner of the Bakeless Prize for new authors awarded by the Bread Loaf Writers Conference at Middlebury College in Vermont. And that changed everything. Twenty-three years of rejection ended with winning the Bakeless Prize.
He received another call a short time later. This one was from the New Yorker. Its editors wanted to publish some of his poems. We wonder if anyone, after seeing his work published in the New Yorker, called him “an overnight success.”
He continued working at Brooks Brothers but started volunteering at a hospice. He was nagged by the memory that he once wanted to be a priest (in his twenties he earned a master’s degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School). But was it too late? After all, he was now in his late forties.
He decided it wasn’t and enrolled in the Berkeley Seminary at Yale Divinity School. While in Divinity School, he worked as a chaplain at Hartford Hospital. In the summer of 2010, he spent two months at Our Little Roses in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, working with young orphaned girls.
One night, while he was working as a Chaplain at Hartford Hospital, a young Hispanic boy was admitted. He had been stabbed twenty-five times in a gang-related incident and died shortly after admission. Reece’s frustration was that he did not understand Spanish and was unable to communicate and console the young man’s grieving mother. After graduation, he was ordained an Episcopal priest. Now what; where to from here?
He applied for a Fulbright proposing to write a book of poems about Honduras (based on his summer experience at Our Little Roses). He was a runner up. So, he successfully applied for a grant to study Spanish. Then, he reapplied for a Fulbright, but this time he proposed teaching eighth to eleventh graders at Our Little Roses how to write poetry. He won and is now completing his year teaching there.
As he wraps up his work in Honduras, he is collaborating with Richard Blanco, the poet who spoke at President Obama’s inauguration, on publishing a collection of poems written by the Honduran children. He also is working with James Franco, the Oscar-nominated actor from 127 Hours, to produce a documentary about the project. The singer-songwriter, Dar Williams, is composing the sound track. They hope to premiere the film next year at the Sundance Film Festival.
What a journey.
Rev. Reece is yet another example of the power passion, belief, and persistence plays in our lives. From Brooks Brothers salesman to award-winning poet, priest, film maker, he influences the lives of the disadvantaged.
In our correspondence with Rev. Reece, he said: ”It was my father who first inspired me to write as I saw him working away as a doctor, but secretly, at night, when he wasn’t doing that hard work, he liked to read and write. I have been lucky to have him.”
Note: The information for this Profile was from Joan Chrissos’s April 26, 2013 Miami Herald article plus correspondence with Rev. Reece and conversations with his father, Dr. Richard Reece.
Reflections on Finding Your Second Wind: How Should You Approach It?
What’s your situation? Did you just leave your corporate job (you may have retired) and are you looking for ways to earn some money. You think starting a small business could be the answer, but where do you begin?
What do I do; when do I do it; who can help; how much money should I spend; do I need a website; is there really money to be made online. And the questions rush down on you with the force of a 2000 foot waterfall, or at least it feels that way sometimes.
There are many paths, as you can see from our profile of Rev. Reece, but where do you start if your goal is to build an income-producing business?
Starting a small business or building an online business is like beginning a new career. It takes time, and it takes hard work if you want to develop sustainable income. Your advantage is experience and skills that you can leverage in starting a new business. The disadvantage is to think that experience and skills will provide a shortcut to creating and building a business. There is no shortcut.
We suggest you start with:
  • Taking an inventory of your skills.
    • Define your strengths and weaknesses.
    • Understand what did you did well in your career, what was a challenge, and in what areas you needed the help and skills of others.
  • Understanding your financial position.
    • Quantify how much money you need to live.
    • Determine how much you can afford to invest without adversely impacting what you need to live.
  • Researching the ideas you have.
  • Understanding what you will need to know and do to be successful.
    • And, honestly reflect on whether you are willing to do what it takes to be successful in the terms of how you define success.
      • Rev. Reece was willing to go back to school, earn his divinity degree, study Spanish, and spend a year in Honduras. You don’t have to change your world so dramatically, but we think you get the idea.
Baby boomers are entering the post corporate world at an increasing rate (they are turning 65 at a rate of 10,000 per day!), and what many will find is that:
  • They have no desire to stop working (although research shows that many no longer want to work the traditional “40-hour work week”).
  • They cannot live on social security, their 401(k), or their pension if they are lucky enough to have one.
  • They are highly motivated to do what they are passionate and excited about but aren’t quite sure how to start.
So starting a small business could be the very thing that excites them the most.
A good friend of ours, Richard Grehalva, recently published an ebook that can help you answer these questions and more: The Boomerpreneur Revolution. It’s a quick read packed with powerful ideas on how you should approach Finding Your Second Wind.
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