The gift of role models and finding successes through failures

I’ve been blessed to have many role models in my life — People who appeared at times in my life when specific and important life lessons happened.

As one of my mentors always says, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”.

When I look back through my life and see the path that has developed, it wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing mentors I have had. One mentor, Dr. Paul Anderson, is referenced a lot in my work and life.

He is one of the pioneers and medical innovators of integrative oncology and a wealth of information for many diseases and chronic illnesses out there.

He recently co-wrote the book, “Outside the Box Cancer Therapies,” which is a fantastic guide that I recommend to everyone I meet. He also just wrote a chapter in the new Jack Canfield (“Chicken Soup for the Soul” author) book, “Success Breakthroughs: Leading Entrepreneurs & Professionals Reveal Their Secrets for Breaking Through to Success.”

Anderson’s chapter was about using failure to achieve success and meaning in life. I have had a lot of successes and failures as an entrepreneur, a health care provider and being human, in general.

There’s a lot of important information in his short chapter, so to honor his work, I am going to review the five steps to overcoming failure.

In life, it’s not “if” we fail, it’s “when” we fail. It is how we respond to failures that truly define our character and our overall path in life.

Here are the steps to move through failures to success, according to Anderson. I have included a quote from him and commentary from myself.

Be persistent: “It is during our worst failures we are often being taught our most profound lessons.” My patient population primarily is the chronically ill, mysterious illnesses and oncology patients. Some of these patients have seen 10 to 30 providers trying to get better, but they are frustrated because they usually are given a medication and are still not well. Being a detective for these tough cases is not easy. There are dead ends we meet and we have to adjust the plan accordingly. When both the patient and I decide that giving up is not an option, amazing healing takes place.

Be a curious learner: “Curiosity and learning go hand in hand with innovation.”

Informed boldness: “Do your homework and act.” Anderson mentions in this section that a lot of people either are bold and act misinformed, or they are informed and wait for others to act. Being in integrative medicine, I know that taking action is important. Medicine and the way we practice medicine is changing every day. It takes 10 to 20 years for medical books to change and adapt to new learning. When you have patients that cannot function each day because of their illness, or they have cancer, they do not have years to wait. So being informed and taking action, for me, means looking at the research, and most importantly, looking at my patients. If they are doing well with an out-of-the-box treatment therapy I’m prescribing, I’m going to go with that. At the end of the day, my life is devoted to advocating for my patients and taking action in order to help them heal.

Remember the words “you are never”: This is one of my favorite steps. If we wake up each day and remember we are never done learning, never done trying, never done failing, never in possession of all facts, we can realize every day is a learning opportunity. I’ve always said if going to school could be a full-time career, I would do that. I love learning and realize that I do not have all the answers. But each day I have the opportunity to learn.

Pass it on: “What good is an invention or innovation if nobody else knows about it.” I have a passion for integrative health that runs through my veins. When I see people that have been sick or in pain for years become healthy and normal functioning individuals, my passion intensifies. I try to stay active on Instagram (@TheHealthyPractitioner), other social media sites and this newspaper, passing on information that can help people at home take action to their health.

I want to end leaving the words that Anderson wrapped up his chapter with: “Successes come at too high of a price not to share them and better the world we live in. Without persistence, being curious, informed boldness, the truth of ‘never’ and passing it on, we cannot move from our inevitable failures to success”.