Well this one’s a first! Today, I’m speaking with Dr. Saadiq El-Amin, he’s an MD, PhD, and a board certified orthopedic surgeon, who in his spare time also happened to start up a lab for Advanced Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering. You might be wondering how I plan to make a conversation with a surgeon applicable to you, the financial advisor, but within just a few minutes of meeting the doc, it became very clear my challenge was going to be fitting everything he had to offer you all into such a short conversation.
Over the course of an extraordinary career, Dr. El-Amin has provided care for many pro athletes and other high net worth individuals. Athletes like Shaquille O’Neal have sought him out as well as The President of Liberia among other notables. He also served as the Assistant Team Doctor for the New York Knicks, and founded the Laboratory for Tissue Engineering and Advanced Biomaterials at Southern Illinois University, where he was also the Director of Shoulder and Sports Medicine.
Dr. El-Amin has performed extensive mission and charity work for people in need nationally and internationally. He’s also mentored aspiring doctors and built meaningful, lasting relationships with people all over the world. This is a guy who truly understands the value of ‘sending the elevator back down’ as we discuss in our conversation.
Here are a just a handful of the things that you’ll learn:
- [08:20] Dr. El-Amin teaches you what it takes to land high net worth clients, like Shaquille O’neal and the President of Liberia—and why you should treat every client like your mother.
- [13:27] Why you should never bend your own rules, no matter who walks into your office or how much money they have in their bank account.
- [20:28] Dr. El-Amin shares the story of why he passed on an offer to work with Paul McCartney—and what it can teach financial advisors about knowing your worth.
- [30:43] How Dr. El-Amin chose his financial advisor—and why coaching your clients on the art of business can help you land super successful doctors, and other entrepreneurs just like him.
- [49:23] The power of mentorship and investing in your people—his process for juggling the chaos and getting things done.
- [54:98] How after thousands of surgeries, Dr. El-Amin stays present with each and every client—advice that will definitely resonate with financial advisors who have a jam packed calendar of client meetings!
- [05:45] What it’s like to be Shaquille O’Neal’s doctor – and why so many pro athletes need continuous medical care.
- [09:16] Why relationships with your biggest clients have to build slowly and over time.
- [11:13] Why treating all your clients the same, regardless of their net worth, keeps you true to yourself.
- [13:56] The reason you shouldn’t change your rules based on who walks into your office – and why this is so key to keeping your most valuable clients.
- [21:00] Why Dr. El-Amin said no to working with Paul McCartney.
- [29:45] Why giving unconditionally positions you for success.
- [30:56] How Dr. El-Amin found his financial advisor – and why so many doctors know absolutely nothing about business or money, despite what you might think.
- [38:11] Why endorsements and referrals are everything – especially when working with HNW individuals.
- [41:35] The unique challenges of attracting doctors as financial clients.
- [45:80] The surprising reason Dr. El-Amin has so many degrees.
- [49:00] Dr. El-Amin’s secrets to getting it all done
- [51:31] What you can do to plant the seeds for effective mentoring.
- [01:00:21] The reason financial advisors need a “reset button” every bit as much as doctors do.
- [01:03:02] The most impactful story from Dr. El-Amin’s mission work in Africa.
- [1:07:12] What Dr. El-Amin would like to see as completely absurd in 25 years.
- [1:11:24] The one piece of advice Dr. El-Amin believes is so key to his success.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living
- The story of Schuye LaRue
- When Breath Becomes Air
PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE
- Shaquille O’Neal
- Isaiah Thomas
- Michael Jackson
- Paul McCartney
- Dwight Howard
- Ryan Holiday
- Paul Kalanithi
- Madame (Ellen Johnson) Sirleaf
REVIEWS OF THE WEEK
Thanks for checking out the latest show! I really appreciate the reviews as it helps me figure out which guests and content resonate with you all.
Here are 4 more recent reviews, the first one comes to us from user mbonfa2 who says:
Wow… mbonfa2 do me a favor and if you are listening to this, let’s connect as I’d love to hear how you’ve incorporated the Process vs Product concept into your practice. I’m available by email at email@example.com. We literally just had 40 advisors in last week going deep on this concept including helping them trademark and custom build their proprietary processes out, so I’d love to hear what you’ve done with yours. Also, what more can I say about the Daniel Crosby episode as its consistently been one of our most talked about and popular episodes, so glad to hear it hit home with you as well. Thanks for the incredibly kind words and listening in.
The next review comes to us from user Elite Advisor who says:
Hi back at you Elite Advisor love the user name! Honored to hear that someone who’s invested the time to become a CFP is loving the show, goal is to keep the great guests and information coming your way! Thanks for listening in and taking the time to review the show!
Next up is Jdollaz829 who says:
Appreciate the review Jdollaz829, really try to keep the format open so that regardless of if you advisors out there are just starting out or a seasoned veteran, can still bring you ideas and concepts to help you grow your practice from whatever size it may be. Also, thanks for the comments on the guests being engaged, I try to stay as curious as possible and ask questions I think you all would want to know the answer to, so hopefully that’s part of it. Thanks for tuning in!
And the last featured review for the week comes to us from Zman2005 who says:
Zman, thanks for the review and if you happen to be listening in and there are other guests you’d love to hear on the show, hit me up out on Twitter. My username is @Brad_Johnson, would love to hear what other experts or fields I should pull from to get some great guests on here. Appreciate the feedback and will work hard to keep good content coming your way!
Already heard it once or twice? Please leave a short review here, and tell me which guests I should have on!
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TRANSCRIPTSClick here to Read the Transcript
Welcome to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast with your host, Brad Johnson. Brad’s the VP of Advisor Development and Advisors Excel, the largest independent insurance brokerage company in the US. He’s also a regular contributor to Investment News, the Wall Street Journal, and other industry publications.
[00:00:25] Brad: Welcome to the Elite Advisor Blueprint, the podcast for world-class financial advisors. I’m Brad Johnson, VP of Advisor Development and Advisors Excel, and it’s my goal to distill the best ideas and advice from top thought leaders and apply it to the world of independent financial advising.
Well, this one’s a first. Today I’m speaking with Dr. Saadiq El-Amin. He’s an MD-PhD and a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who in his spare time also happen to start up a lab for advanced biomaterials and tissue engineering. So, you might be wondering how I plan to make a conversation with a surgeon applicable to you, the financial advisor, but within just a few minutes of meeting the doc, it became very clear my challenge was going to be fitting everything he had to offer you all in such a short conversation.
Over the course of an extraordinary career, Dr. El-Amin has provided care for many pro athletes and other high net worth individuals. Athletes like Shaquille O’Neal had sought him out as well as the President of Liberia among other notables. He’s also served as the assistant team doctor for the New York Knicks and founded the laboratory for tissue engineering and advanced biomaterials at Southern Illinois University where he was also the Director of Shoulder and Sports Medicine. Dr. El-Amin has performed extensive mission and charity work for people in need nationally and internationally. He’s also mentored aspiring doctors and built meaningful lasting relationships with people from all over the world. This is a guy who truly understands the value of sending the elevator back down as we discussed in our conversation.
So, here’s just a little bit of what else we get into. We start out with how and why pro athletes like Shaq and world dignitaries like the President of Liberia and other high net worth clients seek out Dr. El-Amin to work with them. I love how he expands on the simple advice to treat every client like your mother. If you’ve ever aspired to work with pro athletes or other high net worth individuals, get the notepad ready. I promise the doc delivers here. From there, we go to why you should never bend your own rules no matter who walks into your office or how much money they have in their bank account.
[00:02:18] Brad: Next, Dr. El-Amin shares the story of why he passed up an offer to work with Paul McCartney, yes, one of the Beatles, Paul McCartney, and what it can teach financial advisors about knowing your true worth. Then we dig in on how Dr. El-Amin shows his own financial advisor and why coaching your clients on the art of business can help you land super successful doctors and other entrepreneurs just like him. For those of you trying to grow a team, we get into the power of mentorship and investing in your people including his process for juggling the chaos and getting things done. We wrap up with how after thousands of surgeries Dr. El-Amin stays present with each and every client. Definitely, something that applies to financial services as you all look at that jam-packed calendar in front of you and wonder how you can all get it done. It starts with an annual practice centered around giving unconditionally, and it’s incredible advice for all of us to hear.
Okay. One last thing before we get to the conversation. For those of you who want to dig in on your practice specifically, I’m going to do something I haven’t done ever before and offer 30 minutes of coaching on the house for the first five listeners out there that want to take me up on it. Dr. El-Amin inspired me with his giving during our conversation, so I thought, “What do I have to lose by offering some help to a few loyal listeners out there?” We’ll grab 30 minutes to dig in on whatever it is that’s holding your business back. Maybe it’s a marketing issue like keeping enough qualified appointments on the calendar or maybe you’re struggling with getting potential prospects off the fence with the dreaded, “I want to think about it,” or maybe you’re simply a victim of your own success and just trying to figure out how to scale your team with the right hires and pay structure.
The agenda is up to you for the first five of you who raise your hand. To do that, simply hop out to BradleyJohnson.com/Apply and take five minutes to fill out a simple application with details on your business structure so we can make the most of your 30 minutes and we’ll connect to see if we can generate some breakthroughs in our time together. Unfortunately, I’m going to have some limit it to the first five due to calendar constraints but if that’s you, once again, you can apply at BradleyJohnson.com/Apply.
[00:04:19] Brad: Also, don’t forget links for all of the show’s resources like books mentioned, people discussed as well as a full transcript of our conversation can be found in the show notes as well at BradleyJohnson.com/42. So, that’s it. As always, thanks for listening in and without further delay, my conversation with Dr. Saadiq El-Amin.
[00:04:43] Brad: Welcome to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast and this is a special one. I am joined by Dr. Saadiq El-Amin. Welcome to the show, doctor.
[00:04:54] Dr. Saadiq: Thank you for having me.
[00:04:56] Brad: And I think I officially nailed your name. Did I get that?
[00:04:59] Dr. Saadiq: You did. We’re going to do a little bump there.
[00:05:01] Brad: All right. Here we go. So, this is going to be – I’ve prepared quite a bit for this just because this is a first on the show. Obviously, this is a show for financial advisors and when we were originally introduced by Terran and Emily that due to the production side of the show, I was trying to figure out how do I take someone that operates on shoulders and make sure that our conversation is going to serve the financial advisor audience, but then we had our original conversation I’m like, “Oh man, we’re going to be able to rip for like two hours here. No problem just based on where that conversation went.” So, as we tiptoe into this conversation, my first question for you, doc, is how did you originally connect with Shaquille O’Neal? I think that’s a fun way to start the conversation. Let’s go there and see where the conversation goes from there.
[00:05:50] Dr. Saadiq: Well, it’s interesting. Everyone asks me that question. I mean, I got a call one day from this deep voice and I thought I was being pranked and it was like I love to imitate Shaquille. I mean, I’ve been working on it. He’s just like, “Is this Dr. El-Amin?” I’m like, “Yeah. Who’s this?” “This is Shaq.” “No, it’s not.” “But, yes, it is.” “No, it’s not.” He goes, “It’s really Shaq.” So, I kind of like hung up on him because I thought I was being pranked. He called back, and he actually FaceTime me and I saw his face and I was like, “Whoa, Shaq!” And he’s just like, “So, you’re the doctor that does regenerative medicine.” And I said, “Yes.” He says, “I want to come see you. I just want to talk to you about some things that I’ve been having some pain and some issues.” So, I made an appointment. I didn’t think he was going to show up because it’s Shaq. He’s not going to show up. He actually comes into my clinic and every one of my patients are like, “Oh my God, the Shaq,” and all the stuff and everything. So, he comes in, I meet him, and then I take him to a private room and then we start our conversation.
And we start talking about just some of the things that he’s probably been having as a professional athlete after playing in the league and as you know, I mean, these guys just I mean they just take a horrible beating throughout their career. They’ve been training since they were babies and so when they’re done, they literally have a lot of medical problems that kind of affect them even though they may be in their mid-30s because they have a body of almost like a 45 or 50-year-old and they continue needing that care. And so, because I’ve taken care of a lot of sports guys in the past and knew some people that he knew, he was referred to me through those channels. But it was definitely an amazing experience and we still communicate. I still take care of him, also his family, and a lot of other people throughout the league.
[00:07:42] Brad: So, let’s go there because I think as I was preparing for this conversation, your resume it goes on for pages. And so, this wasn’t an easy conversation but here if I’m condensing the theme out of those couple of pages, what I took from it was I took someone that’s a lifelong learner. I took someone that is a true master of their craft and continues to try to master their craft as it evolves. So, I think that’s what’s an interesting parallel in this conversation. That’s a lot of our clients. In financial services, just when you think you have it figured out, that’s when you’re probably getting ready to go down the wrong path. And so, my question is because a lot of our clients really, they aspire to work with higher net worth individuals, people like Shaq, maybe professional athletes, maybe doctors like yourself, you’ve got to reach a pinnacle before somebody like Shaquille O’Neal or some of the other pro athletes that you’ve worked with really reaches out and you’re the guy. So, what can financial advisors take from your story to maybe replicate how could I work with, how could I aspire to work with clients like that?
[00:08:49] Dr. Saadiq: Wow. That’s a tough question to answer but I’m going to answer it like this because let me tell you a story and I’m going to try to get along with it. Simple as this. When it comes down to it, you can get another house, you get another car, you can get another company, but you’ll only get one right arm, one left arm, one right knee. So, at the end of the day, I don’t care how much money you have or what you do, your most precious entity is your health and your body. And when you’re at that level with people, there’s a certain level of trust that’s needed. Does that make sense?
[00:09:23] Brad: Yeah.
[00:09:24] Dr. Saadiq: So, clearly when you are involved at that level, you actually take care of people where money can’t help them. So, it’s a different paradigm. So, things in which they look for is integrity, honesty, and then also something that’s very important is loyalty. Now, why do I say that? Because at the end of the day, they’re very vulnerable and so the information that you get and that you have, you have to protect that, almost go to the grave with it because there are certain things that you have or information that you know that TMZ Sports will pay tons of money for. You know that they will be at your door, tabloids. So, there has to be a sense of uncanny ethics that you have that they have to trust you and it’s a relationship that you built over time because typically with these high-profile athletes, they really have a trust issue. Let’s be realistic.
I mean, let’s take for instance for Isaiah Thomas, here’s a guy that plays in the Celtics, did extremely well. His sister dies. He goes to play off championships. He gives his all, he comes to the office the next day and he’s training. So, in a sense, you have to let them know two things. One is that you’re there for them but you’re there for them not because you admire who they are as an athlete, but you admire who they are as a person. That is so important. And the one-mile that I always tell all my patients and I tell young doctors coming up, “If you treat people as if they were your mother, nine times out of ten you do the right thing.” Not necessarily your dad. Somebody will be like, “Oh my dad,” whatever. But their mom and if you treat every patient the same, you never ever, ever, ever have to worry about changing what you do. And the hardest thing for me with these guys is sometimes just to say no because when you say no to them, you’re seen in a different way.
[00:11:27] Dr. Saadiq: So, every time I say yes to an athlete, I’ve probably said no 30 times, but the majority of the people say yes to them. They get what they want. You and I know that. Financial advisor comes to them, another doctor comes to them or someone comes to them, they’re used to being catered to for their whole entire lives. They knew that they were pegged as being this great sort of kind of physical being to take on the world. People have given them stuff, shoes, sneakers, you know what I mean? Tickets, clothes. And so, they’re used to people giving them things because of their talent and so when you take that position and say, “You know what, I’m not going to do that to you for this reason.” And then not only it’s with athletes. It’s also with superstars. I mean, imagine what would happen if Michael Jackson’s doctor said no to the Propofol or Prince’s doctor said, “No, you need to stay here and take this medicine and it’s going to reverse this opioid overdose you’re having.” You know what I mean?
So, I think sometimes that when you’re dealing with these individuals whoever you are, you got to be honest, you got to stand and be ethical, stay in your ground, and be able to say no and explain why you say no. The more I say no, actually the more they come back. It’s interesting. It’s, “Come on, no I’m not going to do that for you.” And then I’ll get a call again for something else. “No, but I’ll do this for you or you don’t want to do that because you end up dead.” So, I like that because when you work for a team or typically when you work for an organization, these guys they don’t know if they can trust you because they know that you’re actually an employee so if they get an MRI and they got a torn ACL or a torn meniscus or a bad meniscus, you put on their team, that’s going to affect their ability to make millions. So, there has to be that trust and I’m sorry if that’s long-winded. I apologize but that’s a tough question you asked me.
[00:13:19] Brad: No, that’s perfect. I was so excited to ask you that question because there are so many parallels in financial services and what I see is there are so many parallels between a financial advisor and a doctor when you really look at a successful practice and how it operates.
[00:13:33] Dr. Saadiq: Absolutely.
[00:13:34] Brad: What’s interesting is here’s the rule that I see a lot of times in financial services is I meet with somebody that has $500,000, okay, here’s my normal process I go through. And then there’s an extra comma that gets added and maybe now they have 1 million or 2 million or 5 million or 10 million, all the rules get thrown out the door. If they want to meet 15 miles over at midnight on a Sunday night, they’ll do it because of the dollars in the bank account. And so, really, what I just heard you say is my rules are my rules. My ethics are my ethics. Here’s my process and if you want to work with me, great and it’s mutually beneficial but I don’t bend my rules based on who’s walking into the office.
[00:14:13] Dr. Saadiq: Absolutely. And when you do that, they’ll respect you more and they’ll stay with you because when you start to change who you are and what you do, you’re not true to yourself and if you’re not true to yourself then you don’t know who you are. All right. If you don’t stand for or they say, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” And so, when you chase the dollar then all of a sudden you always lose. So, you do things because of integrity. You do things because you cared. You do things because you want to better not only yourself but the people around you. And I think that’s been my success is that and it’s been hard because at the end of the day when I first started it’s like, “Well, you just said no to US Olympian gold-medal top this, this, and this.” I said, “Yes because I’m not going to break the law or I’m not going to do anything that’s going to jeopardize this person’s career or anything else.”
And it’s got to be same way financially because if you think about this, the key is this. If you educate your consumer, meaning patient, they’ll come back because they got something out of it. If you don’t educate them and you know this, a lot of these athletes after they’re done, they’re broke. Seven years. Seven years after they are completed with their playing, 75% or 80% of them are bankrupt. You made $150 million. You made more than I’ll ever make and ever dream of and you got nothing to show for because the person that was in their life didn’t educate them and that’s the key.
[00:15:44] Brad: That’s sad.
[00:15:45] Dr. Saadiq: It is. And not only is that sad so then you lose your money and now your health is going out of the way so you’re not as fast as you used to be, that pain, you’re moving around like you’re an old guy. So, what I realize is that when I take on these guys and I didn’t take care of them, you got to take care of them for life and I believe that and because that’s what I do with my patients anyway. So, the financial advisor has that same mentality is that I’m setting you up not only for now but for life so you can continue doing great things once you’re out of the league, once you’re out of this, once you have no ability to make money, throwing, dribbling, or playing a ball but now that I’ve educated you, now that we’ve become partners in this process, everyone’s going to eat. Everyone’s going to do well. I’m going to be happy, you’re going to be happy, and I’ve made a difference and contributed to society.
Something sad. I was watching this NBA basketball player that was her name is I think she goes by the name of Schuye. I don’t remember her last name, but there was just an episode of her in Outside the Lines where she’s homeless. They found her homeless. She was the number one recruit that played basketball, went in the WNBA for a while and then was discovered homeless in the streets of DC. I mean, she had a really bad schizophrenic sort of kind of history but either way, I mean, here you were at the top of the world and now you’re homeless. I mean, that’s happening a lot.
So, where’s the person’s financial advisor? Where’s that person that was there when you had all this fame and of this money? But what you don’t understand that person is still part of our society and now it’s going to cost us, even more, to take care of them because of now they have mental issues or something else that’s going on that’s going to be you don’t want to say a burden of society, but you want to say that they are someone now in our community that’s dependent on people like you and I paying taxes were they had all the resources and were never really taught or shown or that team that was supposed to be there is no longer there for them. So, if you want these guys for life, you got to be in to win it.
[00:17:52] Brad: Let me ask you a question because now a big curiosity and my wheels are turning over here. So, if I was a financial advisor and I’m not saying they necessarily want a professional athlete as a client because I think some of them can be quite a handful trying to deal with all the things that get thrown at them but let’s say I do want to target that market, I want to work with professional athletes, what would be your advice, your approach to go about developing a relationship or having some sort of a plan that I’ve got the ability to potentially bring on some professional athletes as clients?
[00:18:24] Dr. Saadiq: First of all, you got to realize the most important that you said is that bring on the financial these guys as a client is that’s it. You’re not just bringing on them. You got to understand that you’re really dealing with about 10 to 15 people. That means that you’re dealing with an agent, you’re dealing with a manager, you’re dealing with their friends that they grew up with, maybe dealing with some of their siblings, you may be dealing with an overzealous parent as you’re going to need to see what’s going on in sports right now. Or so you better understand that that person is really a business or an entity that that’s the way they’re viewed. And so, sometimes depending on you definitely have to figure out, one, who’s the main person that controls and runs the ship? Is it the mother? All right. That’s the person you go on and have to get it with. This is the mom. That’s the first thing I recommend. Find out who’s really running the show. Who’s making the decision? Because that athlete’s job is to really, really, really they’re young at 21, 22, they’re going to do what pretty much who they trust the most tell them what to do because they’re babies. So, that’s the first thing you need to first do your homework and find out who’s in their circle.
Then second of all if it’s the manager, find out what the manager’s role is and this sort of kind of who’s on this team? Does he have a financial advisor? Does he have an accountant? Does he have a chef? Does he have a medical doctor? All right. And then if he doesn’t, then you need to infiltrate that and have conversations with those individuals so that they feel comfortable having you around. It’s very rare that I’ve met an athlete on my own other than being in either a team environment or that either an agent has called me or a parent or a manager or an athletic trainer. Because that’s their circle. So, me to understand that that circle is dependent and influenced by all those forces so if you don’t have connections in all those forces, your relationship with the athlete can be gone as fast as it came.
[00:20:14] Brad: Great.
[00:20:14] Dr. Saadiq: Because there’s…
[00:20:15] Brad: Okay. So…
[00:20:15] Dr. Saadiq: Yeah.
[00:20:16] Brad: Yeah. So, let’s go you shared another story, Saadiq, about another thing just going back to that valuing yourself and not changing the rules regardless of who you are engaging with. You can share the name if that’s okay to share the name if there was a very well-known musician on probably one of the most well-known rock bands of all time that asked you to kind of be in his posse or whatever you want to call it, basically backstage while he’s performing and you really laid down like, “Hey, here’s the situation and I’m not necessarily going to move forward.” So, I’d love to hear a little bit about that.
[00:20:52] Dr. Saadiq: You love to hear that? You want to hear that? Well, okay. So, I mean, obviously one of the things that we do, and I’ll share, I don’t mind. I mean, it’s talking about medical care. So, Paul McCartney team came to Atlanta and typically a lot of times when they allow these musicians and different stars come in, they usually have a physician and/or a medical staff on site for various reasons. So, I get a call and most of the time they just want you to be around. They call you. Something happens, you go to the arena where they’re playing or you take care more of in the back. And so, I get a call from his team and our team and they say, “Hey, Paul McCartney is in town and he wants you to come cover him.” And I say, “What do you mean?” He’s like, “Well, he wants you to be there two hours before the show. He wants you to be there throughout the whole show. He wants you to be on the side of the arena with your medical equipment, oxygen, and then you got to hang out four hours afterward.”
I said, “Wait a minute here.” “Oh, by the way, we’ll give you $250.” 250? I said, “First of all, nothing personal,” but I said no for two reasons. One is I think he’s 76 and if something goes wrong and you need all that, then you probably shouldn’t be on stage for that long. Second of all, if something goes wrong I’m going to be the guy known as the guy that Paul McCartney died right on stage and you were there as his treating doctor. So, I said, “You know, no thank you but no thank you. This is not the environment that I want to be in or I see myself in.” Sometimes you have to walk away. So, they’re probably mad at me or I don’t know. I haven’t heard back from them again. They probably went with someone else, but you can’t sacrifice what you believe in what you do. Because at the end of the day, I know that Paul McCartney would not do a concert for $250.
[00:22:56] Dr. Saadiq: Now, if he said, “Hey, Dr. El-Amin, I’d love to donate your time or some of my proceeds to a charity of your liking or donate some of your mission work that you do,” then I’d say, “Okay. Let’s talk.” Now, we know we got a relationship that’s beneficial. At the end of the day, providing care and providing good care are two different things and so you got to know your worth. So, you know what, Tears with Fears came. I was there hanging out. I took care of them. Great guy. All right. Took care of them. I was there because they value my work. Now they called me up, flew in, we had surgery with some of his team members. So, you don’t say no to everyone, but you want to make sure that you do the right thing.
[00:23:36] Brad: Okay. Thanks for sharing that.
[00:23:38] Dr. Saadiq: But I do like Paul McCartney though. Don’t get that wrong. I love his music. I love the Beatles.
[00:23:42] Brad: Hey, my kids jam the Beatles every morning.
[00:23:44] Dr. Saadiq: I do too but at the end of the day, I could not have that on my conscience knowing that Paul McCartney went down, and I was the one doing chest compressions and he’s 76 and I didn’t have everything I needed.
[00:23:55] Brad: Not for $250 an hour.
[00:23:56] Dr. Saadiq: Not for $250, no.
[00:23:57] Brad: Yeah. Okay. So, I want to switch gears. I was doing some research and what I really appreciated was your humble beginnings. I come from middle of nowhere Kansas, had humble beginnings myself and I think I’ve got this right. You were the first one in your family to graduate from high school.
[00:24:16] Dr. Saadiq: Absolutely. That’s true. That is true. My parents were pregnant with me at 15.
[00:24:21] Brad: Oh wow.
[00:24:22] Dr. Saadiq: Yeah. At 15, I can’t imagine two kids pregnant at 15 in the eighth grade, drop out of the eighth grade, get married and then have a child, let alone go through it, keeping it, getting married and doing the right thing. And so, I literally was the first of my generation to finish high school. First to go on college, first to go on to obviously med school, get a Ph.D., first to do a lot of things and so that’s why I said it’s just a gift of God because where I come from, there’s no way I should be even sitting here talking to you. I mean, it’s just amazing that some of the things I’ve been able to do throughout my life I just said, “Okay, I have no idea what’s next for me but I believe in going through life with faith and not fear and just saying, okay, you’ve taken this far so let me just keep going,” because where I come from kids don’t grow up to be national physicians for sports teams and do research and teach engineering and all these things. It’s just not what we dream about.
We dream about or what we’re talking about, we dream about dribbling a ball or making it the next day or just trying to get up off our street corners. I mean, so yeah, I’m amazed. I thank my parents every day. I love them because they are my heroes. I mean, they weren’t educated. They didn’t come from money. They always said to me, “I don’t know how we’re going to get you there, but we’ll get you there.” And that’s very powerful because they taught me to never give up. “You want to be a doctor?” They didn’t say, “No, it’s crazy.” They’re like, “Okay. Well, we only got is eighth-grade education but we know you got to do well in school and we’ll try to find a way for you,” and that taught me a lot.
[00:26:05] Brad: That’s inspiring. What was the greatest gift they gave you just growing up if you think back? Was there something that they just from the very early days? Because that’s quite the story.
[00:26:16] Dr. Saadiq: Yeah. The greatest gift they gave me is always be good to people, that success comes from giving, giving unconditionally and that’s so important because one of the things that we’ve gotten away from really and I don’t care how successful you are, and I’ll tell you this and no matter how much money you have, how much clout you have, at the end of the day when your health fails, it fails. And I’ve been in situations where I felt with multi-billionaires, multiple people who got so much money in the world and, “Sorry, can’t help you,” because at the end of the day there’s nothing that can help you. It’s your time. And I’m going to tell you something, the ability to give and to help is so powerful and it comes back, and that’s what I’ve learned from that. And I appreciate them that they taught me to give and to walk in faith. I think that’s so important because that’s all you have.
I mean, I didn’t have a podcast to get on and get influenced by. I didn’t see a doctor in my neighborhood. I dreamed. I dreamed of what is going to be one day to be off my street corner. I dreamed and no matter how bad someone try to crush that dream, they were always there to say, “You know what, give them love, not hate. Continue to dream, continue to do positive things.” And that’s where we’ve lost it. I mean, people don’t want to give anymore. Does that make sense? So, and that’s what changed my life and I realized that when I started giving and doing great things, more things came my way. That was it.
[00:28:00] Brad: It’s interesting. There’s a lot of takers out there but you noticed the givers and they stick out and it’s going back to the people that come back to you. Just the fact that at the level you respect like what I’ve taken from this conversation so far, there is no status symbol that really affects your viewpoint or clout based on where this person comes in or how they rank in other people’s eyes or the world or athlete or billionaire. It’s I’m there with that person and if I can add value to their life, cool.
[00:28:33] Dr. Saadiq: Yeah. Well, you know, you’re actually right because at the end of day when it’s all said and done, no matter what you believe in, if you believe in God, not in God, or whatever and you’re just standing in front of the gates of heaven and He says, “Hey, so I gave you this amazing phenomenal ability to change the world and did you help all my people? Did you do an ACL on the poor person? Or did you just choose to help Shaq or Dwight Howard or Paul Nelson or did you choose to help everybody?” Because when it’s all said and done, no one puts on your tombstone, “You did 10,000 ACLs.” They don’t say that. No one says that you had a $3 billion financial empire. What they say? He was a good person. He took care of his community. He loved his family.
Those are the things that at the end of the day that really mattered and how you get there is different but that’s why I try to teach young doctors and try to teach people in my life that if you give and you put yourself in a position to help, you get so much back. And that’s why your mission worked. That’s why I am proud that I take care some of these high-profile individuals but what’s really happy for me is when I can fly a kid in that’s a foster kid that can’t get an ACL and then I do his ACL for free and I know he’s now going to better his life. How can you and I teach people younger than us to care about the world if we don’t care about them? And that’s what I’m seeing and so that’s what I’m just trying to do.
[00:30:07] Brad: Loving it, man. All right. Let’s switch gears again because you gave me a lot of ammo before the conversation.
[00:30:13] Dr. Saadiq: I know. I’m talking but this has been fun. We can have like multi-podcasts here.
[00:30:19] Brad: This is episode 1, right? Okay. So, let’s transition into you said you were cool with sharing this. I don’t know how you get all this done. I want to hold up your resume. Here we go. For people watching in on video, this is we’ve got pages. I mean, when I applied for my first job, I was lucky if I got half a page and we got like three here. So, that’s my challenge is trying to get through all of this. So, you get all this done. You’re obviously a very educated person and someone that from everything I can tell you, you’re never going to stop anytime soon. So, how did you go about selecting your financial advisor or the guy that you currently work with or the team that you currently work with? What was your methodology? How did that come to be?
[00:31:01] Dr. Saadiq: They have to keep up with me because at the end of the day I realized that the first thing when they got to know me, they said, “My God, man, you’re all over the place. You really are. You’re a really good surgeon. You operate not like one or two cases a week. You’re like very busy. You started your own tissue engineering regenerative medicine company and starting quite well and you’re in the forefront of regenerative medicine. You consult, and you go around the world and you teach other doctors how to operate and you’re a dad. It’s like do you sleep?” And I said, “I do sleep. I do but I’m always going because I love what I do. It’s not work to me. It really isn’t.” I mean it’s fun and I tried to, so I went through a couple of advisors that day. They were just burned out.
And so, the person that I ended up hanging out with was a guy that was a former NBA player who was I think one of the first African-American gentlemen that have his own franchise in the Chicago and then he went off and did his own thing. But I met him because he was a former athlete. He’s done extremely well and then he also had a huge humanitarian heart and he was also helping athletes who basically have lost everything. That’s huge. I mean, some of his clients were guys in which who had $90 million contracts and $100 million contracts and basically had to go other financial advisors and then when retirement, they really had nothing. So, this guy was not only sharing, he was educating people. Does that make sense?
[00:32:50] Brad: Yeah.
[00:32:50] Dr. Saadiq: He’s educating his clients and so that said, “I need you again to teach me how to be a businessman because you’re the greatest doctor in the world, the greatest surgeon in the world but if you don’t know how to turn a dollar into two, you’ll never make into anything,” and we definitely have to talk about that because doctors, people think we’re smart. People think we got all this great knowledge, we do, but we don’t know nothing about business. We’re like drones be thrown into a hospital environment and to work for someone else and 90% of what we take or we make goes to other people. So, if you look at the paramedicine you’ll be amazed. So, for me, I need a guy that was going to walk that with me and had that ability to teach me.
[00:33:36] Brad: How did you originally cross paths? Was that a referral? How did that happen?
[00:33:41] Dr. Saadiq: I met a patient of mine I operated on. I operated on her son and she said to me her son had a horrible injury, broke every ligament in his knee, reconstructed his knee and he went back playing football, did well. She said, “You know what, I met the financial version of you.” I said, “What?” She said, “Here’s his number. Give him a call. He’s a financial advisor. You guys should meet.” And then I called him on the phone and we talked about everything other than just money. We talked about he asked me my goals. We talked to me about family. We talked where I see myself, how I was going to get there. Talked about my savings, my debt. Those are the things we talk about and then he said, “Okay. We’re going to create a team for you. We’re going to create a team of people that are going to help you which is going to include an accountant. It’s going to include a manager. It’s going to include a PR. You got to get a marketing person. You got to make sure that your research empire is protected. We got to make sure your medical is protected.”
So, what he started to do is he explained to me that, “You are now an entity and a brand, and we have to treat you as such. So, you need to incorporate this company. You need to have multiple companies that you do what you do so that you can protect yourself, you can create revenue, you can have a future and then also because you do a lot of mission work, you need a foundation. You need a foundation. We’re going to start a foundation because you’re going over to Africa, you’re going over to all these places and you’re operating on all these kids for free and you want to keep doing that but you don’t have an arm so that can help you on that. It’s great you’re playing out of your pocket, but you need to…” So, he taught me how to organize my life because all I know is I’m a surgeon. Like I said, I can put your arm on in my sleep, but no one’s ever given me a course on how to make a dollar into two and that takes a lot of time.
[00:35:41] Dr. Saadiq: And so, I’m not an easy person to keep up with obviously. It’s better you but typically when that’s – so his attitude I were to have a good client that is good and as opposed to 20,000 clients that I don’t really know. And I’ve been through that whole thing where someone calls you up and you get a financial advisor, you don’t even talk to them, he gets a stipend but this guy he calls me. I talk to him. We communicate. He sends me his clients that need surgery. I send him to one of my doctor friends that are like struggling and had no idea this or that or in need of financial advising. So, doctors, you don’t understand. We’ve trained. You think about it. We’ve trained. Most people have trained from 10 to 15 years before they made a dollar. So, if I back up, I take that time and put that on Wall Street, I probably could’ve made so many hedge funds with every nickel.
All right. So, we got this delayed gratification thing and so when we get out there we’re just like a kid in a candy store. We’re just trying to do everything and so sometimes the financial advisors would say, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on here, buddy. That’s great. You alright? I understand you want to get a nice car, nice house because you’ve been living in a little shack for a long time. But let’s back it up. You do this, you do that, you do this, you do that.” And I find that the financial advisors and this guy who does this he’s got a lot of athletes and they’re doing extremely well. And so, that’s what drew me to him.
[00:37:12] Brad: There’s a lot you just shared right there. I’m going to try to take a couple of things that I heard you say.
[00:37:21] Dr. Saadiq: I apologize, man.
[00:37:22] Brad: No, that’s perfect like right now financial advisors they’re leaning in. Trust me. So, what I heard you say is he really treated you and saw you as not as an individual that I’m going to manage some assets for and hopefully grow them but here’s all this other stuff going on in a doctor’s life. He really became a business coach to you is really what a lot of that sounded like.
[00:37:43] Dr. Saadiq: Absolutely. You’re absolutely right. That’s a good way of putting it.
[00:37:46] Brad: And then the other thing was he didn’t go in for the kill on the first conversation. He didn’t come in and start talking about dollars and cents. It was more an understanding of what’s going on in your life, what’s important, how can we help you get there? Kind of painting a picture down the road.
[00:37:59] Dr. Saadiq: You’re absolutely right. And that’s the synergy of medicine and finance. People think medicine and finance are really opposite polar spectrums but they’re really not. They’re very close because typically really your biggest endorsement is your client. If I do a great job on you and your shoulder surgery, you’re going to send me your friend, you’re going to tell your friends about me. The greatest compliment for a surgeon is when I bring you my family or your colleagues comes to you and they operate on you. It’s the same thing as a financial advisor. If you made me money and you help me grow as a person, I’m going to tell my other doctor friends, “Well, this guy, here’s what he’s done for me.”
It’s been very easy to sell somebody like that because that’s what medicine is about. It’s good outcomes but it’s not about good outcomes. It’s the story. It’s the story that you go down because I can’t control if you get an infection. I can’t control whether or not you have a bad outcome sometimes as a surgeon but what I can control is how I communicate with you, how much time I spend with you, and what I do to that process to make you feel comfortable. And be humble and say, “I’m sorry it didn’t turn out right but let me fix it,” and that’s it. If you’re that surgeon that don’t talk to people, you may get them once, but you won’t get them twice. And as a financial advisor, the guys that I have enjoyed that I’m with, does that. So, I would tell people that that’s very important.
[00:39:28] Brad: Yeah. It’s really interesting as I was preparing for this conversation, I use a lot of doctors’ analogies for financial advisors which is how to grow their practices, how to be systematic. There are so many synergies in a successfully-run physician’s operation and a successfully-run financial advisor’s operation because it is about systems and it is about processes, because as you know, if you’ve got a lot of operations, you got to be to one room to the next to the next to help as many people as you can. But at the same time, you can’t sacrifice that them seeing, well, like they’re just a number which…
[00:40:04] Dr. Saadiq: That is exactly the key right there. That right there is an amazing summary what you just said because you’re right and that’s the synergy because, at the end of the day when you do something like that, you sacrifice quality. And I don’t care what you say, in medicine, if I mess up your right arm, you only get one. So, there’s not much room for error there. So, clearly helping physicians, as a financial advisor, get organized, understand to help them see that they are a business entity is something that no one’s ever given them. No one’s ever given us that. I mean, you can ask any doctor, “How many courses you had on CPT code? Or your IC-9 codes to bill?” They’ll say none.
But guess what? If you don’t submit that number the right way, you won’t get paid by Blue Cross, Blue Shield. You won’t and a part of these things that the world wants doctors to not do that because that’s the business that takes away money for the hospital. That’s the business that takes money away from the distributors. That’s the business that takes money from the medical supply companies. So, if you can work as a financial advisor with your physicians and explain to them and teach them the art of business, my goodness, that’s the amazing duo power because we got the friends, we got the income but, my goodness, we don’t know what to do with them.
[00:41:30] Brad: Okay. Let’s have some fun here. This will be fun. If I was a financial advisor and I was going to market to very successful doctors or like, hey, where do doctors hangout I guess would be a better way? Like what sort of activities would I need to host where you raise your hand and like, “I’m in. I want to show up?”
[00:41:48] Dr. Saadiq: That’s a good question. That’s a very hard one because we don’t hang out anywhere but the hospital. So, let’s back up. Let me explain something that’s going on here. The key is this. This is what happened. Doctors now are in this phase of your lives where the same thing they did five years ago they’re getting close to almost today they’re getting paid less, almost 50% less for what they did five years ago. That’s crazy. So, if I did an ACL back in 1990 and 2015, I got so much money. Now, if I do that exact same procedure today I get paid almost 20% to 30% less. So, but I still got the expenses, I still got things I have to do.
[00:42:30] Brad: Why is that?
[00:42:31] Dr. Saadiq: Well, that is because of healthcare cost and cuts because every time you get less and less and less. So, the doctor’s mentality is, “Well, guess what, I got to do twice as much surgeries now that you’re like a hamster. You’re running.” So, now the ability has to be instead of you thinking about running on that as a hamster on the wheel, why don’t we back up and look at all the things that you create? For instance, let’s take the pie example. All right. A doctor, so we look at medicine as a pie. In some certain states that a doctor basically only takes home probably 10% of that pie but no one else in that pie can get paid unless the doctor does what he needs to do but in certain states that doctor can have way more portions of the pie or he can combine what people to get more of that pie. So, what I’ve done is I’ve said this, “Well, I do a thousand cases. That’s crazy. I don’t know. I’m going to have a heart attack on the OR.”
Instead of trying to fight for that 10%, why don’t I back up and try to get more of that pie? Why don’t I try to get into the distribution of medicine? Why don’t I try to get into some kind of surgery center or partner with people? Why don’t I try to get into possibly my own bracing? Why don’t I try to get into dealing with the other aspects that you actually are responsible for but don’t come back to you? That’s called the business of medicine. Does that make sense? And we are just talking, “No, no, no, don’t worry about that. You just get in there and you just do 10,000 cases.” But when you look at your bill and you look at what you’re going through, you realize that you’re making a lot of people rich and you’re the one that’s taking all the responsibility, all the legality associated with it but sometimes bringing home a small portion of it. So, I tell all financial advisors, when you meet with these guys say, “Hey, let’s talk about,” approach them this way, “Let’s talk about not about what you make. Let’s talk about what you make other people and how you can become part of that process.” That’s a different concept.
[00:44:41] Brad: Yeah. It’s so interesting because what you just explained there, a struggle for doctors, is also a struggle for financial advisors because the most successful, some of our, the upper echelon that we work with gathering hundreds of millions of dollars organically of assets each year, what they figured out is rather than being the salesperson sitting face-to-face with client after client after client, they’ve now become the CEO and now they have a team which granted they might still sit down with clients face-to-face but some of them don’t anymore and that’s really what you just walked through is you look at it as I’m going to step outside of the guy that’s operating and I’m now going to become really the CEO of everything that’s going on in this pie and figure out how to make it work.
[00:45:27] Dr. Saadiq: Absolutely. Because you do anyway because guess what, if I don’t put my signature on anything, no one else gets paid. If I don’t bring the patient to the hospital, guess what, you’re not going to get a check. If I don’t sign for you to get MRI, the radiology groups aren’t going to get paid. If I don’t sign for you to go to PT, the physical therapist is not going to get paid. Now, some people will say, “You know, you’re breaking stark laws, you’re doing all this stuff and everything.” And I’m just saying to my physician and financial guys, “Help us learn how to do that because if you do that, everybody wins.”
[00:45:58] Brad: All right. Let’s go another direction here now.
[00:46:01] Dr. Saadiq: I’m like all heated. I got to get take off my jacket.
[00:46:02] Brad: Yeah. No, hey, it’s good, man. I love it when people… If you bust a sweat, I know I’m doing my job. Okay. So, I got a list here. Technically, how many degrees do you have at this point?
[00:46:18] Dr. Saadiq: Oh my God.
[00:46:19] Brad: And there is a lot here. Let’s just say a lot Ph.D. in molecular biology. Medical Science. I mean, there’s a lot going on here.
[00:46:29] Dr. Saadiq: Okay. All right. You know why I have a lot of degrees? I’ll tell you why. All right. So, my dad asked me he said, “Hey, you really want to be a doctor?” I said yes. He says, “You know, I’m going to help you get you there, but I don’t know how. You’re really a good athlete so I think you need to really use being an athlete to sort of help you pay for college because we can’t afford to send you to college.” And so, I end up getting some athletic scholarship money to Boston College to attend and this academic money and then I found out that I can go to medical school for free if I get an MD-PhD. I said, “Excuse me?” I was like, “Really?” And there’s this program at NIH that if you submit a grant and you have a grant project and you decide that you’re smart enough to get both MD and a Ph.D., you can go to school for free.
So, that was not only a great motivation, but I loved it anyway. I wanted to be in the intersection of science and medicine anyway, so that was just like a huge thing and then through that journey where I’m from, tomorrow is not promised. You know my friends that I grew up with, kids I grew up with don’t make it past age 21. So, I was afraid that what happens is like I don’t get through my Ph.D. Well, might as well grab that master’s because it’s there and I did that and then I had a master’s and then I kept going on and then I got a Ph.D. and then by the time I could never imagine that I would be doing all this, trust me. This is the grace of God because there’s no way. Coming from inner-city Rochester, New York should be MD-PhD, MS, and leader in surgery and regenerative medicine. So, I can’t explain it myself. I called my parents and they say, “What? Really? We don’t know what to do with you. We’re just glad we had you. High five.” And we just keep moving because we’re all enjoying the ride.
[00:48:29] Dr. Saadiq: And I pray God that I’m so thankful that He gives me this ability, but I realize that this is bigger than me. This is bigger than me. So, that CV that you see is what I call a young kid so afraid to go back and be on inner-city streets and not make anything of himself. Does that make sense? The drive to want to be great can sometimes be driven by the fear of ending up with nothing and if you do it for the right reasons to make the world a better place, you end up sitting on a podcast talking to you.
[00:49:09] Brad: You’ve got the stretch your horizons higher, my friend.
[00:49:14] Dr. Saadiq: I’m just saying, like come on. I saw it was like a podcast. I was like, “Whoa. These guys are like millionaires. Dude, like wow.”
[00:49:24] Brad: So, how do you get it all done? If you could share one thing because a doctor’s life especially one that’s as accomplished as you, there’s a lot going on. There’s a lot of balls getting juggled all at one time. Very similar to a financial advisor. What’s your secret to getting it all done?
[00:49:38] Dr. Saadiq: I invest in people. That’s the most important thing. Most people think I’ve done is follow my own, but I haven’t. What I mean I invest in people is I believe and if I make other people better, we rise the tide. A lot of things that you see, a lot of publications that you see that I do is because I took a young kid that wants to get into medical school who knew that he needed a publication and so I said, “Why don’t you come work in my lab and we’ll work on this project together,” and guess what happened? By giving back, I’ve gotten so much, and it just kept propelling me. So, that’s my core and that’s the key. Two minds are better than one. Ten is better than one but if it’s done for the right reason, everyone wins, and that’s the key. You can’t be afraid to share. Mentoring, being mentored is so amazing and it comes back. And so, that’s the key.
That’s the one thing I tell everyone because most people they go, “You’re this amazing doctor. You operate on the president and this. You did this. You have to take these great athletes. You’re unapproachable.” No, I’m not. I had a guy that called me the other day, he wants to get into med school and I said, “Why don’t you do two things with me. One, meet me at the studio so you can see me taking a show, come on set because I’m very busy. You can see what I’m doing, and I can talk to you in between the show and then we come up with a plan and then I’ll give you some projects to do.” That 15 minutes changed his life. I mean he saw that a physician not only can heal but he can also be on a TV show and talk about, educate people. Now, he’s writing a paper for me on regenerative medicine in sports. And so, that’s going to help his career. That’s what mentoring is, is planting the right seeds to help the right people and if we do that, everybody wins.
[00:51:34] Dr. Saadiq Because whether you like it or not, I got to find somebody to operate on me someday. All right. Because no matter what you say, we all have one thing in common. We all our bodies will all fail us and we’re all going to need some type of good medical care and I want to make sure the guy that operates in my shoulder knows exactly what I know.
[00:51:58] Brad: Yeah. That’s what I’ve read a book last year, I’m actually rereading it this year, The Daily Stoic, Ryan Holiday, and basically just took a bunch of stoicism and condensed it and kind of adapted it to today’s world and there was December was a month on mortality. And so, I’m getting ready for the family Christmas. We’ve got a seven-year-old, six-year-old, two-year-old and now I’m like reading this like super deep stuff in the morning and I’m like, “I’m not sure I’m ready for that like this isn’t getting me in the holiday spirit.” But one of the things that he talked about is, “Hey, we’re all eventually going to be food for the worms, so you can’t take yourself too seriously.” Regardless of who you are, you’re never that important. In the end, that’s eventually what we’re all going to end up so if we can help people while we’re here, I heard one of my past guests, basically, what you just shared he said, “You can’t forget to send the elevator back down.” Somebody sent it down for you originally to help pull you up, don’t forget to send it back down.
[00:52:56] Dr. Saadiq: And you’re so right because we’ve gotten so me, me, me, me, me and so at the end of the day I love taking care of athletes but what really, really makes you get up in the morning and run to be a surgeon is taking care of someone who basically just wanted to just go to work and just want to stop being in pain. Because when you do that, when you take that, and you give that back to them, what they can do to this world is just this is amazing and that’s important to me. So, and I know you deal with these athletes and people would say, “Oh my God, this is great. You’re just unreal. What’s it like to take care of this guy?” I say, “No different than, in my mind, it’s harder to take care of him because he requires more but I tell you I get more joy just helping that old lady that fell down the stairs that was laying on the ground and all of a sudden she couldn’t get up and now she’s walking again.” That to me is what it’s all about, do a mission work. Well, that to me at the end of the day that’s the core and that’s why I’ve been successful because I hold onto that and I challenge every doctor, every person to it’s not about asking yourself what you got it for me, what’s in it for me? What are you going to do for someone else? And by doing something for someone else, guess what? You have done something for yourself. You paid it forward.
[00:54:10] Brad: Okay. Have you read a book called When Breath Becomes Air?
[00:54:12] Dr. Saadiq: No, because I don’t have time. I got to be like I mean I got like…
[00:54:17] Brad: You’re pulling some things out of me here that are just…
[00:54:20] Dr. Saadiq: I wish I had time to read. That’s one thing that I wish and then I say once this is all said and done and kind of calmed down a little bit, one thing I wanted to be able to do is be able to sit on a beach someday and start to read a lot of things but it’s really hard for me to finish books because I got so much going on.
[00:54:39] Brad: You’re basically writing them with all the medical journals that you…
[00:54:42] Dr. Saadiq: I know. And that’s one thing I will say is that my goal is to be able a little bit more take care of myself, the little things that I need to do to just make me a better person.
[00:54:54] Brad: Come out to Kansas. I’ve got a fishing. I’ve got a pond and tackle. We’ll go out on a boat, we’ll finish, we’ll just relax, kick the feet up. It’ll be good.
[00:55:02] Dr. Saadiq: I love to. That’d be great.
[00:55:04] Brad: Well, here’s what’s interesting. Out of that book so this was a physician that he was actually a brain surgeon and came down with terminal cancer and kind of his memoir and the reason I remember that book so profoundly is I was literally flying out on a business trip and I had tears streaming down my face on an airplane and I’m like this lady to my right I guarantee she thinks I’m like I’m literally having a mental breakdown. It was that powerful of a book, but he said something that I want to ask you.
I want to ask you because it seems like you have a really good handle on and you stay – he basically was saying as a brain surgeon, he got numb to it. He did so many operations, at some point in his career it was like he had lost touch with, “This is actually a human being I’m operating on.” It became a job and he came back out of that and he said, “I had to realize that this is literally I have the most noble job. This person’s life is in my hands right now,” and to always remember that when he walked into the room. And I would think that that’s something for doctors that can sometimes because you’re going. Is that tough? How do you stay grounded?
[00:56:15] Dr. Saadiq: How do I stay grounded?
[00:56:17] Brad: How does it not become a grind? And how do you – because what you just shared right there is I realize like I’m helping these people go live their lives they want to live. So, how do you constantly stay present with that?
[00:56:28] Dr. Saadiq: You got to get in touch to kind of your core so that’s why I do mission work. I do mission work. Every year over the last three years, I gave up a week to 10 days and I go somewhere, and I operate for free. And not only I operate for free, I get back to the core of why you want to do medicine. I think that’s so important to a lot of doctors. You got to get back to why you went to core medicine. Because when you want to be a doctor, you don’t know about PPOs, HMOs, Blue Cross Blue Shield, none of our copays. You just want to help people. I want to help people. I don’t know if I want to take your insurance or that, Medicaid, Medicare. And then you get thrown into this world where people telling you what you do and what you can’t do and this and you can’t do this surgery and you can’t do that surgery. And you get a little bit blinded. You get a little bit, “Oh my God,” this person no one else looks at this person as an entity or a person or a human. They look at me as just an insurance car.
So, one of the things I always do is I always tell everyone it is so important to get back to the core of why you went into medicine. Now, so you go over to Liberia, and Liberia you get in a car accident, you break your leg. What do they do? They don’t think they can fix it so 9 times out of 10 they usually amputate it. Now, you and I get in a car accident, we break our leg, you come here, I patch it out, and do everything. Next thing you know you get a surgery, you’re walking in 12 weeks. That’s a big difference. So, when you’re sitting here and you’re looking at hundreds of kids that have lost their leg because they just don’t have the technology or the education to fix this or the know-how, you go there and you do that. Why you’re there for a week, you take care of all that, call and use it to all the people [inaudible] or you make a difference, or you save their lives on simple things that you and I take granted of, it keeps you humble. It keeps you humble.
[00:58:26] Dr. Saadiq: And I think that’s when I do those things people say to me, “Oh my God, thank you so much for coming to our country to help us out.” And I say, “No, thank you because you have given me back the core of why I’ve gone into medicine and why I love what I do and that I have to go here and operate and do a great job with minimal stuff which makes you a better doctor but yet it allows me to walk away and now my cup is full.” Does that make sense?
[00:58:57] Brad: Yeah.
[00:58:58] Dr. Saadiq: And that’s why people get addicted to stuff like that. That’s why you see people like Doctors Without Borders and all the stuff and why people do that because at the end of the day sometimes people who want to help people, they have humanitarian belief inside of them and it can get turned and jaded and that’s what you’re talking about. That’s what he’s talking about in that book is that you’ve done so many of these, and you’re being told what to do that you don’t really control who you are because you’re really only taking home 10% of that pie.
You don’t really control. You’re being told what to eat, what to drink, when to sleep, how much you can take home, what you’re going to get, you work hard, and you build for something and you get half of what you built for, you’re being controlled almost like a puppet. So, it’s very easy to fall into that. And so, I challenge doctors to get back into understand the business and that’s where financial people can help you, to help them understand the business of what they are and their entity and then also promote that with a humanitarian side. So, now I’ve got some people going to me with [inaudible] now because they love it. It’s changed who they are.
[00:59:56] Brad: Well, it’s interesting because financial advisors sometimes they’ve got to do that exact same thing in their practice. Sometimes they look at their calendar and it’s like on to the next one, on to the next one, on to the next one but then when you actually step back they’re like this lady that just lost her husband, they’ve been married for 40 years, he handled all the finances in the family. She walks in completely broken and they’re the one, they’re like a surgeon, they’re putting her together. And so, I think sometimes as financial advisors you need that same reset button where you can step back and realize the work that you’re doing not only does it impact the people that are right there in front of you, oftentimes it’s generations.
[01:00:39] Dr. Saadiq: Absolutely.
[01:00:39] Brad: They’re supporting grandchildren. So, that would be just one thing for everybody listening in here. I challenge you like if you ever feel like you’re in that grind and you’re just like there’s not enough for me to go around, just step back and think about the powerful work you’re doing because…
[01:00:53] Dr. Saadiq: That’s right. And you’re so right because that’s it. That is the key to doing that and when you’re dealing with trials and tribulations on what I do, I step back, and I think about giving. I think back, and I think about uplifting others and getting back to the core of what you’re doing. It’s not that hard to do. It’s just that you lose yourself along the way. I guarantee you that if we can go back right now and the guy that pretty much changed our life, is on a rabble, if you can go back and have a conversation with him and say, “If you had the opportunity right now to put all your knowledge and power in the world of developing apps at Apple or putting that same knowledge and power into developing a cure for prostate cancer, which would you choose?” I mean, I know what I’d say. So, I mean, as you go through life, you can’t predict what tomorrow is going to bring. You know what I mean?
Money, you get all the money in the world and been there. I’ve had taken care some high-profile people and money can’t help. At the end of the day at the mercy of their belief, their foundation, their core, what they’ve done in their lives and how they’ve impacted others. And so, when you’re right at that position of power to really do something, think about how you make the world a better place because you may need that someday to save your own self.
[01:02:15] Brad: Saadiq, all right. So, I don’t want this conversation to end but…
[01:02:21] Dr. Saadiq: I know, man.
[01:02:22] Brad: We’re empowering towards the finish line here.
[01:02:24] Dr. Saadiq: I know. I know. I know. It’s been awesome.
[01:02:26] Brad: I appreciate it. This has been really fun. It’s inspiring. And so, I want to close here with a few philosophical questions.
[01:02:34] Dr. Saadiq: Uh oh. Okay.
[01:02:35] Brad: I’m actually going to switch it up a little bit because you gave me more ammo.
[01:02:39] Dr. Saadiq: So, you were worried about the fact that we talked previously that I don’t have anything to say. It’s like…
[01:02:43] Brad: No. It was just I wanted to make sure that this conversation would serve financial advisors. I knew it like when we had the five minutes of conversations when we were introduced previously I was like, “Oh boy, this could go on for days.”
[01:02:55] Dr. Saadiq: If not, they all just go to their doctors and make a checkup. That’s it.
[01:02:58] Brad: Yeah.
[01:02:59] Dr. Saadiq: Because a healthy financial advisor is a good financial advisor.
[01:03:01] Brad: That’s true. Hey, there are two people that you want to live longer than you in life – or actually, I butchered that. There are two people that you want to make sure are younger than you and healthier than you in life. It’s your doctor and it’s your financial advisor.
[01:03:13] Dr. Saadiq: Absolutely.
[01:03:14] Brad: There you go.
[01:03:15] Dr. Saadiq: Because you know why? You know what they say? Your health is your wealth.
[01:03:19] Brad: It’s true. If it goes the other way around, it doesn’t really matter.
[01:03:26] Dr. Saadiq: That’s good. That was a good one.
[01:03:29] Brad: All right. So, I’m going to go off script. I’ve kind of got my go-to questions here but what I would love to hear from you just going back to the mission work that you’ve done, what’s the one experience or the one story you can share from that has just like blew your mind or made the biggest impact on you when you went over to Africa and just gave your time?
[01:03:53] Dr. Saadiq: That’s tough because I almost died over there. So, all right. So, but the most important story is that I took care of this girl that kind of really changed my life. I had a four-year-old girl who basically came who had this huge tumor in her leg and I come to find out her and her mom had walked three days to get to me. This is a kid, four years old, this tumor on the side of her leg just the size of a watermelon and hadn’t healed. And her and her mom walked, took a bike, taxi, whatever to get to the hospital and I saw her, was able to get to her and able to perform an amputation and saved her much her life at that point. That story always resonates with me because you never think that someone, a little kid, that was born parents 15 years of age in Rochester, New York inner-city would be across the Atlantic Ocean saving lives. Does that make sense?
That story also resonated with me and something I hold near and dear in my heart because you think about it. The majority of most people die over there because they just can’t get blood transfusions. A bag of blood over there cost $20. I waste that in Starbucks so imagine that I’m operating on this girl, she doesn’t have blood. The money that I use, after that surgery, she needed blood. The money that I would normally use in United States to get me a mocha latte saves those lives. And so, you start to understand that. The second experience was dealing with the Ebola thing, the whole Ebola crisis was you guys don’t understand because when I took care of the President of Liberia, one of the things I became was we became really very close and after doing her surgery and after the Ebola thing happened, being that confident, helping her out, writing letters, giving letters from her asking me to help her out and being there and then involved in that concept, you don’t understand how much that saved the world.
[01:05:53] Dr. Saadiq: Because remember, people were faced with dying so they got on a plane and end up in Dallas, end up in Atlanta, end up in different places. So, that thing could have spread like wildfire and being involved in the situation and with the individual that took ownership of that and made sure that that was eradicated is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my life because it really saved the world. It really did because if you and I are faced with a really bad disease and you and I know that I can get to another country and they would cure me, you’d get on the plane with your family too. Everyone would.
So, the fact that she, because there was a point where Madame Sirleaf had only four cases of Ebola left and yet, but they still had multiple cases in the Congo and Sierra Leone. She could’ve closed her borders and instead, because she had those Ebola treatment centers there, she moved them to that border to help eradicate that. Because if she had closed those borders, those people would have come to the United States. They would’ve gone to Germany. They would’ve gone to other places. So, being involved in that whole concept, those discussions, those things that were going on, wow, that really blew my mind. It taught me a lot. And she said to me, “If you want to be a great leader, you got to learn how to be a great servant.” Wow.
[01:07:18] Brad: Well, man, I don’t know if my questions are good enough for you man.
[01:07:21] Dr. Saadiq: Stop it.
[01:07:25] Brad: All right. Let’s go this route. I think this will be interesting. I want to hear your viewpoint on it. If you could fast-forward 25 years from now and if you could choose to make something absolutely absurd like, “I can’t believe that even used to go down 25 years ago,” what would that be?
[01:07:43] Dr. Saadiq: I would say from an honest standpoint, it would be all the hate and racism you still see. And because I think when I look at my life and I look at, at the end of the day let’s be real clear. And some people still see me as a black man in America and there are people that I’ve operated on, on a Wednesday and I’ll see them at Walmart on a Tuesday and they won’t recognize me because I’m not in my scrub or my doctor outfit. Be realistic. So, as you and I know that as we go through this and I got very lucky. I mean because a lot of kids that look like me and acted like me and smart like me, didn’t make it out of there for my neighborhood. And so, when people when they know who I am, I want them to understand that, “Wow, that kid someday grew up to help a president make decisions and be involved in helping eradicate Ebola or can take care of and operate and save lives.”
So, 25 years from now I want to look back and say, “You know what, I hope that the same things that we’re dealing with, the hate crimes and stuff, the separation, I hope that’s gone. I can’t believe that that’s absurd. I hope that we’ll learn to love each other. I hope we learn to understand that, what our greatest concept in life was, what our greatest is our diversity and in that everyone has a talent. And I hope that people will realize that from this that the same guy that you may think, that you may have an opinion on, that one day do some great things because I was that kid. I wore a hoodie. I still wear a hoodie. So…
[01:09:24] Brad: Those are comfortable, man.
[01:09:26] Dr. Saadiq: It’s comfortable but, I mean, at the end of the day it’s kind of like, wow, I mean you imagine. And I want that to come across because I want people to know because if people don’t see that young African-American males can do great things in life and be productive individuals in society other than bouncing basketball and throwing football, then we will never do better as a nation because a lot of people say to me, “Man, you’re nothing like I thought.” I go, “Yeah, I know. You didn’t know.” I was blessed with these talented hands to fix you. But it’s an educational process and so I learned, and I teach others and so I hope in 25 years that we’re still not fighting the exact same things we’re fighting now.
[01:10:08] Brad: You know, what’s interesting? Being a small-town Kansas kid, essentially 100% white from where, I mean, I grew up in a town of 2,000 people and one of the things that I’ve found for me personally it was lack of exposure and when I went to college and I played college football, sports bring people together.
[01:10:29] Dr. Saadiq: Absolutely.
[01:10:30] Brad: At least it did me and we’ve talked a lot about sports today. Some of my best friends in the world, doesn’t matter what color they are, we were all competing on the same field. We all have the same aches and pains after practice. We all have the same challenges and that’s what I typically find is it comes from people that have never just – they’ve never actually just given it a chance to hang out and just be people and be people together and do the same thing, accomplish have a like cause to move towards.
[01:11:00] Dr. Saadiq: I agree and that’s the human cause because at the end of the day it’s important. It is important.
[01:11:07] Brad: Yeah. Cool. Thank you for sharing that. Okay. Last question. This could be a good one here. If we go through your resume, we might keep rolling for a while. What is the one piece of advice, Saadiq, that you can share that’s led to your success to this point?
[01:11:22] Dr. Saadiq: I know it’s hard to say but being humble. I’d say being humble. I mean, most people say, “What?” It’s being humble. You know me, you’d be like, “Wow, this guy is really kind of really cool.” I mean being humble and I think that’s the key is I think like you said I’ve been blessed to do some amazing things. I don’t know how but I was being blessed because there’s no way I could’ve predicted this. No way I could’ve predicted this. You go back to my school. They go, “What? You did what?” I mean I get Facebook and I’m like, “Oh my God, I taught you in seventh grade and sixth grade. I’m amazed at what you’re doing. Wow.” I said, “Because you’re a great teacher. You just didn’t know it.” So, I mean, just being humble I think so and that’s important.
[01:12:04] Brad: How do you stay humble?
[01:12:05] Dr. Saadiq: You don’t forget where you come from. You don’t forget where you come from and it’s never been about me. It’s never been about me. It’s never been about me. People say, “You’re going to give up this amazing practice and you’re going to go to Africa and operate for free? Are you crazy? What happens if you get some crazy disease or whatever, whatever? You come back and you’re missing?” I go, “You operate in fear. I’m operating in faith and this is what I want to go do.” “You’re going to go to China. You’re going to China and teach? You’re going to live in India and teach?” Because this is where I have to go teach people who want to learn. It’s not about me. That for me that’s honestly humble and you know, no matter what like I said at the end of the day there’s so much work to do. There’s so much.
I mean, I want the world to be a better place and when you want the world to be a better place, you see all the ways to make it better which is a humbling experience. It’s not that you’re negative about it. You just see that, “My God, there’s so much to do.” How can I complain that it’s cold outside? Saturday mornings typically if I’m around, I get up and go feed the homeless. Why? Because it’s hard for me to sit there and lay in bed and complain about the world and not doing anything about it. And there are two types of people in this world. When things get bad, there are people who tear stuff up and there are people who build. I’m a builder and I’m trying to teach other people how to build and I realized it’s easier for people to just want to destroy things as opposed to build things because that takes creativity.
[01:13:46] Brad: Saadiq, thank you so much.
[01:13:46] Dr. Saadiq: Appreciate it, man.
[01:13:48] Brad: This has been an honor. It’s been a pleasure.
[01:13:51] Dr. Saadiq: I know.
[01:13:52] Brad: Time flew. You just put me into a time warp. So, thank you so much. I appreciate it and I know everybody tuning in here took a lot from this conversation.
[01:14:02] Dr. Saadiq: Well, thank you. Seriously, thank you for just allowing me to share my story. Thank you for even just you have no idea. This is kind of like it’s amazing. Thank you for just letting me be just on here. It really is.
[01:14:14] Brad: My honor. All right. Until next time. Until next trip to Kansas.
[01:14:19] Dr. Saadiq: You say my name right all the times. We got to pound it out.
[01:14:21] Brad: All right.
[01:14:24] Dr. Saadiq: Bye.
[01:14:25] Brad: Take care.
[01:14:25] Dr. Saadiq: Take care. Bye.
[01:14:30] Brad: Thanks for checking out the latest show. I truly appreciate the reviews as it helps me figure out which guests and content resonate with you all, obviously, so I can do more of it. So, here are four more recent reviews. The first one comes to us from user mbonfa2 who says, “Can’t Miss Podcast. So much great information. I look forward to each new one as they are released and get great information from each one. The Daniel Crosby podcast has only been out four days and I’ve listened to it three times. I may start over again. The process versus product podcast – what can I say about this – this may be the single most influential podcast/book for me in 2017. I’m literally revamping my business using the perspectives pulled from that 30 minutes and I can’t remember being more excited in my 13 plus years in the business. I give six stars if I could. Kudos.” Wow. That may be the review of my career. I mean, that type of stuff is what keeps me going.
If you’re out there listening in, user mbonfa2, let’s connect as I’d love to hear how you’ve incorporated the process versus product concept into your practice. Obviously, you can go out to the website. We can connect there but we literally just had 40 advisors in the last week going deep on the same concept including helping them trademark and custom build their proprietary process out. So, I’d love to hear what you’ve done with yours. Also, what more can I say about the Daniel Crosby episode as it’s consistently been one of our most talked about, downloaded and most popular episodes. So, glad to hear it hit home with you as well. Thanks for the incredibly kind words and also for listening in.
The next review comes to us from user Elite Advisor who says, “Informative and Practical Podcast! I am a CFP practitioner and I listen to every single podcast from Brad because the information is informative and practical. Hi, Brad. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and interviewing great guests!” Hi back at you, Elite Advisor. Love the username. Honored to hear that someone who’s invested the time to become a CFP is loving the show. The goal is to keep the great guest and information coming your way. Thanks for listening in and thanks for the time that you took to review the show.
[01:16:37] Brad: Next up is Jdollaz829 who says, “A little bit of everything for everyone! I really enjoy Brad’s podcast because you get a wide perspective of Advisors from different structures from within the industry. The guests are always engaged, and I can usually take a point or two away from each episode and apply it.” I appreciate the review, Jdollaz829. Really try to keep the format open so that regardless of if you’re an advisor out there just starting out or a seasoned vet, it can still bring you ideas and concepts to help you grow your practice from whatever size it may be. Also, thanks for the comments on the guest being engaged. I try to stay as curious as possible and ask questions I think you all would want to know the answer to so hopefully that’s part of it. Thanks for tuning in.
And the last featured review for the week comes to us from Zman2005 who says, “Great podcast. Brad does a great job of taking experts from various fields and applying their knowledge to the financial advisor space. Definitely worth a listen.” Zman, thanks for the review and if you happen to be listening in and there are other guests you’d love to hear on the show, hit me up out on Twitter. My username is @Brad_Johnson. Would love to hear what other experts or fields I should pull from to get some great guests on here. Dr. El-Amin, perfect example. Completely outside of our field and absolutely crushed it. So, appreciate the feedback and we’ll work hard to keep good content coming your way.
As I wrap up the show, I just have to say that I love reading each and every review so thank you for taking the time to send the love via the internet. For those of you that have interest in diving deeper or maybe figuring out how you may be able to have our team help you implement many of the ideas shared on the show, my day job happens to be consulting financial advisors from all over the US on how to grow their business and design a practice that serves them versus the other way around.
[01:18:25] Brad: So, if you’d like to apply to see if that makes sense for you and for us to have a one-on-one conversation, as I said at the beginning of the show, I will take the first five listeners. I wish I had more time. That’s what I can commit to. You can apply at BradleyJohnson.com/Apply. It takes about five minutes to fill out the application, so we can understand what your business looks like, what challenges you may be facing and how myself and my team may be able to help.
So that’s all for this week. Thanks for listening and I will catch you on the next show.
[01:18:55] Brad: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint. For access to show notes, transcripts and exclusive content from our show’s guests, visit BradleyJohnson.com. And before you go, I’ve got a quick favor to ask. If you’re liking the podcast, you can help support the show by leaving your rating and review on iTunes. Not only do we read every single comment, but this will help the show rank and get discovered by new listeners. It really does help. Thanks again for joining and be sure to tune in next week for another episode.
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