On August 17th. 2008 Brian Shapiro president of the altMD gave the following keynote address at the graduation ceremonies at the Acupuncture and Massage College.
Key note address by Brian Shapiro, President of altMD
Dr. Browne, distinguished faculty and staff, proud and relieved parents, family and friends, and most importantly today’s graduates, It is my distinguished honor to be here today to celebrate with you.
While each of you has followed different paths on your journey to this special moment today, you have all chosen to dedicate yourselves to the most noble of professions- helping others – and for that you should be extremely proud.
By graduating today, you have not just proven that you have mastered oriental medicine or massage but most importantly that you are beginning to master life. That if you follow your heart and truly apply yourself, that you can do anything and be anything – that you can make a difference.
Today marks the end of years of studying, practice and preparation. Enjoy the moment. Revel in your accomplishments. Recognize how it feels to dedicate yourselves to a lofty goal and achieve it. Savor the taste of success.
For today is really the beginning and not the end.
To successfully follow your heart, you will need to learn how to deal with fear. It is fear which prevents most people from reaching their fullest potential in life—fear of failure, fear of rejection from people we care about, fear that we simply aren’t good enough. Do not give in to these fears for you have proven today that you can do anything and be anything that you set your mind to.
One of my favorite quotes is from Ruth Westheimers, who said:
"My favorite animal is the turtle. The reason is that in order for the turtle to move, it has to stick its neck out. There are going to be times in your life when you’re going to have to stick your neck out. There will be challenges and instead of hiding in a shell, you have to go out and meet them!"
One of the things that most holistic practitioners are afraid of is marketing. It’s too complicated; too expensive; too capitalistic and not holistic enough.
Yet these fears, like all others, are irrational. Marketing is nothing more than sharing your passion for healing. To succeed, you must share that passion with as many people you can.
Overcome your fear of marketing by knowing deep in your heart that you have skills and knowledge that few others do. That if you could only share those skills and knowledge with others, that you could help so many people improve their lives and wellbeing.
Starting tomorrow, your goal is to share those skills and knowledge with the world. Success will not always come easy or fast, but if you commit yourself to sharing your passion, good things will always follow.
I started my first computer company as a sophomore in college. The personal computer was just becoming popular and the Internet didn’t really exist yet.
My partner and I printed up some homemade brochures and passed them out in local neighborhoods to anybody who would take one. We thought we would be millionaires overnight but to our surprise the phone didn’t ring.
A few weeks later, extremely discouraged by our prospects, the phone did ring. Someone who got one of our brochures needed some help with his home computer. It was a $30 job that was well beneath our capabilities and dreams but my partner and I both went to his house and wound up spending an extra 4 hours with him.
While we were excited to have our first customer, the prospect of one $30 assignment after several weeks really made us doubt ourselves.
A few weeks later, the phone rang again and it was the same guy who we did the $30 job for. He told us that he really appreciated all the time and great service that we had given him and that he really needed our help at his psychology practice that had 10 computers and that his wife was a partner at a 20-employee law firm that also really needed our help.
Both became regular customers. We made them the most important customers in the world and they both referred us to their friends and colleagues, who in turn referred us to friends and colleagues.
Two years after that first disappointing $30 job, we had over 100 customers including Xerox, Coca-Cola, Motorola and Burger king.
Your passion, combined with your skills, knowledge and great service is what is going to build your practice from your first patient into a thriving business.
Each of you can do it. Put your fears aside and follow your heart. Share your passion with others and great things will happen.
To help you get started marketing your passion, we are going to give each graduate a free website and blog and a 30-minute holistic marketing coaching session to get you setup and online. That is a $500 commitment to your success because we believe in you and want to see each of you take what you learned at acupuncture massage college and apply it to building strong practices around helping those who need your skills, knowledge and dedication.
In closing, I would like to leave you with a Chinese proverb:
“An inch of time is an inch of gold but you can't buy that inch of time with an inch of gold.”
No matter what, always follow your heart and be passionate about everything you do.
Thank you and Congratulations!