Lindsay Kiriakos was born in Montreal, Canada – although life soon took him to Los Angeles, California, at the age of five. After earning not one but two degrees during his four years at Stanford University, he soon attended medical school at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania – an organization that itself dates all the way back to 1740.
Kiriakos had always dreamed of being a psychiatrist from an early age. This was in large part inspired by both his father and his older sister, both of whom are active in the field. That’s why, after graduation, he had his Psychiatry Residency at the equally impressive the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Semel Neuropsychiatric Institute.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
Society rewards the specialist. I decided early on that the best way to deliver value to my clients was by specializing on the issues that I cared about the most. I also know that job satisfaction is most correlated with level of autonomy. Starting my own private practice from day one was the best way to maximize my autonomy and have control over my messaging, selection of clients, and degree of specialization.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I typically see twelve clients a day. Four for full (45 minute) sessions and eight for short (20 minute) sessions. I block off a full hour for the 45 minutes sessions, and I block off a half hour for the 20-minute sessions. This gives me a built in 15-20 minutes off each and every hour. I use this time to catch up on paper work, read, recharge my brain and prepare for my next client. I learned this trick while at Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. Scheduling a 15–20 minute break during each of my hours of studying greatly improved my productivity. Without those breaks, I got less done and performed more poorly on my practice tests.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Generally speaking, I usually have several projects that I am working on simultaneously. These might include writing another book, a new website, designing a class, or learning a new form of treatment. I take a run-walk approach to these tasks – the same way most people complete an actual marathon. When I am feeling inspired, I will “run” with a project and spend several hours a day on it. When I am not feeling as inspired, I still insist on “walking.” I spend at least a few minutes a day moving that project forward. I never actually stop working on any of my projects. Otherwise, weeks or months might go by without making any progress.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The drastic increase in the use of telemedicine during the Covid-19 pandemic is very exciting. The technology, support infrastructure, and client familiarity have greatly increased people’s willingness to seek and continue with treatment. The lack of commute alone (in a busy city like Los Angeles) saves at least an hour for clients who used to have to see me in person. It also enables patients who live much farther away to have access to a specialist in exactly what they are facing.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I have a firm work-life boundary. No work after 8pm (including texts and emails). There are many studies that show that working more that 60 hours a week actually decreases your overall productivity (by producing burn-out), and, also, that human beings need at least 3 hours off the clock each day (preferably, just like sleep, as a solid block of time) in order to recharge. I have certainly found this to be true for myself and I recommend it to all my clients.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Do what you love and trust that success will follow. Specialize in what you care about the most early on, and you will naturally become an expert in that field. Your work will be more valuable to yourself and your clients.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
One of the most reliable ways to improve a relationship is by reducing frequency of contact. Some people are like pepper. Pepper is the known as the regal spice amongst chefs, but too much of it ruins the dish. There is nothing wrong with the pepper. It doesn’t need to be changed. You just need less of it in order to love it. If you find that a family member, friend, or business associate is wearing you down, you don’t necessarily need to end the relationship or make a drastic change. Just interact with them less frequently (or less intensely). You will often find that you like them again if you give the relationship more time to breathe.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
You don’t need verbal agreement in order to get behavior change. Even if someone disagrees with what you are saying, they will be influenced by your message, the more so if you drop the topic and don’t force them to dig in with their defensiveness. Generally speaking, I give my opinion twice. After that, I trust that the message will find its mark on its own, without my need to push it.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The maximum rate of growth is never the optimal rate of growth. If your company grows at the maximum rate possible, it will end up not feeling like your own. You will lose control of it, you will feel burned out, and you will lose your passion. Your pace will hurt your productivity and your brand in the end. A marathon pace is fast, but it is not a sprinters pace. Sprinters don’t finish at all.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I went through a period of stress that was caused by too many work hours and not enough focus on down-time, family, and friends. When, eventually, this started to affect my work productivity, defeating any possible utility, it served as a wake-up call to rebalance my life and reassert more work-life balance.
Your maximum effort is defined as “the most you can do without destroying yourself.” That’s the maximum. If something doesn’t get done, it’s not your fault. You gave it the maximum.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
An AI-powered search engine that summarizes medical research and then also allows access to the granular level of individual studies on which it is basing its opinion would revolutionize all fields of medicine. It would also empower clients by helping them to become more educated consumers and help combat the spread of misinformation.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Taking my wife and kids to Monster Jam (monster truck rally) for my son’s third birthday was great. In general, experiential purchases have a greater impact on well-being than material purchases. My son and the rest of the family will remember this more than we would a toy truck.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Any and all forms of teleconferencing have greatly improved my productivity. It has eliminated my commute. It has enabled me to reach clients anywhere in the world. It has greatly increased my potential audience.
In addition, the “internet disinhibition” effect has helped my clients open up faster than they might in person. It is less intimating to talk about your problems when it is to someone on a screen. It also makes it easier to take in feedback without feeling defensive. This speeds up the process of my work with clients, were we are often focusing on their greatest challenges. We can get to the heart of the issues much faster and they can accept what I have to offer more easily.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Yes Man” by Danny Wallace. This book is an autobiography of a man who decided to say “Yes” to every proposition for an entire year. The book helps fosters awareness of the many opportunities for growth that naturally arise in our daily lives. It also makes us aware of how many opportunities we can start saying “No” to out of habit.
What is your favorite quote?
“No mortal can be omnipotent and remain sane.” -Will Durant. We all need feedback in order to stay healthy, grounded, and productive. As a corollary, being open and authentic with the people we trust helps us thrive. If they know the truth, they can give us accurate feedback.
- Society rewards the specialist – focus on what you love and trust that success will follow.
- Autonomy is the most correlated with life satisfaction – If you are being micromanaged, speak out against that first. If you can work for yourself or start your own company, jump on the opportunity.
- Working more than 60 hours a week decreases total productivity – You get less done when you don’t take breaks. As a corollary, the maximum effort is the defined as the most you can do without destroying yourself.
- The maximum rate of growth is never the optimal rate of growth. – Pull back a little so that you can recalibrate your vision, explore your options, increase your resources, and recharge your batteries.
- You don’t need verbal agreement in order to get behavioral change. – Tell people what you want, then drop it. If you induce too much defensiveness, your audience will move further away from your target. Trust that your message will hit home on its own, without your extra pushing.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.