Forgiveness is the most powerful tool humans have.
While originally from the San Francisco Bay Area Dr. Michael Arata spent his formative years in the woods of far northern California. He lived in a cabin built by his father and himself with water coming from a small stream on the property. While it was only uphill in one direction, he did walk 6 miles to school, sometimes in the snow. He graduated from Dunsmuir High School with a class of 38.
After high school he attended the University of California at Davis, graduating with high honors and a degree in biochemistry. He went on to UCSF earning a Medical Doctorate. This was followed by post-graduate training at Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania. After several years of hospital based practice, Dr. Michael Arata started the first outpatient Interventional Radiology practice in Southern California.
Running a large medical group required long hours and the stress began to impact his health. He learned how to heal himself using Functional Medicine. The results were so good that Dr. Arata decided to retrain himself and eventually started a new practice dedicated to helping people live better, focusing on lifestyle.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
It was suggested by David Riley, a talented marketer. I paid him quite a bit so I hope you like it.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My day starts with gratitude journaling. I make it productive by not doing two things. First I do not check my email as doing so would set the day in motion on someone else’s agenda. Second I refrain from social media as the temptation to compare myself to others could distract my focus.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Sleep on it. Nearly every endeavor has had its genesis during a night’s rest. I wake with the plan all laid out. I have learned to write them down as part of my gratitude journal. “I am grateful to awake with this plan. The action items are as follows.” Everything is laid out for me when I wake up.
What’s one trend that excites you?
People rejecting fear. Our culture has become fear centered as that is what sells. The youth are shunning major media and whether it is the cause or the effect I do not know. It is just so refreshing to see young people living life based on love instead of fear.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Always asking why. In virtually every aspect of my life I have a need to understand why things are the way they are. Seeking root cause borders on an addiction for me. Fortunately this quality lends itself very well to entrepreneurship. Apple is one of the best examples of this as they know the why as well as the what that they do. Why do we get up each day? Or put another way, what is your purpose in life? The more familiar we are with our whys, the more successful we will be. This is just as true when it comes to our health. Most of us know this intrinsically. Monday mornings often remind us as we reflect on our choices over the weekend and how they impact how the work week begins.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Without a doubt the single most important piece of advice I would give the younger Dr. Michael Arata is always choose family first. Be there for your kids, always. It is so easy to get wrapped up in your career. Opportunities lost with your family you may not get another chance for.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Forgiveness is the most powerful tool humans have. Most of us limit ourselves because we cannot let go of some wrong. It may be committed by ourselves or others against us but the impact of not letting go is largely upon ourselves. Success in most human interactions and endeavors is tied to our ability to let go.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Make mistakes. Growth requires mistakes and entrepreneurs grow things. This dovetails nicely with the previous answer since you must forgive yourself to in order to move beyond your mistakes.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Showing up. It seems silly but waking up each day and putting on your game face really is half the battle. Being consistent can be a challenge in the world now. By steadily and conscientiously applying yourself to building your business you will eventually find success. This is the message I have ingrained in my children. “I know dad, show up today”.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I started my first practice I worked incredibly hard. 100 hour work weeks were not unheard of which basically means you work until you drop, wake and then repeat. It allows no family time let alone me time. With three children under 6 I failed as a father and husband. To save my marriage I gave up administrative responsibilities along with reducing my interest in the company to under 50%. Despite this the marriage failed and not long after the previously prospering practice did too. It took years, many years, to overcome these bad decisions. The reason it took so long is I failed to appreciate how powerful an emotion shame is. Both my career and relationships did not improve until I dealt with the shame of the choices I had made. After forgiving myself I was able to apply the lessons learned in a positive manner and move forward.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Volunteer app. Create an app for serving others analogous to Airbnb or Uber for serving your community. It could be funded with ads and/or small membership fees. Bringing together the services needs of local communities with the ease of access and organization of a web-based network.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Date night costs about $100. Having a regularly scheduled time to enjoy with your spouse is one of the best things you can do for a marriage. It is essential to regularly give each other your attention and to present enough to really hear them. With our busy world it is just too easy to push this kind of time aside. By establishing a scheduled date night you communicate to each other what a priority the relationship is and that no matter what events the world may throw at you, you will not let that take away from the love you share.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Penzu. It is a journaling app. I find gratitude journaling incredible for establishing and maintaining a positive mindset. One of the quickest ways to become non-productive is to fall victim to negativity.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Keto with Plants. It is about a plant based lifestyle that incorporates fasting and cycling of macronutrients. I recommend it for shameless self promotion but also because it is the healthiest way to eat!
What is your favorite quote?
“You are when you eat.” I came up with it after realizing the central role circadian rhythms play in our well being. Feeding is one of the key means we set our biological clocks, particularly the first meal of the day. Furthermore, the shorter the portion of the day we spend eating the healthier it appears we become.
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.