Stephen Gist

Through discipline and determination, you will persevere.


Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Dr. Stephen Gist felt a powerful calling to go into medicine even at a young age. He received his BA from Southern Methodist University, where he majored in chemistry. He then went to Baylor Dental School.

It wasn’t long before Gist decided medicine was the direction in which he wanted to go. He found it a natural transition from dental training. He applied for medical school and went to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, where he graduated top of his class. He did both his internship and residency at the Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas.

After, Gist joined an independent group, Medical Specialists Associated, and became a partner. He’s been a physician there for the past 21 years.

Where did the idea for you career come from?

I suppose you might call it a calling more than an idea. Even before I went to medical school, I felt a powerful, inner draw to go into medicine and serve. I grew up with a quadriplegic father, and I was basically a caregiver from the time I was seven years old. So, I had a strong sense of compassion for people with injuries, and I think it is what influenced my initial interest in physical medicine as well.

From the start, even as a child, I wanted to go into science and study chemistry to be prepared for a career in medicine. When my career path took a different direction, I continuously felt the call, almost like a siren call. Finally, I answered it, and here I am at my practice. I joined an independent group, Medical Specialists Associated, and became a partner. I believe we are one of the largest independent internal medicine groups in Dallas.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I get up early in the morning, about two hours before I leave for work. I spend some time in reading, prayer, and meditation. I do some correspondence before I leave for work, and then I get to the office by around 8 a.m. I begin by seeing patients, and I have a pretty full schedule. I see back to back patients all day into the mid-afternoon. I then spend the rest of my workday with routine labs, x-rays, correspondence with patients, reviewing consultations from other specialists.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I don’t project my ideas on patients so much as I listen to the patients, because you must take each patient from where they come from. If you project onto the patients, they just don’t hear you. So, you must listen to the patient, and then you try to talk to the patient in a way that they understand.

What’s one trend that excites you?

One trend that excites me in the constant changing in technology. As we continue to advance ourselves, we need to do the same with the technology we use. Not only will it keep us running efficiently in our professional lives but also our personal lives as well.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I would say that I’m a disciplined individual. I’m determined, and I persevere. I am great at multitasking. I’m also very people-oriented, in terms of working with the staff and patients. I love to interact with people and challenge people to do better. I always encourage people to better their performance and situation with both patients and staff.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I don’t know that I would do anything differently. I would tell him to just do what I did. Important goals are worth the discipline and delayed gratification in the end, so just keep forging forward one step at a time. That’s how I got to where I am today.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Something that no one else agrees with me on would be that social media would become a problem for people due to oversharing. Now it is definitely a problem for some people.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I show up to work every day. Just showing up is about 90% of it. I also come to work every day with a good attitude. Happiness is a choice, so I believe in staying happy and trying to make other people happy.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

To grow your practice, you must retain your patients, and you must get new patients, so that means you must keep meeting the perceived needs of the patients. By doing that, your patients will refer their friends and relatives. Another strategy is maintaining a good reputation. You must work hard not to make any mistakes in medicine. You must work to help people with their health and lives. So, you build your practice by taking care of business.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

One failure as an entrepreneur was trying to get the right team for my practice early on. It is super important to have a team you can trust and that will respect you. If you do not have that, then it will be difficult to be successful.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

One business idea that I would recommend are booking services for patients to make and alter their appointments online. Moving in the direction of greater technology, it will make the services much more available to people.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The best $100 I spent recently was on over tipping at a restaurant. I like to tip very generously. I like to buy lunches and meals for people. That’s the best money I’ve spent.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

We use Electronic Medical Records (EMR) primarily. That’s about the only software I use nowadays. It’s huge in productivity. It’s a computer-based patient medical record system.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

There isn’t a specific book per se, but in my upbringing, Zig Ziglar was a big influence on me. He said that no matter what profession you end up being in, everyone should start out in sales, and I did. I worked in retail during college. I sold electronic medical equipment. He said everyone should be a salesman just for the training and what it does for you to help you develop life skills. Zig Ziglar gave a lot of great advice about being positive and learning how to go out and get business.

What is your favorite quote?

“Life is too important to be taken seriously.” – Oscar Wilde

Key Learnings:

• Through working hard, you will receive success.
• Take the time to listen to people and their concerns.
• Through discipline and determination, you will persevere.