Enjoy the process — When you really enjoy the process, and live in the present, you can enjoy every step of the journey. If your drive becomes completely dependent on an outcome, you’ll never enjoy the ride. Instead, you realize that when you get there, you still won’t be happy.
The global health and wellness market is worth more than 1.5 trillion dollars. So many people are looking to improve their physical, mental, and emotional wellness. At the same time, so many people are needed to help provide these services. What does it take to create a highly successful career in the health and wellness industry?
In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The Health and Wellness Industry” we are talking to health and wellness professionals who can share insights and stories from their experiences.
In this particular interview, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dr. William Rahal.
Dr. William Rahal is a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in breast and body enhancement procedures. One of the most in-demand and trusted plastic surgeons in Los Angeles, Dr. Rahal is renowned for his signature 360 Lipo with BBL treatment, which combines a Brazilian Butt Lift surgery and Liposuction to achieve an hourglass figure.
Dr. Rahal is a member of American Society of Plastic Surgeons and he holds hospital privileges at Cedar Sinai Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you grew up?
I had an unusual upbringing in that I moved around a lot — from New York City to the Dominican Republic and then back to New York. I ended up going to Puerto Rico for medical school, and then moved to the Bronx for my residency. It’s unusual to move around that much, but it gave me a lot of exposure to diversity and gave me perspective as to what life is like outside the United States. I think that a wide exposure to different people and places really shapes you as you get older. It keeps you grounded, and helps you connect with a lot of different people.
Was there a particular person or event that inspired you to live a wellness-focused lifestyle? Can you tell us about your main motivation to go all in?
We’re conditioned to think that once we achieve certain things, we’ll suddenly wake up and feel different. I had a breakthrough in 2018 where I had achieved everything that I was made to believe would make me feel a certain way. But when I woke up, I felt empty. I felt a huge void. I had reached this ‘now what’ moment. That was a critical event in my life. After that, I started doing more introspection and reflection. I began to really cultivate the spiritual part of my being and to explore what my life’s purpose really is. I went to something called “gratitude training” down in Miami, Florida. It really spoke to me and opened me up to new ways of seeing and thinking about the world. Since then, I have continued to work with some of the coaches from that gratitude training, and focus on my life’s purpose.
Most people with a wellbeing centered lifestyle have a “go-to” activity, exercise, beverage, or food that is part of their routine. What is yours and can you tell us how it helps you?
I think it’s important to get quiet for 10 minutes after waking up. I wake up, I list three things I am grateful for and I do a 10 minute meditation every morning. I strategically do this meditation in a part of my home that faces the sunrise. When I used to exercise in the mornings, I would also do it facing the sunrise. This routine is an important part of my day. It really makes me feel grounded and at peace.
To live a wellness-focused life is one thing, but how did it become your career? How did it all start?
I always knew I wanted to be a doctor, ever since I was a little kid. I dressed up as a doctor for Halloween, and in school I was voted to be the ‘Next Doogie Howser, M.D.’ I became a personal trainer and got really into nutrition and fitness — I even did a few amateur competitions. At the time, I became very enamored with medicine and the idea of applied science. Becoming a doctor, for me, was the most natural leap to take in pursuing that.
Can you share a story about the biggest challenges you faced when you were first starting? How did you resolve that? What are the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
After medical school, I did a preliminary residency in Chicago for a year. My plan was to start with my general surgery residency and work my way into plastic surgery. I made it to the third round of interviews with an Ivy League school, where I had completed my general and plastic surgery rotations, and had been working seven days a week. The interviewer was very impressed with my work ethic but ultimately wouldn’t give me a job because I had started my career in Puerto Rico. I had proved my dedication to my career, but in the end, they drew focus to where I had studied. It was a very sobering moment, but it taught me humility and gave me a glimpse of what I would be up against in this line of work. This drove me to work even harder.
Can you share with us how the work you are doing is helping to make a bigger impact in the world? Can you share a story that illustrates that?
I think the spiritual impact of plastic surgery is overlooked. The focus is usually more on concrete things. The most obvious focus is on the patient’s results, meaning the physical transformation. I’m asked about how small the waist became, how many cc’s of fat were transferred to the buttocks, and other similar questions. But the physical is just the surface. The real power of plastic surgery is an inner change in the patient. This is a shift in mood, in confidence, in how they feel about who they are as a person. It deepens the love they have for themselves. It allows them to spread more love and gratitude to everyone they connect with. Yes, the internal change comes from a beautiful result. But the most important thing is that this type of change has a deep and powerful impact in how you experience the world. As the patient’s doctor, I play a small part in this new experience. Being a part of it is what makes being a doctor so special to me. My patients return after their procedures, and their smiles and confidence tell the story of their spiritual transformation. What I love seeing most is the new found joy in their lives, the boost in their spirit.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I am more involved with my private foundation and mentoring. I’m always thinking about the multiplier effect, and how you can help the most people. The work that we’re doing with the foundations, giving others the mentorship they need, is really powerful. Specifically, I am providing mentorship in medicine. I began with them while I was working in the Bronx, and recently became more directly involved. My purpose has become to bring out the best in everyone and to inspire people to live their full potential. I’m trying to set a good example for the next generation of physicians and leaders.
You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes — Success is not about not making mistakes, it’s about knowing what to do when you do make them. Everyone is going to make mistakes, but the key is to learn from them and apply those lessons in the future.
- Enjoy the process — When you really enjoy the process, and live in the present, you can enjoy every step of the journey. If your drive becomes completely dependent on an outcome, you’ll never enjoy the ride. Instead, you realize that when you get there, you still won’t be happy.
- Adjust your mindset — When you come from a place of love, peace, joy, abundance, and gratitude, and you really impress that in your subconscious, everything becomes yours. When you master the art of non-resistance, the world belongs to you. My mindset is that there is nothing that can take away from who I am and what my purpose is. The universe challenges you every day you wake up, in one way or another, and cultivating a positive mindset is what gives you true fortitude.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page. Wellness is an incredibly broad topic. How would you define the term “Wellness”? Can you explain what you mean?
It’s easy to feel unfulfilled when you are only catering to one part of your wellbeing and it really requires a well rounded approach. Physical wellbeing is the most intuitive and for many, the most obvious. Physical exercise has been part of my weekly routine for the last twenty years. Mental cultivation is also an essential aspect to wellness in my opinion as it is a key factor in one’s personal growth. I achieve mental fulfillment by reading constantly and always seeking out new opportunities to learn and share what I’ve learned. Constantly learning new ideas spawns creativity and is a key component of feeling that there is constant and consistent personal growth. Spiritual wellbeing is often the most easily ignored, but it is extremely important. I practice gratitude daily. It’s the first thing I do when I wake up. It keeps me at peace and focused for the day ahead. A big part of wellness is being at peace, regardless of whatever difficulties are presented by the outside world. Too many people expect the world to conform to their preconceived notions. Another piece to be disrupted as soon as something doesn’t go the way they expected to. Once you give up control and achieve inner peace regardless of what’s happening on the outside, you truly feel joy
As an expert, this might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Can you please share a few reasons with our readers about why focusing on our wellness should be a priority in our lives?
Focusing on your wellness should be THE priority in your life. Take a step back and examine what the purpose of your life is. Everyone has an opportunity to be a light to the world, to be an inspiration to those around them. That is the greatest gift you can give to the world, but you can only be that example by having wellness. Plastic surgery is my medium for sharing my gift with the world, but it is not the gift per se. My gift is the way I can connect with people, the example I can set, and the conversations I can have with them. That’s really what my life’s purpose has become.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increasingly growing understanding of the necessity for companies to be mindful of the wellness of their employees. For the sake of inspiring others, can you share steps or initiatives that companies have taken to help improve or optimize their employees’ mental and physical wellness?
We are actively involved in courses that our employees are required to participate in that involve emotional intelligence. We recognize and acknowledge that this is not only vital, but also generally lacking in many companies. These courses can be so informative, and provide tools for our employees to understand themselves better and transform how they think, process information, and interact with people in a healthier way. It’s a gift and a blessing to be able to offer this to my employees. I’m very grateful to have these opportunities and it’s an experience that I want to offer to my team. I would love to be able to offer them a gratitude training similar to the one I have done.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The Health and Wellness Industry”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.
- Specialize in your field — Specializing is the best way to give patients their ideal results and gain their trust. They will know you have studied and trained for this specific procedure for years and have done it thousands of times. This in turn gives them the assurance that you are the best person they could see for the treatment.
- Surround yourself with people you admire — It’s so important to have the right people around you in both your personal and professional life. The people who surround you have a huge impact on your life and that can be in a positive or negative way. You want your community to be filled with those you can trust and rely on to help make you a better person.
- Communication is key — In a doctor-patient relationship, communication is crucial for understanding what a patient wants. I find the happiest patients are the ones who have an open dialogue with their surgeon, which is why in addition to talking through procedures I employ 3D imaging. This allows me to communicate with my patients in a highly visual way and ensure we’re aligned on their results.
- Know thy time — Time is the most valuable resource you have. It cannot be bought, and once it’s gone you can never get any of it back. You have to be really rigorous about your schedule and how you devote your time.
- Enjoy the process — Humans are conditioned to focus on external goals. After my ‘What Now’ moment in 2018, I realized that I needed more introspection and became much more focused on my spiritual wellbeing. Having introspection and gratitude for what you have doesn’t take away from setting goals, it just gives you appreciation for the blessings that you already have. If you aren’t a slave to the outcome, you will enjoy the journey significantly more.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would promote the most wellness to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
In our last interview we talked about kindness and gratitude, and the next steps from that are letting go and forgiveness. People think holding onto grievances is powerful, but when you forgive, you give forth. If I could start a movement, I would have every person in the world think of one thing they’re holding onto, one grievance they have, and quite literally let it go. There is so much freedom in that.
We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I would still love to have lunch with the watchmaker and artisan Richard Mille. His watches embody the principles of perfection, attention to detail, quality and service. His philosophy and dedication to his craft inspires how I run my practice. Richard Mille created something that had never been done before using materials that were so untapped that he had to build his own machinery to make his vision a reality. I will never forget purchasing my first Richard Mille watch on my 38th birthday. It was a moment I waited years for, after having studied and admired his craftsmanship for such a long time. The watch continues to inspire me and I remain in awe of his dedication to his craft.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!