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Living With A Ravenous Thirst For Life: “Proving my worth, fires me up without fail”

With Dr. Inessa Fishman



Proving my worth — especially while proving others wrong — fires me up without fail. I remember a ninth grade English teacher who doubted my ability to get into an accelerated high school English program, as well as a high school principal who tried to prevent me to from taking AP classes at a neighboring school; I remember these people and working THAT much harder to show them my worth 20 years later. The naysayers will always be there, I think, and it’s so sweet to watch jaws drop in disbelief of my success. You think I’m not capable or less than? Step aside and watch this.


Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling unhappy, unfulfilled, unchallenged, and have nothing to look forward to? It doesn’t have to be that way. One idea that I always advice my clients is to “Get Out of your mind and connect with your spirit”. Do your meditations. You don’t have to sit in an uncomfortable pose and do “om” all day long. You can start with easy, comfy poses- laying down in your pjs and listening to guided meditations.


As a part of our series interviewing experts on how to live a “ravenous life” — a life filled with the passion, pleasure, playfulness and abundance that come naturally to those who dare to be authentic, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Inessa Fishman, a Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon based in Atlanta, GA. Originally from Kiev, Ukraine, Dr. Fishman moved to the United States in 1992 and completed her education and training here. In addition to the practice of medicine, Dr. Fishman is proud to be a mom, wife, sister and daughter. She focuses on aesthetics, reconstructive surgery and medicine, and wellness in her practice and aims to be her best self in her daily life.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank you so much for having me. My patients ask me this question regularly, and to be honest, surgery wasn’t on my radar until I had already completed my first year of medical school. I was working on a breast imaging research project with a Plastic Surgeon during my summer break, and he kindly invited me to the Operating Room, where he showed me some really interesting reconstructive surgical cases and taught me to suture. I was hooked. While I loved art and working with my hands as a child, I never imagined this would be a part of my career — and now I get to create art on a daily basis. I work with newborn kids and older people and everyone in between. Most of my patients are healthy and are motived to look and feel their best, and I get to help them on their journey. I love what I do.

What does it mean for you to live “on purpose”? Can you explain? How can one achieve that?

There’s a surgical idiom that essentially translates into “do it with purpose and don’t dawdle,” and it rang true to me as a surgical resident and continues making a regular appearance in my life today. Completing tasks, doing things you may not necessarily want to do to move forward, maximizing the use of your day — those are all a part of the “do it like you mean it” philosophy for me. Whether I’m waking up at 5am for my Pure Barre class or placing a crisp incision on a patient’s eyelid for an eyelift, I remind myself to live and do with purpose.

Do you have an example or story in your own life of how your pain helped to guide you to finding your life’s purpose?

We all have pain in our lives, and mine is no different. I’ve struggled with feelings of insecurity in my professional career, serious family health problems, and post-partum anxiety after having my daughter. I have required the support of my husband and family and many friends to make a conscious return to leading a purposeful life that incorporates wellness and a conscious effort to minimize unnecessary negativity in my personal and professional lives. In addition to this, my personal struggle with taking time for myself — whether it comes to exercise or time alone to recharge — helps me understand my patients and their motivations better.

The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?

I think we struggle with the idea of work-life balance in the US, and focus excessively on the work part. Before my family moved to the US, my parents would routinely take a month off for vacation. During my recent travels, I met an Australian couple who doesn’t bat an eye at the idea of a 6-week-long and very well-deserved time to travel and recharge. I think we focus a lot of work and how our colleagues perceive us, and rush back from too-short maternity leaves and cannot properly disconnect from work even on weekends and vacations. I love working hard, and find nothing more satisfying than a busy day filled creative and critical thinking; however, as I have grown older and become a parent, I find myself more protective than ever of my family and personal life.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I treat newborns for congenital ear problems with non-surgical ear correction as part of my practice, and while these cases are fun sculpting exercises for me, they are life-changing experiences for my patients’ parents — these parents are endlessly grateful to lessen the risk of teasing and invasive and painful surgery for their babies. My day often involves patients pondering facelifts and nose jobs, trying Botox for the first time, and anxiously pondering reconstructive options for facial scars or skin cancer defects. To hold my patients’ hand while confidently and reassuringly take them through their plastic surgery journeys is both gratifying and challenging for me. Happy patients — in the form of someone more confident in his appearance or emerging from a traumatic facial trauma experience — and my personal satisfaction at work well done are my definition of success and making the world better.

What are your 6 strategies to help you face your day with exuberance, “Joie De Vivre” and a “ravenous thirst for life”? Can you please give a story or example for each?

Personal wellness has had varying levels of importance in my life, but these days, I find feeling strong and balanced a key part of my life. Regular exercise in the form of barre classes has transformed my body and made me excited to get up in the morning to get to class and make myself stronger.

Wanting greater knowledge and continued improvement have been constants in my life. I love learning and growing and being better. I have traveled to Russia this summer and have an upcoming trip to Istanbul to learn awesome surgical techniques; I love watching well-executed surgical videos and reading excellent medical articles to grow as a physician and surgeon. Awesome pearls, learning new things, and becoming a more elegant and efficient and great surgeon gets me more excited than anything about what I do.

Trying to achieve balance leads me to things outside of medicine and makes me excited about life. My friendships and relationships with my husband and family drive me to make plans to meet up for drinks or get together for weekend playdates. I find it easy to get caught up in work, but the stuff outside of it — watching my daughter grow, spending time with my Mom — these are the things that truly add such beautiful color to my life.

Proving my worth — especially while proving others wrong — fires me up without fail. I remember a ninth grade English teacher who doubted my ability to get into an accelerated high school English program, as well as a high school principal who tried to prevent me to from taking AP classes at a neighboring school; I remember these people and working THAT much harder to show them my worth 20 years later. The naysayers will always be there, I think, and it’s so sweet to watch jaws drop in disbelief of my success. You think I’m not capable or less than? Step aside and watch this.

Travel and planning trips definitely speaks to my soul. Having grown up in both the former Soviet Union and the United States, I’ve lived in several places and consider the world my home. Seeing the gorgeousness our planet has to offer is a sweet and exciting thing, and I love the anticipation that goes along with planning new discoveries.

Motherhood has transformed my view of the world, our culture, and my role as a woman and custodian of my child. It may sound trite, but I can’t effectively describe the importance I place on protecting, nourishing, and encouraging my almst 3-year-old daughter. I want to show her every amazing thing the world has to offer; I want to be a strong and excellent role model for her; and I want to make the world a better place for her. She is truly the joy of my life, and is often literally the main reason I’m out of bed in the morning.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?

I love the movie “Dead Poets’ Society” and its theme of “carpe diem” or “seize the day.” This film first captured my attention in high school and still sings its siren song of living your best and most inspired life to this day. I am crushing on Katrina Ubell and her so-much-more-than-weight-loss podcast these days; I’ve reconsidered everything from lingerie to mindful eating to my life’s purpose after listening to her.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Seize the day,” again and definitely. “Hope is not a strategy.”

I was very much a rule-follower and a shy kid growing up; it’s taken me a lot to step up and speak and do for myself, and I remind myself to get out there and do things in a conscious and purposeful way every day.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am, absolutely! The project is confidential and so exciting for me, career-wise. Ask me again in 2 months-ish, please.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I have struggled with confidence and insecurity both as a woman and a young person. That said, some of my most inspiring mentors have been amazing, strong, and intelligent women. My dream movement would be one of mentorship and support for women and girls — not necessarily tied to academics or medicine or immigration or anything tied to my personal life — and more a movement focused on lifting each other up. We are all pretty incredible and we could be more so in supporting each other.

Thank you so much for these insights!


Dr. Marina Kostina is a life and business fulfillment coach. She uses research and energy work to help professional women find their purpose and turn it into a profitable business. Dr. Kostina incorporates innovative marketing strategies and the creation of engaging, lucrative online courses to scale their businesses. As a result they enjoy what she describes as a “ravenous life” — a life filled with the passion, pleasure, playfulness and abundance that come naturally to those who dare to be authentic. Her book “Find the G-Spot of Your Soul” is available January 2018. Download a free gift from Dr. Kostina- an MP3 Meditation Album “Find The G –Spot Of Your Soul” and get unstuck.

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