This week on the podcast, my guest was Benjamin O'Brien who is the owner of The Natural Medicine and Nutrition Clinic.
Benjamin has studied Chinese Medicine all over the world - including in China where he also taught acupuncture.
In the podcast, we talk about:
…and loads, loads more.
Ben opened his clinic right before COVID and it has done extremely well - find out how he's managed to run a small business during a time of great uncertainty.
If you love this episode, please drop us a DM on Instagram @redplatypuscreative
Feel free to take a screenshot of the episode and share it, along with why you loved it.
Want to find out more about what we do?
(Heads up - I'm a content strategist and PR consultant who helps businesses tell their stories clearly and consistently to make more conversion$.)
You can check us out at www.redplatypuscreative.com
Or book in a free call and let's discuss we might be able to help you.
**0:00:04** - (Carmen): Hi, everyone, and welcome back to the Committed Creative podcast. I'm your host, Carmen Allen Patali. And this week on The Committed Creative, I chat with Benjamin O'Brien. Benjamin is the owner of the Natural Medicine and Nutrition Clinic and Acupuncture, which is based in Subiaco in Perth, Western Australia. But Ben has been practicing Chinese herbal medicine for many, many years, and he's quite the expert in all things natural medicine.
**0:00:34** - (Carmen): But before I give his whole story away, why don't we just dive in and hear what he has to say? Hi, Ben, and welcome to the committed creative Podcast.
**0:00:43** - (Benjamin): Thank you. Thank you for having me.
**0:00:45** - (Carmen): So the first question I always ask my guests when they come on the show is, who are you and what is it that you do?
**0:00:52** - (Benjamin): So I am a Chinese medicine practitioner predominantly, and I work in Subiaco in a clinic called the Natural Medicine and Nutrition Clinic. So mainly I do acupuncture and herbal medicine, but I do a lot of work with nutrition as well.
**0:01:06** - (Carmen): And how did you get into this line of work?
**0:01:09** - (Benjamin): Well, my family have all been in medicine, so when I finished school, I became a spray painter because I was the black sheep at the time, so I wasn't interested in following that. And sort of a long story short was I had open heart surgery when I was 26, and I lost the use of my left hand. And as an aspiring musician and guitar player, that was a real problem. So I tried to find out a lot of different ways to rehabilitate my body, but no one seemed to be able to help me. I went to chiropractors and physiotherapists and went back to a neurologist and a hand surgeon, but I couldn't get a result. And finally I went to a Chinese medicine person who really helped me rehabilitate my hands. So I became very interested in the medicine for that reason, I guess, and decided to study it because I didn't have enough money to keep paying for the treatments. And I didn't know what else I was going to do with my life. I wasn't going to go back and do the panel beating and spray painting, but I thought, yeah, I'll learn this medicine so I can keep helping myself to treat my hand.
**0:02:21** - (Benjamin): And I sort of got a couple of years in and realized that it's not just about me, my journey to fix my hand, that if I can learn this medicine and help people that no one else can help, that's a very powerful thing. And so I hardly made it through high school. I didn't mean to become very academic, but I really fell in love with it and yeah, studied for about 13 years in total.
**0:02:44** - (Carmen): Wow. Did you do all your study in Perth or did you actually go to the east?
**0:02:50** - (Benjamin): I traveled around a lot, actually. I started in Perth, but I wasn't being offered all the subjects that I needed to complete the course. So that's a long, complicated story. But basically I did study in Brisbane as well. And then I finally moved to finish my degree and went to Melbourne, and I studied in a few different institutions there. When I started studying, there was only one place in Perth that you could study Chinese medicine, which was called the Australian College of Natural Medicine. And then that went through a transition and changed their name to the Endeavor College of Natural Health.
**0:03:22** - (Benjamin): So that's where I studied and finished my undergraduate acupuncture degree. And I also went to China and studied and did an internship in Guangxi Province in Naning. So that was a really cool experience. And then when I got back after graduating, I then enrolled in a Master's in Chinese Herbal medicine at RMIT. And then getting towards the end of that, I went back and studied in China again, this time for herbs, back to the same place in Guangxi, and I actually got to teach there. They remembered who I was and so they allowed me to well, they kind of demanded that I teach because I was now qualified.
**0:04:06** - (Benjamin): So that was actually very daunting and a little bit scary. And I didn't go to that. I never taught anything in my life. I went there to study, but it was an incredible experience. So I feel very grateful that I got to teach in a university of Chinese medicine.
**0:04:21** - (Carmen): And for those of us who aren't really across Chinese medicine, what does it involved involve and how does it differ from Western medicine?
**0:04:32** - (Benjamin): Yeah, that's a good question. So the emphasis on Chinese medicine really, like any natural medicine, is about balance and bringing the body back to health. So you have a strong ability to heal your own body, and the body can heal from anything. That's kind of our belief within certain limitations, I guess. But if you burn yourself, you heal. If you cut yourself, you heal. So when that isn't happening, you have to look at the body and go, well, what is going on in this person's system that isn't allowing them or their body to regenerate? It can be diet, it can be stress, it can be emotional stuff.
**0:05:11** - (Benjamin): There's all different reasons why. So part of my job is to basically investigate that and try and work out how do I help this person get the result that they want? And there's different ways of doing that. So we use herbs, we use acupuncture. That's the more glamorous side. But Chinese medicine is quite broad and quite phenomenal, I think, because it incorporates all the different aspects of health and most other medicine. In fact, I can't think of another type of medicine that has nutrition and qigong, like physical therapy and anmo Toyna, which is Chinese massage and the physio side as well as the dietetics.
**0:05:52** - (Benjamin): So it is a complete form of medicine. Western medicine is brilliant at diagnostics and traumatology, but for chronic conditions, it's not very good at treating that, and that's unfortunate. So trying to treat everything with drugs and surgery is not very clever. If the cause of what you're dealing with is lifestyle, diet, emotional stuff, you're not going to get a result, or it's not that likely that you'll get a result.
**0:06:20** - (Carmen): And do you find that most people are coming to you after they've maybe tried a lot of stuff in Western medicine and not got a good result?
**0:06:27** - (Benjamin): Yeah, that's pretty common. So people don't generally think about me as a first person to go and see unless they've had the previous experience, but generally, a bit like my case, like, I went to go back to the hand surgeon and then was referred to the cardiothrastic surgeon first, and then the hand surgeon, then in neurologists, then physios. And it wasn't until I went and saw six or seven people and then I found Chinese medicine. So generally, a lot of patients will go through that.
**0:06:56** - (Benjamin): And the other thing about that is it's not well understood. So a medical doctor, unless they've personally experienced it, aren't going to recommend someone like me, even though it could be very applicable, why a patient should see me.
**0:07:11** - (Carmen): And like with your own experience, what kind of Chinese medicine helped your hand?
**0:07:15** - (Benjamin): In the end, it was mainly acupuncture. So acupuncture, how do I explain it? Simply, it is kind of complex. Basically, what you're doing, when you put needles into the body, you're trying to stimulate nerves to the brain and get the brain to open blood vessels to improve the blood supply to specific organs. That's how you get the body to heal. So you shouldn't have to have acupuncture forever, unless you're trying to maintain your longevity.
**0:07:44** - (Benjamin): It's supposed to be a medicine that you have that fixes the problem at the root source. It doesn't just treat the symptoms. Some conditions, all you can do is treat the symptoms. But the basic principle behind how it works is to get the body to heal and fix the root source. That's really the difference.
**0:08:02** - (Carmen): And in an ideal world, would you like to see Western medicine combined with ACA medicine? Like, you mentioned that previously, that you were sent to all these different places and eventually you stumbled upon Chinese medicine. But for some of those chronic condition, those patients that have chronic conditions that come to you as kind of like a final, they found you at last, but it's not top of their list.
**0:08:27** - (Carmen): How would you like to see more of Chinese medicine promoted in the Western world? Do you think there's improvements to be made?
**0:08:33** - (Benjamin): Oh, yeah, there's massive improvements. And I know this is true because I've been to China and I've seen how they do it. So in China, there aren't little clinics or not the part of China I went to, like how I practice here in Perth, if you want Chinese medicine, it's serious medicine. You go to hospital, that's where it's done. So they had entire floor, nothing but acupuncture. I'm talking 100 acupuncture doctors treating 5000 patients a day.
**0:09:01** - (Carmen): Wow.
**0:09:01** - (Benjamin): And another, the floor above that or below that, depending on where the hospital was. You had the same sort of thing with herbalists. So patients come in, they see the herbalist, they're just checking their tongue in their pulse and they're prescribing a formula. Tongue pulse formula? Tongue pulse formula. And again, 4000 patients a day. So they don't question whether it works or it doesn't work. It's part of their culture and it's been around for thousands of years and they know it works. They're more interested in how does it actually work?
**0:09:30** - (Benjamin): So the ability to it's a real shame the way that we practice medicine here, because it's so departmentalized and a neurologist just looks at the nerves and a cardiologist is all about the heart, but no one's seeing the person, and that's the big difference, right. It doesn't matter whether someone comes in and sees me for a shoulder complaint or sleep disorders or a slip disc in their back or whatever.
**0:09:53** - (Benjamin): You treat the person first and the condition second. You have to see the whole package because you're not just your nerves, you're not just your heart, you're not just your kidneys.
**0:10:01** - (Carmen): It's all intertwined, it's all connected.
**0:10:03** - (Benjamin): And so that's how people should be treated.
**0:10:06** - (Carmen): So when a patient comes to you, how does it work when they sit down in front of you?
**0:10:11** - (Benjamin): Yeah, that's a good question. So I run my clinic a bit differently. What I do is an initial exam to begin with, so I don't do any treating. I want to take their full case. I allow between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how long someone wants to talk to me. And I want to get a complete case history and actually do my own examination of the patient and find out what's going to be the best type of therapy to treat them. Because it may not be acupuncture. It might be if, if someone has a blood sugar problem, acupuncture can assist, but the cause is diet and that's what they need to do. So I don't know what the right treatment is for the patient till I see them, or is it purely about herds, because some patients do respond better than that. So that's why I don't do any treating. I basically get them in for the initial exam, work out what's going to be the best type of therapy to help them.
**0:10:59** - (Benjamin): And then I give a short testing sequence of treatments to try and help them see whether they're actually going to respond or not before I then go and build them a plan. So the testing is called a rate of response, and it usually involves three acupuncture treatments in a week or three weeks of herbs. Over three weeks. I'm trying to gauge how quickly, how slowly does somebody respond? First of all, do they respond at all or not? And if they do, how fast or how slow do they respond? Then I'm in a position to actually build them a plan and say, this is how far I'm going to need to see you.
**0:11:32** - (Benjamin): And I'm only going to use one thing at a time, generally, because if I give someone supplements and herbs and acupuncture all at once and they start getting better, I've got no idea what's working. I test one thing at a time because that's the scientific way of doing it. And then you have a bit of data. All I'm trying to do basically is pull data from the patient's body and basically saying, okay, this is the data that we found, Carmen. This is what we've seen over a week of treating you. Now, this is how frequently I think I'm going to need to see you to help you get the result, whatever it is that you're trying to get.
**0:12:04** - (Carmen): And you've explained what acupuncture is, and most people know what supplements are, but what are herbs in Chinese medicine and how do people take them?
**0:12:12** - (Benjamin): Yeah, that's a good question. So there's a number of different ways that you can take herbs. And herbs are like Western doctors use drugs, we use herbs. So herbs are basically plant compounds. There's all kinds of different herbs that you can use. I don't use animal products generally, or nothing banned or illegal. So basically they are plant granules. You can have raw herbs, you can have granules, and you can have pills or tablets. There's different ways that herbs can be prescribed. I mainly use the granules, which basically means that patients make it into like, you have an instant coffee, half a cup of water, and the herbs will dissolve in the water and you drink it.
**0:12:58** - (Benjamin): And generally you'll do that twice a day. So acupuncture is very good at moving blood around the body and retraining the brain. The herbs put nutrition into the blood and make the blood more potent. So when it's being moved around the body, it's having a stronger effect and regenerating the organs more quickly. That's the principle about how it works.
**0:13:16** - (Carmen): So interesting. So let's talk a little bit about your business now. So when you trained in Chinese medicine, did you go out on your own straight away or did you work with other people?
**0:13:26** - (Benjamin): No. When you first qualify, you haven't got much experience, really. You have to learn, like most industries, you have to start again and learn the art of treating people and the way that you treat people. So it'd be great if I could just open a book and go, here's a picture of you, Carmen. This is your conditions, and this is where the needles go. It's not that simple. You have to get the experience by working under people that are more experienced than you and learning from them, basically, and learning from the patients that you see.
**0:13:56** - (Benjamin): So I did that for probably, I think, probably eight or nine years before I started to feel comfortable enough to go out on my own. And it's important to have a mentor. And really, if I had a mentor more quickly and I had got that straight out of college, I would have accelerated my results a lot more. Instead of sort of fumbling around in the wilderness for five or six or seven or eight years trying to work out the best way of treating people.
**0:14:24** - (Benjamin): I think that definitely, in any business, finding a mentor is super important and that will accelerate your results. And even if you have to work for this person for a year or whatever for free, that will pay your dividends for the rest of your life. And I didn't find my mentor probably until my 9th year of practice. So that was one way of doing it. It's not the way that I recommend. I think that finding a mentor early, it really accelerates your results.
**0:14:51** - (Carmen): And how did you find your mentor when you found them?
**0:14:54** - (Benjamin): It was kind of serendipitous. They just appeared on my Facebook feed. I don't know whether the phones are listening to me or whatever, but I started to see this person appear on my feed, and he was talking to another acupuncturist, but there were these two Asian looking guys, so they were talking about Chinese medicine. So for me, that was interesting, but I thought it's not that relevant for me because they both sound American, so they're talking about Chinese medicine in America, so how is that going to help me?
**0:15:23** - (Benjamin): And as I listened to them, almost every time I opened my Facebook app, these guys would come up. And then they started talking about the business of acupuncture. And I thought, wow, that's interesting. That got my attention. And then when I Googled these two people, I saw that one was in Texas, but the other guy was in Brisbane. And I'm thinking, wow, that's really bizarre, because he kept talking about things that related to Australia, one of them did.
**0:15:45** - (Benjamin): So that really got my interest up. And I thought, Well, I need to find out, what are these guys? Because really they were talking about the same issues that I had. How do you grow a business? How do you retain your patients? What sort of things do you say to them? How do you build a treatment plan? All these kind of things. I guess it spoke to me as a business owner, and I realized that they were suffering from the same problems that I was suffering from.
**0:16:09** - (Benjamin): And one of them, Jimmy Yen, who was really quite experienced, it was more like a question and answer format between someone who was quite experienced and someone who was struggling. But I got a lot of value out of just listening to that. So then when I Googled him a bit more, I realized he's the one I need to follow because he has trodden the path that I'm on and he's way ahead of me. So why not just mimic what he's doing and try and get the same sort of results?
**0:16:33** - (Carmen): And you touched briefly on patient retention there. What do you feel are some of the best methods to retain your patients? Because obviously you want to see them get well, but at the same time, you are a business and repeat clientele is often the best way to make money rather than new patients all the time.
**0:16:51** - (Benjamin): Yeah, it is. So there's different thoughts on that. The way that I was trained and way I thought to begin with basically was just asking people to come back every week. Every week, every week, every week. And it was pretty clear that I didn't have a plan for them. And you're just kind of praying that the next week that they'd book in and maybe they'd be a bit better. And that's what you do when you're not terribly experienced.
**0:17:13** - (Benjamin): So retention is important, but my end goal for any patient that comes and sees me is to wean them off the treatments and not have to come and see me forever. I think that if I'm doing that, I'm failing as a practitioner because then I become a crutch. I'm not actually teaching the person to heal their body, so they should probably come and see me forever in terms of maintenance, but that would be one treatment every six weeks or every two months or whatever, depending on how stressed they are, and not wait till their arms and legs are falling off before coming back. And just like you maintain your car, you maintain your body.
**0:17:46** - (Benjamin): So practicing that way means you get new patients and repeat clientele by servicing people to the best of your ability and trying to fix them quickly. And they'll go away and they'll tell four or five people about you, and that's how you actually continue to get new business, rather than relying on the same person coming in week after week, month after month. It depends a little bit on the condition. Some people have more severe conditions that need to be maintained.
**0:18:14** - (Benjamin): Other people need to be fixed and then let go. And then I'm still trying to get better at this, is to have a follow up sequence. So not letting people go for two years without not necessarily trying to get them back into the clinic, but just finding out how they're going and reaching out to them, because no one does that. No one does that. Medical doctors don't do that. I don't care. It's like a treadmill where people step on and step off.
**0:18:40** - (Benjamin): And it's one thing my mentor taught me, is to care about people and follow up with them. And it doesn't matter if they don't come back for six months. It's not what it's about? It's about actually genuinely caring about someone getting better and are they actually on the right track with their health or do they need some assistance? And if they need to come back, they'll tell you that, but if you don't inquire, you don't know.
**0:19:02** - (Benjamin): So following up is definitely important.
**0:19:05** - (Carmen): It kind of reminds me of that phrase, people don't remember what you do, but they remember how you made them feel.
**0:19:10** - (Benjamin): Yeah, very much so.
**0:19:11** - (Carmen): And so, would you say most of your clientele does come from word of mouth? Like, has that been your main driver for business growth, was through word of mouth?
**0:19:18** - (Benjamin): It is now. It certainly is now, because it is the best and the most reliable and it's free paid advertising can work. But in my field, I grew up under some much older practitioners, my mom and my grandparents that were all in medicine. And it was seen as very unethical to advertise. If you advertise, it meant you weren't good. That's what it meant. Well, that was the stigma that I grew up with. I don't quite believe that now because it's a different world now.
**0:19:48** - (Benjamin): But basically, if you are good and you care about people and you can help them, they will do your marketing for you. And the quality of those leads tends to be much better than trying to come up with Facebook advertising, because I know that because I've done that for quite a long time. And, yeah, you can do okay out of it, but the quality of the leads aren't really as good. So looking after the people that come and see you and servicing them to the highest down possible, that's how you get repeat business.
**0:20:17** - (Carmen): We'll be right back to the Committed Creative podcast after this quick break.
**0:20:22** - (C): Do you want to leverage your creativity? Are you someone who enjoys doing something different on the weekends? Then come along to the Creative Gathering, a conference and expo full of fun creative experiences built to help you explore your curiosities, make new friends, and experience all things creative. Choose from over 50 creative workshops ranging from cocktail mixology to pottery. And this year we're also adding live tattooing into the lineup.
**0:20:48** - (C): Join us at the Creative gathering on the 22nd and 23 September at Garyholland Center in Rockingham. Grab your tickets for the Creative Gathering now from just $47 on humanitics or visit thecreativegathering.com au.
**0:21:05** - (Carmen): And you mentioned, like, your family come from medical backgrounds. Would you say they were a large influence in your career path?
**0:21:16** - (Benjamin): Yeah, I mean, I guess they must have been. I saw my mother work from home. She had a home practice as an osteopath and she worked for about 55 years. And her father was a Scottish GP in London and he must have worked for over 60 years.
**0:21:33** - (Carmen): Wow.
**0:21:34** - (Benjamin): Three of my four uncles are medical doctors and they've been in practice for one of us passed away, but the other two have been in for 50 years as well. So people don't retire in my family, they just keep working. And that's just part of so, yes, it must have rubbed off on me, but I didn't go in there thinking I'm the only one that does this sort of medicine in my family. I've got a cousin that's a chiropractor, Naturopath, she's married to a chiropractor. My sister studies natural medicine as well.
**0:22:08** - (Benjamin): She's got a business basically selling online organic products for kids. So medicine and health has been a big part of my family, but I think because I grew up with it so much that I was saturated with it, I went away from it once I finished. I didn't really want anything to do about it with it. It bugged me a little bit and that's why I had to do something else and I came back to it. But that's why I went and did a four year apprenticeship out of school as a panel beater and spray panel.
**0:22:36** - (Benjamin): But the universe draws you back into what you're meant to be doing. So eventually I was going to end up, and I'm very grateful that I did, but I just took a very roundabout way of getting there.
**0:22:47** - (Carmen): And what would you say is the most rewarding thing about your business?
**0:22:51** - (Benjamin): I just love helping people, I think, particularly in my field, because we don't get simple cases generally, we get the ones that no one else can help with. So if you can help someone in that situation, it's such a kicker for me. It makes you feel so good, especially when someone's in pain. There's a lot of different things that we treat. I do a lot of muscular skeletal stuff because I work, I work with my mother for so long, who is an osteopathic, so mainly she sees muscular skeletal.
**0:23:18** - (Benjamin): So I have an affinity with disc problems and people with disc problems, they're in a lot of pain and they're not happy. And Western medicine is not very good at treating that. They give you cortisone injections and they give you surgery and that's basically all they can do. So if you can get someone out of pain and you can heal their back when they've been told that there's nothing else you can do, that's amazing. For me, I love being able to help these people that are stuck and frustrated and haven't got results from other places.
**0:23:49** - (Carmen): And do you find anything about your business challenging and how do you push through those challenges?
**0:23:55** - (Benjamin): Yeah, getting up in the morning and dealing with people's health crisis, that's a challenge because generally people that are, well, don't come and see me. So something that my mother protected, that taught me is to protect yourself a little bit, to not give yourself 100% of yourself to people, because this is how you get burnt out. And so many people in my industry, the stats are horrific. Garment the attrition rate is something like 80% of people that start studying natural medicine don't finish, and of that 20% that finish, 80% of them are not in business within five years.
**0:24:30** - (Benjamin): Like, it's brutal and it's quite grueling. So you could be the best acupuncturist on the planet, but if no one knows about you, you don't know anything about business, you don't survive. And that's not what they teach you when you go and study. They teach you sort of a ridiculous mock theory about how you grow a business, but that isn't how the real world works. Like anything, you have to work that out for yourself and hopefully you get a mentor.
**0:24:55** - (Benjamin): And I think that's true for most industries, actually. You have to get a mentor to help you or you're going to struggle and then it becomes a chore, and then it's not fun anymore. And your job should be fun and you should enjoy it. And lucky for me, I do. I genuinely do. There's times when I don't like any work, but I get a real kick out of helping people and I'm very blessed with what I do and I.
**0:25:16** - (Carmen): Love it because how many years have you had your own clinic? Now.
**0:25:22** - (Benjamin): This is getting on to my second year of my own clinic, so I studied for about 13 years, and this is my 11th year of being in practice. And so I got to probably about nine years before I felt confident enough and was able to go out on my own. And I like that aspect that it's all on me. If I succeed or I fail, it's because of me. And not everyone can like that or deal with that, but I find that quite empowering.
**0:25:55** - (Benjamin): I'm not for the challenge of that. So, yeah, I think that if it's all about how well you deal with people, then if you're successful or not, you've got to own that and not make excuses. Despite how difficult it's been in the last few years with COVID and all the rest of the stuff that's gone with that, it's been difficult. But you don't make excuses in business, you get on with it. And the people that make excuses aren't.
**0:26:24** - (Carmen): Around very long because you would have opened your clinic just after COVID, really. How did you deal with that challenge? I mean, you see your clients face to face.
**0:26:34** - (Benjamin): I do, and that was very, very difficult. So I have to be a little bit careful about what I say. But it was a challenge. It was really, really difficult. And with all the misinformation, I mean, when this whole thing started, what I could draw off, I didn't have a lot of the fear that a lot of the people had. And one of the reasons why it's not about being cocky or arrogant, it's about understanding the history of my medicine. And I stand on the shoulders of giants, right, because Chinese medicine has literally thousands of years of history. To draw off.
**0:27:05** - (Benjamin): So when this looked like the end of the world and this virus was going to wipe out humanity, I knew that wasn't quite the truth because we have documented something like 223 times over the last, say, 3000 years when these kind of conditions had hit the population. And we had a written history of that. This was the symptoms that patients had. These were the herbs we used. And this was the outcome. Because before there were drugs, all people had was herbs.
**0:27:33** - (Benjamin): And a lot of drugs originally came from herbs. People forget that. And just because it's natural doesn't mean it's safe or it's not powerful. That's why you have to go to someone that's trained. So aspirin for example, is still made from the bark of the willow tree, right? So when you look at how drugs work, most of them, or a lot of them, have a roots in natural medicine. And humans are wired through the nervous system to be receptive.
**0:28:00** - (Benjamin): Their cellular receptors are wired to actually accept plant medicine. And I think now that people are waking up, they sort of realize that's actually true. So that gave me it was difficult. I'm not saying it wasn't, because it certainly was. It was a couple of years of hell in trying to open a new business under those constraints and then grotch. That was really, really tough. But I knew that what I offered was valid and had a lot of validity and I could help people. And ultimately that was what my focus was. It was about helping people. And I never went away from that.
**0:28:36** - (Benjamin): And that's still what I believe today. And that's why I keep my doors open and I'll continue to do that.
**0:28:40** - (Carmen): Do you ever get patients who come to your clinic who are quite skeptical about my favorite?
**0:28:46** - (Benjamin): I like them because they tell you the truth. And that's a lot of patients. I mean, I was skeptical before I went. And when someone said to me, ben, go and try acupuncture for your hands, that was a core. My reply was expletive, expletive, expletive my house. Like literally, I did not think that was a valid thing to say because no doctor had suggested to me that maybe you need to go and try this. So I was a complete skeptic.
**0:29:13** - (Benjamin): And I really don't mind those people because if you can help them with acupuncture or really anything, they'll give you very, very clear feedback. So I quite like those patients because of that reason that they don't just want to cross their fingers and hope it's going to work. They'll tell you very clearly whether you're any good or not, whether it's helping or not. And I don't mind that because it's not placebo.
**0:29:39** - (Benjamin): This is a real medicine. And that's why it's stood the test of time. Been around for thousands of years.
**0:29:43** - (Carmen): Absolutely. So where to? For Ben? What is the future headed for you?
**0:29:48** - (Benjamin): Yeah, that's a good question. So I'm in this clinic in CB for about another year and a bit. So I will continue to practice out of here, and then I want to open up a bigger premise and expand. And I guess my legacy goal is to incorporate this facet of medicine and amalgamate it with Western medicine. I would like to have a hospital eventually that actually offers this stuff because it has so much validity and the ability to help so many different people.
**0:30:18** - (Benjamin): And I've seen that from studying in China and Japan has this, and Korea has this, and Vietnam has this. So if it's good enough for them, why isn't it good enough for us? So I will continue to push and try and help people with Chinese medicine and hope that it will eventually be amalgamated into Western medicine because it has so many things to offer, which Western medicine doesn't. But there's no reason that they can't work in tandem and offer patients.
**0:30:45** - (Benjamin): Some people need Western medicine. That's super important. I was an example of that. Western medicine saved my life, but Chinese medicine brought my hand back. I'm very lucky that I've seen both those sides. So that's kind of my legacy goal is to be able to incorporate this medicine for everyone to be able to use.
**0:31:05** - (Carmen): I'd love to see that, like a more holistic approach. I think it would help so many people. So if there was someone out there who was looking to perhaps start their own clinic or launch a business and leave the nine to five working for someone else, what kind of one piece of advice would you give them?
**0:31:23** - (Benjamin): Okay, I wish someone had told me this back in the day, but basically you mimic someone who's more successful than you. You don't try and reinvent the wheel. You find somebody who has achieved what you're trying to achieve, and you copy them well. You mimic them in your own way. You don't copy them exactly because that might get you into trouble. But don't reinvent the wheel. Find somebody who has walked the path that you're trying to walk and work out what did they do? Go and work for them. Have conversations with them if you can.
**0:31:53** - (Benjamin): That would be invaluable. Go and work for them for free. That will pay dividends forever. So that's really what I mean. I try to do that in a roundabout way, but that's really the best advice I can give to anyone in any industry, not just Chinese medicine or natural medicine. Find people that are more successful than you and mimic them.
**0:32:14** - (Carmen): It's so true, isn't it? You can learn from their mistakes and leapfrog ahead faster. Yeah, of course.
**0:32:18** - (Benjamin): But you've also got to be humble enough to be able to do that and not assume that you know everything. Because a lot of people that come out of college think they know everything, and that's a problem. You have to have realize that your cup is not full, and you have to be willing to take on people's knowledge and experience and learn from that. And if you think you know roofing, you've got no room for new knowledge. And that isn't a good place to be.
**0:32:42** - (Carmen): Yeah. No room for growth. Well, thank you so much, Ben. That's been a great conversation.
**0:32:46** - (Benjamin): My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me on.
**0:32:48** - (Carmen): Thank you for listening to the committed creative podcast. I would be ever so appreciative if you could head on over, subscribe to the pod or leave me a review. Or if you're so inclined, head on over to my website, redplatypuscreative.com, and send me an email with some feedback. I'm all ears. Until next time, here's to going all in on your creative pursuits.