Many business owners struggle to achieve the perfect balance between faith, family, work, and community; at times, this balance may seem unattainable. But believe it or not, you can run a very successful business and still have time to enjoy family and do the things you love.
Dr. Brandt Gibson of Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute has found the way—or at least gotten very close. Recently, he sat down with Tom and discussed his approach to work-life balance.
Tune into our newest Tom Talks episode to hear Brandt’s philosophy on achieving balance and equilibrium and to get actionable ideas for pursuing it in your own life.
Tom Foster: Hey, everybody. Tom Foster here with a special edition of TOM Talks. And this is TOM Talks to Smart People. I got my buddy Dr. Brandt Gibson here from American Fork, Utah. I never heard of American Fork, Utah before I met Brandt. I never knew anything about it. Brandt is a podiatrist, and has been with us for six or seven years. It has been a long time. And you were one of the first podiatrists that came on, and you have an interesting story, right? One of the things that it is well known about you is that you have quite a few children.
Brandt Gibson: Just eleven.
Tom Foster: Just eleven. He’s just getting started.
Brandt Gibson: No. That’s not true. Not just getting started, but we do have eleven children and that is actually where our happiness comes from. We get most of our enjoyment in life and so forth from them, and everything that I do is focused around them.
Tom Foster: So you came in for a training day, and you brought your oldest child and third in line.
Brandt Gibson: They both work in marketing.
Tom Foster: Did they decide to do that on their own, or did dad say, “Hey, if you want me to pay for college, you better come here and help me out?”
Brandt Gibson: Camilla actually worked at the practice even in high school. She was a medical assistant in high school. So when the marketing job opened up, she was the perfect fit. So we offered it to her, and she said, “That’s the job I wanted the whole time.”
Tom Foster: Oh, really. Did you know that?
Brandt Gibson: No.
Tom Foster: So there is a lesson. Ask your kids if they want to work for you. They may want to and maybe they are afraid or they don’t know it is okay to ask. I have Thomas working here — it’s the second time he has worked here. I’ve had Sam work here for a little bit, and, of course, Chad, my little brother. Some people think he is my son.
Brandt Gibson: He is too old for that.
Tom Foster: I think so. Anyway, that’s a good segue. It’s a neat thing to get to work with your kids. Not everybody wants to do that, but that’s a life choice you’ve made.
Brandt Gibson: Right. Currently, we have four of my children working there.
Tom Foster: Wow. That’s like almost half. More like a third.
Brandt Gibson: Well, I should say that I have three others that are the janitors of the building. So they go in and clean it twice a week.
Tom Foster: So do you have any other podiatrists working at your practice?
Brandt Gibson: No other podiatrists. Just me.
Tom Foster: And you like it that way?
Brandt Gibson: I like it that way right now.
Tom Foster: Let’s talk about that a little bit. Tell me a little bit about why you got into podiatry and your background.
Brandt Gibson: Since I was two-years-old, I wanted to be a podiatrist. It was basically my whole life.
Tom Foster: Do you come from a big family yourself?
Brandt Gibson: I come from a family of six children, but I don’t have any podiatrists in my ancestors at all. None of my parents or grandparents are podiatrists, but I always wanted to be a podiatrist for as long as I can remember. So it was always the process I was going through. I went down to Miami, trying to increase my chances of getting into medical school. I was down at Barry University, which is one of the podiatry schools, and I was taking classes to get a master’s degree. And as I was taking these classes, I was taking the same classes as first year podiatry students. The more I found out about it, I realized this is what I want to do. And there is a couple of different reasons. One is, podiatry is one of the options you have as a podiatrist where you can go into the room and help these patients. They can come in with pain and leave without. It’s not, let me give you this medication and see you in three months and hopefully it works. We are actually trying to help solve their problems right off the bat.
The second reason why I decided I wanted to do it is, at that time, when I was starting podiatry school I already had three children. The most important thing to me is my family. I can be on call 24 hours a day as a podiatrist, and very rarely will I miss a birthday, soccer game, lacrosse game or basketball game. I can go to everything.
Tom Foster: That’s interesting you said that. You said that to me a little while ago. Your faith and your family, and then the rest. So you really have incorporated all of that together, and that is what I want to talk about. How you have been able to create your perfect life. You are a young guy, and you have already done that with eleven children — that’s quite a feat. So tell me a little bit about your secret. What are you passionate about? What is it that makes you tick? What gets you going?
Brandt Gibson: Well, I try to put God first. I will actually move things around. So if there is something that I need to do for the church or for God (and I feel like it’s important), I will actually reschedule patients or get patients to function around that. The same time, I do that for my family. I schedule time off. So every Friday of every week, unless I’m out of town, my wife and I go on a date. That’s a priority. I’ve done that since we got married. No matter what — that’s the highest priority. Work doesn’t interfere with that — no matter what. The second part of that is that making sure I’m there for my children. So if I find out that there is a concert or something going on and I currently have patients there, I’ll move them because it’s more important that I get there. The interesting thing is that it hasn’t affected my patients at all.
Tom Foster: I think there is a lot to say about that because what I have found is that the more balanced you are in life and you sound pretty balanced. I mean you got your faith and relationship with God — you have your priorities together. Then you have your relationship with your wife and your family, and then you have your relationship with your business and your patients. And everybody kind of knows the hierarchy or the chain of command and goes along with it. And your patients respect the fact that they have to make an adjustment because something is going on with your family or your church. Now is that relationship because they know you? Explain that. You know what I’m getting at.
Brandt Gibson: There are two advantages. One is my location. I’m not the only one that has that priority system. Where I’m at, the LDS churches is a high portion of the population, so it’s almost expected. But also, from day one, it’s always been this way. I never went into this thing saying, “Once the business is working like it’s supposed to, then I’ll put my family first. Or once I get to a certain point, then I can start focusing on the church.”
Tom Foster: Do you think a lot of podiatrists do that?
Brandt Gibson: I think everybody does that. I think what happens is that they think they have to be successful first, and then I can focus on other things that are important. Why don’t you be successful in everything? Be successful in life; don’t just worry about being successful in your business or your medical practice or podiatry practice. Why can’t you do it now? Why do you have to wait 20 years or until everything gets put into place? If you make those your goals now, then everything gets put into place with that being part of it. I was able to leave my practice — without any other podiatrists there — for over two weeks and go to Germany and pick up my son from his LDS mission. The practice still stayed functioning. The patients were still able to be seen in such a way that it didn’t affect their care at all. But it wasn’t convenient. I couldn’t say well, “Could I have been seeing patients those two weeks?” Absolutely. Would I trade it for the world? Not at all.
Tom Foster: We were talking about that before this video that you set up your life to be a certain way, and you want to continue to do that. You have other goals and plans, and we’ve talked about that. That’s why you are here to start putting those things in place so you can do that. So what would your advice be to other podiatrists? We were talking earlier about guys doing the bare minimum. You’ve been very successful as a podiatrist in your area. You are not hurting for patients. You have what you like. You have set your life up very well. What advice would you give to another podiatrist or any business person to be able to set up their life in this way?
Brandt Gibson: Basically, you got to ask: What do you want? What are your ultimate goals? What are you working for? What do you want it to be? It’s not just, “I want to make such and such amount of money.” That’s not what I’m talking about. What do you want from your life? Where do you want to spend your time? Who do you want to be with? All that kind of thing. If I walked away from podiatry right now (I love podiatry I wouldn’t do anything else), but if I walked away from it right now, I would still have the things that are most important to me. Because my wife isn’t going to go anywhere. She and I are together, and we like being together. We are enjoying our time together. The more we are together, the more we like each other. My children are some of my best friends. I can talk to them and sit down with them and sometimes even call them on the carpet and say, “Look, this is how it needs to be.” And they expect it and they like it, and that’s not going to change. And so you really got to decide, “What do you want? Where are you trying to go with this?” And go there now. Don’t wait for 20 years from now. Decide this is the kind of lifestyle I’m going to lead, and right now I’m going to act like this is how my life is. It’s the fake it until you make it type situation, but instead of faking it, you are actually doing it now. So that down the road as things change — as you get busier in your medical practice or business — your priority is still the same. So you still have time to spend with your wife. You are still having time to spend with your children, and still having time to spend with any other priorities — whether it is God or other hobbies or anything like that.
Tom Foster: You know, going back to what you said about waiting — about doing all the work on the business first and getting that done — it just doesn’t work. Your kids grow up, and you don’t really have that solid relationship with them because you were gone during those very important times. And so you are right. You actually, and you always have, lived that balanced life that I hear from books I read; and I do my best, and I know Jim does too about having a balanced life — which is your own personal stuff, your work stuff, your spiritual stuff. All of that needs to be in balance for you to be so chill. And here is Brandt, one of the chilliest guys I know.
Well Brandt, thanks so much for coming out. I enjoyed our short talk. It was pretty short, comparatively. It could go on and on. I really appreciate you coming out, and telling us your story. You got your team here — learning how to do more stuff in DSS, and how to make that website bigger and better and get more of the patients you are looking for, for the lifestyle you are looking for. It’s not a volume thing, is it?
Brandt Gibson: It’s not volume; it’s to support my family and my God, basically, so I can do what I want to do.
Tom Foster: Right. And that’s really it, guys. If you want to be happy, you need to live a balanced life. And that doesn’t mean work all of the time. That’s kind of what we are talking about here, and here is a great example. And if you want to know a little bit more about Brandt, then look him up and give him a call. He’ll talk to podiatrists about how to do better.
Brandt Gibson: I’m not hard to find. It’s UtahFootDoc.com.
Tom Foster: UtahFootDoc.com — it’s a really good website that he has there. So Brandt, great talking to you. Thank you so much. Alright, everybody, Tom Foster of TOM Talks. We’ll see you on the next one.