Living in YOUR Top 1% INTERVIEW SERIES with Jonathan Simons, MD by Alissa Finerman
The goal of the “Living in YOUR Top 1%” interview series is to break down the qualities of people who excel and to show that you can be successful and achieve personal greatness from any starting point in your life. The interview series will look at people from all different careers and industries. Some names will be familiar and others may not. The purpose is to understand and borrow from the “best practices” of winners to develop a roadmap to your TOP 1%. We will share a new story every two weeks.
This week’s guest is JONATHAN W. SIMONS, MD, President and CEO of the Prostate Cancer Foundation (www.pcf.org). Dr. Simons is an internationally recognized physician-scientist, oncologist and acclaimed investigator in prostate cancer research. He is the Founding Director of the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University in Atlanta. Dr. Simons received a BA from Princeton University and an MD from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Started in 1993, PCF is the leading philanthropic organization funding and accelerating research globally to cure prostate cancer. The U.S. death rate from this disease has dropped nearly 40% from what was once projected.
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Dr. Simons is an amazing person who is deeply passionate about making a difference in the world. We spoke earlier this month about Living in Your Top 1% and the qualities that help people excel. He is a big believer that passion, combined with small steps and consistency, pave the way for big things.
ALISSA FINERMAN: 1. What’s the most important strength you possess that helps you to be successful in your role?
JONATHAN SIMONS: I think one of my strengths is being able to convey my vision for success and break down the key components to my team. I also make an effort to focus on solutions, make decisions when needed, and empower others to do their job.
2. Tell me about some of the daily thoughts that inspire you to keep going?
JS: As an oncologist, I realize that having a day of health is a privilege and a gift. I have a morning ritual to help ground me for the day that takes about five minutes and includes saying gratitude and a short meditation. Before going to sleep, I always try to think about an interesting idea in science or medicine rather than think about problems.
3. How do you prepare for a new or important project in your life?
JS: My first step is always to define the issue or project. Next, I bring together a team of the best people who won’t always agree on a solution. We will have several team meetings until we can visualize a solution to take action on.
4. How do you record and move forward on your goals?
I am a big goal setter. I have a dedicated goal setting journal where I write down all of my goals in different areas of my life. I then look at my goal notebook on the 1st Sunday of each month to see what needs to be revised.
5. What keeps you motivated each day?
JS: I’m fortunate to say that I’ve always followed my passion and interests which are science, medicine, and helping others. I’ve been able to combine a career with what I love to do.
6. What are some of the toughest challenges you have overcome?
JS: My biggest professional challenge on a daily basis is to channel and prioritize my multiple interests. To do this, I focus on top tier priorities which change frequently. On a personal basis, the death of my father during medical school was a very difficult time. I wanted to help my mom through the grieving process and to excel in school, which was a challenge. I started meditating during this time to calm my mind and gain greater clarity.
7. What do the top performers do differently to excel?
JS: The people who I see excel find a special bliss in doing something or making a contribution at a world-class level. This “bliss” will be different for each one of us. If something is worth doing, you might as well give it all you’ve got. I think it’s important to find something that truly excites you. Then follow that up with consistency and small steps to make progress. The last piece of the puzzle is to train your mind to focus on solutions and see the success that you want to bring into your life. It’s a process! Not everything has to go from zero to sixty in less than a second.
“Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” ~ Joseph Campbell
The “top 1%er” interview series is presented by Alissa Finerman, an Executive Coach and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, speaker and author of Living in YOUR Top 1%. She works with managers, C-suite executives and teams to leverage strengths, shift beliefs and achieve meaningful goals. Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked with Ross Stores, Petco, BNP Paribas, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Brookfield Property Partners, Neutrogena, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Dress for Success. To learn more about coaching with Alissa, please visit her website and follow her on Facebook