Hi, I’m Joe Sullivan
If any of these questions sound familiar, you’re at the right place:
“How can I develop my potential?”
“How can I overcome the nagging feeling of fear and doubt?”
“How can I live a meaningful and successful life?”
I genuinely believe that we all have what it takes to succeed. We can all benefit from a guide along the way at some time in our lives.
This site reflects my own experiences (both good and bad) and I hope the various posts will answer for you some of the questions above.
I am a dental surgeon. I have also run various businesses throughout my life.
I grew up in Dublin. My first introduction to business was in my father’s shop where I worked together with my siblings from a young age. It was a great experience which taught me the importance of hard work. In those childhood days I used to see myself as a businessman and I always had little sources of income and little ‘businesses’.
It is interesting to note that some of my extra income was gained from helping elderly neighbours and customers. The relevance will become clear a little later.
Another area which intrigued me as a child was building and property development. My father accumulated property so builders were regularly around. I spent a lot of time following them being inquisitive, trying to help and understand what they were doing. I am sure I was seen as a little nuisance. But I began to feel that I might start a business in the construction industry.
I loved organising and planning. At the age of 16 a friend and I played a significant role in the development of a – rather unique at its time – night club for people of my age group. The Grove – you can find it on the internet – it is now listed as an Irish Alternative Discotheque. It was an extremely successful venue which lasted for forty years and became a bit of a cult inspiring a TV documentary and a film. It was a very useful income while we were students.
All this began while I was still at school and although distracted by my projects I was not too bad at my studies so when it was time to leave and plan for my future, my father decided that I would be a dentist. His reasoning and mine did not coincide. My protestations were in vain. His choice was right. I proved to be quite a good at it and was a respected dentist by my peers even as a student.
What became fun in life thereafter was being able to combine all my childhood areas of interest into my life as a dental surgeon.
Having qualified at 23, I moved to the UK where I joined a practice with some very supportive older colleagues. My urge to become my own boss and run my own business brought me quickly to start my first practice and very soon afterwards a second one.
An old medical doctor who was very supportive of me when I started out encouraged me to visit some of his elderly housebound patients. It was an unusual service from a dentist for which I developed a reputation. My liking for helping the elderly from years earlier was reawakened.
Soon, with a partner, we acquired a group of care/nursing homes. Once again business and a keen interest blended.
Owning large buildings such as these and expanding them requires a lot of construction and repair so we employed our own team of builders. There was always some time when they were not busy so to keep them occupied full time we purchased houses for renovation and established a development company. Our property development business became busy it its own right. This is an endeavour which I continued with my wife in our own personal portfolio also. She is very good at it and enjoys having discovered an area of excellence.
It is interesting to note how various areas of interest can blend together and opportunity appears almost by chance if you are mindful.
Life was busy and a lot of fun but suddenly it became stressful. We had a very large workforce which grew to about 120 people. What seemed like a child’s game became a big business. I never missed a moment from work but we had to battle through difficult personal and business situations not least of which were recessions which overnight can decimate the value of property and businesses.
Learning to work with banks and to manage finances through recessions were valuable lessons.
I determined to learn all I could about stress and its causes so that by understanding it I could overcome it. It became an extremely interesting and absorbing subject for me. Somewhere along the line I began to listen to motivational speakers such as Brian Tracy, Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra amongst many others. This helped to shape my thinking. My children willingly listened to motivational tapes whenever they were in my car.
While all this was going on, as a member of a wonderful organisation called Round Table, I was offered the opportunity to organise their National Conference. This was at a time when it was one of the largest conferences in Western Europe. It was a four year task of unpaid work. This amazing opportunity enabled me to build a brilliant team of highly skilled like minded young people and lead them to fantastic success.
This successful leadership, my interest in motivation and my knowledge of stress led me to write my first book in 1995; The Will to Change: From Stress to Success. It sold around the world. This brought an invitation to produce a magazine in my profession. This in turn brought the opportunity to make TV programmes for dentists’ training and subsequently training for care of the elderly.
I also received offers to function in other leadership roles both locally and nationally. As I did all these things, I continually felt that people will soon discover that I am just a fraud and I didn’t deserve the trust people placed on me. Perhaps that is a good way to be. I share my experience on how to overcome imposters syndrome in this post.
Having had a life of opportunity which has been great fun so far, it has been financially rewarding too. That is nice. All of my childhood dreams and ambitions somehow flowed together into adult life. Now I wish to try to communicate some of my ideas on success to you. I hope you will follow what I have to say.
Some years ago, my brother and I, gave a series of seminars to dentists on business, team building and stress management. He is a successful businessman having taken over from my father. He now works for the Carnegie organisation as a hobby. His area of expertise is very interesting. He trains high achieving professionals to speak in public and make business pitches. So many high achievers have neglected this area of development.
We had often talked of a series of lectures under the title; ‘If I knew then what I know now’. Unfortunate circumstances prevented this from happening but I am optimistic that it will happen in future.
That is what I will try to do here. I hope you will follow.