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Economic Challenges

Dr. Mark Shrime: Life, Service, and Purpose

In this invigorating episode, Dr. Mark Shrime emphasizes the importance of embracing challenges and becoming a beginner to eventually excel. As a young man, he explores the attack on masculinity and advocates for the transformative power of stepping into the unknown.

Key Points:

  • The cliche holds true: a beginner must become an expert.
  • Masculinity, particularly among young men, is under attack globally, especially in the United States and Western Europe.
  • The essence of being a man is going beyond perceived limitations and trying things you think you can’t do.
  • Embracing failure is crucial for growth and transformation.
  • Dr. Mark highlights the impact of his mentor, Dr. Gary Parker, and shares insights gained from working with patients.
  • Service to others is emphasized as a key to success in finding one’s purpose (solving for “why”).
  • The slow death of not aligning with your true purpose in life is discussed.
  • The podcast delves into the transformative effect of a life of service and its profound impact on both the server and the served.

Join the conversation as Dr. Mark Shrime and Barry Shore explore the journey of self-discovery and purpose, urging listeners to solve for their “why” and live a life of impactful service.

Show Notes:

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[7:21Mark’s Dedication and Life Purpose

  • Mark’s dedication to serving goes beyond traditional success metrics.
  • Introduction to Mark’s quest for the meaning of life and the “why.”
  • Mention of Mark’s book, urging listeners to check out details on the website.
  • Discussion on why reinvigorating young men is crucial for societal impact.
  • Mark emphasizes the importance of understanding the “why” in our lives.
  • Highlighting the challenges faced by men in the workforce, especially post-pandemic.

[12:40] Exploring the Why – Who Hurt You?

  • Introduction to the acronym JOY (Journey of You).
  • Exploring the first “Y” – “Who hurt you?”
  • Mark delves into the complexity of examining and addressing past hurts.
  • Host prompts Mark to share his background, born in Lebanon during a civil war.
  • Mark’s family’s decision to flee and their journey to Dallas, Texas.
  • Insight into Mark’s childhood and early life challenges.
  • Mention of Mark’s family settling in Dallas and Mark’s academic achievements.
  • Transition to the next part of the conversation about Mark’s journey and challenges.

[19:43Personal Background and Academic Choices

  • Mark reflects on his high school and college years.
  • Initial desire to study linguistics, philosophy, or be a rock star.
  • The expectations placed on firstborn sons of immigrants.
  • Mark’s admission to medical school driven by filial duty.
  • I candidly admitted to hating medical school and took a year off.
  • Brief mention of working as a teacher in Singapore.
  • Mark’s strategy to pick a specialty that allows him to work less.
  • Entering the field of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgery.
  • Acknowledgment that ENT wasn’t the perfect fit.

[26:48Epiphany in Head and Neck Cancer Surgery

  • Specializing in cancers of the head and neck.
  • Reflection on a second-year off, working with Mercy Ships in Liberia.
  • The realization that this was what Mark had been training for.
  • Discuss the time it took for Mark to decide to align his career with purpose.
  • Mark’s response to whether he regrets the challenging phases of his journey.
  • Acknowledging the unpredictability of life decisions and the road to purpose.

[28.01] Embracing Beginnerhood

  • Host encourages trying new things, like doing a crossword or taking up unfamiliar challenges.
  • Emphasizes the cliché yet true statement that becoming an expert requires starting as a beginner.
  • Discussion on the attack on masculinity, especially among young men.
  • The importance of facing challenges and doing things that initially seem impossible.
  • Acknowledgment that failure is part of the process, and the value of persisting despite initial struggles.

[40.08] The Essence of Life: Service

  • Discussion on the key to success, with a focus on the role of service.
  • Dr. Mark emphasizes the need to turn our lives to service and its transformative power.
  • Exploring the idea that service is a formula for a significant percentage of people.
  • Reflecting on the importance of solving for “why” in a career, even if it seems to deviate from conventional success.
  • The cost of not aligning oneself with their purpose and the slow death that follows.
  • Inverting the hierarchy, prioritizing purpose over the path.

[51.33] Mentor’s Wisdom and United Souls

  • Introduction of Dr. Gary Parker as a mentor.
  • Dr. Gary Parker’s influence on surgical skills and life decisions.
  • Discussing the concept of “us” as United Souls, emphasizing the commonality among all individuals.
  • Exploring the dynamics of giving and taking in life.
  • Differentiating between trading and true altruism.
  • Dr. Mark shares insights from Dr. Gary Parker on willingly giving and graciously receiving.

[55.22] Life as Service and Shared Experiences

  • Reflecting on the transformative power of a life of service.
  • Acknowledging the shared human experience regardless of background or circumstances.
  • Dr. Mark’s experience with patients in Sierra Leone and the impact of their stories.

Insider Tips:

Oday joined IBM Consulting as the Global Sustainability leader in August 2023, bringing extensive experience in scaling businesses and a background in management consulting. Before joining IBM, Oday was the Founder & CEO of Better All Round (BAR), a B-Corp certified, innovative, ESG-focused diversified fiber-based business.

Under his leadership, BAR launched Ora Household Towel, a revolutionary product developed from initial concept to market within a year. Prior to launching BAR, Oday worked for over 20 years as a management consultant, starting his career at KPMG before moving to Accenture, where he held various leadership roles. At Accenture, Oday served as Global Head of Media & Entertainment, Global Head of Business Consulting for Communications, Media & High Tech, and Global Go-to-Market Lead of Accenture’s Analytics business.

Throughout his career, Oday has built strong teams and alliances while serving clients worldwide. In addition to his professional achievements, Oday has served as an advisor to several innovative start-ups and as a founding mentor for Henkel X.

Topics Covered:

  • What is generative AI and how can it help scale sustainability?
  • What will it take to bridge the gap between sustainability aspirations and action?
  • What are three things every business leader should know about generative AI?
  • How does generative AI help organizations collaborate better?
  • Where can our listeners go for more information?

For more information please visit:

Important Links:

About Dr. Mark G. Shrime

Dr. Mark G. Shrime is the International Chief Medical Officer at Mercy Ships and a Lecturer in Global Health and Social Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. He is the author of Solving for Why: A Surgeon’s Journey to Discover the Transformative Power of Purpose (Hachette 2022).

He previously served as the O’Brien Chair of Global Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, as the founder and Director of the Center for Global Surgery Evaluation at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and as Research Director for the Program in Global Surgery and Social Change at Harvard.