Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Interview with Salar Khan, MD., MBA., author of Unlocking the Natural Born Leader's Abilities: An Autobiographical Expose

Leaders orchestrate commands to people in order to accomplish objectives pertinent and in accordance with their personal principles and intentions. This book sets to identify the qualities and abilities of a certain kind of leader, which I refer to as the natural-born leader (NBL). The NBL possesses innate traits, refined and perfected over time with education, training, and experience. I will attempt to illustrate these traits by drawing from my fifty years of personal experiences and hope readers will look at this as an opportunity to introspect. I have also designed a self-assessment tool so you may self-evaluate the presence of these NBL abilities and identify where you ultimately fall on the spectrum.
Today, there is widespread lack of confidence in leadership whether in business, government, education, or elsewhere. The vision of a confident leader, that of an NBL, is needed for the betterment of the world.

How did you come up with the title of your book? 

It was easy for me because I have fifty years observation and experience dealing with various projects starting with planning and executing with positive outcome, self-motivated, self-confidence, strong faith on my own abilities, daily work targets oriented and achiever, clear vision, no fear of failure, and spending personal money for making a difference in people life. In this way, I find out my hidden talent and skillset due to hard work, honesty, and sincerity which lead to success in my career as a leader. It is my faith that every human being has built in leadership capabilities in their DNA, the only thing which we need to do is to bring out hidden talent capabilities and convert into ability to perform difficult task easily and effectively. By repeating these processes of success again and again one can gain confidence. We start feeling happiness without any award or reward from others. This is what is meant by “Natural Born Leader’s Abilities.” In my book title, I used the word “Unlocking” because it means a lot to me over these last fifty-year’s time. It was a journey and through it I uncovered several hidden abilities by doing hard work and always getting involved in risky difficult projects at home, during my work as a physician, and at organization in a leadership role. It is experience, willingness to learn from one’s mistake and working hard that allows someone to become a natural born leader who can make a difference in this world. This is the reason I came up with the title of this book. 

What is your writing environment like? 

When I was growing up, I developed the ability to work in difficult environment since my childhood. I grew up in a crowded neighborhood within a small, noisy household. My neighbors listened to music very loudly while I was studying and I remember that it had no effect on my concentration or attention. During my high school, my father bought a radio to listen news and then I started listening to music during my pre-medical school exam preparation. I noticed that after listening to good music my motivation to study increased and helped me understand subjects better. This ultimately helped me to perform very well in my Board examination for admissions to medical college. Not much has changed since moving here. I wrote this book during my days off at home with my family watching TV, my son playing video games, calls from my family in Pakistan and the occasional visiting relative. Prior to starting writing on my days off, I would cook first for my family, since they enjoy my cooking and cleaning. After making sure the affairs of the home are in order, I sat down and started writing this book. I spent 12-15 hours during weekends or my other day off in area close to kitchen or living room area. I can only say that this was possible because I developed hyper-focus and State of flow with clarity of mind. I took two months to complete this book due to my determination and target oriented ability to finish job on time. Each page written was a victory and motivated me further to complete this project that I had in mind. This also further consolidated my confidence, increasing my optimal experience and refined my skillset so that I would be ready to tackle any other project with new energy and new ideas. 

What are some of the best tools available today for writers? 

This is my first book. The idea came from my self-reflection on my life and how I was able to create the mindset that I have today. I did not use any tool except for the vision that was in my mind. I used my life experience and observations to put together in this book a snapshot of what it looks like to be a leader. 

What inspires you to write? 

Currently, there is widespread lack of confidence in leadership -whether in business, government, education, or elsewhere. Leaders have fear of failure, and therefore, they cannot perform well. I believe the world is facing a crisis when it comes to leadership; our society needs more positive thinkers. We need the vision of a confident leader -that of an NBL is needed for the betterment of the world. This was my main motivation and inspiration for writing this book. My observations and experiences throughout the last 50 years of my life also have served as an inspiration. I remembered my parents provided a foundation of achieving confidence by teaching me to set smaller tasks or targets in my daily life. Having a clear goal in mind is imperative to achieving success. Free to make self- decision, analyzing mistake, after achieving target or goal feel happy and self-rewarding yourself. An incident made me realize how unpredictable life can really be. On Sunday, March 6, 2016, at about 6:00 pm, the thirty-six-year-old son of my elder sister was sitting on a carpet at home, working on his laptop. He had no history of any illness when, all of a sudden, he dropped dead on the carpet. There was nothing—no warning, no signs, and no symptoms. In two to three seconds, he had already departed. Life honestly doesn’t play on anyone’s timetable except its own. And so, I was compelled to start writing this book in December 2016. 

Did you learn anything while writing this book? 

This is my first book. I developed an abstract novel thinking and clear vision with confidence to plot a book in mind first than transform into writing on paper as a good draft, then the process of refinement started. Despite having no background in writing, getting started and putting words to paper served as a motivator to complete my writing. I learned from my mother that nothing is impossible if you are determined and you can make impossible to possible. I wrote this book which was looked impossible to write with my several commitments at work and home meeting several deadlines on daily basis. Writing this book was a memorable event of my life because I never imagine, I can bring out my all childhood thought into my current memory and put it together in this book. Our past and present is store in our brain hard drive and if we train our mind it will bring event of life faster than computer hard-drive. I trained my mind to think more critically and with honesty to analyze my weakness in order to convert into positivity. If our mind learns to process positive thinking then we will be successful. 

What is your favorite quality about yourself? 

I would have to say that my favorite quality is being able to honestly self-reflect on my mistakes and contemplate ways of correcting myself. In this way, I can change my weaknesses into strengths and thereby develop a more positive attitude and outlook on life. This creates a sense of internal satisfaction and happiness for me. Due to this quality, I truly feel like the happiest man on earth.

Salar Ahmed Khan, MD, MBA, FACA, FCCP, DTCD, MCPS, worked as an Internist and Pulmonologist at Karachi, Pakistan from 1985-87; as the Chief of Medicine, the Acting Director of Medical Services, and Acting Hospital Director at Al-Midhnab General Hospital under the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia from 1988-93; as the Associate Professor Medicine at Baqai Medical College and Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan from 1993-94; as a Surgical Assistant, Material Management, and Acting Central Processing Supervisor at Edge Water Medical Center in Chicago from 1996-2000. He is working as a program specialist at Chicago, Illinois since 2000. He was nominated and won several awards at national and international levels. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, photography, and watching sport, like cricket. He lives in Chicago, Illinois with his wife and two sons.

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