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37 - The Adjacent Possible - Health Fit Biz





The adjacent possible is where magic happens.

By having multiple areas of expertise, business opportunities present themselves to you when they are seemingly invisible or impossible to others.

Once you’ve established a high level of knowledge in one particular area, real growth occurs not from becoming MORE of an expert in just that area, but by developing other skills and abilities.

Think about Arnold Schwarzenegger. The reason he had such epic roles in movies was because he had multiple things that made him a unique fit and that opened up doors for roles that were impossible for others. He is great actor, he was a professional bodybuilder, etc.

If he never was a body builder, but just an actor who spent all his time just trying to get better at acting, he wouldn’t be cast for those roles.

Since he had those different qualities and skills, it allowed him to do things others couldn’t.

The same thing is true in the heatlhcare and fitness industries.

Once you achieve a high enough level in those particular fields, opportunities will arise that you can take advantage of if you broaden your skill set.

Anthony and I, for example, have developed enough web skills over the last 4 years to make Movement Providers in a weekend, blending our understanding of what referring clinicians want with the technical requirements of a listing website.

There are countless other examples.

The question is, are you currently trying to broaden your skills or are you chasing perfection in one particular area?

We need people who are experts and specialists in one particular area. If that is you and what you want, become the expert. Be laser focused on that one particular subject.

If you want to combine unique abilities and take advantage of the adjacent possible, choose an area you want to develop and pursue it with intent.

This Week’s Challenge

Decide the area of expertise you want to grow in.





Ryan: I’m Dr. Ryan Debell. This is the Health Fit Business podcast episode number 37. Thanks for tuning in. Thank you for joining us once again. On this episode, we discussed the adjacent possible and why it is so important for you to develop your skills and expertise in multiple areas so that you can see business opportunities that are seemingly invisible to other people. So without further ado, let’s listen in to episode number 37.

Ryan: Dr. Anthony Gustin, how are you?

Anthony: Welcome! Are we live?

Ryan: We are live.

Anthony: Welcome, welcome to another episode…

Ryan: of the Health…

Anthony: Fit Business podcast. I miss you, Doctor. It’s been a couple of weeks now.

Ryan: I am a… Where are you located currently? It’s looks sunny wherever you are. You look a little tan.

Anthony: Yeah. I’ve been getting some sun. I’m in Puerto Rico right now. So about I just got here two days ago and I’m wrapping up some things, walking the talk in doing a retreat the next five to seven days. I know I have talked about that in podcast before but the importance of kind of pulling back from the day to day to kind of assess everything so things are getting a little overwhelming right now. Running basically five large projects but to add another one. And just taking some time to kind of step back, gonna fill up a few sketchbooks, and to do some deep scheduled work to get a lot out of that  and then hit the ground running when I get back in mid-April. I don’t know when this podcast will launch but…  

Ryan: Today.

Anthony: Today? Oh awesome. I’m going to be here around a week or so. I’m gonna miss you.

Ryan: Yeah. What are we talking about in this episode?

Anthony: We’re gonna be talking about the adjacent possible as we have to call it.

Ryan: You wanna know what’s kinda funny? So you know all those videos we recorded a couple of weeks ago? Which is a A to B announced thing. All those videos it’s like you would say something like “Oh the adjacent possible” and it was my job to be like the guy asking the dumb rhetorical question. “The adjacent possible, what is that?” As I was reviewing I’m like… You know when you watch yourself on video and hear yourself talk you realize you do this weird thing and sounds like I’m like the…

Anthony: Yeah.

Ryan: I was like the… What do you call the guy who’s like entertaining the king?

Anthony: A jester, court…

Ryan: I was like the court jester like “Anthony, what is…” So the adjacent possible is essentially… Well, first of all it requires having a fair amount of expertise in essentially two or more unrelated or kind of unrelated areas or fields and that allows you to see opportunity that’s possible between the two that is really invisible to someone who doesn’t have expertise in both or all through your form or whatever of those areas.

Anthony: Right. So an example would be if you were a carpenter and you use a certain style of like this cutting edge technique to widdle down wood for example. But let’s say you also play guitar and you are very skilled at using that instrument. You could use those cutting edge technique as a carpenter in your level of awareness of how a guitar is played to apply that to making a guitar for an instance that is different than any else has ever done before. So you’re using awareness in two separate things, guitar skill and carpentry skill, to provide value to not only yourself but to other people in a form of something that is not aware to either what would be a guitar player even knowing that type of say fret board or body cut out would be possible or to a carpenter knowing that the intricacies of a guitar and the shape and how it’s played.

Ryan: Are you describing yourself?

Anthony: I wish I was it but master carpenter? Carpentry skills? Someday, someday.

Ryan: You’re not gonna learn how to cut wood with a knife down by the beach in Puerto Rico. It’s that on the agenda?

Anthony: I mean I have built like half of the furniture in my apartment so…

Ryan: That is true.

Anthony: That is some rudimentary skills but I don’t have expert level skills and I think that’s what people need to realize is that lot of the stuff you need to be kind of cutting edge of those fields to have more adjacent possibles like it’s not our requirement to be at that level but the more clearly you define any type of the skill and become more expert at it the more of these possibilities are gonna pop up on anywhere. So an example of how we’ve done this, in combination obviously, we went to grad school for let’s say movement… I don’t even wanna say chiropractic ‘cause I think it’s kind of different at this point what we do but healthcare in general…

Ryan: I mean that’s what the program was. It was chiropractic but I wouldn’t say what either we do would fall into the traditional chiropractic currently what we’re doing.

Anthony: Exactly. So we had, you know, professional degree in chiropractic healthcare and then we started doing a lot with websites in online business.  

Ryan: A lot with websites.

Anthony: Yeah. A lot. So we had four years of figuring out how to do, how to code websites, how to do development, how to do web design, all these different stuffs. So I feel like, I mean… We’re obviously not like expert coders by any mean but we can get ourselves around pretty damn well through our website right now and built from scratch in about, you know, an afternoon. So, the awareness for us to be able as health care provider to understand what’s missing from kind of resource standpoint and the ability to see what’s possible from making a website on the back end. I mean this is essentially how we created Movement Providers in an afternoon.

Ryan: The 24 hours you locked yourself in the closet.

Anthony: Yeah. And so, I mean that would not have come up if we’re like “Oh shit, we should make a website that’s whatever” like we would immediately knew that we could do that and what the opportunities were but if we were just the web developers, we would not have known the need for consolidated resource to have a bunch of chiros, PT’s, gym owners kind of live under this kind of umbrella of movement providers.  

Ryan: And know what their needs are in terms of the idea of what movement providers or someone who would go to the site and then they can quickly cut through all the BS just… Like we put the relevant information right at the fingertips. These are the certifications. These are ones that people wanna know about. These are ones that would wanna, you know, look forward if you’re provider looking for a trainer or another provider it just…

Anthony: Our website, something like that, that we know what patients and clinicians look for for each other.

Ryan: Right yeah.

Anthony: Obviously, it’s very intuitive for us so for us to be able to then make the website directly on that. It makes sense, right?

Ryan: It’s the adjacent possible. It was quick to make. We could see the opportunity there, the need and then it just gets done very quickly. So, I guess the question for the listeners would be… And by the way now I have to mark this explicit because you swear. You used the four letter word. I have to mark the podcast episode…

Anthony: What did I say?

Ryan: S-H blank T.

Anthony: Oh. Whatever. Mark it.

Ryan: Anyways, so I guess what we have to you know get people thinking about is what is your adjacent possible? What are your areas of expertise? I mean as you mentioned, Anthony, we spent four or more years just working on websites, making mistakes, learning, reading, watching videos. I did actually a fair amount of coding in business school so I had some of that background. Did I ever tell you that I had to do that?

Anthony: No.

Ryan: I had to do so much coding in… You know, so like in my upper level information systems courses, the final exam would be the professor would write a task on the whiteboard and then you had a blank sheet of paper and the test was “Write the code to make this do this.”

Anthony: Did you do in 14 minutes?

Ryan: 14 minutes?

Anthony: Would you have beaten me in the test or not?

Ryan: In time or score? Because I got a hundred percent.

Anthony: Definitely score but…

Ryan: But here’s the thing, you had to just know logically how that stuff works. So, you know, I was really trained in the logic of how to write code. Anyways, so all of that stuff, and by the way, when I came out school I didn’t know how to make a site like Movement Providers or anything like that I mean it’s just being trained to think logically. But then by doing it and doing and doing and developing the skills and not shying away from areas that we didn’t know about and I think that’s key is people think that “If I don’t really know how to do this…” they’ve waited because we don’t like jumping into things that we don’t know how to do. It’s uncomfortable but that’s the area of growth. And so by doing that in a course of years you developed the skills that then allow you to do, you know, business ventures and projects. That just makes sense to you because of how you’ve seen the world and seeing what’s you know possible. And I think what the listeners, you guys, should think about is “What areas do I have multiple you know like depth… What are the multiple areas that I have depth of knowledge in?” And then think about “How can I, you know, what problems does that solve? What does that look like if when it pans out over time? How does that become a solution to a problem?”

Anthony: Yeah. If you think about it from like I said before, the more an expert you are the more opportunities you’re gonna have but that’s only if you have multiple areas of expertise.

Ryan: So if you’re just more, you know, super duper expert in one area…  

Anthony: Right.

Ryan: You can’t see that adjacent possible.

Anthony: And so while I think that, you know, we’re both very skilled clinicians. Let’s say we’re in just give a wrap like top 10% of clinicians as far as the time we’ve invested in our own skills in that regard. To go from the top 10 to the top 5 or 3 or 1 percent is we’re gonna, is gonna require so much energy that you probably could have got to the top 10% in four or five other things that you could’ve combined to increase the opportunities  and the value that you could provide.

Ryan: Exactly. I like to think of it almost like the, if you think about it as an asymptote and…

Anthony: What? Doctor, our geometry friends out there who forgot what is an asymptote.  

Ryan: I don’t know if I would say it was geometry. I would say it will more like algebra or calculus but that’s beside the point.

Anthony: Right.

Ryan: Essentially it’s a curvature on the graph where you can’t ever like really reach the you know, the fixed x value or y value or x value I guess. You could go either way. And the idea would be this let’s say your clinical skill as you said, you’re at 90% of theoretical possible skills at being a clinician or a trainer. Do the majority of people…  See I have to step back mic right now ‘cause I’m preaching. Do the majority of people that you’re gonna be helping need that last 10% of weird expertise that… There’s so few people that you’re gonna be dealing with who need you to be better than 90-95% of like absolute maximum. Because most people just need basic things unless you’re a specialist, of course. If you are the specialist person obviously, own that. But for the majority of people, it’s not you’re doing them a disservice by not endlessly pursuing these weird little things to try to get you maximal clinical abilities when in reality people need basic stuff. So instead of taking that you know going from 90-95%, that 5% increase in skills is equal to 90% development probably in three different areas.   

Anthony: Yeah. And so I think I had this in a podcast somewhere. I’ve been talking about this kind of issue before and how it really can speed up the path along a certain trajectory so for instance the actor, you know, the trick that it was in Avatar. It was one of your favorite movie obviously.

Ryan: Zoe Saldana?

Anthony: Yeah. Yeah.

Ryan: Alright. Zoe. Alona doesn’t like Zoe but Ryan likes Zoe.

Anthony: Okay, why did I go there but… The reason why she got this break is because she was also… So she invested into acting very deeply but she also was an expert in dance or ballet or something. And another this is she spoke several different languages.

Ryan: Oh is that why she’s so good?

Anthony: Yeah. Yeah. So then…

Ryan: “You make so much noise like a little baby.”

Anthony: Okay, stop with the Avatar. Is that okay? Shouldn’t brought that up.

Ryan: Did I ever tell you when Alona would come home from work ‘cause she, you know, she gets home late…

Anthony: You’re face would be painted blue and you would be running around screaming “N’avi afraid of this.”

Ryan: Eating like huge luscious pieces of fruits? No. I literally, she came home like, you know, for 30 days in a row I was watching Avatar.

Anthony: Oh my god.

Ryan: Yeah. Anyways, that’s my point of contention is.

Anthony: Anyway, when they were looking at people to play the role they said “Oh she can move her body really well because she’s an expert dancer. She spoke several different languages. But she wasn’t like a crazy like she didn’t put all of her eggs in the acting bucket.”

Ryan: Julia Roberts.

Anthony: Yeah. I mean…

Ryan: Right? You know what I’m saying like she would be the example of just pure… like she’s not I don’t know if Julia Roberts is…

Anthony: I don’t know what Julia Roberts does in her spare time. I’m just saying that she could have spent all of her time acting and not pursuing her languages and her dancing but then would have got her to where she’s at now because she’s stuck out of the crowd and everybody just trying to just act. So, she had more skills to offer and more areas of expertise that make her more appealing.

Ryan: So rather than being a slightly better actress just in terms of pure acting skills by having all these other things. I mean wouldn’t you say that’s the same thing as true for Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Anthony: Oh yeah. He is the epitome of this.

Ryan: I mean the reason he would get these you know roles is because he had so many like other things going on beside just the ability to act you know on camera.

Anthony: Yeah. I mean the guy is hilarious. More than that, he had a bodybuilding career so he’s different in that aspect. You had business acumen so all these deals are actually very favorable because he worked through business in real estate before he ever started acting and so he had all these different things that are in placed that makes him so incredibly successful.

Ryan: I think the issue is that we really addressing is getting so hyper focused on you know one particular thing in your life that you lose sight of reality and that the world is much bigger than just become you know knowing a little bit more about one narrowly focused topic because you miss the bigger picture. You miss what’s actually possible out there.

Anthony: Yup. into kind of bring a lot of other concepts that we talked about before the only way you could really get quickly good at alot of doing things is by doing time blocking and deep work so you can actually invest time into doing things in an undistracted way.  It enhance intentional focus and practice at getting better at things like we just did 30 minutes here there of web stuff. In the past four years like we would know how to set up maybe a theme.

Ryan: Yeah.

Anthony: So I’d say the challenge of the week is try to identify where your current highest level of expertise is now. And instead of thinking about like if you should continue medication course in that same thing to just kind of keep doing what you’re good at, find something that you’re not good at that isn’t necessarily related but something you’re interested in and know that you’re going to be seeing more possibility of opportunities as you move along that may not be clear at the beginning. But try to invest in time instead of getting better at what you’re currently expert at and try to get expert level skills in another domain.

Ryan: And I think it’s important too that you don’t have to have a background at all in the thing you are going to be pursuing that you’re not currently an expert in.

Anthony: It’s probably even better if you don’t in my opinion. Like the further away that it is from your area of expertise the higher likelihood that you will see stuff that no one else does.

Ryan: So, that’s the challenge of the week now. Anthony, before we close this let me ask you a question.

Anthony: Let me answer it.

Ryan: Okay. I’m letting you. What area do you see for yourself as an area you wanna grow in?

Anthony: Oh writing. Did you want me to like sit and ruminate that? Like ponder for a while or what?

Ryan: I just actually wanted to know.

Anthony: Okay. What about you?

Ryan: Yeah yeah. See I shouldn’t have asked.

Anthony: Can you sigh into the microphone next to me so that I can…

Ryan: I shouldn’t have asked you ‘cause I didn’t have one planned in terms of answering.

Anthony: Now you can sit and ponder.

Ryan: I’ll ponder and I’ll let everybody know on the next episode.

Anthony: That’s a wrap. Get after it.

Ryan: Get after it.

Ryan: Thank you guys for tuning in to this episode of the Health Fit Business podcast. If you found it helpful, please share with someone that you think it would also help and leave us a five-star rating on iTunes. Make sure also to go to healthfit.biz and sign up for the email notifications to which you can find right on the homepage so that you get all the updated podcasts and blog posts sent directly to you. Until then, we will see you next time.