Dr Ryan Shelton has been practicing functional medicine since 2003. He specializes in using natural remedies to help his patients heal their bodies and feel better. Among his other current professional responsibilities, he is Chief Research Director for Zenith Labs.
He has lectured medical professionals across the US on hormone replacement therapies, worked closely with compounding pharmacies to create unique therapies, mentored executives in creating effective medical spas, acted as Wellness Director for therapeutic programs, and been influential in creating cutting-edge Telemedicine programs.
Q: What Do You Love Most About The Industry You Are In?
I think my favorite thing about working in functional medicine is that it gives me a chance to try and take some of the mystery out of medicine for the average person. There have been gatekeepers around any form of high-level knowledge for too long.
The goal of this gatekeeping is to keep authority in the hands of the few. I believe that knowledge is too important to be hidden from the people, and I love the chance to show people how they can take charge of their own health.
When people learn their own systems and functionalities, they become incredibly engaged in creating wellness for themselves.
Q: What Keeps You Motivated?
Science and nature; always have and always will. I love the investigation and discovery involved within the challenges of nature and within the magnificence of nature.
Q: How Do You Motivate Others?
This one is harder than motivating me. I can be excited about natural medicine and what we’re achieving all day long, but what’s in it for the average person? What do prospective patients WANT? Most want to feel well and to have a great sense of control.
I try to get them to see what’s called the “WIFFM”, an acronym that stands for “What’s In It For Me.” It’s not enough for me to tell them that these things I’m suggesting will help them. They need to understand how these benefits will improve their lives in a granular way.
Q: How Has Your Career Grown From Its Early Days To Now?
In the beginning, I was just the “Natural Medicine” guy. To say that people were skeptical would be putting it nicely. There just wasn’t enough information out in public about how effective the holistic approach could be, so people had some misgivings.
Luckily, some brave patients gave it a shot, and then word started to spread. I have worn many hats in my professional medical career. This has helped to develop my current status to one of an expert in my field.
Q: Where Do You Get Your Inspiration From?
I try to draw inspiration from the world around me. The world is such an amazing place if you take the time to slow down and appreciate it.
The fact that as human beings evolved, the world evolved to provide them with things to help keep them healthy is simply astounding to me. It shows me that we really are children of the planet and still have so much to learn.
Q: What Traits Do You Possess That Make You A Successful Leader?
I would say the two most important leadership qualities I’ve tried to foster in myself over the years are open-mindedness and determination.
I’ve had my vision for a long time now, but that didn’t necessarily mean it was the right one. I had to be willing to take in any data that came my way to ensure that my end goals were pointing in the direction I wanted to go. That’s where open-mindedness comes in.
I had to purposefully take in any data that may have disproved my conclusions to arrive at a new solution. In science, your thesis is not considered valid unless it’s falsifiable (able to be disproved), so I was never under any impression that my ideas were perfect.
At the same time, I had a vision for what natural medicine meant to me, so I was able to adapt my initial vision to meet the new data I absorbed.
Q: What Suggestions Do You Have For Someone Starting In Your Industry?
Try to tune out the background noise. You’re going to have a lot of people out there spouting a lot of ideas about natural medicine at you.
Truth to be told, there is a great deal of conflicting information out there, mostly because the established medical profession is invested in keeping the status quo.
If you have a vision and a passion for natural medicine, then keep at it, and don’t let anyone tell you you’re wrong for following your passion.
Also, waste no time with negative detractors.
Q: What Is Your Biggest Accomplishment?
I’ve always felt that succeeding on my own terms was a big accomplishment. There were countless people back in the day who told me that I was going down the wrong path, that I’d never succeed by pushing natural medicine.
I needed to follow the same path. There were times when I almost listened, but thankfully I kept true to myself and was able to succeed with my vision on my terms.
Q: Outside Of Work, What Defines You As A Person?
Clearly, a husband and a father. I’m a junkie for new experiences. I love to travel, try new restaurants, try new hobbies, whatever the case may be. If I’ve never done it before, I’m game to try it.
Life is too short to keep yourself on the same path you’ve always walked, and if you never take the road less traveled, you have no idea what you might miss.
One of my favorite movie quotes comes from the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
– Life moves fast.
– If you don’t stop to look around.
– You could miss it!
Q: Where Do You See Your Career In Five Years?
In 5 years, I see myself doing more virtual lectures to train newly graduated healthcare professionals on the style of medicine I practice and promote.