The Secret Sauce


It’s hard to not write reviews, suggestions and give advice without reflecting on how I got here and what I thought were the important skills, attributes and abilities to help success.

My life has been a very fortunate one. In a nutshell, I grew up in a small town in Australia and dreamed of being a doctor. My dad was a doctor. I went to public high school. I managed to get into medicine and graduated with First Class Honors and came first in surgery. I stopped for 3 years after internship and did a PhD. Got world recognition for my work on cerebral ischemia. Won a prize in Amsterdam at a world congress for that work. Then I went back into clinical work, finished my neurosurgery residency and got board certified in Australia. Came first in my exams. Went to finishing school and completed extra training (fellowships) at Mayo Clinic and in Toronto, Canada. Got myself a name of spine surgery and teaching and about 2 years ago decided to complete an MBA with the goal of branching beyond clinical practice into business. It’s been a ride! I basically started out in a public grade school and high school, managed to become a neurosurgeon, get a PhD, get a name as a renowned spine surgeon and finish my MBA (almost!) with merit. I set up a thriving non-profit and own a few other companies and have used my knowledge to expand int intellectual property with about 20 patents. This blog is not a resume. If you want to know more about me professionally you can google me, look at LinkedIn, my work website or my resume. This is not about the what. This blog is going to be about the how and why.


This is where I grew up. Narellan/Campbelltown were on the outskirts of the Sydney, Australia in the hot and working class western suburbs. Australia was a racist country in the 1970s, especially the West and had a lot of racism directed towards me growing up. A turban until age 16 didn’t help:

Here’ my first part time job:

My biggest influence was my dad. He was a general surgeon:

(Above):I am bottom left. My twin is to the right and my elder brother top center. This photo was around age 5 in Ghana, West Africa, before we moved to Australia

In high school I played pretty competitive field hockey and was the school captain for a couple of years for that team, I learned a lot about the value of team sports at that time:

(Above): High School Hockey Team in 12th Grade

My proudest moment, by far, was getting into medical school. Such an honor and privilege that people actually allowed me to make decisions about their health. I was always a doctor first and a surgeon second. I learned that watching my dad run his GP practice. His patients loved him:

Getting through medical school, then residencies and then fellowships took me to a lot of places including the Mayo Clinic in the midwest and Toronto Canada:

I had a lot of success. Success at school. Success in getting things done. Success in taking the long, hard road. It’s given time to reflect. How does someone get to where they want and achieve the results they want? This is my special sauce. How I did it. What got me to where I got today.

Dreaming Big

This is a big one. I grew in a working class neighbourhood. I just wanted to be a doctor.I realized that aiming for the stars got you at least to the moon. I never listened when peope said it could not be done. I had so many firsts that I soon realized that if you want it, really really want it, you can have it. My life exceeded every expectation and there is more to come. Dream big!

Be Organized

This is probably the most important thing I ever did. I started with simple lists on a pad. Many years ago I had a Palm Pilot. Now I use Google Tasks and have my list everywhere. Everthing lives in Dropbox. Everything syncs. Organized means planning. Planning for exams. Planning for trips. Planning for surgery. I rarely do things on the fly. Complex spine and brain surgery is about execution. All the planning happens beforehand. If I have to improvise and make up a plan in the middle of an operation, I’m in trouble. Being efficient and organized has be THE key to my success. B

Go Big or Go Home

I’m all about doing things properly or not doing them at all. I once took saxophone lessons. Realized after one lesson that I could not put my best into it so I stopped. If I take a project or am given a task I give 120%. It’s the only way.

Honesty, Decency and Being Nice

(Below): Here’s a book everyone should read:

I read this book in my twenties and read it every few years for decades afterwards. This is the manual for human relations.

The core values of decency, honesty and fair play are really important to me and will stand anyone in good stead over the long run. Be nice to everyone, from the server at a restaurant to an orderly, to a cleaner. Tip well. Be grateful for all you have.

Stay Hungry

I rarely came first in grade school, high school or medical school but did well. It kept me hungry. Once I tasted success I wanted more. Don’t sit on your laurels. Push yourself. Be the best you can be.

One Step at A time

When i started writing my resume at the end of medical school little did I know it would balloon to about 50 pages of achievements. It all came one step at a time. I didn’t wake up and suddenly get a PhD, or an MBA or become a neurosurgeon. Every day was a step. A step towards a mission.

So, now you know a little about me. Driven, nice, accomplished. Welcome to my first blog as i hold your hand and take you through interesting topics in health care, wellness, medicine and being the best you can be inside and out.

 If you have have comment, agree/disagree,  or have a question, please feel free to comment and I will reply. 

Lali Sekhon

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