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Trying New Things Sometimes Requires Going New Places

Posted on May 3, 2023 by James Harold Webb
Trying New Things Sometimes Requires Going New Places

Trying New Things Sometimes Requires Going New Places 

Sometimes, forging new paths and opportunities requires us to branch out of our comfort zone. The period of time, when I established Paradigm Healthcare and took it to countries outside of the US, would prove to be some of the most impactful years in my life as a businessperson and owner/operator. 

Our sights were first set on Trinidad where we had to fight for our presence in that country. We needed the minister’s permission to operate and made a compelling argument for the benefits that our technology would bring to his country. We walked in feeling optimistic. We walked out disappointed, with no clear answer or direction. 

I was probably a little dejected, but I don’t tend to wallow. Resilience, after all, is what I attribute to every success in my life, so my team and I made a plan. The next week, we took out a full-page article in the island’s daily paper to demonstrate to the ministry that we were serious. The article alluded to the miracle of the technology and the opportunities afforded to doctors in providing the best healthcare possible—the care their patients deserved. We even referenced that we were coming, independent of government approval. It was a not-so-subtle message to the ministry, which miraculously changed course and approved our plan to build an MRI center and put it in an empty field next to the soccer stadium. Just like that, we were in business.

Not All New Places Will Provide Success

Paradigm’s Trinidad Center was not even open when we were contacted by another South Florida doctor with a proposition. Allan Herskowitz was a Miami-based neurologist with connections to Nicaragua. After spending some time with Allan, I proposed that we try a joint venture with doctors there to install an imaging center that would serve the community. There was no Stark law in Nicaragua, and I was eager to try new things.

It didn’t sound like a bad deal, and I was probably the perfect mix of naive, cocky, and thirsty for adventure to entertain the idea seriously. I was married to a woman who understood my need to build and grow, working out of the cabana next to our pool and ready to take on the world.

I wasn’t prepared for what I’d see in Nicaragua. Poverty in the US looked cushy compared to what I saw there. I was taken to the palace, from which the Somoza regime had operated, and it was completely empty—a relic, a husk, a shell. It was eerie and exciting at the same time, reminding me of one of those temples in which Indiana Jones would find himself searching for treasure. I couldn’t know it then, but the metaphor of a wide-eyed adventurer looking for treasure in a forgotten place would turn out to be apt for my time in Nicaragua. 

We bought another machine and set it up in Managua, but unlike in Trinidad, where we were able to bring in a steady stream of patients with relative ease, things in Nicaragua didn’t go smoothly. Over the next two and a half years, I flew to Managua fifty-three times, trying to convince doctors to send patients our way, but they were slow to do so. There was virtually no health insurance, and almost all payments were made in cash. We were doing a couple of scans a day, but that was not enough.

Failure Isn’t Bad – It Precedes Success

I was too bullheaded to see failure staring me in the face, and my sense of pride and overwhelming sunk-cost bias wouldn’t let me quit. What money had been coming in from Trinidad was offset by the loss in Nicaragua. We looked and established a few more clinics in other countries—Honduras, Barbados, the Bahamas —but things just weren’t taking off the way I had hoped. I eventually sold the company, made a little money, and began planning my next steps. If I had gone into business in the US, I would have known what I was doing and not been blinded by the adventure of it all, and, man, what an adventure it was. Do I have any regrets? Of course, I do, but in retrospect, it was part of the learning curve that ultimately brought me success. We must seek new opportunities that take us to new places and push us out of our comfort zone. Even if those experiences don’t immediately register as successes, they will contribute to future success. 


In my book, I share with you fundamental principles that have helped me triumph personally and professionally. You’ll learn about amazing wins and devastating losses, about sin and redemption, recovery, and forward momentum that can help you spur your own growth, profitability, and success. Attain your own copy of Redneck Resilience: A Country Boy’s Journey to Prosperity today!