Some of the greatest things begin on a cocktail napkin. And that’s particularly true if it’s the napkin from a classic margarita. Long, long ago, way back in the infancy of my trial lawyer days when I used to visit my sister and brother-in-law for holidays, a great idea was born. My brother-in-law is a dermatopathologist (no, I don’t expect you to know what that is, much less how to pronounce it… Just know that it takes 8 years in addition to the 4 years of medical school and 4 years of college to gain that unpronounceable title! So it must be important!) And he is arguably the best in his field. He’s a skin pathologist. A determine-if-you’ve-got-cancer-and-will-die-this-year, or you-got-lucky-this-time-and-are-in-the-clear doctor. (Pssttt… hint hint – wear sunscreen!) And there’s a lot of skin cancer in Arizona!
So every time I visited, I noticed he would bring home a list of cases that said in large print at the top “Must be read by Heather’s brother-in-law only.” (Well, that wasn’t exactly the verbiage, but you get the point.) I witnessed this over and over, year after year. I also witnessed his general unhappiness with working for “big corporate.” He often offered fantastic suggestions to the powers that be, only to have those suggestions fall on deaf ears. Frustrating indeed. (You can probably see why there was a need for margaritas!)
Meanwhile, I was equally frustrated with “big law firm” politics and such. So I suggested that he go out on his own and start his own medical practice, and I would open my own law firm back where I was practicing. I did. He didn’t. I’m a risk taker. He’s not. My law firm was lots of fun, lots of work, and successful, but after 5 years I was ready for something different. (Courtroom politics really aren’t any better than big law firm politics…) At that same time, the demand for my brother-in-law’s medical expertise continued to grow. And he was still miserable. I knew he had to go out on his own. It was a no-brainer!
So my sister and I took him out for a heart-to-heart over some Mexican food and margaritas! We convinced him that it was worth the risk to start his own practice. (It really was such a no-brainer, that it honestly wasn’t even a risk.) We drew up the basic elements of the business plan on a cocktail napkin (boy, do I wish we still had that napkin!), and by the end of the evening (and a pitcher of classic margaritas), we raised up our glasses, made a toast to the future, and that was that! He agreed, but only if I was willing to start and run the place. I was thrilled for the opportunity. He was relieved to have me at the helm. And my sister was ecstatic to have us all in cahoots with each other in this new venture. He quit his job, and I moved back to my beautiful home state of Arizona!
I spent 6 months writing and perfecting the business plan. He spent that time shoring up professional relationships and personal friendships. And my sister poured her heart and soul into finding and designing the perfect place. We all took a vacation together (more margaritas were involved) just before the doors opened (we knew it might be our last vacation for awhile. And it was). And we were off to the races. The three of us together (my sister is also a doctor) grew that business from nothing but an idea on a cocktail napkin to a 30 employee, exceptionally high quality, well-respected medical practice and laboratory over the next five years. We got the attention of several national conglomerates that competed with each other to purchase us. And we knew then, it was time to sell. I negotiated the deal. My brother-in-law decided which organization would work for him, and the rest – as they say – is history. (Again… more margaritas to celebrate!)
The beauty of a classic margarita is it’s simplicity. Good quality tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau (and a little blue agave or simple syrup if you want to add a little sweetness). Shake it all up with some ice, strain it into a salted glass (my favorite part!), toss in come ice cubes, and that’s it! Refreshing, wonderfully tart, and oh so strong! The combination works so well together. Just like the combination of the three of us does (even better now that I have an awesome husband to be part of the team)! The classic margarita will always have a special place in my heart. Make one for yourself and raise your glass to the future! You never know what a great idea, a lot of hard work, and a pitcher of margaritas will bring! Here’s to you…!
For more about the classic margarita and Cinco de Mayo, check out this 10 Minute Podcast!