We had the good fortune of connecting with Hiral Patel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hiral, how do you think about risk?
Risk is vital for growth. I view risk as a catalyst for growth because it requires a person to extend themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally beyond confinements set for themselves. These confinements are created from an accumulation of experiences and influences that we have gained since birth. What is important to distinguish when considering risk is if it is potentially going to harm you physically or mentally or if it is something that, when considered, is coming from a place of fear. I had learned that when I was a child, I took risks. These risks included riding a bike with no helmet on, jumping off the sofa, and sliding down a staircase. It was only when my family, friends, teachers, coaches, strangers began to tell me or advise me of what I should not do is when I recognized that I was more hesitant to take risks. I am sure they have valid reasons for saying such, but what I have learned in my later years is that their reasoning was based on their life experiences. It was their perspective, not mine. As I began to understand myself and my risk levels, my goal was to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. The decisions from that point forward were to take on as much risk by staying confident in learning something from that experience. I believed that what I would learn would lead me closer to understanding my full capabilities. Taking a risk requires a person to possibly trigger themselves and create an opportunity to learn, which is hard to do when staying within limits (comfort zone). I knew I wanted to accomplish many goals, and the only way to do so was to get myself out of my comfort zone and test my limits. As I began to do so, I started seeing my ways of thinking expand. I felt more relaxed, less stressed, and true to myself. It was as if I took the grapple fear had on me and pushed it out the way. I only saw myself learn and receive more as I continued taking a risk with my life and career. These experiences include traveling alone in Asia or leaving my family business role to launch my start-up, Antidote. Now that I have shifted my view on risk by removing all of the others’ influence to hear myself, I have learned that risk is essential for humans. We only have access to what we know, so the way to expand outside of what is known is to take a risk and grow into the unknown. We are no good without risk because risk takes us past limitations and into infinite opportunity. Risk also leads to uncertainty. Uncertainty is all around us. However, we are uncomfortable with it, so we create structure in our lives to mitigate uncertainty. It is another way of living in a limited sense because you curate your life when there are many variables you can not take into account. The most significant risk I took in my career was leaving the family business to establish myself. I was attached to the guilt of leaving my family behind and dedicating my time to Antidote. I contemplated taking a risk and creating something that is not monetized or established versus having the security of work and salary. However, I was confident in myself and connected to my WHY, which eliminated the risk. Taking risks has added so much value to my life and given me access to much experience and knowledge that I would not have had otherwise. It has led me to live my life to the fullest.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Antidote is a platform that offers a holistic approach to well-being for patients living with kidney disease. The all-encompassing platform provides much-needed support, including connection, community, encouragement, accountability, resources, and information to help them live longer, healthier lives. I envision this platform expanding outside the context of a website to include a user-friendly, interactive, and accessible mobile application. The goal is to create an inclusive community that shares the belief that challenges are more manageable when faced together. Antidote is personal. I am a kidney patient, and I recognize the unmet need. The population of patients has grown since my diagnosis, but the infrastructure is underwhelming. What makes Antidote different than other platforms is that it does not strictly focus on information – mainly facts and statistics. Patients want more than that; they want connection. Connection and support lead to a significant outcome in health. The basis of Antidote is built on the fundamental values of advocacy, support, and empowerment. I became very present to these values when I was first diagnosed with kidney disease. I felt alone and discouraged by the possibility of an unfulfilling future. I had longed to connect with other kidney patients in my age group to relate to another person. I felt misunderstood, and all I wanted was to connect with someone who shared a similar experience. The diagnosis determined the outcome of my life – or at least that is what I perceived. The label of kidney disease brought upon judgment from family, friends, and strangers. I saw my future from a limited lens. I only became aware of the possibilities when I began to push against the labels and create a path for myself. I found glimpses of my old life, one before diagnosis, so I held on to this part of myself. I was no longer going to sit idle and allow for others to determine my future. I was not my diagnosis; kidney disease does not define me. I started my first support group with the support of my nephrologist, Dr. Hashmi. He is an advocate himself and understood the need for support and empowering patients. It was when I began the support group that I recognized a gap. I was determined to make this a success. However, my expectations were unrealistic, and I became overwhelmed by the pressure to meet the attendees’ needs. The majority of the attendees were dialysis patients that required treatments 2-3 times a week. These treatments are long and strenuous, so many are left tired and disinterested in socializing. Patients have different challenges that get in the way of attending a support group in-person. The aha moment came when I realized the only way to close the gap, accommodate different schedules, and support patients on a larger scale is to give them access. The mobile application provides ease and convenience to fulfill patient needs. The support group, unfortunately, could no longer sustain itself. However, my intention remained the same. I will spend my life supporting and empowering other patients to thrive in their new circumstances. This is the beginning of Antidote. As the years passed since 2012, I transitioned my support group online. I held other positions in my life that took more time away from Antidote because the fear of failure and success held me back. I would be creating a community unlike any other, one that would be a first. The thought of this was debilitating. As the years went on, I inched closer to launch. As I grew closer to launch, my fear took over. I was seeking comfort in security, a secure job that would pull me away from my purpose. I cried many days as I grew anxious over how I would create the vision that is Antidote. I felt strongly about this and knew so long as I strayed away from building Antidote that I would be out of alignment with my true self. I needed the space to connect with my WHY and remove the many roadblocks I have placed for myself over the past decade. The personal growth experiences and realizations inspired me to write my book Anditode: My Commitment to Thrive with Kidney Disease. I wrote the book for those who want to share their stories and reclaim their lives. It is a dialogue to connect and inspire others living with kidney disease. There are no how-to books on this topic, so learning from someone else’s firsthand experience may be the best source of insight available. I had always felt compelled to share my story because what I wanted most when I was first diagnosed was to hear someone else’s account—to connect with a community. I wanted to understand how my life would play out because kidney disease is life-changing. As you read this book, you will follow my journey from when I was diagnosed until now. You will read about my experiences and the realizations I have had along the way, in addition to tools and activities that can support others to discover their identity separate from a chronic illness. I have learned that any time you feel strongly about something, lean into it. Try to understand what it means and why it holds so firmly over you. I know that each time I attempted to stray away from Antidote, it became more present. You may learn that what you want to avoid is something you get to lean into and explore. We are curious as humans, so allow yourself the possibilities versus limitations. Lastly, understand yourself at your core. What matters to you, what are your values, and what influences your decisions? The answers will guide you and keep you aligned with staying true to yourself. This is important because once you know yourself well enough, nothing can hold you back from recognizing your full potential. Remember, you are worth it. Your worth is not tied to your background, culture, sex, etc. You are worthy – always! Know your worth, and do not be your most prominent critic. Be your biggest advocate.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
A week in San Diego, CA! Ohh, there is so much to see and experience! Sunny San Diego, CA is one of the best places to live, if not visit. The beautiful year-round weather allows for ample opportunity to lay on the beach, catch some waves, and explore the mountains. I am an outdoor lover! Avid hiker, camper, and anything in between. I would create an itinerary to see and experience the vast range of beauty San Diego offers. Monday – grab some coffee to get our day going at communal coffee in North Park. The coffee shop’s cool ambiance allows for a relaxed space to chat and mingle. Head over to Balboa Park to have a picnic by the rose garden. It is filled with various roses that fill the air with different aromas. It is in the park but a bit tucked away, so there is privacy. This is by far my favorite place to walk to because it is so beautiful to experience. I enjoy sitting around and taking in all the people visiting and spending time there with family and friends. Once the picnic is over, walk through the park down el Prado past Spanish-inspired architecture. Take in the greenery and beauty all around. Grab a scooter and go around the entire park through the many trails set up for pedestrians. End the evening at Harney sushi, where they have the BEST sushi; my go-to order is the Culichi Wa Roll, which has loads of flavor, including spicy tuna topped with salmon and mango-serrano salsa. Tuesday, get the day started with a walk through the hillcrest neighborhood to the Rube Powell Archery Range. I am a huge archery fan; I have always had an interest and tried it many years ago until I picked up the sport/hobby in the past year. It is enjoyable and requires focus/patience, allowing me to slow down and be present when I am shooting. I enjoy bringing people into the sport and giving them their first experience, so archery is it. The range is unique in that there are numerous targets that you can shoot from different yards to mimic hunting. After shooting arrows, head over to lunch at Veganic Thai Cafe in Hillcrest. Hillcrest is a very vibrant, lively neighborhood, so there is always an event going on. Head over to seaport village to walk alongside the bay overlooking the Coronado bridge. The waterfront has a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment, including live music events. End the evening at ll Fornaio, an Italian restaurant situated right on Coronado island’s water with spectacular San Diego views. Wednesday is golf day. I enjoy playing golf; I have recently taken golf lessons to improve my game. Grab breakfast at breakfast republic at liberty station. It is the coolest, fun little town square in the heart of San Diego. It is a great place to explore since it was built out of a naval training center repurposed to a modern town square that includes shops, restaurants, a golf course, and more! The history is still present in the architecture throughout the square. It is a beautiful place to walk around. To get the day started, I would go to breakfast republic. It is the GO-TO spot! The chai latte with coconut milk is my go-to drink. It is creamy, smooth, and all kinds of goodness. It is my favorite drink. The veggie breakfast tostadas are delicious with fresh ingredients and good protein to jump-start the day. Head over to the Loma Club to play a round of golf. You can rent clubs and purchase balls there if needed. Once we wrap up, walk to the liberty public market to grab an appetizer and drinks, the market has prepared foods, drinks, produce, desserts, arts and crafts, and educational-driven events. It is located within liberty station and is a fun place to walk through to check out the different vendors. Cap the evening off with a bonfire at Coronado beach. It is peaceful and quiet, allowing you to connect and enjoy the relaxing downtime under the moon. Thursday, get up and go! Straight to better buzz where they have the BEST coffee ever! Their drinks are delicious, especially my favorite honey latte. Grab a quick avocado toast, then get on the road to Descanso and Julian. The two towns are east of San Diego, about an hour’s drive. They are both very scenic with lots of greenery, hiking trails, a lake, and farmland. The first place to stop is the Stonewall peak trail across the street from the Paso Picacho campground. The trail is moderate, but there are different points of incline, so be prepared. The best part of the hike is the beautiful views of Cuyamaca lake and the adjacent mountain ranges. The crisp air at the top is so refreshing, and the trail is maintained very well. After a nice hike, head to Julian (about a 20-minute drive) to grab lunch and cider at Julian Cider House. The cider here is like nothing you have had elsewhere. They have a vast selection of flavors ranging from jalapeno to apple pie. Have a nice drink and some food overlooking the apple orchard. Head back and have a nightcap with a float session at Float Spa San Diego. It is a great activity to relax and unwind while getting many benefits. Floating in saltwater allows for the spine to decompress, elongate and release pressure causing pain. Lactic acid is slowly eliminated from your muscles, further accelerating recovery. Floating is an effective tool for dealing with stress, pain, fatigue, and poor sleep. FriYAY! Time to relax with a boat ride on the bay. Take in the views of the city and surrounding neighborhoods while cruising on a boat. Dock the boat and stopover at Humphreys restaurant on Shetler Island for some food and drinks. Catch the sunset before heading back to dry land. Head out to Juniper and Ivy, a Michelin restaurant known for their specialty cocktails and a unique menu that is chef-driven using seasonal ingredients. Saturday is filled with water activities. Get on the water in La Jolla cove and kayak through the caves to see some sea life. It’ll leave you hungry for some tacos! Taco Stand in La Jolla is a great place to stop over for lunch. Their delicious chicken and shrimp tacos are a must, but the best part is the dessert. Their Churros are yummy and irresistible. Get ready for a lovely, relaxing evening at the rooftop cinema club to take in a viewing of the latest movie. Sunday Funday! Let’s head to Kate Sessions for a mimosa-filled brunch at the park. The park boasts the most stunning views of Mission Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and the city below. After some fun in the sun, head down to mission bay. Rent some bikes and cruise around the bay. End the incredible day and week with a waterfront dinner at Oceana Coastal Kitchen.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give a massive shoutout to my fiance, Shiv. He is a leader, visionary, and creative, inspiring me to be a better person and impact this world. He encourages me every day to stay true to myself and my purpose. He believes in me and my vision for this world; his mentorship and support give me the strength to continue forward in the face of adversity. My neprholigst, Dr. Hashmi. He is a phenomenal physician that is dedicated to supporting patients live a better, healthier life. He is an advocate for patients, and his work outside of the hospital expands to his non-profit SELFprinciple to bring awareness to the importance of nutrition and exercise. He has been a big supporter and advocate with helping me start my first support group in 2012. This experience led me to create Antidote to promote a comprehensive approach to well-being and empower people living with kidney disease to develop supportive relationships. My friend, Carol Urquidez, is the founder of Kidney’s Quest Foundation, a non-profit supporting people living with kidney disease by providing resources to overcome challenges. I first met her when I started my support group and was inspired by her vision. She and I share a similar purpose for creating a supportive community for kidney patients to become empowered and thrive. She has helped many people managing kidney disease to get better care and treatment they deserve. She has worked extremely hard to build this foundation, and her hard work is very much appreciated by the lives she has touched. The subtle art of not giving a F*** by Mark Manson is POWERFUL! Wow, it is straight to the point and very clear. He breaks down things for what they are and speaks about staying in reality and facing it versus avoiding what is known. We get to embrace uncertainty and fear to support us along our journey. I felt connected to the book because his storytelling is raw, authentic, and genuine. I do not want things easy or sugarcoated for me because that no longer serves me. The book is aligned with me in many ways and resonates with my current ways of being.
Other: My personal instagram: https://www.instagram.com/itshiralmpatel/
Book Name: Antidote: My Commitment to Thrive with Kidney Disease My book link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1736168517
My Podcast link: http://anchor.fm/health-chronicles