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The Curse of Experience: Think Like a Rookie

This title appeared on Jon Gordon’s weekly newsletter.  Basically he contends, and I would agree, that sometimes (most times), experience can be a curse.  “Such as when your experience in business causes you to focus on the good ole days; when everyone was making money; when everyone was successful; when life was easier; when you didn’t have to go after business, it came to you.  I’ve noticed that in this economy a lot of people are afflicted with the curse of experience.  They complain about the way things are, long for the way things were and dream about what could have been….if the economy hadn’t crashed.  The good news is that there is a simple antidote to the curse of experience and it is to Think Like a Rookie.”

Rookies don’t have experience.  They don’t know about the way things were.  They have no knowledge of the good ole days.  Instead, rookies create their good ole days right now.   I would have to say that some of my best employees were folks with no dental experience.  I know, I know, you want someone you don’t have to train.  That’s a myth.  Hire someone with decades of experience and you not only have to train them to your systems, but you have to un-train them from the systems they bring with them.  The default setting for staff under pressure will always be to revert to the way they used to do it.  These “experienced” hires will constantly bring up their last employer and how “that’s not how we did it at Dr. Whoever’s office”.  Far too often you will hire experience over people skills and you will always loose.  Give me a clean slate with no bad habits, no preconceptions, and natural people skills and I will create a super staffer.  From a consulting point of view, give me a new doctor right out of school and I will build a million dollar practice around them.  All they need are people skills and an attitude of persistence and they will succeed.  Take an older doctor who thinks he is doing everything right, but just isn’t getting the results he wants, and you have a battle on your hands.  It isn’t what you don’t know that worries us, it’s what you think you know.  We have to basically deprogram an experienced doctor in order to teach him anything new (Max thinks “water boarding” might work).  Creating new habits after a lifetime of mediocre ones is challenging.

Rookies put their head down, work hard, stay positive, live fearlessly and are naïve enough to be successful.  It is as if the facts don’t matter.  Living as if you can’t fail covers a multitude of mistakes.  It is like the world is ordered to reward innocence, persistence and blind trust.  They didn’t know it couldn’t be done.  For me the most motivating thing anyone could say is:  “There is no way that you can do that”.  Get out of the way because I am about to go through you, over you, or around you, and I will die before I don’t succeed.  Young doctors have this in spades.  Older doctors could learn something from the rookies.  It is said that you can train fleas, and I know it’s true.  You can put them in a glass jar and put the lid on tight.  They could easily jump out without the lid, but with it on, they will constantly hit the lid and bounce back down.  Done long enough, the fleas stop trying to jump out.  You can literally put food outside the jar where they can see it and smell it, remove the lid, and they will never be able to jump out.  So convinced of their inability to clear the lid, they will starve and die never succeeding.   We are much the same.  The lid is our life and experiences.  If you hold a limiting belief long enough, it becomes truth to you.  What limiting belief are you holding on to that will sap the energy and will out of your progress to succeed?  The saddest thing I can think of is a doctor who hires Summit, are giventhe answers and solutions to their practice problems but still fail to succeed.  In every case they are being held firm by an invisible force of self-doubt and limiting beliefs.

Rookies aren’t tainted by rejection, negative assumptions or past experiences.  Rookies don’t focus on what everyone says is impossible.  Instead, with wide eyes, they believe anything is possible.  They bring an idealism, optimism, and passion to their work and because they believe in the future they take the necessary actions to create it.”  They become the masters of their fate.

We all need to take a fresh look.  Forget the:  Would of, could of, should of, and just do it.  No one can hold you back.  You are the only person capable of making yourself fail.  Look at your practices and the steps you must take to succeed through the eyes and mind of a rookie.  Forget the past and step into your new future.

Summit is in the business of creating a ladder so you climb above that invisible lid that is holding you back.  Give me a call on my cell at 972-523-4660 so that we can discuss how you can be the doctor and practice you always knew you would be.

Michael Abernathy DDS
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