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Ground Hog Life: No Hope

In 1993, the number one comedy movie was “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray of Saturday Night Live fame.  Bill was a weatherman who, for the fourth year in a row, was covering Groundhog Day where this “weather forecasting rat”, as he calls it, comes out and does or doesn’t see his shadow.  The problem occurs when he realizes that he begins to wake up each morning to the same day.  Groundhog Day begins everyday the same way.  He finally realizes that he is destined to spend the rest of Eternity in the same place, seeing the same people doing the same thing EVERYDAY.  He has no HOPE.

Sound familiar?  Have you finally come to the fork in the road only to find yourself reliving the same day, month, and year and wondering why you haven’t become the dentist you always thought you would be?  They say a “rut” is just a grave with the ends kicked out.  Over and over I listen to doctors struggling to pay their bills, attract enough new patients, lower their stress level, and retain a competent staff.   Many are burned out and have lost all hope of building a successful practice.  After listening to that all too familiar story, I assure them that I can help.   I ask these doctors to send me a copy of their P&L statements for the last 12 months, a copy of one week’s schedule, and our proprietary Summit Practice Solution analysis spread sheet (we will be glad to send you a copy).  It usually takes a few days, but eventually they return the information and we schedule a one on one call.  This call usually takes me several hours and is most often followed by a couple of more calls to flesh out solutions and a strategic plan.  All of this is free.  It costs nothing.  It is worth anything we would charge, but I believe that it takes time to form a trust and bond with a coach or mentor to restore hope to a practice. Without this time and understanding, you the client will never reach your potential, you will never regain hope.

The secret to taking a practice to the next level, breaking through plateaus, and reaching new levels of profitability, always begins with knowing exactly where you are.  It’s kind of like walking up to one of the map kiosks in Disney World to try and figure out where you are and which way you need to go in order to reach the Magic Kingdom.  As you study the map, you find it:  A small red circle with an arrow pointing to your exact location saying “You are here”.  That is exactly what the P&L, schedule, and analysis spread sheet does for me.  This is the first step in returning hope to a situation that will never change without it.

When we actually meet on the phone, I have everything I need to tell you where you are, where your challenges lie, and exactly what to do in order to correct them.  Over and over I hear how they have worked months and years with this marketing guy, or that famous consultant, and spent thousands of dollars with limited or no results.  Yet in one phone call, they finally have found someone who can clearly explain their situation, and create a strategy to guide them to another level of practice.  After this statement, comes some form of this question:  “Why didn’t they tell me… show me… or help me understand what I should do?  I guess I just wasted my time and money using…….?”

I guess I’m a little surprised that anyone would pay thousands of dollars to a consultant or a marketing company that does not produce results, have a clear plan, or create consensus with the staff and doctor.  If your consultant makes one visit, and spends the rest of the year doing worthless telephone coaching as an afterthought, and mini-telephone seminars once a quarter, you need to run.  Just the other day I received one ad from a dental “Guru” that intimated that he had a couple of cancellations for December and he could fit a visit into my office for only $25,000 which would be followed by a weekly call from my personal consultant, and all I had to do is call within the next 10 minutes to receive even more added features for free.  I know for a fact that he doesn’t let you know that your personal consultant was a roofer last week, because he was.  Give me a break:  Is there really a fool born every minute?  Evidently there is in the dental community, because this guy and several others pride themselves on breaking sales records at every dental meeting.  Run faster if they follow up the milk toast infomercials with some Dan Kennedy sales blitz to move you to the platinum or diamond level of coaching for just a few dollars more.  I don’t know about you, but I have hit direct mail, internet, and infomercial overload.  I am sick of baseless promisesfollowed by under delivering to their clients.  I’m one of you, and I can’t believe how gullible or desperate we have become to believe some of the worthless nonstop ads for this new technique or that new toy that before now has never been available to you the dentist.  Meaningful relationships, much less customized results are impossible without spending time with the doctor and staff one on one.  Consulting only works if your consultant shows up at your office for multiple visits, is available 24/7 via the phone and email — not just for the doctor, but for every staff member in the office — and coordinates their efforts with the person who has the background and experience to step in and direct some strategic planning to insure everyone is on the same page.

This article is about hope, not vacant promises followed by an overpriced bill.  The Presbyterian lay minister Fred Rogers (“Mister Rogers” to us) once quoted an anonymous scrawling on the bulletin board of the great Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris:  “The world tomorrow will belong to those who brought it the greatest hope.”

Counselors and psychologists have long known the truth of those words.  Viktor Frankl, the Austrian psychologist and concentration camp survivor, documented the fact that those prisoners who believed in tomorrow best survived the horrors of today.  Survivors of POW camps in Vietnam likewise reported that a compelling hope for the future was the primary force that kept many of them alive.

A mouse dropped in water will give up and drown in minutes.  But if it is rescued, it will tread water for more than 20 hours the next time.  It is past time for you to put hope back into your life and practice.  If you feel stuck or helpless to change your practice direction, email me at [email protected] or give me a call on my cell at 972-523-4660, and let me send you an analysis sheet and schedule a call that will change your life.  Waiting is foolish; you’re already experiencing a “groundhog life”.  Let me show you a different way to control your circumstances and change your results. Let’s be sure that this is your best year ever!

(MA)