ACT 6: THE PROXIMITY EFFECT
I realize that goal setting is difficult and a little time consuming, but for it to be successful you need to dedicate the time and effort it requires to make the process a success. Let me give you another way to look at goals. Here is the breakdown of a SMART goal:
- S – Specific, significant,
- M – Measurable, meaningful, motivational
- A – Attainable, agreed upon, action oriented
- R – Realistic, reasonable, reliable, rewarding
- T – Trackable, tangible, time bound
Take the time to go back over your written goals. Then refine each and every one to meet these requirements.
Next on the list for ACT 6 is the proximity effect. Jim Rohn’s quote is great: “You are the average of the five (5) people you spend the most time with.” This is the best definition of the proximity effect I can think of. He also said that “you don’t get better by chance, you get better by change”. Basically if you want to get a better result, all you need to do is surround yourself with the mentors and the kind of doctors that are already doing what you want to do. Secondly, you need to embrace change and act.
When I first started out, I spent an entire year visiting offices that were doing at least a million dollars a year. Now keep in mind that this was 1975. There were few if any speakers, no dental newsletters, and no Internet courses/content. It was the very year that Bob Levoy published his book with this title: The $100,000 Dollar Dental Practice. This was a time where $100,000 a year was huge, especially when you consider that the average practice was doing $40,000-$60,000. Imagine a time where the best of the best was doing $100,000 and you got to visit 39 practices that produced at least a million. This is a huge culture change for a new doctor starting out. The fascinating aspect of these visits was that fact that their locations, dentistry, facility, or staff were no better than mine. Sure, I got glimpses of cool systems and protocols. But overall I came to realize that I was the one thing holding my practice back. With this came a commitment to change and to do whatever it took to excel at my profession. I returned home invigorated with a new sense of purpose and a matrix for taking me there. I also set aside my past, put away my excuses, and began the journey to attain that million dollar year. My goals, energy, engagement, and staff were so committed that 14 months later we were working at a pace to insure that we did a million that year.
ACT 6 consists of you visiting at least 2 practices (hopefully more) that are doing better than you are. Take the time to absorb the culture, systems, and overall feeling of offices doing a couple of times what you are currently doing. This will drastically change your perspective on how far off you are from being hugely productive. Most will be surprised that productive offices with great overheads are less stressful than a practice that just barely makes average. I know how difficult it will be to do this before next week, so I am asking you to “contact” at least two offices and set up a time to visit for about an hour over the next 60 days. Not all day, just enough time to smell and see the differences in your practice and theirs. This will take courage and maybe a dose of humility, but you will be pleasantly surprised at how much other doctors will want to help. This requires a new commitment to not let this go by the wayside. This is about the time that the average dentist will start to rationalize that they don’t need to do each ACT that we have described. That they can just cherry pick them or assume that they already have a handle on this one or that one. This is the same habit that put you behind the better practices. You can’t get better without a different commitment to do whatever it takes. This is your first test, don’t fail to follow through. Procrastination is the first step toward failure.
“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses – only results” Kenneth Blanchard
Commitment: This is how you Summit!
Michael Abernathy, DDS
PS – Thanks for all of the emails and calls. I promise to weave your suggestions and questions into this series of articles and beyond. It is a real plus for me to hear from you.
PSS – We have started a new podcast series called The Optimized Dental Practice. Please do me a favor and subscribe: goo.gl/1CEBU9