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Each of us have pretty full lives. The same 24 hours a day and every minute seems to be spoken for. With this in mind we need to understand that if you choose to make changes in your practice, you will need to dedicate time, training, and money for its successful completion. The rewards are great, but the first step will be to let go or do away with the things in your life that will distract you from your goals. Whenever you pick up something new, you have to lay down something old. We need to make room in our lives for the very things that are goal worthy and by being such, are important to pursue.

The title of this article is the complete opposite of “No, Can, Do” meaning “it can’t be done”. Too frequently I see the attitude of a struggling dentist to be: It can’t be done (sometimes they add “here” as if that excuse had any basis in fact or that others who have succeeded had not faced the same hurdles). We need to eliminate this term and it’s limiting connotations before you start down the road to sustainable growth and increased profit. To quote Zig Ziglar: “We need to get rid of your “stinkin thinkin” and get you a “check-up from the neck up”. In its place, we will substitute accountability.

“Answering for your actions and results. Owning your performance every day regardless of the noise that might surround your performance. Bottom Line: Accountability means letting your actions rise above your excuses.”

Effective decision-making is a key trait we need to nurture. When you are operating under stress and duress (that describes most struggling practices) you will need to be able to make decisions quickly. To do this, you need to use simple heuristics, or “rules of thumb.” Working this way prevents you suffering from information overload; that is, taking in so much information about what’s going on that you have too many things to consider and think about. Having a rule of thumb or heuristic will prevent this from happening.

Also remember that you are looking for “effective” solutions, rather than “best” or “perfect” solutions. If you find a solution that works, that’s the one you should adopt, rather than wasting time looking for a better one. This is the take away: We waste time looking for better solutions rather than acting and then making small adjustments on the journey to completion of the task. These very “time waster” doctors looking for the perfect solution are the ones that struggle to even start. They suffer the ailment called failure to launch. Think about the definition of rule of thumb: It is a principle with broad application that is not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable for every situation. It is an easily learned and easily applied procedure for approximately calculating or recalling some value, or making some determination. It is based not on theory but on practical experience. It is sort of the opposite of paralysis by analysis. Everything does not have to be perfect for you to make a decision and then act. You always have the luxury of adjusting your trajectory and continue moving forward. True success will only come from moving forward.

You have a choice. You can give a nod and lip service to change, or you can adopt a survival strategy that is not driven by your ego. Studies have shown that people will work twice as hard to get back what they’ve lost (or perceived they’ve lost) than they will to try to gain/achieve something new.

Change always creates inner chaos. People would rather die in the past than take a risk and live in the future. So, step up, get mad, and take back your man/women card by acting today to improve your circumstances while defining your future. Hint: It is not a plateaued solo practice.

This is how you Summit: Practice management done right.

Michael Abernathy, DDS
972-523-4660 cell
[email protected]

PS. A few additional thoughts to reflect on:

Mostly, making good decisions involves beginning with a commitment to make a decision. That’s the hard part. Choosing the best possible path is only possible after you’ve established that you’ve got the guts and the commitment to make a decision.     Seth Godin

We often like what change eventually produces. We just don’t like having to go through it.   Jon Gordon

Without a doubt, it’s long-term, consistent and persistent effort that makes real change happen. Systemic change is a process, not an event.     Seth Godin

Failures will be forgiven; it is acquiescence that is fatal.     C.S. Lewis

Nothing changes if nothing changes.       Unknown

Humans do what they want to do. So if you’re not doing it, that means you haven’t wanted to do it. Simple, obvious, and profound all at the same time.      Jason Leister

Always remember: None of us was born with any habits at all. They were all learned, and can all, therefore, be unlearned.     Alex Lickerman, MD

Fear of success is at least as big a challenge as fear of failure. Because if it works, things are going to change. Are you ready for that?    Seth Godin

What got you here won’t get you there.    Marshall Goldsmith