There have always been the doers and the watchers, the haves and the have not’s, and the good, the bad, and the ugly. As a dentist, you are in the top one half of one percent of the most intelligent, best read, and well trained people in the world. Yet within this group of dentists exists a subset of the truly great: The 3 “percenters” who actually excel at what they do. They will become financially independent and have far more choices in life than the other 97%, who at age 65 will be dead or dead broke. Have we just gotten to a point in our civilization that excellence is dead and being well rounded and successful is the mark of an over obsessive minority? I think not and it is about time that we put on our big girl panties and deal with this.
I was not born into a “get by world”. Born five years after the end of World War II, I was introduced to my parents and their friends who were called the “greatest generation”. Their word was their bond. They saved and raised families in a black and white world of right and wrong. Fast forward 64 years and we arrive at the get by world of 2013. I want to give you a few benchmarks to avoid in your life’s journey. I don’t really know why, but I find this list particularly distasteful. I assume that my parents brain-washed me to always do my best and then a little more. I asked my brothers and my kids what they thought about the list and there was a general sense of apathy and the inference that maybe I was just an over achiever. Say it isn’t so. Here is the list. You decide for yourself if you are a “get by” or “get ahead” type of person. I hope you are the latter.
Do the minimum required. Why should you work at your craft? After all, you are a “doctor”. You deserve to live beyond your means, while never looking toward the future by saving money and positioning your practice to take advantage of the economy and demographics presented to you. It’s too risky to set goals and put it on the line to experience what excellence feels like. After all, you’re getting older and things will work out. NOT! L.D. Pankey said it best: “If you are average, you are either the best of the worst or the worst of the best.” Kind of like “luke warm” water: Neither hot nor cold, sweet or sour, just plain old water. Sounds like a life not worth living to me. Calvin Coolidge said: “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than the unsuccessful with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Wait till the last minute. Yesterday, September 23, we started the 100-day countdown to 2014. All the goals and great things you were going to do this year come down to the last 100 days. Too many dentists that I speak with feel helpless to even take the first step to change where they are or begin the trip to where they would like to be. It is never too late unless you wait till the last minute. Things in Dentistry are changing so fast that the winners will be the offices and doctors who make a change right now. Don’t wait, just do it. When you grow up in a house full of brothers, you know better than to wait. If you wait you don’t eat.
Accept mistakes and errors as a part of life. Mistakes happen, but as you grow in leadership and management skills, dependable systems, and quality staff, they don’t happen very often. We can no longer repeat our mistakes or we will go broke. You can’t “successfully” end 3 marriages and save any money. You no longer can tolerate marginal staff because you just don’t want to deal with it and have a successful practice. In no other arena are employees that are marginal allowed to keep their jobs year after year while your profits and life slip away. (I guess there is one place: The driver’s license bureau employees. What a motivated, caring, intelligent bunch of people they are, right?). Begin the time honored process of encountering a mistake and learning from it so that it never happens again.
Let someone else do it. Sorry, if you don’t do it, it won’t get done. In Gold’s gym they have a sign near the weight racks: “Your mom doesn’t work here. Pick up you own weights.” You have graduated and there is no tooth fairy. No one is waving any kind of magic wand, so if you don‘t do it you are faced with life’s leftovers. It’s time to take back your life and your practice and create the practice you always wanted to have.
If you have not gotten and read your copy of the Super General Dental Practice you are missing out on the first step in creating your own much brighter future. Go to www.supergeneralpractice.com and download it today. On October 18 and 19 we will be presenting a marketing seminar that will finally give you the tools to literally create a faucet that you can use to control how many new patients you would like each month. There is no business that I know of that will grow without attracting a lot of the right type of clients. This seminar will signal the second installment of the Super General Dental Practice system for creating the dental practice of the future. Make plans on being there. Don’t miss the one thing you can’t survive without: Unlimited new patients.
Michael Abernathy, DDS