In life, we need to understand that really successful people ask the right questions. They don’t procrastinate or ruminate, place blame, or play the victim. If you ask the right questions, you begin to fill in the blanks and get better answers. The question to you is: Why don’t you ___________? (Fill in the blank) I am reminded of a story about a drowning man:
• The news report on TV stated that a terrible 100-year storm and flood was coming and that everyone in this town should pack up and evacuate within the next few hours. Our homeowner in this tale decided to say a prayer and just stay in his house. Not much later, he heard a knock on the door and answered it. There stood an officer clad in a yellow rain coat in the pouring rain who was going house to house warning the occupants to leave immediately. Our man just said that God would save him and closed the door. Hours passed and the water started to rise. He was sitting on a table because the water was now two feet deep in the house when he heard some shouting outside and waded over to the window, opened it, and saw another rescuer in a boat who again encouraged him to get into the boat and leave immediately. The homeowner again refused the offer of assistance and shouted out that God would surely save him. It had now been eight hours since the TV broadcast and our homeowner was perched on the roof as the water worked its way over the roofline, when he heard a hovering helicopter and a rescuer lowering a rescue basket while he shouted over a megaphone to hop on and let him fly them out of danger. Again, with cupped hands, he yelled back that God would save him. Sometime in the night he drowned and instantly appeared before God. Awed by Heaven and God, the drowned man immediately asked God why he had not saved him? God’s response was: I HAD THE ANNOUNCER ON TV TELL YOU TO LEAVE, I HAD A POLICEMAN KNOCK ON YOUR DOOR AND ASK YOU TO LEAVE, I SENT A BOAT TO RESCUE YOU, AND FINALLY I SENT A HELICOPTER. WHAT WERE YOU WAITING FOR?
So what are you waiting for when it comes to taking your practice to the next level? Maybe it’s similar to our patients when they don’t say yes to our treatment plans. There are four main reasons why patients don’t say yes:
1. Fear: This has always been huge. It seems the fear of doing something is almost always more powerful than the reward we might reap from stepping out and acting. I think a lot of us might be waiting and procrastinating to make changes in our practices for that very reason.
2. Time: Patients worry that they can’t fit everything they already need to do into their busy schedule, much less adding hours of dental visits. We Dentists probably feel the same way: We are already so busy it feels like a one legged guy at an ass kicking contest. We always have time to complain and do things over, but never enough to do it right the first time. A lot of you have reached out for help and called, then never followed through with a commitment.
3. Money: What patient hasn’t told you that they had no idea that this might be as expensive as it is? Then they want to get a second opinion or talk it over with their spouse. I can’t tell you all of the hours I have spent on the phone speaking with a doctor whose practice is barely staying afloat and giving him real time solutions to his problems, only to have them want to think about it, put it off, and finally do nothing. Believe it or not, their problems will still be here next year, but their profits won’t. When are you going to make the time and set aside the money to invest in your future? For a lot of you, never is not too far away.
4. Trust: Got to be number one for a lot of our patients, but I also have to think that most of your staffs are not taking the time to develop a relationship built on trust, caring, and compassion. Since we send this out to thousands of dentists, I am sure I have not spoken to every one of you, but you have followed my writings, speaking venues, and books and know that if anything I have been consistent, and right about a lot of things in the business of dentistry. Kind of like the story of God and the drowning man above: I talked to you on the phone, I answered your emails, I sent you materials to help solve your problems, I wrote articles and books that you have read, and I’ve spoken to you in person and on DVD, (VHS too, yes I know I am old) yet most of you have not taken the very important step of reaching out and “owning” your situation and allowing us to help you.
Become the person that “does”, because this is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS