February 2021 will soon be a faint memory for those who woke up January first and decided this year will be different and will be my best year. For that 90% of you who made your New Year’s resolutions and goals, those wishes and dreams will already be gone as you face another less than stellar year. Back at the first of the year, we did a series of articles titled “Ready, Fire, Aim”. For most of you, with the best of intentions, will still find 2021 to be a “ground hog day” scenario where goals and actions fall to the wayside and you settle for whatever happens. You’ve given up the dream to make things better and moved to the default setting of just making it through another year. Average becomes the default setting of those that coast as they are pushed by the herd to simply do exactly what everyone else does. The mindless herd with little focus on the future: The “sheeple” of Dentistry.
Shame on you! Most of us are the poster child for procrastination and limiting beliefs. You might point the finger at the fact that you don’t have all the information you need to act. Jeff Bezos of Amazon changed the world with only 70 percent of available information. He said: “Most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70 percent of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90 percent in most cases, you’re probably being too slow.” There is no real excuse for not acting without all of the data. We are back to the mantra from the first of the year: Ready, Fire, Aim.
I will present the challenge that you are where you want to be or you would change. To illustrate this, here is a short story: “Free Beer Tomorrow.” Guy orders a beer, comes back tomorrow, and sees the same sign, and orders another beer. A week passes before he realizes he’s been had. Tomorrow never comes. Neither does later, as in you will do something someday. Carpe freaking Diem already. We need to be fully committed to finding work that creates significance for us and in the world around us. Many of you reading this are thinking that getting rich is the path you want to take. “Rich” is money. Being truly wealthy is a much more evolved mindset. Riches equal money, but wealth equals “freedom”: The ability to choose what to do with your time and money. I hope each of you understand that money does not give us freedom, only the combination of money and time can do that. Wealth is the freedom and the ability to choose what to do with your time and money. The problem is that wealth does not just show up in the fourth quarter of your life. It begins when the game starts. The minute you take that diploma you start a journey. You decide that integrity and hard work are fundamentals to a successful life. You begin to save and become the person that does set goals and acts on them. You develop the habit of learning more about business and life. You make management decisions based on key numbers in your business. Along the way, your family grows and you learn about balancing your family and business to not miss the real importance of life. You evolve, ever learning, to accept that life and happiness is the journey and not a destination. For most of us, we find that we are somewhere on this continuum, and often times have strayed from our path and best intentions. Regardless of the time you have squandered and mistakes you have made, it is never too late to step up to the plate and start a new game with new commitments.
Admittedly most dentists struggle in setting aside instant gratification early in life while developing a life plan of saving, investing, and postponing things that limit your financial freedom. If arriving in the future with unlimited options were simple, everyone would do it. You are unique in that your profession allows you to make unlimited amounts of money in your career. That is a given. You are in a profession that is in the top 1% of all professions when it comes to earnings. You can truly have anything you want in life. You just can’t have everything you want in life. Choose carefully. The problem is that most dentists will fall to the level of average or below in what we do with our money and our practice. Regardless of your age, where your practice level is, and what has happened in the past, you are still poised for greatness if you choose to make the commitment and stay the course. No one wants an “average” dentist. No one wants the average you. The world neeeds the best you. Turn your back on what everyone else is doing. They will fail to achieve freedom. Instead, focus your vision, make your plans, develop your culture, and set your course on wealth, the balance of financial freedom and the time to enjoy it. This is how you Summit. Every week I list my personal cell number and email address. Give me a call and let’s talk about the challenges you face in achieving the future you want.
Michael Abernathy, DDS