Most of you know that Steve Jobs has had a significant influence on my life. I am currently reading his biography written by Walter Isaacson and thoroughly enjoying it. Certainly Steve Jobs was a complicated man with some flaws (like all of us), yet his innovative and creative spirit was truly remarkable. If you have not yet read the blog post I wrote after he resigned in August, click here to read it. Within this blog post is the written transcript of his Stanford Commencement Address along with the video of that address. My friend, Linda Miles, said that watching this video was the best 15 minutes she spent in front of a computer screen this year!
In the address, Steve made the following statement:
“If today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
In my interaction with dentists throughout the country and indeed, the world, I find that most dentists reside in one of two camps. Unfortunately, some dentists find little joy or passion in their work. They are literally counting the days until retirement and each day is the dental version of ‘another day in the salt mine’. Sad, really. In the other camp are dentists who genuinely love what they do, are fully engaged in their profession, and would not want to be doing anything else. Interesting how doing essentially the same thing can elicit such a difference in how dentists feel about their career.
With inspiration from the Steve Jobs quote above, I’d like you to think about the following question, “If your practice was as good as it could possibly be, what would it look like?” I want you to take some time and reflect on that question and begin to formulate an answer. Dream a little. No, dream a lot! You are going to spend more time working than anything else you will do in your life. You deserve a practice that is as good as it can be. Once you begin to answer that question, consider the following questions. “What would have to change?” and, “When will you make those changes?”
To move this blog post from an intellectual exercise to a practical, active application here are seven recommendations that I suggest you do now:
- Raise your fees
- Send a resignation letter to your most oppressive PPO plan
- Make a commitment that you will not have any team member who you do not LOVE
- Set a lofty clinical career goal with a specific date (earn your Fellowship or Mastership with the AGD, become Accredited with the AACD, etc…)
- Take two extra weeks off in 2012 (block time off now and book non-refundable tickets!)
- Pick a deserving patient in your practice (or community) and provide their treatment gratis as your gift to them this Holiday Season
- Radiate confidence!
The seven recommendations above will serve to help you evolve your current practice into your ideal practice. You deserve an awesome practice. Here’s to finishing up 2011 strong and making 2012 your best year yet! Keep Smiling!