Before turning the page to a new year, I’d like to spend some time reflecting on what I learned in 2011. My reflections below are somewhat random but each presented a huge learning opportunity and will influence my work in the future.
In early January, 2011 I made a visit to Salt Lake City, Utah to visit Ultradent and meet with Dr. Dan Fischer. The time I spent with Dr. Fischer was enlightening. He is the absolute epitome of passion in dentistry!
The story of how he started Ultradent in his garage is the classic American success story, but with a dental twist. While I love their products and have huge appreciation for the engineering innovation of their factory in Utah, perhaps the biggest thing I learned from Dr. Fischer is his humanity. He cares deeply for all 1,200+ of his Team Members and they in turn are committed to creating awesome products that will improve dental health worldwide. I am excited to be speaking on behalf of Ultradent in 2012 and beyond.
In 2011 I learned that Ride & Learn, our courses that combine Harley Davidson Motorcycle Tours with dental continuing education, are part of my soul. We have provided some 36 of these courses over the years, but in 2010, a busy travel schedule and other projects took priority and it was the first year since its inception that we did not do a Ride & Learn course. At the urging of our Ride & Learn community, we re-launched and provided an incredible course in 2011 at Sundance Resort in Utah and we will be doing more of these courses in the future. Stay tuned. This project reminded me to listen to my soul!
In 2011 I learned about some really cool dental products from DenMat. I was their keynote speaker at their Las Vegas Destination event and I stayed for the entire conference to learn more about their products. I’m thrilled I did! DenMat has created an awesome portfolio of products that are perfectly in tune with dental consumers today. They represent cost-effective solutions that help patients improve their dental health and we are introducing these solutions to our patients at LifeSmiles Dental Care with great success. I encourage you to do the same!
Near the beginning of 2011 I had a strong feeling that I wanted to make some major changes in my business but I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to change. After over 25 years of helping Dentists develop a more profitable and enjoyable practice, primarily via seminars and coaching services, I knew that I wanted to evolve my business. I was driven by two overriding factors. 1) I wanted to make information more accessible and available, and 2) I wanted to create a format where I was able to help more Dentists.
With those two goals in mind, I set about making the transformation. Critical to this transformation was evolving the website to be a content-rich site. As I have often done in the past, I totally immersed myself into the project by reading and researching everything I could find. I learned about written blogs, audio podcasts, social media, video blogs, webinars and teleseminars. I found some inspiring examples from unlikely sources. I met new mentors. I found a community of people as passionate about their subject matter as I am about the business of dentistry. The website you see now is a product of what I am learning.
Pardon my enthusiasm, but this new direction of making my knowledge more accessible and available is really exciting to me! I am thoroughly enjoying providing online courses, creating digital educational products, and sharing my information in as many formats as possible. There will always be a demand for live courses and coaching services, but I am firmly convinced that I will be able to help more Dentists by sharing information in these new formats.
In 2011, I also experienced the decline of my father’s health. He suffered a series of strokes in June and we had to place him in a care facility in late November. I have traveled to see my father often since he suffered his strokes. I have treasured every moment I have spent with him. This experience has taught me just how precious our time is with our loves ones. I’d like to say that I always knew this, but truth be told I’ve often placed my work as the highest priority. I am working on this. If it takes me a little longer to reply to an email or your call goes to voice mail, it may be because I am shopping with my 17 year old daughter or playing at the park with my granddaughter.
So, those are the BIG lessons I learned from 2011. As I took some time to reflect on the year just completed, I realize just how fortunate I am to work in the dental profession. I have often told my children that the key to a great career is to choose something that they absolutely LOVE to do, that way you never really work a day in your life. I have done just that! I look forward to helping more or you develop a thriving practice in 2012 and beyond. Thank You for enhancing my life! Keep Smiling!