"To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity. Too many people spend money they haven't earned to buy things they don't want to impress people they don't like..."
It was an early fall evening. The sun had already set and the rather warm day turned into a rather cool evening really quickly.
Of course, we were too "cool" to wear a jacket and the girls we were trying to impress would have had any jackets we had decided to wear anyways. Jean jackets were the thing, and offered little comfort from this windy cool evening.
It was well after supper, and a little before curfew. Hanging out at the local park with friends. A burst of light in the dark and a glow....the smell of phosphor-menthol. I was the guy who grabbed cigarettes away from my friends whenever they lit up and destroyed them. My friends hated me but knew better than to light up when I was around!
Jim regretted lighting up and was pissed off as I walked up to him with a smile and quickly grabbed that cancer stick from his mouth and stomped on it...."WARREN, F****man!! Don't do that man!!"
My crew was mostly a little older than me, and I was still trying to earn my stripes among the older boys. Jamie was the goof who seemed to bounce and jump over every wall and obstacle that we would come across in the park. He was a skinny, undersized peanut little man that was hilarious to watch. Entertaining for all of us. He would bust a stick off a tree, whip it around like a sword and whack our butts then toss it like a boomerang. Stones would ping off the posts of the oversized swing set that seemed to be ready made to punish trouble bound teens.
I shivered watching the guys wrap that chain bound swing around the post. It was cold out tonight! Should have grabbed a jacket! After the swing was well bound on the upper post, the challenge became seeing who could jump high enough to unravel. Of course it was beyond reach, and monkey Jamie didn't hesitate to climb the double sized posts and make his way across the top to unravel. While he was up there, he decided he could stand on the top post. The kid had magnet feet and balanced quite well.
It wasn't enough for him to just show what he could do....he had to challenge us to do the same. Bet $5 in his pocket that nobody else could get up and stand on that top post like he just did without holding on....
Well. There were older boys, some girls and I was new. I took that bet.
It hurt. It hurt worse having to pay him $5 after I fell from the top about a millisecond after trying to stand up.
The risks we all take in life.
We all seem to fall into a few categories of personality. There are the people who know right off that bat that climbing that swing will only end in disaster. Nobody in their right mind would ever do that, no matter what amount of money.
There is the person who thinks about the consequences and the reward. Is it worth climbing up that post for $5? Likely not and they never take a chance.
There is the person who goes a step further and decides to climb up, but never gets the nerve to finish the action. They are weighing the consequences and they take a lot of time to get to the top. They may even take that last little bit of time to try to let go but never really go all out and complete the task.
There is Jimmy who just does it and never thinks twice. Didn't do it for the reward at all, just jumped in without thinking.
It's a dollar, but what are the consequences?
Are you the person who jumped up and never thought about it and just did it. you knew you would be successful, and didn't even consider what the reward would be? You just knew it would be worth it, and you simply needed to just do it.
You are a bit crazy. Maybe more than a bit.
Are you the person who tried to stop that other person from going up there to begin with. Pulling as hard as you could to prevent them. Telling everyone not to be stupid, we aren't monkeys. People should not do these things. There is no sense?
Are you the one that dreamed that you wanted to be that person running free and going to new heights - but other people easily influenced you not to ever take a chance? Maybe you even felt the pole and leaned into it, took the first step. But you just back down after you think about how bad it might hurt if you fall.
Then there is that guy who took his time. He wanted the reward. Not just the money, but to say they did it. An accomplishment. It would be hard and scary - but if you took your time, you knew you were capable. You weigh the good and the bad. The consequences and the actions. You take the first step, you feel how sturdy the pole is. You decide it's better to take off your shoes. To put a little bit of sand on your palms to get rid of the sweat. It might take you a little longer to get there, but here you go.....and you fall. But it didn't hurt as much as you thought, and despite all the people around you still trying to pull you down - up you go again. Eventually, and shaky you get to the top.
It was so worth it. What's next?
The 20 year associate
There is a rare animal, but one that is becoming very prolific. The associate that never wants to be independent. They kind of want to be an owner. They kind of want the practice they are working at to be theirs. Kind of want to call the shots. They sort of tell the current owner that they want it, but they are horrified to find out the price. There is no way they could ever afford to buy that practice. They won't leave because that is even more terrifying.
They have a mortgage, kids, a family and a BMW to pay for. They will just keep doing what they are doing. They never ever would climb that pole unless someone rigged it with steps and safety chains and held their hand.
A tire kicker
He had been an associate for 10 years now. Built up a great following. Was still dating his high school sweetheart. Renting.
Did lots of travel, and wasn't quite ready to commit to his girlfriend, or to buying a house or a practice. Life was too much fun.
Deep inside, they knew something had to change. He was getting pressure all around to commit. Dive in and take a chance.
He looked at buying in to the practice he was at, but wasn't sure that was the right choice. The equipment was so old, the team wasn't who he would hire. The owner didn't run the business right.
He looked at numbers, and sought advice from accountants. Of course they told him not to take a chance. Don't change anything. Everything is too expensive. It's not the right time. The prices will get better. House prices will drop, the girlfriend isn't going anywhere. Dental offices are way too expensive and you will never make money.
He looks at a dozen practices over the next two years. They are all whacked. Way too expensive. Who comes up with these prices. He would take home LESS than ever. He is slowly becoming the 20 year associate.
The scientific approach
They climbed the pole slowly.....
She worked two years at the practice. Learned about running the business. Took courses on marketing and management. Recognizing that her skills were best suited to chairside, and there was SO MUCH more she wanted to offer patients, but wasn't allowed in the current environment.
It was time to take ownership of life.
With a strong skill set of providing care, she decided to consult the experts in the field. She learned the good and bad of buying. Decided to add people to her team that could help her succeed in the areas where she wasn't strong. Decided to look at the OPPORTUNITY of WHAT COULD BE if she was the boss, not what the business had done in the past.
With the right formula, and an understanding of one step backwards will equal several steps forward in life....she bought her own practice.
She jumped right into the water without even testing it!
The incredible talented rock star pole climber
She just graduated. Before she was even out she knew she needed to own a practice. She could barely tolerate listening to the professors, there was no way she wanted to work for someone else. After all the homework -and knowing there was nothing to buy - she found a location and opened new.
It took time, but the equipment was all her own choice. The team she hired were all people that came with skill that she desired. That was complimentary to hers. She planned well, planned for slow times and it never really happened. With the right attitude, the practice was a success within a short time and she never, ever looked back with regret.
What do you do for a dollar?
Every single one of these people has success in dentistry and life. As an opportunity and cotton roll broker - it's my pleasure to work with every type of personality.
My few words of advice as a cautious, optimistic pole climber who took the $5 from his friend? It's worth taking the chance...
Keys to success in Dentistry...
A few tips I have learned from hundreds of successful dentists.
-success is about you, not about what others think of you. Stop comparing yourself and set goals based on what you want to achieve
-The happiest (ie: most successful) people are those that give more than they take. The first thought is of what's good for the patient...for the "boss" and they do more than what's expected
-Constant improvement is happiness. You are good at what you do, never stop learning especially when it's hard. It's those challenges that keep all of life interesting. The more you challenge yourself, the more success you will find
-Remember that if everything was easy - everyone would do it! There is a reason some people get to enjoy the view at the top of the swing...it isn't easy.
-You can't do this by yourself. I have never seen a successful (happy) clinic that doesn't have a well educated, rewarded and respected team behind them. As skillful as you are at writing the songs, at coming up with the idea - you need the skillful people to accompany you. To give you the drum beat. The guitar solo. The incredible backup voices....
-Don't keep trying to grind a dollar out of people that are there to help you accomplish your goals or you may soon find yourself without any help at all.....