--This is the culmination of the past weeks TV Show topics, if you haven't read them, you might want to for perspective.


“Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from the little things....I am tempted to think....there are no little things.” Bruce Barton


“Suppose you were to come upon someone in the woods working feverishly to saw down a tree.  What are you doing? you ask.  Can’t you see? comes the impatient reply.  I’m sawing down this tree.  You look exhausted!  you exclaim.  How long have you been at it?  Over five hours, he returns, and I’m beat!  This is hard work.  Well, why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen the saw?  you inquire.  I’m sure it would go a lot faster.  I don’t have time to sharpen the saw, the man replies emphatically.  I’m too busy sawing!”

7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey.


It amazes me how often I see this within dental offices.  Now obviously not all the time, some do a great job at sharpening the saw.  Most however, do not.  This is one of those things we all understand and yet all fail to do.  It is this sort of investment in yourself, your practice, your team that will yield long-term consistent growth and prosperity.  I assume we all know at least one person that lives this well.  Do they always appear stressed, broke and burned out?  No of course not.  Then why do the majority of us just keep working inefficiently?  Because often we don’t want to look honestly at ourselves because we might not like what we see.


My wife and I went through a tough time a number of years ago (like it has only been 1).    What happened was pretty normal in a marriage to anyone being honest.  Some guy at work started paying attention to her, more and better quality attention that I was.  She had enough integrity at one point to pull me aside and tell me this.  Now how would most men have reacted?  Probably not very positively.  I took it pretty tough, but quickly realized this wasn’t her fault, it was mine.  She was starving for attention and being human, was willing to take it from anywhere she could get it.  Thankfully she stopped before it became something terrible and was brave enough to tell me.  Someone that probably could have been characterized as a jackass at the time.  We very quickly sharpened the saw of our relationship and have been much happier ever since.  Hearing this was not easy for me and I think this is why most don’t stop to look in the mirror, it might be scary.


How does this relate to your dental office you ask?  A few ways.  First we need to be brave enough to look into the mirror both personally and professionally.  Periodically, we need to have those meetings where everyone can be open and honest for the purpose of growth.


We need to continually grow ourselves and our teams.  We can accomplish this via good CE and reading.  I had a friend call me once while she was in the midst of a marital crisis and job problems. After she described it all me I asked what I am sure seemed like an odd question to her.  I asked her what she reads?  She replied with People and some other stuff that was similar.  To which I ask, how is your life different than what you read?  See much like the old saying, you are what you eat, our minds are what we read.  To which I would also add we are like the people around us.  If all of your friends are getting divorces and are unhappy people, you might want to change friends.  Feel mind good things.  If you need a list of great books to read, just ask, we are happy to make suggestions.  Personally, I would start with Stephen Covey.  


More specifically, really watch what we say and do within our dental offices.  Work hard to improve everything you do.  Parse the words you use when on the phone with your patients.  Are we effectively getting our message through to them?  What is our message?  In hygiene, do you get tired of the same discussion everyday?  Is it working?  If the answer is No, stop and sharpen the saw.  Do it differently.  If you need help, call in to our show and let us help you.  That is what we do this for.  Doctors and treatment coordinators, how is your acceptance rate?  If it isn’t as high as you would like, stop and sharpen your saw.  Really look at how you are conveying the need for your services.  Are you having a technical discussion with the patient and a results discussion?  Which one do you think would be more effective?  I had a conversation with one of my clients today and asked him if his case presentation was the same 5-10 years ago as it is today?  It can’t be, the world has changed. We have to change with it.  


One of the ways I live this, is I periodically go sit under a tree with a pen and paper and nothing else.  Next week I plan to do it for a week (I call it hunting).  I find this renewal process to be very invigorating and productive.  It allows me to take inventory of what is important to me and my family and my business.  If you don’t do this periodically, you might find you have lost your way.  It keeps me grounded and appreciating what I have in my life.  Try is someday, just go out into the woods, leave your cell phone behind, and take a pad of paper and a pen and just think.  It might be a life changing day for you.


Darren Kaberna

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