Find the Joy in Your Everyday Practice Life:
A classic book for improving your life and your business is Dr Norman Vincent Peale's "You Can If You Think You Can."
Though it was written for parents, Dr Chris Baker's book, "Your Child's Smile," has been used as a textbook for dentists who want to treat children.
Dr. Wayne Dyer's classic work, "You'll see it when you believe it," takes readers on a step-by-step path toward living and loving both life and career.
Critical element 1: Gratitude
As you drive in to your practice in the morning, spend the drive-time in gratitude, loving your life and yourself.
Think about your simple gratitude, and about your sacred gratitude. While you may have some current situational gratitude - the new car you are driving, your daughter’s amazing sports performance last night, also remember the simple gratitudes - your home, your work, your shower this morning, the way your staff makes your patients happy.
And, practice your sacred gratitudes: feeling grateful for everything in your life - even the hard stuff, the challenges, the grief in loss, knowing no matter how difficult, there is benefit to you to come.
There is no substitute for feeling grateful, happy, blessed.
By the time you get to your office, you will be ready for a fantastic day where things seem to turn “your way.” I love the story of the doctor whose staff knew what sort of day “they were in for,” when they noticed how the doctor got out of the car - slowly, slumped, low-energy, or, on some wonderful days, upright, with energy, smiling.
Before you walk through the door, take a nice slow breath through your nose. This engages the peace of your para-sympathetic nervous system. It changes your physiology immediately to one of peace. Then, you can walk in to your office and greet each team member by name.
We all love to hear our name. It has been said that your name is the most beautiful word in the whole world. Yes, greet with love and their name! And feel your gratitude for each one of them. Why not? - the alternative is not going to make you feel happier, and gratitude can make you remember all your joy.
Critical element 2: Your beliefs and thoughts
Decide to love your practice. Assuming you are continuing to practice dentistry, you don’t have to love your practice. Your choices would appear to be three: You can:
1. ...transition/sell your practice if you’re not happy with it,
2. ...keep trudging through your days and practice, facing the difficulties and challenges with dread at the worst, coping at the best, or...
Critical element 3: Decide to love the practice life, and do what you need to do to see it as joyous.
I know one general dentist in a small upper mid-western town who so loves his practice, patients, and staff! His life is full and his family reaps the benefits of a joyous husband and father.
Years ago he did not feel quite that way about his practice. It was much more work, not financially great, and he came to the fork in the road - toward joy? Or toward the "same old, same old"? His beliefs and thoughts had to change, and when they did, he ran smack into the knowledge and guidance he needed to transform his practice to GREAT, and with that, his life to GREAT.
You may think, “Dr. Chris, you have no idea…”, or “It’s just not that simple.”
Indeed, it’s not that simple. But it IS that worth it! And it gets easier and easier. You can turn your beliefs / perspectives of your daily “grind” to daily joy.
You can if you think you can.
Yes, it will take work. Work that has the magnificent outcome of bringing you to a joyous existence.
The work can be magnificently successful if you “get out of the way”, and get into the belief state as soon as possible. Nothing will change until you do.
How do you get out of the way? You might call this release, or surrender, or focusing on what is right in your life/practice. Dr Wayne Dyer liked to remind us, “You’ll see it WHEN YOU BELIEVE IT.”
Focus on what’s right. Act as if. Walk in that door in the morning and act as if your practice is the best place in the world to be. If it were, would you ignore the staff, or would you say a bright and cheery “Good morning, Claire” to each person you see, greeting them by name?
If your practice were such a happy place to be, would you look at the schedule with dread over the patients who are scheduled? Or would you think how lovely it will be to see each one? Act as if…
Believe it TIL you see it!
The change is in YOU.
Your belief, your trust, your joy will change everything, including your practice. And when that happens, you will truly be living your magical, miraculous, magnificent life of your dreams!
Just you wait!
Your staff will become wonderful (or you’ll find new staff who are wonderful and fit your new life well.) Your patients will be delightfully happy with your care (or the grumps will leave.) You will have created your great practice!
More critical elements to come next time!!
Dr Chris Baker
Dr. Chris Baker is Past President of the American Orthodontic Society, a pediatric dentist and teacher of orthodontics, An author, dental practice consultant, mentor, and a current or former faculty member of three U.S. dental schools, Dr Chris practices and blogs in beautiful Abu Dhabi, UAE, and glorious Texas, USA.
© 2019 Dr Chris Baker