One of the most common pitfalls that destroys a doctor’s ability to be successful long-term is constantly searching for greener grass and chasing bright shiny objects. We are all guilty of it at times, but staying focused with a “plan your work and work your plan” mentality is critical to achieving anything of note.
It’s simple, the more you are distracted from your core purpose, the less likely you are to make meaningful progress towards it. And even when you do, the longer it will take, the more frustration you will have to suffer through, and the lower the value of results.
This is not to be confused with a state of never-ending improvement. That is vastly different and actually vital (it keeps you hungry, humble, and hustling for your goals). This is the opposite of always looking for an easier path, a quick fix, or shortcut (all of which put you at the mercy of circumstances and fickle trends of an industry).
Focus and consistency WIN every time.
The question is always…win at what? That’s the thing only you can decide.
Just as detrimental as changing horses in the middle of the race or believing someone else always has it better or any deception that allows you to skirt your own personal responsibilities is what I want to talk about today…
The deliberate mirages placed in front of you by other people suggesting what you ‘should’ be striving for.
I discovered this saying a while back that went something like this…
“People can either choose to hate themselves for failure or hate you for success. Very few people choose to hate themselves.”
The point in this is quote is that others would rather bring you down, suppress your goals, redirect your objectives, feel your head with discouraging comments disguised as advice. It’s all really designed to make themselves feel better.
It’s far easier to pull down instead of lift themselves up.
This criticism is not always direct. It’s packaged in different ways…
“You work too hard.”
“Don’t you have enough.”
“When will you slow down.”
And then there are other things internally at your practice…
“They won’t pay that.”
“We have to take insurance.”
“Oh, that’s too pushy, too salesy, too whatever.”
Then there is the biggest, most prevalent, self-sabotaging lie ever said about success…
“You need work-life balance.”
I call it BS. Here’s why…first of all, it’s all relative to your goals. For the ambitious and determined few, doing a little more WORK provides a lot more LIFE.
Second, unless you are working 7 days a week and 8 hours a day (you are probably at 8–9 four days a week) then you are working LESS than you are not working.
Don’t get wrong…I am, after all, the original LIFESTYLE PRACTICE creator. My doctors work dramatically LESS and make MORE (multiples) than anyone else. But they never sacrifice the output for less input. Rather they increase the value of their time, use multiplication instead of addition, and they don’t treat all tasks equally.
Here is the truth about work-life balance…
1st. There might be “work-life balance” for “them” but NOT for the person who is earning X times them. No balance exists in business. You have to be all-in.
2nd. The only reason there is not balance in someone’s life is because they are trying to work LESS instead of work SMARTER.
3rd. More often than not, it’s because they waste away their personal time and gain very little benefit. They lack balance because of what they do when they are NOT working, rather than it being a function of what they do when they ARE working.
4th. Finally, and most importantly, just don’t think of balance in terms of TIME. Instead think of it in terms of VALUE and your ability to be PRESENT doing what you are supposed to be doing when you are supposed to be doing it.
When you apply these four principles you will win and find the elusive answer to this “balance” quandary.
You have all the control in the worlds to achieve HARMONY (which is much preferred over BALANCE) with yourself and your work. Trust me, everything you want will be even more rewarding and significant to you when your reach this level of alignment.
You just have to remember the entire point of the “work” is not for the sake of “work.” It is supposed to be the “life” it provides, creates, elevates, and makes possible for you.
Now, let’s take this to an extreme and talk through some examples in order to get your mind right about what a victory really looks like. Part of that is understanding how it evolves over time; as in—if you are willing to do the work now—you’ll have more choices, more autonomy, more control, more prosperity, and more independence now too.
The reason why I insist on debunking the myth of “balance” is because this is not about reaching a destination, it is about a mindset, an approach, a life philosophy.
Which means it is weighted against a doctor’s life and tied directly to the goals they want to achieve. As it should be. You can find harmony even with out of “balance.”
Think about it this way…all your effort exerted beyond maintaining the status quo is designed to take you to a better place, to make your valuable, to develop your business, to add to your wealth. Thus, the pursuit of anything (new, better, different) will always move you off your equilibrium and out of “balance.
When you get excited by a new clinical breakthrough or procedure, you go out of your way to read articles, study cases, go to courses, buy equipment, and identify patients to make it possible. Often, that leads to you getting way out of balance on any number of scales.
However, are you really out of balance? Not when weighted against and compared to the objectives and goals you have for the new procedure.
You are perfectly justified. Especially if you made the decision deliberately and are fully aware of what you expect as a result of the time and financial investment.
And therein lies both the obstacle and the opportunity—all at the same time.
You’d think that everyone would want to “work less, make more, and have more balance.” The problem with that generality is that everyone defines balance differently and some people love what they do more than the alternative.
This is why I use the term “harmony”—which is something that depends on the state and stage of life you are in and just how ambitious your goals are.
In any real entrepreneurial doctor’s life there is always the need to adjust, adapt and evolve; otherwise you live one long groundhogs day in your dental practice for however many decades you last.
This is the successful doctor’s reality and whether it is resisted or embraced determines just how happy you can be with the chosen state of balance between your life and your practice.
Let’s move off of theory and get down to execution with a few strategies to help you achieve your desired lifestyle and to do so without compromising.
The first questions to ask yourself are…
What am I trying to balance between?
Where do I feel a lack of harmony in my life? (Think of finding alignment with ideals, principles, decisions and objectives)
To serve as a good starting point, consider the following…
- Days in the practice
- Dentistry in the schedule
- Money in the bank
- Activities in the calendar
- People in your life
- Compromises you make
- Priorities you miss
Remember it’s not minutes that you’re counting—it’s the value of those minutes. Figure out why some days in the practice are not always productive. In both clinical dentistry and business progress. Make a commitment to determine why work is often taken home, whether that’s books or charts or bills or emotions or thoughts or physical exhaustion.
The same goes for making your goals happen by using the Value Based Schedule structure; which allows you to create leverage through proper creating, diagnosing, case acceptance, and collecting.
Certainly, a lack of money compared to the effort required is a big one plaguing most every doctor because there is no deliberate plan or system for it. It’s not just the dollar figure but rather what it took to earn that amount.
Then there are activities and people that you want to have time for and give attention to. These are probably your biggest ‘reasons why’ you even do what you do. Yet, there is seldom a plan in place to ensure these happen at all. They become “whatever is left over.” No wonder everyone feels your work-life balance is out of whack.
It doesn’t matter how successful a doctor is, how big the cases, size of team, millions of dollars of collections or how high net worth…when I sit down during the dinner before my Private (famously secretive and proprietary) Lifestyle Practice Blueprint Days, it happens without fail that I hear right away that…
1. There are hobbies that are listed but not touched. Interests outside of dentistry that haven’t been experienced for a long time—and yet no time, effort, energy, planning has been allocated to it. Because they—and probably you—are out of balance with what they say they want and what they are actually doing.
2. There are people in their life, usually the one sitting right beside, that feel neglected, often ignored and put last (physically, emotionally) because of the draining demands from the practice. Even though the point was for the practice to provide for more of everything it robs.
Here’s the point to this: no matter how successful you think you are, if you really ask yourself and are honest, you are in this very moment out of harmony in at least one area and probably all areas of your life. That is because you have not made decisions based on who you are and what you want—right now.
It can be fixed and it must be if you want to prosper with your sanity, health, relationships, and autonomy.
That’s what a lifestyle practice without compromise is really all about. Let’s pick up right here next week with 5 specific and tactical ways to make this reality for you.
In the meantime, I recently recorded an in-depth interview with a doctor who has lived a life without compromise, doing it all on his own terms, and who has the experience everyone can learn from. Watch my DST Legends Interview with Dr. Charlie Briscoe right here…