Don’t Forget the Not So Obvious Things to Be Thankful For

Thanksgiving is always a time of reflection, maybe even more so than at the end of the year. It’s a time when feelings of gratitude and appreciation really consume you. I believe most people go through in their minds about all the people they care about and also who cares about them. They often think about what life would be like without these people and just how fleeting time really is and always will be.

The uncertainty of life is a very powerful motivator, as long as you allow it to be.

I see successful dentists who operate their practices in this way; not just going through the motions but really dedicating themselves to getting the most out of each day and out of each part of their business.

This is a trait of people who live a balanced life in an extreme sort of way. That may seem contradictory but it’s not. It’s the old “work hard, play hard” concept; one that really resonates with people of a specific personality and character.

Whenever I’m talking with a Doctor, I always pay close attention to what motivates them to do well above and beyond their clinical passions and their desire to help their patients.

In the beginning, there are financial motivations, even pressures and stresses of loans, bills and hitting that threshold of consistent sustainable profitable production levels.

Some never reach past this basic level of motivation.

Then there is the lifestyle component, what I call life outside of dentistry, which is ultimately the most important part. The real reason any of this should be done, any practice created, any business and profession pursued is to serve as a vehicle for other things, other achievements, other people, other contributions to their own lives and families.

I’d say the biggest downfall of many doctors is that they state their reason for becoming a dentist is to have more control over their schedule, autonomy, financial independence – the “be my own boss” idea – that can be a very elusive thing if you aren’t totally dedicated to the big picture of the dental practice business and life as an owner and entrepreneur, not just a dentist.

And of course, especially for those who get the first two right (and even if you don’t), there is a real drive, hope and motivation to do well for your team, for the people who helped make it all happen and give back to your patients, community, industry or anything and anyone else who inspires you.

After enjoying the Thanksgiving with your family yesterday and those who really make your heart sing and give you purpose outside your operatory, I hope you are reminded about the one overriding that every Dentist showing up right here every single week can attest to…

…you’ll never be at the end of your life saying to yourself or anyone still around to listen, “gosh, if only I would have spent more weeks working, more days in the office, more hours next to the chair…”

Any sane human would always wish in retrospect for more of the journey part of life rather than the destination; using dentistry to put more gas in the tank of the vehicle of life and then just drive.

Now, don’t misunderstand. Working hard happens before playing hard. Taking your success and your practice seriously as a dental business not just a clinical practice. This stuff matters.

I can tell you, and I know, that there is a real parallel here to those who show up to work every day in their practice, determined, focused, in control and those who have a balanced, fulfilling life from their health to their wealth, their family to their friends, their hobbies to their passions and everything in between.

As you reflect back on Thanksgiving (and I’m sure you’re not done yet), whether it’s today, tomorrow, next week, I’d give you this piece of advice to consider and contemplate very carefully:

If you ever catch yourself wishing or wanting for more outside of your practice…

If you ever feel pulled, out of balance or even, maybe, just maybe a little resentful or entitled to success that seems to be eluding you…

If you are ever unhappy with your situation on either side of the fence…

Then I can promise you, without a shadow of a doubt, there is something not quite right in your practice today. It’s out of whack, off kilter, misaligned with operations, people, patients, money, systems, treatment acceptance, your focus, etc.

There’s always so much to be thankful for. Just remember who carries the biggest responsibility of all of that – that very special saying “when much is given, much is expected” comes to mind and is a great principle to live by when remembering just how thankful you are.

For today, this holiday week, I’ll leave you with a reminder, I’m always here to help. So often you can be almost there but that means you’re not there yet and that can be very frustrating, as it should be.

The key is not about staying in a state of frustration and especially not moving into a state of any of those other thoughts and mindsets I just outlined but doing something about it.

No matter how great things are, your work will never be done. Let’s agree to keep things in perspective, let’s get as much out of your practice as possible so you can get as much out of your life as possible. And give, share and ensure everyone else around you, who you are so thankful for, can and will too.

And please, know this, I’m so grateful for you, my heart, mind and spirit are filled with gratitude every single day for the fact that I have the great privilege of making an impact in your life and helping you to be the best you can be for others but also very much so for yourself.

I could write to myself and it just wouldn’t matter, wouldn’t mean a thing. Instead, I’m so happy and fortunate I get to write to you, and that, it means everything. You know I practice what I preach so this message hits home for me too and rest assured I take this very seriously in hopes that you do too. The greatest lessons, resources, ideas, or anything else are only as great as the people who receive them and turn around and do something with them ultimately resulting in fulfillment, abundance and prosperity.

With gratitude and appreciation,

Happy Thanksgiving.