Test Yourself on This Pivotal Practice Skill

Last week, I shared with you the biggest difference between those who achieve their goals and those who fall short. It is not how easy they have it, but how tough they can handle it.

I called it being clutch – being unstoppable when it counts the most.

This happens when someone is trying to get you to compromise your standards of excellence and beliefs about complete health. This happens when you feel like you are at the brink physically, emotionally, financially, clinically.

This happens because the more ambitious you are, the greater your objectives, the bolder your goals – the more challenges that arise and the more obstacles you face.

Perhaps, this is the sign of a worthy mission more than anything else. Lots of victories and achievements but lots of stories to tell, scars to show for it, skills acquired, and struggles overcame.

Down the stretch when most everyone else lets up, takes a break, gives way to an easier path… the clutch find ways to win and win big.

Today, I’ll share with you a skill you can work on to shine in these very moments and develop your ability to be clutch when it counts. So, when the pressure mounts, you are prepared to respond.

That comes down to the decisions you make.

In fact, improving the quality and value of your decisions is the fastest way to go from ordinary to extraordinary, move from average to excellent, and ascend from good to great.

In keeping with our New Year theme of maximizing your most valuable asset (time), I will tell you it is only as valuable as the decisions you make around it and the actions you take within it.

There is nothing costlier in your life than being wasteful with time and opportunity. Which is why the decisions you make are so critical to your success. A few wrong choices here, a couple delayed answers there – and suddenly you are so far behind pace you simply can’t catch up.

That’s why each and every day in your practice you are faced with one responsibility above all others that will dictate your results…


There is nothing in life that can happen – no patient that can be treated, no team member that will perform, no money that can be made – without first you choose to decide.

Some big, some small, some of great importance, some of little consequence.

The reality is the person who has the most decisions to make carries the most responsibility, this person also is the one who stands to win in the biggest ways. That is what defines you as a Practice Owner. Even if you choose to delegate decisions to others, that in itself is a decision.

You decided this career, you decided to be a practice owner, you decided to be a leader of others, you decided to put the health of patients in your hands.

Of course, these are all noble decisions, but in exchange for these choices comes responsibility. The responsibility to continue to make decisions every single day of great significance. And not only make decisions, but make them timely. You must embrace this, not resent it.

However, being decisive is not always a natural gift. For most, it’s a skill that must nurtured and fine-tuned. Here’s a quick test…

– Do you waste time pondering the obvious?

– Do you question yourself constantly?

– Do you let people influence your thoughts?

– Do you leave important matters up to others?

– Do you let things weigh on your mind before (or even after) making decisions?

All signs you need to improve your decisiveness. All signs you are self-limiting their own success. All signs you have greater potential to unleash with just a little bit of work.

Know this: decisive thought, assertive action, and confident progress are all things that make success happen.

Show me a person who makes excuses rather than decisions and I will show you a person who fails to reach their goals, make the full impact on the lives of others, and misses out on too many opportunities.

The clock is constantly ticking. The outflow of money turns over every month, some every day. The patients never pause to wait for your decision.

So, let’s practice:

A team member is doing something detrimental to the culture or breaking the patient experience protocols. You avoid confronting it, you take it home and sleep on it (or worse yet you complain about it to your spouse). Your other team members see you letting someone sabotage their success and efforts. You make excuses that you are letting time pass or thinking it will get better.

It won’t. Confront it. Be decisive.

Here’s another one:

A patient is sitting in front of you with lots of dental work to be done, they know it, they expect it, they want you to lead the way. They do not want to play doctor. They want a doctor who has confidence, who believes they are the best person to take care of their dentistry. They want a doctor who can look them in the eyes and say, “Here’s what we are going to do.”

Are you decisive and speak with conviction? Or do you hesitate for a moment, make excuses for the patient, play down the severity, apologize for what you’ve diagnosed, and offer to just start with one tooth at a time?

Now, you might feel you’ve mastered this and tell every patient the truth, help them see the possibilities, and convey the bigger picture for a long-term plan for their overall health. But then you make it as though it’s optional instead of essential for them to achieve the life that they deserve.

You lose more money faster in bigger chunks than you even realize because you are not decisive with your patients. That comes across as uncertainty – it does not come across as compassionate. Be proud, believe in your impact, decide what’s best for the patient, and give them a chance.

Let me tell you about decisions…

1. Decisions are the currency of the wealthy. The more decisions you make, the more money you make. It’s as simple as that.

2. Decisions are always obvious. We choose to ignore things or lie to ourselves because we want to hedge our bets, we want to play it safe, we are trying hard to not lose instead of playing to win. Winners are decisive.

3. Decisions are time sensitive because things are always changing and ultimately time is all we have. So if you think you are going to sit on it, sleep on it, talk about it, or do anything else other than make a decision, you can believe that while you are doing all of these things the opportunity is losing value. A decision in this moment.

Remember this, it’s only in the children’s books where the turtle wins the race. In real life, the rabbits have no time to read fables because they are too busy making decisions, growing their practice, making patients healthy, creating memories with their family, and winning the race every day of their lives.

That’s the theme this year… Acting with speed, boldly chasing your dreams, taking advantage of opportunity, and always always always making the most of the most precious thing we have – time.

With that recipe for having the best year ever in 2023 in hand, all that’s left for you to do is decide.