The First Domino of Success: Once This Falls, Anything Is Possible

Last week, I promised to deliver the one thing that makes more opportunities possible in your practice, that clears the way for breakthroughs to occur, that gives you the vision to see perfectly clear, and that provides the confidence to take bold action.

Now, I should preface this by saying that there is not just ‘one thing’ to success, which you already know. However, there is one thing that comes first. One decision, one resolution, one epiphany that must happen in order for you to break free from limitations and reach new levels of peak performance. A first domino of success, if you will.

The premise is quite simple but the implications are profound…

Banish Fear

Banish fear from your mindset so you never again allow yourself to be terrified of outcomes, scared of mistakes, or paralyzed by what-ifs. You just act – confidently, bravely, decisively act. This demands forward motions in pursuit of your goals and not a backwards trajectory away from your fears.

The nuances might be so subtle you remain uncertain if you are you running towards or away from something.

In fact, fear appears in many forms that can be difficult to decipher… self-doubt, hesitation, negativity, second-guessing, undermining, and self-sabotage. Recognize these all as fear and grant yourself the courage to reject it.

Of course, you can be thoughtful, deliberate, and careful. That is, as long as you are intentionally setting a course rather than using caution to avoid commitment. Otherwise you will surely find yourself stuck in limbo, doing nothing at all, and gaining nothing from it.

You will find a retreating mentality only multiplies the difficulties as you are pushed you further and further away from your goals.

Shift your intent to a pursuit of the ideal and you’ll intrinsically be moving closer to your goals, momentum begins to build, a little success leads even more success, and suddenly the finish line appears within reach. This, all as a result of where you place your attention and intention.

If you’ve ever played golf, you know the mental tricks hazards can play. You are standing at the tee and see a large pond to your left. You say to yourself, “Ok, don’t hit it over there. Whatever you do, avoid the water – do NOT go left.” You start your swing, you crush the ball, and as you look up you watch your ball fly left directly into the water.

Why? Because your mind only knows how to focus, to think, to imagine. There is no ability to unfocus or unthink or unimagine something. If someone says, “Don’t think about XYZ.” The first thing you do is think about it, because that’s all you can do.

On the golf course, you said, “Do NOT go left,” but your mind is only able to process the concept of “left.” Had you said to yourself, “Go RIGHT,” it most certainly would have gone better.

As in golf, everything in life follows your focus. Sure, you might miss once-in-a-while but you’ll never reach the green if you remain fearful of hitting the hazard. Give yourself permission to aim for the fairway, believe in your ability, and swing without fear.

And don’t think you can trick the brain. Yes, your actions speak louder than words, but your inner thoughts and true feelings are very convincing. Eventually what you choose to believe will shape both your words and your actions.

Here is an exercise you can do anytime you find yourself sliding back into negativity or you seem hesitant to take action or even if you begin to feel complacent (that’s another sneaky disguise that fear wears well – you must always be raising the bar and setting higher expectations).

We are going to take a look at the goals you wrote down at the beginning of the year.

(Can you believe we are nearing the half-way point? Hopefully your well beyond half way to fulfilling your grandest achievements this year).

With your list of goals from January in hand (or write a new list if you must), write out all of the steps, actions, decisions, commitments, or progress you have NOT made yet. Then, for each of those items, write the reason – why haven’t you taken the actions you know would put you closer to your stated goals?

Every single phrase you wrote is most likely a current fear you are living with. Now, they won’t be worded as such. It would be too easy if everyone thought in completely accurate terms; such as, “I’m afraid I’ll regret hiring that person,” or “I’m fearful I’ll fail at my first attempt of the new procedure.”

In real life, fear sounds more like… “I’m not sure that person is the right fit.” “It’s not the right time to bring on an associate.” “The patient didn’t seem interested in dentistry so I’ll get the next one.” “They offer that course later in the year, I’ll have more time then.”

There is not a person reading this (including me writing this) that doesn’t have an unmet goal or a goal lacking sufficient progress that is not result of fear.

Why haven’t you diagnosed more? Why haven’t you made your days more valuable? Why haven’t you implemented the new scheduling technique? Why haven’t you removed insurance? Why haven’t you grown your income? Why haven’t you been a better leader? Why haven’t you fired or hired that person? Why haven’t you started marketing to better patients?

Look, we are all afraid of something, we’re human. But we can force ourselves to admit it. That then gives us the ability to fight back against it. I didn’t even say defeat the fear or conquer the anxiety. We may never be completely immune but that’s not the goal. The goal is to never let fear stand in the way of freedom and accomplishments.

This is one of your greatest super powers and you need it all the time in every part of your life for yourself and for the benefit of everyone around you. Your courage and confidence allow your family, your team, and your patients to live their lives to the fullest.

So, continue to work on training yourself to see solutions not problems, opportunities not obstacles, forwards not backwards, possibilities not impossibilities. That’s how you become fearless and live without limits.

With every step forward, every success, every accomplishment, every year of your life you gain more clarity on who you really are meant to be and what you are really here to do. Lean into it that belief and live it without holding anything back.

Now that you have fully committed, whether that is your schedule control, diagnostic philosophy, healthy outcomes for patients, insurance removal, fee increases, or anything else – take bold action without fear. There is no room for the timid where you’re headed.

Once you find the confidence from your convictions to banish fear and that first domino tips over, it’s just a matter of time before everything else falls into place.