A car spinning out of control across three lanes of traffic, a sudden sea of red taillights ahead, and the horrible realization that the spinning car was the one my kids were driving. I saw the car flip three times and then land upside down on its roof. Thank God, everyone was alive and I was able to help them get out of the car.
(They survived this accident only because all four were wearing seatbelts!
Please never drive or ride in a car without your seatbelt. It could save your life.)
The paramedics arrived to assess everyone for injuries. Meanwhile, I had to talk with a police officer about what I had witnessed. During that conversation, I said to the officer, “This has been the worst day of my life.” He responded, “No, ma’am. All four of these kids are alive. This is the best day of your life.”
His comment changed my life forever. I suddenly understood that no matter what happens, the impact can be either negative or positive, depending on the perspective you take and how you decide to respond. Although we never have full control over everything in our lives, there are four things that we do have control over. On that day, I started taking these four things very seriously, and now I see them as key to surviving and thriving in your dental practice no matter what may come your way.
We can do these four things, no matter what:
1. Show UP!
Be physically and emotionally present, right here and now, wherever you find yourself. This might be an ordinary day or it might be an urgent, unexpected situation. If you are tangled up in fear, regret, or worry, you won’t be able to focus on what needs to happen next. You can’t do anything about the past, but what you do right now will impact what happens tomorrow.
2. Be the best person POSSIBLE.
Do all you can to be a good person. This can include getting more education to improve your knowledge and skills, working on building relationships, finding ways to give back, or just working on yourself to continually improve.
Don’t focus on being better than someone else, but on being better today than you were yesterday. Instead of blaming and pointing fingers, focus on how to improve yourself.
3. Do the RIGHT THING!
The foundation of this is integrity, which really comes down to doing the right thing when no one else is looking. When you come up against a situation or challenge, determine the right action. Sometimes it’s not the easiest or the most fun, but the right thing. If you want things to go right around you, then you have to do what you know in your gut to be right.
4. RESPOND rather than react.
It is not what happens to you, but how you respond that makes all the difference.
Understand the difference between reacting and responding. Reacting is the first unconscious thing we want to do or say when something happens. Reacting is usually based on something that happened in the past, so it gets in the way of being able to see what is actually going on right now. Instead of going with the first reaction, take time to think through what’s happening and then make a thoughtful response that is best for the situation.
Responding thoughtfully means owning your part in the situation and agreeing to be responsible for changing. Being responsible means being dependable, keeping promises, and honoring commitments. When you approach a situation this way, it’s likely to result in a better outcome.
In other words, you can’t do anything about what happens outside of your four walls, but you can change anything happening within.
Stop blaming others, stop looking for excuses, stop giving up and hiding.
You can’t fix external factors like the economy or competition, but you can fix many internal things that make the external forces less important. For example, you can:
- Build a stronger and better team.
- Become a better leader.
- Change systems to work better for you, like your schedule or answering the phones.
And don’t forget to wear your seatbelts.
Laura Hatch, named in Top 25 Women in Dentistry 2016, provides real-world front office expertise and training for dental practice success. She is the CEO and Owner of Front Office Rocks, a sought after public speaker, and author of 200 published articles.