Practice Dentistry Without a Net?
I remember hearing about a family of circus performers from years ago who specialized in trapeze routines and other spectacular highwire acts. They were renowned for their breathtaking stunts and precision timing. What made it even more exciting is that they did it all without a net. Until one day.
During one performance there was a serious accident and one of the members of the family was badly injured. After that, they decided to perform with safety nets. And as soon as they did, something interesting happened: They started having a lot more mishaps.
I think sometimes that the success you build over the years can start to act as a safety net. Just having an ongoing profitable practice is in itself a measure of safety. It’s just human nature: When you know the net is there to catch you, there is no real penalty for losing focus. It’s not intentional, and you can still be performing at a very high level of excellence. But if you miss a detail here or there (in your new patient experience, for example) the practice routine will be there to save you.
That’s why I think it’s important to challenge yourself every once in a while in way that forces you to give your full intense attention. Something where the stakes are important enough. Something where there is no easy fall-back option.
To go all out with a change agenda can be risky. It requires intense focus. It requires a “burn the boats in the harbor” commitment. It means taking away the safety net and forcing yourself to trust in your own abilities.
I had no safety net when I went ahead with the idea of building the campus here in Scottsdale. Frank Spear had no safety net when he decided to partner with us and move his center of operations here from Seattle so he could scale up and have an impact on many more dentists. That’s part of what drove our fierce determination to get it right.
It should be the same for you, whether you’re embarking on a journey of clinical reinvention, or taking on an especially complex interdisciplinary case. Take the nets away and go for it. It is an exhilarating feeling to make an unconditional commitment that has great implications. Yes, there is pressure that comes with that commitment, but that pressure has a wonderful way of concentrating the mind.