Another year, another Groundhog Day.
Most of you, I’m sure, are familiar with the modern classic, “Groundhog Day,” where Bill Murray plays a TV weather reporter condemned to relive the same day over and over again. It’s a far-fetched idea that fuels a lot of great comedic scenes, but as a metaphor for how we can fall into cycles and patterns of behavior, it isn’t that far off from reality.
I’m often reminded of a conversation I had with a long-established dentist who was resisting some of the strategies I was suggesting that could take him to the next level. “Don’t forget,” he reminded me, “I have 15 years of experience at this.”
“Do you really?” I countered. “Or do you have one year of experience repeated 15 times?” He was, I am convinced, continually living his “Groundhog Year.” The same patients, the same competencies, the same approaches – everything unfolding with the same reliable predictability.
But in the movie, remember, it isn’t until Murray’s character gains some insight into his predicament – and makes some real effort at using the suspension of time to advance his knowledge and sharpen his skills – that he wins the girl and is finally able to break the cycle and move forward again.
It’s a lesson worth remembering. For the most part, the people out there who are flourishing as dentists don’t have the genius to reinvent the profession singlehandedly, but they do have the courage and the passion to reinvent their career, each and every year.
If you want to be one of those people, take a flash-forward trip in your mind to this time next year and ask yourself what’s going to look different then. Now ask yourself how you’re going to get there.
Either that, or you can ring in another Groundhog Year.
(Click this link to read more dental practice management articles by Imtiaz Manji.)