The (hundred and) first

For the 101st posting I am returning to my first “professional” blog entry from July 1st 2007 when I was part of the Dental Business School set up. Happy days. My opinions haven’t changed.

It’s great to put the words “The first time” into a search engine and watch what appears. In this case I wanted, and got the lyrics to “The first time ever I saw your face” a wonderful song written in 1963 by Ewan McColl for his lover Peggy Seeger.

The first time ever I lay with you
And felt your heart beat close to mine
I thought our joy would fill the earth
And would last till the end of time my love
And would last till the end of time”

For more stuff on this fascinating man who refused to be classified as anything other than himself go to:

wikipedia.org/wiki/Ewan_MacColl

As for myself here’s a brief summary that I wrote for GDP-UK

“I practice very little clinical dentistry, not because I am not good at it, not because I was not successful at it, basically because I no longer enjoyed it, had I been given the options of honesty and the choice of following a different path at a “half-way” point in my studies I probably would have taken it. As it is I was involved in a “vocational” degree and at the end of five years (Newcastle 1978) that is all you can do unless you have infinitely more moral courage than I or any of my contemporaries had.”

It took me a quarter of a century of practicing in hospital dentistry, general practice as an associate and as an owner of two practices to realise that, to use one of Stephen Covey’s analogies, my ladder was beautiful, it was well constructed, it worked well BUT (and it’s a bloody big but) it was leaning against the wrong wall.

Here we have a culture of “Ignore the ideals you may have felt and been taught, get in, get on with it, burn out, blame someone else, anyone else. Well here are some folks you can blame: the principal, the patients, the NHS, the BDA, the GDC, Barry Cockcroft, Ben Bradshaw, Gordon Brown, Maggie Thatcher & Nye Bevan, and yes some or all of them may have done something that influences the totally artificial structure that is imposed upon the relationship between you, the clinician, and your patient.

Every time that you do something that isn’t the best that you can possibly do for that patient, because you have VOLUNTARILY accepted a third party’s rules, then just acknowledge the gremlin that sits on your shoulder that controls the little squirts of adrenaline into your blood stream that will ultimately take their toll on your health.

One of my coaching gurus, Steve Black, asks the sportsmen he works with to imagine that they are being filmed when they are training and playing and then to visualise that they will have to sit and watch the film with their families and colleagues. Mike Wise says something similar “it’s doing the right thing when nobody’s looking that’s important.”

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