The Monday Morning Quote #302

“To win through by sheer force of genius is one thing; to survive and continue to create when every last door is slammed in one’s face is another.

Nobody acquires genius—it is God-given. But one can acquire patience, fortitude, wisdom, understanding.

Perhaps the greatest gift [is] to love what one does whether it causes a stir or not.”

Henry Miller in To Paint is to Love Again.

The Monday Morning Quote #301

“I did then what I knew how to do and when I knew better, I did better.”

Maya Angelou


New Year Message from the GDC

For everyone in UK dentistry, here’s a message from the “head of council” via GDPUK

Well done Comrade Wilson.

The CQC and Mumsnet…

local_logoCQClogo2I’m not sure what to think about this to be honest. On the one hand the CQC really must listen to opinions from patients (as opposed to “consumers of services”, however they have had such an appalling introduction to dentistry and general medical practice where it is quite clear that not only did they fail to understand the professions and they way that they functioned but they also brought with them preconceptions about the “services”.

Their opening statement doesn’t do any favours; “we believe passionately etc etc” is just the usual verbiage that we have come to expect from government departments who are already agenda driven. There isn’t enough money for the universal care that they suggest is or should be available for all from the great British religion that is the NHS, but no one has the guts to admit it.

Asking for on-line opinions does tend to bring out the trolls, gives oxygen to people with an axe to grind or just allows those with a dislike / resentment of dentistry to have a go.

Some of the comments reflect the lack of understanding of the NHS regulations, dentists’ training, changes in contracts and the benefits of private dentistry.

On the flip side it also shows how poor many practices are at communicating effectively with their patients.

The survey is here. Take a look and make a comment, you might win £100 for your favourite charity.



The Monday Morning Quote #300

This is the 100th post since I started this blog in the dim and distant past. It’s also by part coincidence / part design the 300th Monday Morning Quote that means it’s the best part of six years since I started collecting the words and thoughts of others and sharing them.

There are two that I mutter to myself on a regular basis and have no problem in repeating today. One in a slightly fuller version than usual.

First up the wonderful Irish writer Samuel Becket from his play Worstward Ho, it also gives me the opportunity to enjoy the portrait of him taken by Jane Bown, who I was sad to read died just before Christmas, and to reflect on the story behind it. How many people do you know can boast that they are both Nobel Prize winners and have entries in Wisden? this quote could be applied to photography, cricket or writing.

“Ever Tried. Ever Failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better.”


Next is from Seneca on The Shortness of Life. I don’t know very much about Seneca, so let his words speak for themselves.

“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.

Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested.

But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing.

So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.”


The Weekend Read – The E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

81u28x8KBALI first read this book in February 2001 and my reaction was, “how did I survive for so long without this knowledge?”. The answer of course was, “at great cost both financially and emotionally”, so whilst I had learnt a lot of Michael Gerber’s lessons I did so painfully and slowly. This is a book I reccomend to all my coaching clients the first time we meet. I have even been known to buy it for them when they were hard to convince.

His belief that entrepreneurs, who are usually full of good ideas which ultimately distract them from running a business. So this book is great at helping you to get out of your own way by introducing an organised plan.

The book is divided into three sections:

  1. The E-Myth (the E stands for Entrepreneur) and small business.
  2. The Turn-Key revolution: A new view of business.
  3. Building a Small Business That Works.

Chapters include:

  • Your primary aim.
  • Your strategic objective.
  • Your organisational strategy
  • Your people strategy.
  • Your marketing strategy.
  • Your systems strategy.

Using Sarah a cake maker who wants to start a business making and selling her cakes as a case study, Dr Gerber gives great examples not only of what, how, when and why but also what not, how not, when not and why not.

A must read for everyone thinking about starting their own business or those who have already done it and want to make it better.

PS He’s the person who coined the phrase, “working on rather than in your business.”

The Monday Morning Quote #299

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are.

The people who get on in this world are the people who look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”

George Bernard Shaw in Mrs Warren’s Profession


The Weekend Read – How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen

UnknownA good book to read before the New Year gets up a head of steam. In it the author, who is a Professor at Harvard Business School (HBS) and has written several other books on innovation, prompts the reader to consider the most important questions you’ll ever face.

It doesn’t pretend to have answers but it does provoke you to think about your life and purpose.

In the opening chapter Professor Christensen, who was also a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University, considers his classmates from both HBS and Oxford and what happened to them in the years after their graduation. To summarise the fate of several of these highly intelligent and very capable people whose lives were anything but straightforward he writes, “I know for sure that none of these people graduated with a deliberate strategy to get divorced or lose contact with their children – much less to end up in jail. Yet this is the exact strategy that too many ended up implementing.”

That compares pretty well with my contemporaries some of whose problems include alcoholism, marriage breakdown and jail, over and above the random illnesses and business crises that dentistry can throw at one. I could write at some length about their challenges and I do wonder if the questions that Christensen poses were put to us in our final year if it might have been of some benefit.

One of the problems of dentists, and this is something that I explore when I am presenting to dentists and their teams, is that by virtue of their job dentists are micro-managers who concentrate on minutiae. A consequence of this, of course, is that they frequently cannot see ‘the bigger picture’. It is so easy to set off on life thinking you know where you are going, yet the start of any project is the time when you know least of all.

These days the author asks his final year charges three simple questions:

How can I be sure that:

  • I will be successful and happy in my career?
  • My relationships with my spouse, my children and my extended family and close friends become an enduring source of happiness?
  • I live a life of integrity – and stay out of jail?

Christensen and his co-authors, James Allworth & Karen Dillon, explore the lessons that have been learnt from businesses throughout their careers and apply these to life choices.

At the start of Section 1,”Finding Happiness in Your Career” is printed a quote by Steve Jobs:

  • “The Only way to be truly satisfied is to what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

In my day to day work I come across many people who are deeply unhappy with their professional lives, some I am able to assist, some are too far down the road to engage in a fundamental change – even when they know they should. They hang on and hang on, hoping that something will change for them instead of building their lives around their thought out core values which are reflected in their priorities.

This is an important book for anyone who thinks their life might be approaching a crossroads or wants to revisit their last change of direction.

You can order from Amazon.

Happy New Year – have a great 2015 – it’s the only chance you’ll have this time round.

New Every Morning

Every day is a fresh beginning,

Listen my soul to the glad refrain.

And, spite of old sorrows

And older sinning,

Troubles forecasted

And possible pain,

Take heart with the day and begin again.

(Susan Coolidge)

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