Stop Hiding. Wisdom from Carl Richards.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I hold Carl Richards in high esteem. His simple messages supported by drawings are always worth a look and a thought. This one is especially good. I seem to attract procrastinators (or perhaps they attract me), Carl’s words on the subject are most appropriate and I am happy to share.

You can find out more about Carl and sign up to his newsletter HERE

“There’s something you want to do. Maybe even something you need to do. And you’re not doing it.

The reason you’re not doing it is because you’re hiding.

The reason you’re hiding is because there is work to be done, and that work is either scary, or hard, or boring, or all of the above.

So instead, you’re reading your eighteenth book of the year on time management, tweeting about the economy, and Instagramming motivational pictures.

(Actually, you’re reading your emails. Don’t ask me how I know.)

Might I make a suggestion?

Just stop.

All of those are places to hide.

I repeat: There’s something you want to do. Maybe even something you need to do. And you’re not doing it.

Stop procrastinating. Stop looking for a new trick, a new #hack.

Take all that time and put it into just getting the work done.

It’s that simple.”

-Carl

 

First. Know your potential customers/clients

If I was to employ someone to assist me with my marketing I would like them to know and understand what I do. Not in depth, of course, that would come after an initial call but I would like to think that they would bother to find out a little bit more about me.

The person who does help me did and continues to reflect what I do, the services I provide and so on – they are a professional and apply their knowledge, experience and skills for the benefit of their clients.

It seems that many Linkedin users who sell marketing services put the words, “dentist or dentistry” into a search and then send an invitation to connect so that they can sell me their services.

A recent typical message was, “Hey Alun, we’d like to send you 15-30 new clients in and around your area who are looking for a dental practice, do you have capacity for more clients right now?” My answer was, “Those individuals would be patients were I looking and I’m not. I wish you well.”

And somebody please save me from the host of individuals who want to help me find more Invisalign leads, especially in the “Greater New York” area…

As a client said to me recently, “SOME marketing people are the 21st century equivalent of Yellow Pages salespeople” – and I suppose in some ways they are.

 

…and I thought self control was always a good thing.

Sometimes you have to admit that everything you thought was wrong was (possibly) right. Could it be that all those good habits, all that resisting temptation and weeks of denial were for nothing?

Is it possible that beating myself up after the third chocolate digestive and saying “no” to things that would have been fun but would have distracted me from my goals may well have done me more good than harm?

I now find out that there is a “Dark Side” to self control. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Kokoris and Stavrova point out the downsides of resisting temptation.

It is true that people with strong self control have better health, relationships, finances and careers and fewer problems with overeating, overspending, procrastination and unethical behaviour.

However there is a downside:

Self control:

  • Can restrict emotional experiences.

  • May lead to long term regret.

  • Can lead to increased workload.

  • Can be used for ill.

  • Isn’t for everyone.

  • Can lead to long term bias.

Before being full on about “self control” perhaps we should practice some “self compassion”, learn to know and like ourselves, perhaps cut ourselves a little slack and be more realistic.

Read the full paper HERE

I’ll have another marshmallow now please.

You don’t have to do this…”Things They Didn’t Teach You at Dental School”

An excerpt from the forthcoming book, “101 Things They Didn’t Teach You at Dental School”

“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” Polonius. Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3.

Is Dentistry really what you want to do? You don’t have to.

Many dentists made the decision about what to study at university in their mid-teens. A time of life that is short on maturity, experience and insight. Parents, teachers and career advisers see dentistry as a well-remunerated, socially acceptable profession with a good secure future. 

Unfortunately a number of dentists are ill suited to a profession that makes extensive physical, mental and emotional demands. How many of us have the nerve to say that it’s not what we want?

After 5 years as an undergraduate and carrying a large student debt it is a very brave new graduate who would dare tell their parents and family that they have chosen the wrong subject to study. Humanities and pure sciences graduates would be fortunate to continue with their subjects. It is only the vocational degree where the graduate is able, or expected, to follow the career pathway without a second thought.

Socially, to turn away is akin to leaving your fiancée at the altar, yet an individual is to be admired for admitting that they don’t feel the commitment needed to make a happy marriage. 

Turn things on their head, if you know in your heart of hearts that you are unfulfilled and unhappy being a dentist isn’t it better to say so sooner than later? How many more miserable years do you want to tolerate? How much stress and heartache can you endure once you have admitted to yourself that you’re in the wrong place? 

There are far too many dentists who have plodded on through their BDS and Foundation Training then on to associate posts and partnerships without considering the future or an alternative.

They think this is the way that it has to be, it will get better, easier, less of trial to get out of bed in the morning – next year. Living from holiday to holiday they get little fulfilment from the work they do or the people for whom they are supposed to care. 

Often these are the ones who succumb to the stressors. The use of alcohol and other drugs, gambling or other addictions along with failed relationships are commonplace.

I have attended funerals of apparently happy and successful dentists who have taken their own lives because they could only see that one way out.

These problems are not unique to dentists and many people as Thoreau put it “live lives of quiet desperation”. 

What else is possible? 

Answer – anything that you want to be. There are ex-dentists who are successful architects, writers, lawyers, and musicians. I know a former orthodontist who now builds dry stone walls (and will teach you how to build them too). The discipline of your training means that you are suited to re-train.

Stuck in a government-devised rut, which rewards quantity not quality?

If you want to change then say so, and do something about it. This isn’t a rehearsal; there is no second chance at life, no re-run. If you want to be better, nobody else can do it for you.

 

The Weekend Read – How to Live on 24 Hours a Day

Probably the first time management book, written by the prolific novelist and writer Arnold Bennett was published in 1908. Its messages and lessons are still relevant and as important now than they were 112 years ago. The context has changed but the distractions have not if anything they are greater. This was part of larger work “How to Live”.

The author starts with the statement of the Daily Miracle, “You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life! It is yours. It is the most precious of possessions. A highly singular commodity, showered upon you in a manner as singular as the commodity itself!”

He points out that, “The supply of time, though gloriously regular, is cruelly restricted.”

As Steve Jobs said, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”

Bennett points out the ways we can choose to waste time, and as this was in pre-screen days we have much more to choose from in 2020. He encourages the reader to make small but gradual changes to avoid early failures and to be happy with small victories.

If you are struggling with time management and want to take things back to fundamentals, this small book will make you think and provide sound advice for you to adapt to your needs.

There’s a good summary on Wikipedia.

Available from The Book Depository.

10/2020

 

 

The Natural Order of Things

John Naughton posted this quote from Douglas Adams on his Memex blog HERE.

“Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”

I agree with the principle but not necessarily the exact ages. It made me think of the “Bell Curve” or as one person in audience corrected me, “It’s a Gaussian Distribution Curve” I have since discovered (stats not being a subject of which I retained any knowledge) it’s also known as normal distribution – or extra normal if you wish. In this case it shows the Diffusion of Innovation Theory.

As Jim Lovell (of Apollo 13 fame) said, “There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who wonder, ‘what happened’?.” In Dentistry I think that most new graduates tend to be to the left of the midline – they are curious, learners, enquiring about the world into which they have been released so they become Early Adopters and Early Majority. As time passes, excitement is tempered by experience in many who want a “simple” life, they get into groove, which becomes a rut which is of course only a grave with the ends kicked out. They slide gradually to the right of the curve and settle into the Late Majority (watching what happens) or eventually The Laggards (what happened?).

Others get a handle on things and hit their straps later on, often realising that their jobs with businesses on the right of the midline are taking them nowhere and so they head in their own direction, start enquiring and looking into alternatives, revelling in their curiosity and enthusiasm. The tide can carry you to the left but it can be hard work and it can sweep past you and, as your energy wanes, you find yourself drifting backwards to the right being passed by “the bright young things”.

I have seen this happen with dental societies that are started with energy, flourish and then consolidate and eventually wither, plus contemporaries who finish up putting in the years until they can take their pension and get out. Other dentists I know have kept striving, looking over the edge, investing in themselves and their businesses loving what they do right until they hang up their handpieces.

  • I love working with Early Adopters and Early Majority people because they keep me on my toes.
  • Innovators tend to burn me out, but that’s fine because it’s a great ride. a blast whilst it lasts.
  • The Late Majority can be fun to push and often convert into “Earlies”.
  • Laggards just can’t see the point of anything.

 

09/2020

I have met a few like this…

From the ever excellent Savage Chickens, I’ve been both sides of the table.

2020/8

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