Oh the places I will go – Part 3 – Bounceback

Part 1 – The World at my feet

Part 2 – The World at my feet – in pieces

18th March 1993

My 40th birthday and a very significant date in the life of my practice. In the wake of the 1990 NHS contract and subsequent clawback of fees a group of dentists in Gloucestershire “held hands and jumped” to remove our dependence on the NHS. Several of us had things in common, we were of similar age, had big loans and couldn’t see how we could square the circle of carrying on providing our best for patients and continue to make a living.

With the assistance of the fledgling group, Gloucestershire Independent Dentists (GID) and supported by each other, in the words of Judith Cameron, we leapt and the net appeared. Some practices changed overnight, I was more cautious and transitioned over a 12 month period, giving all my adult, non-exempt, patients one last NHS course of treatment. This enabled me to have a conversation about the why, how, when and who of the changes. In those days Denplan was just about the only game in town and Gloucestershire became “Denplan county”.

I dreaded making the change, I anticipated wholesale rejection, arguments, insults and my hard work unravelling in minutes. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Because I changed gradually, and every patient received a letter ahead of their next visit plus good PR from GID, the word had got round. I allowed time to talk to explain my motives and to offer alternatives. The overwhelming feeling was one of acceptance, some begrudging, some cancelled their appointments “on principle”, some disappeared and then reappeared. More patients that I expected just said, “I’m surprised it has taken you this long, you have been giving private service since you opened.”

Instead of it being a catastrophe it was a tiny bump in the road. At the same time I started studying with the Open University on their MBA course which was really useful but due to circumstances beyond my control I was never able to complete. I also enrolled with Dr Mike Wise’s year long restorative course which also made me raise my game.

So I found myself with a largely private practice. There was still a significant NHS commitment because of the number of children we had attracted, which took a lot of management but worked extremely well and became a model for others to follow.

Things were looking up, I had managed to get a mortgage after a couple of years of banks not wanting to touch me with a bargepole, had remarried and our son was born in early April.

Life was good and the challenges were under control. The work was no less hard but the road was looking smoother.

Carl Richards’ Newsletter – Forget working hard. Try resting hard.

I read and enjoy several dozen (or more) Blogs / newsletters which I should share more often. Carl Richards is a Certified Financial Planner and creator of “The Sketch Guy” column which has appeared in the New York Times since 2010. His website is “The Behavior Gap” (sic) and here’s the Link

He wrote an excellent book “The One Page Financial Plan” which is well worth a read if you wrestle with money.

Here’s his most recent newsletter which may well strike a chord or two.

I couldn’t agree more.

Hi Alun, Carl here. 

I’m tired.

Like, really tired.

And I’m tired of being tired. 

Up at 5 in the morning? Tried it! Daily workouts? Yep. Paleo, bulletproof, gluten-free, cold showers? Check. 

Build a business, start a side hustle, dominate Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook? Yeah, I’ve done all that too.

You know what I don’t understand? How come nobody ever talks about rest? 

You know, rest. As in, relaxing. Doing nothing. Getting a good night’s sleep. That stuff’s kind of important, too… 
… 
I know I’m not alone here. 

The last 10 years have felt like the #CrushIt decade. Every time you turn around somebody is on social media talking about how they’re crushing something. Gary Vaynerchuk wrote the book on it, and according to him, people “need to work harder. And faster. There’s really nothing else to it. I’m exhausted every day, but I’m making all sorts of things happen in my 18 hours.”

Sorry, Gary. But I disagree. I don’t need to work harder and faster. And neither do most of the people reading this. I have a feeling most of us are already working hard enough. 

And you know what else, Gary? Being exhausted every day sounds like a stupid way to live.

… 
Look, if this doesn’t speak to you, just toss this email in the trash and forget you ever saw it. Crush on.

But if it does speak to you, if you’re nodding your exhausted head along knowingly, then consider this message my permission to make this the year of resting hard.

I don’t care if the year’s half over. Start now and keep going for 12 months. This year we’re going to be as good at resting as we are at crushing things. We’re going to become pros at turning off social media, getting great sleep, working less, and living more.

Seriously. Give it a shot. Start today. What do you have to lose? A handful of Twitter followers? A contract? A bit of income?

What you have to gain is a) peace, b) clarity, c) more time for your friends and family, d) not dying of a heart attack or an aneurysm at the age of 50.

Chances are, you don’t need a cup of coffee and a slap in the face. More like some decaf herbal tea and a hug.

Sound good?

Great. 

Enjoy your rest,

-Carl

Your Job Shouldn’t Kill You…

Excellent Blog Post from the Kolbe Connect Blog. Knowing and understanding your Kolbe A can help to cope with and understand what you do and what you should do. My clients who embrace Kolbe Wisdom get so much more from themselves and from their teams.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially recognized burnout as a medical condition…

…In addition to concerns about burnout among employees, there has been a rise in awareness about the stress of being an entrepreneur. Inc. magazine released an article, “The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship”, which states, “it’s time to be honest about how brutal [building a company] is—and the price some founders secretly pay.”…

Most of the advice about dealing with workplace stress, like “take a vacation,” “play harder,” or “bring a pet to work” only offers temporary relief.…

…working with our clients, we’ve consistently seen that when people are required to work against their instinctive strengths they report higher levels of stress, miss more work, and ultimately are more likely to quit or be fired.…

…The long-term solution is creating alignment between a person’s conative strengths and the demands of the job.…

Take a look at my website to take your Kolbe A and find out more about building your perfect team.

What makes some people more productive?

Time management in Dentistry continues to be a massive stumbling block to success especially when “speed” and “effectiveness” are confused, one leaves you knackered at the end of the day and not earning properly, the other brings rewards that you can appreciate.

We all have the same amount of minutes in an hour, hours in a day, days in a week etc. But some people clearly get more done than others. Often there is resentment from the “doing less” camp who say that the achievers cut more corners, don’t do things properly and so on but I find this is mostly sour grapes.

My experience of being in dental practices, operating theatres and offices is that the people who get most done are the ones who plan their days, roll their sleeves up and get on with it, start their day on time, who “eat the frog” as early in the day as possible and build in flexibility for when “stuff” happens.

Pozen and Downey found that the most productive people were good at:

  • overcoming procrastination
  • getting to the final product 
  • focussing on daily accomplishments &
  • delegating clearly and effectively

On the other hand those who scored lower:

  • did not plan their days in advance
  • were easily distracted by the avoidable 
  • did not have great routines &
  • (frequently) blamed others for their lack of productivity

If you want to have a good day you have to decide what a good day is and work backwards. Sadly too many people still let the tail wag the dog.

“Dentistry is Tough”

You know you’re being taken seriously when the incoming BDA President checks your name and writing in their address.

“An opinion piece was recently published in BDJ In Practice by Dr Alun Rees, ‘Is Dentistry making us sick?’ It starts with the statement, ‘Dentistry is tough’. I don’t think any of us would argue with that.”

For Roslyn McMullan’s full Presidential address CLICK HERE – I wish her a successful, productive and happy year and look forward to thanking her when we meet.

 

Our society is being highjacked

Thanks to Cal Newport for pointing me towards this site in his latest Study Hacks blogpost, “Beyond Digital Ethics”.

He talks about the work of Tristan Harris and The Centre for Humane Technology from whose website I have taken a page.

What began as a race to monetize our attention is now eroding the pillars of our society: mental healthdemocracysocial relationships, and our children.

What we feel as addiction is part of something much bigger.

There’s an invisible problem that’s affecting all of society.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google have produced amazing products that have benefited the world enormously. But these companies are also caught in a zero-sum race for our finite attention, which they need to make money. Constantly forced to outperform their competitors, they must use increasingly persuasive techniques to keep us glued. They point AI-driven news feeds, content, and notifications at our minds, continually learning how to hook us more deeply—from our own behavior.

Unfortunately, what’s best for capturing our attention isn’t best for our well-being:

  • Snapchat turns conversations into streaks, redefining how our children measure friendship.
  • Instagram glorifies the picture-perfect life, eroding our self worth.
  • Facebook segregates us into echo chambers, fragmenting our communities.
  • YouTube autoplays the next video within seconds, even if it eats into our sleep.

These are not neutral products.
They are part of a system designed to addict us.

Take a look here.

 

 

We had shown resilience and proven that so much in performance is about belonging and purpose.

We had shown resilience and proven that so much in performance is about belonging and purpose.

Like I said, it was a surreal weekend; in a city driven by opulence and materialism there were a bunch of boys from the Fijian villages, some who had no family homes to go back to, happier than any of those high-rollers on the Strip.

Ben Ryan on Las Vegas and the Fijian 7s

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