The Week That Turned My Life Around came 7 years into my private practice life. It became clear that the more I worked the more I earned, but for my income to go up I did have to treat more patients and work longer hours. I tried adding an associate doctor on three different occasions, but that failed miserably. The stress of private practice was taking its toll on my family and my health.
After an especially stressful time, I suffered and injury that I narrowly survived. I was sidelined for 3 months before I was able to resume practice again. It was during this especially challenging time that I found myself really examining my present state of affairs, and I realized exactly how unhappy I was with the current state of my business and my life. I remember clearly thinking if this was the end for me, was I happy with my life to this point…and the answer was a definite NO. I finally decided I was not going to resume practice as a “beast of burden.” Things had to change and change fast. I made a commitment to myself and to my wife that I would “fix the practice” in 2 years or less, or leave dentistry altogether.
Most dentists accept whatever they don’t like. Stress and frustration become their norms. I discovered that true entrepreneurs do the opposite; they rebel against whatever isn’t in keeping with their vision. So I forced myself to create the necessary business knowledge, and from that the Systems, that literally transformed my practice. I unearthed hidden-in-plain-sight secrets about success in diverse businesses and in the lives of very diverse entrepreneurs. I zeroed in on the most critical elements missing from my practice. I turned one event that almost killed me into a breakthrough in discovering information from way outside of dentistry that could turn my practice and my life around.
My solo practice went from being, in truth, just a glorified job, and a near-daily source of frustration, producing only an industry average income, to a multi-doctor, multi-specialty clinic producing over 12 TIMES the national average, with good net, and in a self-managing, Systems-Driven way. The biggest gain – tripling in 3 years. The most recent expansion added 3 more chairs, to a total of 17 – the largest practice in the area by far. As importantly, I took my own Professional Life away from chronic stress and disappointment to genuine happiness, optimism, creativity, and high energy every day I go to work. I get up excited for Monday! (Do you?)
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