Endo Mastery

Profiles in success:   Women in endodontics, part III 

Amazing Endo Women! 

In this final part of our series celebrating Women’s History Month, we spoke this week to Dr. Kalisha Jordan of Williamsburg, VA and Dr. Debra Meadows of Redlands, CA.

What advice would you give other women in endo?  

Dr. Kalisha Jordan:Life can be hard being a Wife/Mom/Boss so stay the course and do the best you can. Decide to take some time off to enjoy life and don’t beat yourself up about it.” 

 

Dr. Debra Meadows: “To be flexible, strong and believe in yourself. Women tend to have more responsibility raising a family and a business, and there are a lot of naysayers out there. Staying connected and collaborating with other female endodontists is where you get support.” 

How do you face the challenges of being an endodontist? 

Dr. Kalisha Jordan:I do the best I can do with the skills I have been given. I treat people the way I would want to be treated. I also realize that at times you have to ask for help whether it’s coaching, advice, or spiritual guidance. These help to overcome challenges.” 

 

Dr. Debra Meadows: “I face the many challenges by having a positive attitude, staying healthy and exercise. Take care of yourself because then you can take care of your patients and your team. It is also important to continue learning and embrace new technologies.” 

What is important to you to feel successful? 

Dr. Kalisha Jordan:Peace of mind honestly. If my family and friends are healthy, work is steady, staff happy, and I’m achieving financial freedom, I’m feeling good about my chosen path.” 

 

Dr. Debra Meadows: “For me, having a connection with patients, referring doctors and my team. We are so lucky to get fast results and to get patients out of pain. It is rewarding to make a difference in their lives.” 

Thank you to these doctors and to all the amazing women in endodontics that we have featured this month. We are so fortunate to be a part of your practice lives and to have you in our coaching community.

Profiles in success:   Women in endodontics, part II 

We spoke this week to two clients who show the amazing range of women in our profession. Dr. Linda Ricks of Naperville IL has been a successful practicing endodontist for 24 years. Dr. Kiya Stack-Miller of Sioux City IA is already very successful after just 2 years in the profession. 

What advice would you give other women in endo?  

Dr. Linda Ricks:Endodontics is great. Most patients appear to be happy to see you because you are a female and automatically have the perception that you are gentle. It’s the best of all of the specialties because you can practice when you want, especially if you share your practice with another doctor. Start practicing with a coach—it’s worth the investment just as much as the first operatory that you built.” 

 

Dr. Kiya Stack-Miller: Be you. You are a force. You are strong. You are incredible. Each of us has a uniqueness that is important to this specialty and this profession, and it is powerful when we can shine that uniqueness into what we do. 

How do you face the challenges of being an endodontist? 

Dr. Linda Ricks:My challenge has been balancing home and family life with my career. That is the biggest and most difficult. It’s important to have a lot of support because it’s very difficult to manage entirely on your own.” 

 

Dr. Kiya Stack-Miller: Get yourself a network of good humans. Someone to push you to be the best version of yourself. Someone to cheer you on. Someone who has no idea what you do but inspires you in an outside view. And most of all, keep these people close. 

What is important to you to feel successful? 

Dr. Linda Ricks:Setting goals for the practice, my home life/family and being able to accomplish them. It’s not easy, life isn’t easy. There is a lot to learn, and a lot of growth that takes place in the process. I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I would definitely choose endodontics again if given the option.” 

 

Dr. Kiya Stack-Miller: Success, for me, is connection. It is building an experience, not only for my patients, but also for my referring dentists. My favorite marketing tools are the events that we host for our referring doctors and their families. By including those most important to them, we grow and connect on a more personal level. 

We thank these doctors for being part of our endodontic family and coaching community. We admire so much their dedication to the profession and the success they have achieved. 

Profiles in success: Women in endodontics

The three doctors we spoke to this week are exemplary of the best endodontics has to offer: dedicated clinicians providing superb patient care, superlative leaders for their teams, highly successful in their businesses, and committed to great personal lifestyle beyond the practice. We asked them to share their experience and advice for other doctors, especially for female endodontists.  

What advice would you give other women in endo?  

Dr. Carla Webb of Siesta Key Root Canal Specialists in Sarasota FL: “What I want female endodontists to know is that you can have exactly what you want with perseverance.”  

 

Dr. Nicole Yingling of Mason-Dixon Endodontics in Chambersburg PA: “Just like dental school and endo residency, nothing worth having comes easily. Grit, perseverance, and integrity are key qualities that helped me get to where I am today.” 

 

Dr. Roxene Gascoigne of East Hills Endodontics in Roslyn Heights NY:I would recommend to any young woman entering the career of dentistry that she should associate herself with like-minded individuals. Find a mentor who is successful and experienced and stay away from naysayers.”

How do you face the challenges of being an endodontist? 

Dr. Yingling: “I never stop learning. Work hard but play hard and practice self-care.” 

 

Dr. Gascoigne: “Dentistry can be a challenging career and isolating for female owners at times. Being passionate about why you entered the profession in the first place and surrounding yourself with a positive support system are paramount to fulfilling your dream.” 

 

Dr. Webb: “There are always challenges and potential failures along the way. It’s important to not feel bad about yourself as you grow. Use past experiences to learn and keep moving forward.” 

What is important to you to feel successful? 

Dr. Gascoigne: I will always say that life is too short to not create a vision for yourself. For me personally, I wake up each day knowing that I am going to change the emotional state of my patients by making them pain-free, changing their fears about dentistry, and creating a high-level customer service experience. I love to teach and encourage young aspiring dentists, which is why I volunteer every month at a residency program. 

 

Dr. Webb: “For me, dentistry has to be one part of my life, not my entire life. I love my team and the office, and I love my family. What I learned from Dr. Ace Goerig is with a strong intention of what you want, you can accomplish your dreams.” 

 

Dr. Yingling: “Achieving balance between your personal life and professional life is vital. With coaching, I have been able to achieve my lifestyle goals a lot sooner.” 

We thank these doctors for being part of our endodontic family and coaching community. We admire so much their dedication to the profession and the success they have achieved. 

Changing your team culture

CYNTHIA GOERIG

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

No one told you when you decided to go into endodontics that managing your team would be one of your greatest challenges and stress factors as a practice owner. Teams are complicated with a mixture of different personalities, motivations, work ethics, communication styles and individual quirks.

 

Over time, every team develops a culture that is influenced by each person’s presence on the team. One day, you can realize that your team has collectively settled around a culture that is falling short of your expectations, making management more difficult, failing to make progress on goals, and taking away from having fun every day at work.

 

The only way to change your team culture is through effective leadership because waiting for teams to naturally self-evolve without guidance does not work. Here are 3 common team cultures and mindsets that practice leaders need to address:

Entitlement culture

Entitlement culture is when team members expect special privileges, rewards or concessions that are unrelated to the diligent performance of their jobs.

 

Entitlement can show up in many ways, including a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, regularly arriving late, over-use of “sick” days, asking for salary advances, or the belief that long tenure entitles them to above-market compensation or makes them irreplaceable.

 

Entitlement can also be behavioral. For example, team members bringing the drama and distraction of their personal issues into the workplace, and then expecting their bad moods or personal demands to be accommodated.

 

Recommendation: Entitlement builds up over time. Team members remember every privilege or exception ever given to them or anyone else on the team. As the boss, you need to address entitlement with calm, consistent and detached leadership. Detached means that you care and listen, but you do not allow either personal relationships or emotional situations to unduly influence you. Except for genuinely rare special circumstances or personal emergencies, respecting the fundamentals of the employment relationship must be consistently maintained.

Inertia culture

Inertia culture is when the team is settled into doing their jobs in the same way it has been done for a long time, and they are deeply resistant to any changes that you may try to implement. That resistance can appear in many forms: open disagreement, disregarding instructions, half-hearted “effort”, taking no action unless specifically directed, making excuses to delay changes, and looking for any reason why “it won’t work.”

 

Inertia is the result of the absence of positive energy for progress. If goals have not been updated in a long time, the motivation to be engaged in improvement is lacking. On most teams, you’ll have a combination of people who are naturally engaged in personal improvement in their jobs, and people who are primarily focused on predictable steadiness in their jobs. Without effective leadership, predictable steadiness tends to dominate as it is the lowest common denominator.

 

Recommendation: Inertia is like the two sides of a coin. One side is the culture of standing still. The other side is the culture of growth. Switching to a culture of growth requires consistent and positive focus from practice leaders. Don’t underestimate how much encouragement and support your team needs to make changes. Education, coaching, team meetings, new strategies and even 1-on-1 attention are sometimes required to restart a stalled team.

Toxic culture

Toxic culture is when as few as one individual on the team has such outsized dominating or disruptive energy that they shut down everyone else’s motivation. Common signs include a confrontational personality, gossiping, bullying, undermining you or others, passive-aggressiveness, finger pointing, the blame game, overly controlling, etc.

 

Most of the time, you know who this person is. Frequent team issues often revolve around them, or you may observe how other team members avoid engaging with them. You may find this person difficult to lead or work with on a daily basis. But sometimes you don’t know who it is because they are one of your favorites, and they use that favoritism behind your back in a way that the rest of the team resents or feels is unfair.

 

Recommendation: Toxicity is rarely about capability and competence, and almost always a behavioral issue that is creating negativity for the team. Even small but repeated behaviors can build up over time to toxic levels. As the leader, you need to address these issues one-on-one, which is necessary (albeit difficult) conversations. Be caring but firm, and make it clear what your concern is and what changes you need to see. Sometimes they may not even be aware of what they are doing. Give them a chance to be better team players, but recognize that some people won’t or can’t adapt and you need to tell them to move on.

Rebooting your leadership style

The sober reality of team cultures is that they reflect your past leadership approach and what you have encouraged or allowed to persist. Just as great teams are the result of great leadership, struggling teams are the result of struggling leadership. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.

 

Sometimes you need to hit the reset button in a way that the team can embrace a new approach to leadership from you. Often a catalyzing event is useful such as a team retreat to a seminar or engaging a practice coach. These are signs to your team that your priorities are changing, your goals are changing, and that you are investing in your team so everyone can grow and have a better experience at work.

Sailing into the new year

DR. ACE GOERIG

OWNER & CO-FOUNDER

I’ve written before about how sailing is a great metaphor for your endodontic practice. You want your ship to be in top form with your crew, rigging and sail in ideal alignment. When you catch the wind, the sail snaps into fullness and you surge forward powerfully.

 

People who go sailing for the first time are usually surprised by how quiet and peaceful it is when the boat is fully under sail and effortlessly cutting through the waves. It’s the same with an endodontic practice: a great practice with optimized team roles and practice systems is free from noise and resistance to forward momentum.

 

I always tell new coaching clients that it is easier to do 6 or 8 cases per day than to do 3 or 4 cases. Many are doubtful at first because their context is what they are doing now, which is equivalent to a person trying to sail a boat with an inexperienced crew and a big hole in the sail. Coaching helps doctors correct practice deficiencies and create team alignment, and suddenly they discover how easy and stress-free it is to optimize their schedule for effortless productivity.

Filling your endodontic sail

One thing that sailing does require is wind. A sailboat on perfectly flat windless water goes nowhere. It doesn’t have enough wind and so it just drifts on external currents without making any progress toward the desired destination. Conversely, a sailboat in a storm requires constant stressful reactive attention and course corrections. Between the two extremes, there is a sweet spot—a good steady wind that energizes the boat to operate efficiently and intentionally.

 

In your practice, the energy you bring as the leader is akin to the wind in your sails. Without energy, the practice will be at a standstill, drifting without making progress. Likewise, if you don’t have a clear vision for your practice, you can end up over-reacting to the challenges of the practice and losing your way forward.

 

As we move into 2023, good questions that every practice owner should ask are: What is going to fill my practice sail this year? What will make my practice more successful, meaningful and enjoyable?

 

The answer might differ depending on where you are at with your practice and in your life. If you are averaging 3 or 4 cases per day (like most endodontists), adding 2 more cases per day could change your life so significantly. This result, from improved marketing and scheduling efficiency, would probably double your take-home income while simultaneously reducing stress. That completely changes your relationship with (and your mindset about) your practice.

 

For other doctors, lifestyle changes may be the focus. This might include reducing the number of days worked per week or taking more vacation time. Lifestyle changes have an economic impact on the practice, so filling your sail with renewed growth and improved productivity is often needed.

 

Filling your sail also varies for doctors at the bookends of an endodontic career. Startup doctors will need to focus on profitability and getting a strong return from every dollar they invest in their new practice. As new practice owners, they have an uphill climb to put their team and systems in place quickly and effectively, become productive, and pay off their debt.

 

For doctors in their near-retirement years, preserving or maximizing practice value prior to an equity sale is paramount. This often needs to happen while accelerating savings for retirement and also transitioning to a better lifestyle with more time off from the practice. How can you achieve a lifestyle practice without giving up practice value or profitability?

It’s the journey, not the destination

Whatever your focus is for the coming year, it’s important to remember that the journey is what counts. Any destination you choose will ultimately be only a stop along the way to the next destination.

 

Practice ownership is a game, but not a “how can you exploit the system” game. It’s a game of enjoyment about doing something worthwhile. How can you have fun everyday with your team to fill your sail and achieve new goals? 

Achieving peak practice performance

DEBRA MILLER | DIRECTOR OF COACHING

As Director of Coaching for Endo Mastery, I am in the lucky position to observe the success of every coaching client. I speak in detail with every doctor prior to starting coaching, and then at their annual year-end review. What a difference there is! It’s the same doctors, but they are in a completely different place mentally about their practices and lives.

Commitment and Self-Belief

Overwhelmingly, there is such a sense of accomplishment and feeling of joy coming from doctors after their first year of coaching. Coached practices truly progress and grow significantly during this time, and it does require commitment from the doctor to provide leadership for their team as the practice evolves.

 

Again and again, doctors tell me that they didn’t believe it was possible. Often their practices had been in a holding pattern without improvement for several years or longer. They were starting to doubt whether they and their team had the capability to grow any further. Or they were facing a challenge, concern or goal in their practice that seemed too much of a reach.

 

At Endo Mastery, we have a great track record of knowing how much practices can improve. So, when doctors tell me that they didn’t believe it was possible, they are saying they didn’t believe it was possible for them. Sometimes when you are at the base of the mountain looking up, it can appear far more difficult than it is.

 

I get to experience the moment of reflection after a year when doctors celebrate their commitment and the growth achieved by the team, but also realize it was so much easier than they expected. That’s the power of coaching, because the journey up the mountain is supported by an expert guide who has helped others climb the same mountain many times before. All the risks are avoided, the best path is chosen and when you reach the top, exhilaration!

Renewed Spirit and New Possibilities

The mindset shift that happens with doctors is the result of several factors that we see in coached practices. Here are the factors most mentioned by our clients:

  • Renewed team spirit. teamwork excellence and daily enjoyment
  • Streamlined scheduling and systems for effortless daily flow
  • Effective referral marketing that is easy and actually works
  • Relief from typical time-consuming management burdens
  • Ability to focus on excellent clinical care without distractions
  • Leaving the practice each day without worries or stress
  • Doubling (or more) their previous take-home income
  • Eliminating debt and enjoying a better family lifestyle
  • Having a coach that truly cares about your success and goals
  • Rediscovered joy to enjoy the profession

All of this leads me to the conclusion that what counts as peak performance is very personal, which is why Endo Mastery works so closely with doctors to understand their individual goals. For some doctors, it’s economic. For others, it’s how they feel each day working with their team in the office. Still for others, it’s clinical care and professional relationships. And, of course, family is vital and how the practice ultimately supports your family goals tops everything.

 

Endo Mastery Practice Coaching can help you achieve your goals. For more information, visit https://endomastery.com/practice-and-team-coaching/

Engaging your team in new goals

CYNTHIA GOERIG

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

In just 3 weeks, the calendar year comes to an end. Most business owners, while enjoying the holiday season with their family, will also be performing their final analysis of the year. Did your practice grow over last year? Have your referral relationships improved? Is your team stable and progressing? Where did you end up in terms of your economic goals?

 

It’s a natural time to start thinking about what you want from your practice next year. In fact, setting new goals each year is one of the most important responsibilities for a business leader. Whether your goals are modest or ambitious, an annual focus on improvement keeps a practice vital, rather than coasting and slowly becoming run down over time.

 

Of course, the biggest challenge every practice owner faces is team inertia, which is the tendency of teams to stick to the tried-and-true instead of implementing changes that may have uncertain results. It’s usually not a conscious choice that teams make. It’s a subconscious dynamic where people skew toward doing what they already know well.

 

For any business to make progress, you must engage the team with energy and focus so that they want to make a sincere and concerted effort. Here are some things that help teams embrace change and growth daily:

Show your commitment

Team engagement shadows your engagement. Many teams are accustomed to doctors coming into the practice excited about a new idea, but often within weeks or days, commitment to that idea wavers or is forgotten. You must demonstrate that you are committed to any new goals, that those goals are important to you, and that you care about the results. Your commitment needs to outlast any initial bumps in the road as you begin to make changes. When the team understands that new goals are the “new normal” for the practice, they adapt faster. 

Breakdown goals and roles

While you may have general or broad objectives for growth or improvement, team members need more details. Goals should be specific and, ideally, they should be measurable. Most team members also need clarity for how their role with the team influences the results, especially when the goal is dependent on teamwork and not the actions of just one person.

Ask for their help

Team members engage more when they feel they are contributing to the team’s efforts to reach new goals. A vital step you can take as practice leader is to ask the team for their help to reach the goal. Despite the fact that you are their employer, each of them knows their job better than you know their job. They know what aspects are inefficient, ineffective, need better resources, could improve with more training, or have untapped potential for growth. Ask them to make suggestions and incorporate good ideas into the plan.

Inspire with possibilities

For teams that work together long-term, a history develops, and patterns form in work relationships, job roles and expectations. Days develop a familiar routine of predictability, which can consistently produce good results but doesn’t provide a lot of motivation beyond that.

 

This is a classic example of a team that needs to be inspired and their passion for great patient care and practice success reignited to embrace new avenues of growth and new goals. How do you give them a new vision for possibilities? Get them out of their day-to-day mindset. Bringing in a coach or taking them to a weekend seminar are great ideas.

 

At Endo Mastery, one of the greatest team motivators we have is that coaching clients along with their teams can visit Dr. Ace Goerig’s practice to observe and interact with his team while patients are provided care. This experience really awakens the energy in teams when they see a high-performing team approach the same tasks that they have but achieve such incredibly better results with ease. Many doctors describe this event as a turning point in their team’s growth.

Recognize progress

Finally, it’s essential that you recognize effort and progress when it occurs. Nothing new is perfect out of the gate, and any changes are bound to experience some hiccups at the beginning. Keep your team believing in the goal by recognizing each step of progress. Little celebrations along the way, from daily verbal recognition of individual efforts to recognition of overall teamwork keeps the energy high to carry on.

Serving the endodontic community

DR. ACE GOERIG

OWNER & CO-FOUNDER

I love endodontics. It’s such a great profession with incredible opportunities, especially once you crack the nut of how to be very productive and efficient clinically. At that point, you are on a glide path to such an abundant and rewarding life that easily surpasses most other dental specialties.

 

It’s important to me to give back to the endodontic community. The greatness of our profession today is the result of generations of endodontists contributing to the science and practice of endodontic treatment. The American Associate of Endodontists was founded in 1943 to further advance endodontics, and 20 years later endodontics was recognized as an official specialty in the dental profession. In the same way, as practicing endodontists today, it is our actions that will shape the profession’s future.

 

I like to help as many endodontists as possible experience the highest level of success in the profession. Within that objective, helping endodontic residents and new endodontists get started by taking the right first steps into the profession is near and dear to me.

 

Earlier in November, I held a complimentary one-day seminar program, “Pathway to Your Ideal Career in Endodontics”, for young endodontists. It was such an enjoyable day with a lot of energy and interactivity from these hopeful and ambitious young doctors. In the past, I’ve also given one-day virtual seminars to residents at many of our endodontic graduate programs.

 

Young endodontists today face a different world than those in the past. Most of them graduate with truly eye-watering student debt. In the past 40 years, while the average dentist’s income has tripled and the average home price has gone up 6-fold, the average tuition for dental school has skyrocketed by 16 times … and that’s not including specialist residency.

 

Young endodontists literally can’t afford to make any mistakes starting out. I honestly worry about them stuck in low-paying associate or corporate positions where they are saddled with their debt for decades, have limited opportunity to save for purchasing a practice, and limited control over their future.

 

That’s not the endodontic profession that I’ve experienced. Without someone urging young doctors to explore all their options, they can too easily fall for the first position that can give them a salary … and potentially lose access to the amazing opportunities that independent practice owners have.

 

I want endodontics to continue to be a strong profession that is full of opportunities, both for doctors just starting out as well as those currently practicing with established practices. For new doctors, Endo Mastery will announce its complimentary resources for 2023 in the spring.

Thanksgiving and nurturing the best life

DR. ACE GOERIG

OWNER & CO-FOUNDER

Dear Colleague,

 

I have enjoyed incredible success as an endodontist, first in the army and then in private practice. It continues to be a very meaningful and satisfying professional life for which I am very grateful. It has provided an incredible foundation for my life.

 

Most of all, my professional success has afforded me such abundant resources to live the best life possible. Naturally, that includes material goods where I have the economics to purchase and enjoy practically anything I want in this world. As endodontists, we are very fortunate in that regard, and it is another aspect of my gratitude.

 

More importantly in my gratitude are the nurturing experiences that I’ve been able to enjoy with my family over many years. Nancy and I have built our family life around providing our children with uplifting and empowered experiences. These have not only enhanced their lives, but have shaped their world view, their goals, and their values. And now we have the great pleasure of being a nurturing presence in the lives of our grandchildren.

 

As our family and yours gather this Thanksgiving, I have no doubt that we are all acutely aware of the blessings in our lives. As family leaders, you will look around your holiday meal and feel a great deal of love and abundance with everyone at the table—all of whom to various degrees have benefited from the nurturing life you have opened up for them.

 

As endodontists, we have such an opportunity to be an agent of good in the world. We can support and nurture others and help them rise to their best level and experience their best life. It begins with us, our spouses, and our families, but our life leadership doesn’t stop there.

 

In fact, there is a vast circle of people who are influenced by you. This includes your friends, your practice team, their families who depend on them, your referrers and, of course, your patients. When you can give all these people around you the benefit of your attention, caring and goodness, what a force you become! That’s truly a responsibility and privilege that we should be very grateful for.

 

You may even have a vision that extends beyond your immediate contacts. You might have a cause or community in which you are impassioned about serving and supporting. For example, I am personally dedicated to helping every endodontist enjoy the same level of success and abundance in their lives that I have experienced. It truly is my personal mission to improve the profession that has given so much to me.

 

I believe that when we become successful professionally, then the stress and focus on “me” can shift to “we”. What is our legacy going to be and how can we achieve that higher calling? Every Thanksgiving, I am reminded of this, and so thankful to have the means to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

 

At this wonderful start to the holiday season, the Endo Mastery team and I want to express our gratitude for letting us into your practice and life. We strive to be a force of good for you, and help you experience all the professional and personal happiness possible.

 

Happy Thanksgiving,

Ace Signaturex200

Dr. Ace Goerig

DDS, MS, ABE Diplomate
Endo Mastery Owner

Life sentence practice or lifestyle practice?

DR. ACE GOERIG

OWNER & CO-FOUNDER

I haven’t “worked” in over 25 years … at least that is what it feels like. I love every day that I spend in my practice, and I have a lot of fun with my patients, team and referrers. Every day is stress-free and effortless. I arrive in the morning with high energy and feeling great, and I leave at the end of the day feeling the same or better!

 

This is possible because I created a “lifestyle” approach to practicing endodontics. I used to call this approach retire-in-practice—which reflects my personal feeling that I’m not really “working”—but the word retire gives the impression to others that it is something you can only do later in your professional life as you get closer to retirement. That is not the case.

 

I spent my first 20 years practicing endodontics in the army, so I was a newbie to private practice endodontics in my mid-forties. I was 20 years behind my residency peers! However, within 10 years I was far ahead of them because after talking with my contemporaries, I knew there had to be a better way than what they were describing. Here’s what they told me:

  • Meaningful growth in their practices had stalled, at least 5 or 10 years earlier. They had plateaued and were frustrated.
  • They were completing only 3 or 4 cases a day, which means they were making more money than the average Joe on the street but by no means rolling in riches like they imagined.
  • Most of them still had debt: school, practice acquisition and personal mortgage—a never-ending source of stress.
  • Some of them felt okay with respect to saving for their eventual retirement, but most felt they were seriously behind. A few were concerned they could never afford to retire.
  • Many felt worn out or tired, but they were afraid to take time off because they felt they had to be available for their referrers.
  • There was daily stress in the practice with the team and other management concerns. They weren’t having fun and there was a monotonous predictable drain on energy every day.

In short, the overall impression I got was that most of my peers were feeling that their practice life should be easier and better by that point, and their personal life was stuck as a result. The practice was taking up too much time, it was wearing them out, and they didn’t have the flexibility in their economics to do anything about it.

Defining the lifestyle practice

The list above became my focused checklist of things to avoid when setting up the lifestyle model in my practice. Therefore, the lifestyle practice is defined as having:

  • An easy, powerful and effective marketing system, driven by a marketing coordinator on the team, that strengthens referral relationships and allows the practice to keep growing.
  • Mastery of the scheduling strategy and financial systems of the practice with a highly trained office manager who is accountable for the efficiency of the team and success of the practice. Train the team to highest professional level so you never have to look over their shoulder and you never second-guess whether they are taking care of your practice with the utmost attention. Establish excellent reporting systems so you can “trust but verify” the key numbers and factors that drive the practice within minutes each day, week and month.
  • Implementing a coordinated clinical team approach to patient flow, treatment room efficiency and doctor productivity, so the doctor only does what is medically necessary for the doctor to do. This takes the heaviness out of a day and allows the doctor to routinely complete 7 or 8 cases per day with less stress than with the 3 or 4 cases they are doing now. This also results in the practice’s profitability to be 2 to 3 times higher than average.
  • Use the higher profitability to first pay down their debt and the stress burden that comes with it. Almost every doctor can become completely debt-free in as little as 3 to 6 years. After that, channel higher profitability into savings and personal (family) lifestyle.
  • Work no more than 4 days per week at first, and then when clinical efficiency and productivity allows it, cut back further—ideally to 3 days. Endodontics is mentally and physically demanding, and your long-term enjoyment of the profession depends on having sufficient rest. Working fewer days per week takes the heaviness out of the week and allows more balance with family and personal time.
  • Take at least 10 weeks off per year for regular vacation time so you remain energized and never feel worn out, burnt out or exhausted. Really take the time to enjoy your family and your life together. It’s the most important thing.
  • Enable a 3-days-per-week schedule (and eventually less if desired) by expanding the clinical capacity of the practice with another endodontist. This ensures full coverage 5 days per week for referrals. There are various ways to add another provider, from long-term associates, to associates who eventually buy-in as partners, to facility partnerships, to traditional business partnerships. In my case, I have long-term associates with minority ownership stakes and a right of first refusal when I finally sell. But for now, I’m still in control of the practice as majority owner.

Achieving your lifestyle vision

In summary, what creates the lifestyle practice is 5 things:

  • Being debt-free and stress-free
  • Earning 2 to 3 times the average endodontist
  • Working 3 or fewer days per week (with coverage)
  • 10+ weeks of vacation per year
  • Effortless daily flow and productivity that is fun.

This is our philosophy and vision at Endo Mastery for our clients, and it is what our coaching program is designed to do for every endodontist. In a year or two, you can close all the gaps that tell you things should be easier or better. In fact, we have clients in their early thirties who have done this already. They are living such an abundant life that every day inside and outside the practice is a dream.

 

It’s really not about how old you are, or how many years in practice. It’s just about making the decision to optimize and prioritize the practice and team with expert guidance so that you get growth back, get enjoyment back, and get your life back.

 

Stop feeling like your practice is a life sentence!

 

I encourage you to give us a call at 1-800-482-7563 or email Debra Miller, Director of Coaching, at [email protected] to set up a complimentary 1-on-1 conversation about your lifestyle and practice goals.

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