Endo Mastery

HIRING FOR ATTITUDE AND APTITUDE

DEBRA MILLER | DIRECTOR OF COACHING

It’s a puzzling situation that we find ourselves in when it comes to hiring. Dental jobs should be among the most desirable. They are very stable jobs in a caring and supportive environment with a relatively small team where every person has a vital and appreciated role. Plus, they are pretty good jobs income-wise. And yet, finding qualified or even interested team members is like pulling teeth recently.

 

Last month, at our Mastering the Effortless Endodontic Practice seminar in Philadelphia, an informal survey of doctors revealed that over half of them have an unfilled team position in their practice. That means that if you are looking for someone, and half the doctors in your community are also looking, there is some pretty significant competition for skilled dental personnel.

 

Even worse, doctors talk about hiring someone who literally doesn’t even show up on their first day, or someone who stays for a few weeks and then jumps ship without warning to go to another practice for 50 cents more per hour.  At Endo Mastery, we believe that a team that performs well should be paid well, but if you end up in an all-out bidding war for new hires, it creates additional problems. It’s hard to justify paying a new team member more than someone who has worked for the practice loyally for several (or many) years already.

 

I believe the turbulence in the employment market will eventually settle down, but until then doctors in many dental markets should not expect to easily hire someone who has high level experience and skills.

Personality and trainability

If a new hire can’t come with the whole package already in place, then you need to hire at a lower level and train them up. In this regard, you’re going to have to start somewhere, and you should focus on finding people who have a great personality and who are trainable. That’s attitude and aptitude!

 

Attitude characteristics that are desirable include people who are fundamentally happy, drama-free, a people-person who is caring and empathetic, highly communicative (which is different than being excessively talkative), self-motivated to do well in their job, and a team player.

 

Dr. Goerig always likes to ask prospective employees about their current or past involvement in team sports, because that often reveals someone who has some competitive drive to do well, knows how to work with others to accomplish goals, and is accustomed to being coached.

 

For aptitude, you want someone who has a natural ability to learn quickly and become proficient. Look for people who are engaged, highly curious, detail oriented, have an ability to stay focused, and track record of teaching themselves new things. Some people are doers, which is what you want. Watch how fast they walk because that’s a big indication of how much energy they bring to everything they do.

Keep your eyes open everywhere

If you are prepared to hire for attitude and aptitude—and train for dental to the level that you want—then your pool of candidates expands significantly. In fact, you can find great people in non-dental environments who would be so grateful for the opportunity for a dental career.

 

Look for people who you notice repeatedly that they excel at face-to-face interactions with you in the businesses you patronize. That could be a barista at the coffeeshop (service-oriented), a bank teller (detail-oriented), or the person behind the counter at a jewelry store (very accustomed to talking about high-value items so that people happily pull out their credit card).

 

Give them your business card and say, “If you are thinking about making a career change sometime, give me a call.” That way, you’re not committing yourself to anything until you’ve had a chance to vet them more thoroughly, including having your office manager in the conversation.

 

You will know if you have a good candidate when your office manager agrees that the potential hire has an energy level and ability to be a great team member.

STAYING TRUE TO YOUR PRACTICE VISION

CYNTHIA GOERIG

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Every endodontist begins practicing with big dreams. Usually fresh from residency immediately after dental school, doctors have a vision for the kind of practice, team, income and lifestyle they will have. But a lot of doctors get sidetracked at some point. Often, some years can go by before they realize they have settled for something less in their current practice and life.

 

Usually, it is not a conscious decision to abandon progress on the vision. It is often a death from a thousand little cuts, and you wake up one day feeling like you’ve let yourself down. But whether you are 35 or 55, it’s not too late! You have time—lots of time—to engage your personal leadership and achieve incredible results!

Reviving your vision

If it has been a few years since you thought seriously about your vision, it is probably due for an update … especially if your vision is still that original idealistic vision of a recent graduate. What is your new vision in today’s context for your family and life?

Some aspects of your vision you may have achieved already. Maybe in youthful naiveté you set the bar too low, or maybe you’ve had better success than you expected. Ask yourself what is the next level for you now?

 

Likewise, some things may have been too idealistic or impractical, or you’ve moved on from them. For example, if you dreamed of having a practice on the moon, you probably have to walk back from that. But there are very few things that are too idealistic, as long as you stay down to earth. Don’t censor yourself if you really feel it is what you want and can achieve if you make all the right choices going forward.

 

A strategy that I recommend is to build a vision day into your next vacation that is two weeks or longer. Two weeks is important because it always takes a few days for your brain to wind down from the practice, and a few days before you return to the practice your brain starts to wind up again. Plan a day, right in the middle, where you can be free flowing and creative without being tethered to current challenges or stresses in your practice, team, finances or life.

Making progress

Parkinson’s law states that the amount of time a job takes expands to match the amount of time available. If you don’t create a timeline for your vision, then you’re letting time be open-ended, and you will use up that time continuously without achieving your ultimate goals.

 

At a minimum, your vision should identify the timeline of key deliverables and goals for each year. Don’t go overboard with detailed planning. Just keep it to 3 to 5 bullet points for annual progress to create leadership accountability for implementation.

 

Of course, there will be issues that come up throughout implementation. This is where staying true to your course is vital because it’s very easy to drop back into reaction mode and decide your vision is not going to work when you feel strong resistance or roadblocks.

 

Remember your destination and measure your progress by that as your north star. Sometimes it is smooth sailing and sometimes it is stormy. You must figure out how to go through the storm or how to go around it, but either way you need to still be on course once you have passed it.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

Finally, recognize that you don’t have to know all the answers in advance, and you don’t have to create everything from scratch. Start by asking yourself who is already successfully doing the key parts of your vision.

Find your mentors that you can learn from and find your experts that you can engage to help you. You would never build a new practice building without hiring architects, engineers and contractors. Who can help you put together the elements of your vision?

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 debra@endomastery.com to set up a complimentary 1-on-1 conversation about your lifestyle and practice goals.

SIMPLIFYING ENDO PRACTICE MANAGEMENT

DEBRA MILLER | DIRECTOR OF COACHING

The problem with practice management is that you spend most of your time chairside, which is where you need to be and want to be. Unlike other businesses where an owner/manager’s role is primarily to oversee everything happening in the business in real-time, doctors often don’t have the opportunity to notice problems or opportunities as they happen. 

 

When you do find out, it’s often too late to act on it, whether that is after a patient leaves, at the end of the day, on a month-end financial or referral report, or at the end of the year when your accountant delivers bad news. So, when practice management needs your attention, you’re often in a reactive mode and already feeling behind the 8-ball, which leads to frustration and stress.

Team dependency

Endodontists are incredibly dependent on their teams, but most doctors don’t feel like they have an equally incredible team. They may feel their team is good, kind and caring with patients, and generally capable. They may also feel that someone on the team isn’t meeting expectations, that there is too much drama, socializing and gossip, or the team isn’t engaged or focused on practice goals. As a result, there always seems to be an issue to deal with.

 

Dr. Ace Goerig often says that 90% of success and growth in the endodontic practice is driven by the team. If you don’t have a team that you can count on for both patient success and business success, then you are always going to be worrying. Part of your brain will always be listening to what’s happening in the background when you’re trying to focus 100% on the patient in front of you.

Sometimes there is a genuine performance or personality issue with a team member, but the gap in overall team performance (which makes the difference between a good team and an incredible one) is almost always a leadership and training gap.

 

Great teams need a clear understanding of your vision for the practice, which includes your vision for patient care, referral relationships, daily flow, and productivity. They also need a clear understanding of the metrics that are essential to drive the practice’s success and growth. And finally, they need to understand their specific role and priorities to ensure the highest level of patient and referrer care, and the highest level of care for business goals.

 

When teams are trained fully to the level that they are capable of, doctors have confidence that their vision and standards are being met every minute of the day. They know the team is managing the right things, and they are capable of taking on more responsibilities for daily operations. That takes stress off your plate, and lets you leave each day knowing that the team has completed everything comprehensively and correctly.

Systems dependency

A lot of practice management stress is also caused by disconnected practice systems. The left hand isn’t supporting the right hand and vice versa. This is often revealed in the practice schedule, where patients are routinely scheduled for longer than they should be. Sometimes the scheduling is stretched out because the doctor wants a “time buffer” … which is often a sign that the doctor and clinical team have not coordinated their clinical flow so that assistants are responsible for almost everything that a doctor is not medically and legally required to do.

 

Equally you see disconnected front office systems. For example, if patients are not committed to their out-of-pocket costs for treatment on the day of the consult, you’ll see consults reschedule for treatment, or an increase in accounts receivable in order to keep them in today’s schedule. Either way, something entirely preventable has created a disruption.

 

Systems like new patient intake, scheduling, clinical efficiency, productivity, collections, marketing and practice finances need to be streamlined and integrated to remove the gaps and ensure everyone on the team is rowing in unison to get the best results.

Effortless endodontics

When teams and systems are aligned to your vision, and when the training and processes are established for consistent team performance and practice results, your life in the practice changes significantly. At Endo Mastery, we call it “effortless endodontics”, which lets you optimize your efficiency, eliminate your stress factors, achieve great financial performance, and have fun every day in the greatest profession.

GETTING PAST THE SUCCESS HUMP

CYNTHIA GOERIG

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

It’s a familiar cycle that businesses grow to the level of their systems and strategies, and then growth inevitably slows. This can be frustrating because, during the growing phase, you know you’re doing the right things. But when the things you’ve always done to stimulate growth are no longer producing better results, you’ve hit the hump!

 

The hump is that foggy grey zone of business where efforts to grow produce underwhelming results. It’s the law of diminishing returns. No matter how hard you try, and no matter how many attempts you make, nothing seems to truly catch hold to spark a return to the growth levels you experienced in the past. Even when you do get some results, a few months later the practice often backslides to past performance levels.

The danger of giving in

After enough time struggling to achieve growth that is not forthcoming, some doctors are tempted to lower their expectations. Maybe they decide their team isn’t right, or their vision isn’t right, or their local economy isn’t right, or their referral base isn’t right. Maybe they reach the conclusion that they’ve gone as far as they can reasonably go, and the only choice they have now is to settle in and coast for the rest of their career.

 

Giving in like that often seems easier than continuing to struggle against resistance and diminishing returns. And once the doctor gives up on the possibility of meaningful future growth, that’s when the comfort zone fully takes over. The practice goes into autopilot forever … entrenched in its current systems and habits.

 

At that point, you can pretty much predict how that practice will be functioning 5, 10 or 20 years from now. It will be exactly what it is today, or maybe slowly going downhill, unless the doctor changes their approach to finding a solution.

Getting past the hump

So, what do you do if you are in the hump, and you need to restart growth? If you go hunting around for new ideas, you’ll find hundreds or thousands of possibilities in articles, CE courses and the advice from colleagues. How do you know what will work for you, what you should prioritize, if you’re making the right choices and whether you can integrate those changes with your systems and team without risking your current success?

“In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities.
In the expert’s mind, there are few.”

Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki

I love this quote because it works for so many life situations. For example, it explains why in creative endeavors like art, music, acting or performance, we are always celebrating new talent emerging from the obscurity. Their creativity freely explores the exciting possibilities they see, and through them we discover a new viewpoint or insight or expression of ideas.


But it also explains why the hump is so difficult for many doctors. Let’s face it, even with 20 years of experience in practice, most doctors are beginners when it comes to business management and leadership. The only practice they’ve ever known is their own, which is why the hundreds or thousands of possibilities they find outside the practice can stop them in their tracks.


By contrast, an expert sees few possibilities. An expert has broad knowledge and experience, and they can filter out all the distractions and weak ideas. They can prioritize and implement with precision, and they generate predictable significant improvements and success. Predictability might be a disadvantage in creative fields, but in business systems it is the goose that lays the golden egg.


Dr. Goerig often speaks about how, when he started his practice, he reached a point where he realized he was a beginner. He brought in outside experts to train his team, rework his practice systems and set him on an incredible path of growth and success. That choice so transformed his life that, through personal efforts and through Endo Mastery, he has dedicated himself to helping every endodontist achieve the same success.

MAKING CRITICAL LEADERSHIP DECISIONS

DR. ACE GOERIG

OWNER & CO-FOUNDER

I’ve been working a lot with young endodontists this year, helping them navigate the crucial decisions they have to make when they are just starting out. But once you’re launched, that doesn’t mean the decisions are over. A lot of doctors reach a point in their careers where they have a gut feeling that it’s not living up to their expectations. Common reasons include:

  • Feeling stressed and not enjoying every day
  • Team issues and drama that never ends
  • Too much business management and busywork

  • Tenuous referral relationships that fail to prosper
  • Disconnected from endodontic colleagues
  • Lack of personal and family time
  • Lost enthusiasm and feeling tired or burnt out
  • Debt and financial stress that persists

The right time for change

All of the above points are symptoms of the need for a practice leader to make changes. Concerns don’t correct themselves on their own and allowing them to continue very often leads to them getting worse over time. A gut feeling becomes discomfort, which can become pain. It’s no different than a patient’s clinical symptoms. Untreated, things are likely to get more difficult (and more  expensive) in the future. The best time to figure out your options and take steps is when you first notice symptoms.

 

Often doctors are reluctant to take action at the first signs because they are not sure if the concerns are temporary. I would say after a year or so of anything nagging in your head or causing stress that it’s not a temporary concern that will resolve itself with your current approach and processes.

 

The other common reaction to concerns is to doubt their validity or question whether anything can be done anyway. This is the procrastination voice inside your head that searches for reasons to delay making difficult choices. Whenever you find yourself saying “I’m too busy to deal with it now,” or “My team isn’t ready or capable,” or any number of similar deflections, it’s a sign that you are reacting negatively rather than taking the proactive steps that you should be making.

Making decisions

Once you’ve decided to take action, the question is “What action?” There are different ways that people approach this question, but my preferred approach is to always educate myself first, and quickly. This is especially the case where I’m treading in new waters. I recognize it is my knowledge gap that is the primary limitation holding me back.


It’s tempting to put yourself into an endless cycle of gathering options, comparing and contrasting, and ruminating over the pros and cons. This is also a delaying tactic because, to be honest, if you sincerely investigate options for any problem for a short and focused time, the primary reliable solutions reveal themselves very quickly. You don’t have to go on an exhaustive quest to Timbuktu to find what you actually need.


It is rare to have a situation where you have to deal with something that has never been dealt with in dental practices or business before. If you look around you, you will find colleagues who have conquered the very challenges you are facing. You will find companies who specialize in helping you address and implement the changes that will improve your practice and life.

Is it the right choice?

By far, our greatest fear is being wrong. Often, we want to have the entire process laid out in front of us with all the answers spelled to such a level of detail that we can quell our doubt. This “need to know all the answers in advance” is not usually possible, because you and your practice are unique.

 

A better way to think about it is headlights on your car when you’re driving at night. You don’t need to see the entire road ahead of you all the way to your destination. Your headlights illuminate enough of the next step or action you need to take to keep moving forward.

 

Think about everything you have successfully completed in the past without knowing the entire process. You completed dental school, endodontics residency, started your practice, hired a team and created a functioning business. Outside the practice, you probably have gained experience in getting married, purchasing a home and having children. Children, especially, don’t come with a handbook that answers all the parenting questions.

 

Your past successes should drive your confidence to address anything in your present and future. And with that mindset, all you need to do is to make a timely decision to begin the next stage of your journey of growth and success. Everything else will flow naturally.

PRACTICE PEACE OF MIND

DEBRA MILLER | DIRECTOR OF COACHING

“Shouldn’t it be easier by now?” — that’s a question a lot of doctors ask at a certain point in their careers. After years of striving to establish referral relationships, dealing with staff issues, and balancing the books each month, persistent concerns about the practice are still living rent-free in their heads 24-7.

 

It can seem like a constant treadmill that can drain your enthusiasm, leave you too tired at the end of the day to enjoy your life outside the practice, and interfere with your sleep in the worst cases. Inside the practice, there’s never a feeling of being complete and fulfilled; there’s always some nagging issue to deal with, team drama to arbitrate, or stressful business decision to be weighed.

Emotional work/life balance

When we think about work/life balance the way that most people do, we usually think about the balance on our time. Popular wisdom holds that to be fully happy in our life, we should be working toward working less. The idea is that less time at work should result in less overall stress in our life.

 

Time balance isn’t necessarily the panacea that every doctor needs. For example, arbitrarily reducing time at work could have a financial impact that would complicate life, rather than simplify it. And, trying to walk away from practice issues, rather than address them head-on, is likely to amplify those issues even more.

 

For most doctors, work is a necessity and therefore, even if you can’t alter your time balance right now, you can take steps to improve your emotional work/life balance. Emotional balance means that you’re not carrying around stress and emotional baggage from work that poisons the rest of your life.

 

At work, each day should be enjoyable and productive, and you truly feel that you are practicing endodontics in a personally and professionally fulfilling way. You are free of distractions and drama, practice systems are tuned to ensure the schedule runs smoothly, and your team is 100% engaged in helping you deliver clinical excellence to patients and relationship excellence with referrers.

 

After work, when the day is done, you leave without feeling incomplete, worn out or burnt out. You have the energy and satisfaction of knowing that the practice and team effortlessly achieved your goals today, and the confidence that it will do so tomorrow as well. You can be 100% present for your family and friends, and there is nothing bringing you down.

 

When we think about work/life balance the way that most people do, we usually think about the balance on our time. Popular wisdom holds that to be fully happy in our life, we should be working toward working less. The idea is that less time at work should result in less overall stress in our life.

 

Time balance isn’t necessarily the panacea that every doctor needs. For example, arbitrarily reducing time at work could have a financial impact that would complicate life, rather than simplify it. And, trying to walk away from practice issues, rather than address them head-on, is likely to amplify those issues even more.

 

For most doctors, work is a necessity and therefore, even if you can’t alter your time balance right now, you can take steps to improve your emotional work/life balance. Emotional balance means that you’re not carrying around stress and emotional baggage from work that poisons the rest of your life.

 

At work, each day should be enjoyable and productive, and you truly feel that you are practicing endodontics in a personally and professionally fulfilling way. You are free of distractions and drama, practice systems are tuned to ensure the schedule runs smoothly, and your team is 100% engaged in helping you deliver clinical excellence to patients and relationship excellence with referrers.

 

After work, when the day is done, you leave without feeling incomplete, worn out or burnt out. You have the energy and satisfaction of knowing that the practice and team effortlessly achieved your goals today, and the confidence that it will do so tomorrow as well. You can be 100% present for your family and friends, and there is nothing bringing you down.

Achieving practice peace of mind

Most doctors have the fundamentals of a stress-free, highly productive practice in place, but are missing the final step that makes it all work with effortless efficiency and worry-free results. It’s like building a house with Legos where each brick is slightly off in size: You’re always going to see cracks and gaps that reveal weaknesses and fall short of your vision.

 

True peace of mind comes when you have optimized systems and a highly trained team that is focused on all the things that make endodontics enjoyable and rewarding for you as the doctor. The right checks and balances, the right reporting systems, the right marketing, and each team member trained to the highest professional level mean that the practice’s systems start worrying for you.

 

Let us help you on your path to stress-free practice success and personal peace of mind. A great way to begin is our upcoming Mastering the Effortless Endodontic Practice seminar in Philadelphia next month.

PERSPECTIVE FOR ENDODONTIC LEADERS

CYNTHIA GOERIG

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

For the last two weeks, I’ve been on my honeymoon in the Caribbean. It was magical to have that time with David after the busy time leading up to our wedding a month ago.

But we did have an unexpected surprise on our trip: the resort that we booked was a bit more party-focused than romance-focused at this time of the year, despite the beautiful photos on the website of couples lounging alone on a pristine white sand beach. We made the best of it though. We moved our room away from the pool sound system and, in the end, created our own one-on-one experience that was memorable.

 

The situation made me realize that in today’s world we see a lot of “Hollywood reality” and hear a lot of stories that tell us what our lives should be like. We are always tempted to compare our daily experience with glossy polished brochure images. In the day-to-day busyness of our family and practice lives, sometimes we can feel very distant from those dreams.

 

In fact, if we give in to those comparisons, we can end up talking ourselves into an equally deceptive story. If David and I obsessed on what the resort wasn’t, rather than what we could make from it, we would have come home with a different story. But we focused on all the pluses: we were in the Caribbean on a beautiful island, there were so many interesting things to see and do everywhere, and we were with each other. That was more than enough to have a wonderful honeymoon!

The need for leadership perspective

When you look at your practice, it’s tempting to focus on the problem areas. You might have a team gap, marketing gap, financial gap or some other concern. You might feel a lack of excitement or that you are going through the motions without making any progress. The truth is that doctors are, by necessity, problem solvers. You solve problems every day for patients, for referrers, for your team, and for yourself.

 

But that perspective is not the whole story. Your whole story can only be seen from outside your daily experience, which is a very different perspective and different story: You’re a credentialed accomplished professional with a successful operating practice. You have a team to support your goals, and you have the foundation of all the essential practice systems. Perspective shifts your mindset from seeing liabilities to seeing assets that can be empowered to create even higher success.

Finding your perspective

Getting outside your bubble is a leadership technique for everyone. I found, returning to work this week, that I was more charged up and inspired than ever, and more laser-focused on the assets we have at Endo Mastery to advance our vision for endodontists.

Overall, endodontists are the least likely among dental specialities to give themselves the away time and vision time that they need for perspective. You worry about your referral sources suddenly being seduced over to another endodontist if you’re out of office and not available for emergency care.

 

I encourage you to think about your leadership perspective and plan to give yourself the benefit of that viewpoint … whether that’s taking a vacation or organized around professional events where you can get inspired by a new vision for your practice assets.

 

One option that Endo Mastery offers is our 2-day seminar, which is coming up in September in Philadelphia. Many doctors have used this seminar to re-energize and put their practice on a new path to incredible success. You can hear some of their stories here:

I promise you; these are not slick marketing videos filled with unrealistic brochure images. It’s real doctors, talking about how they changed their perspective, found their true focus, and transformed their practices and lives.

CREATING TIME FREEDOM

CYNTHIA GOERIG

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

This week is an important one for me: I’m getting married. My partner David and I will be saying our vows and beginning the next stage of our life journey together … one that will be shaped anew by our mutual declaration of “You, above all else in this life.”

 

That statement is inherently one of true commitment and personal priority. While we all recognize that certain things in life are fundamentally this way (another example is our children), we are also not naïve enough to think there won’t be challenges and priorities that compete for our time, attention and focus. Certainly, we live in a fast-paced, high-demand world where it becomes harder and harder to switch off all the outside pressures, especially pressures at work.

 

Work is a necessity in our lives, in the sense that it generates our income. There will always be easily justified and rationalized reasons to devote more and more time to your work. But when you start to feel unbalanced between work and life, it’s time to take stock and re-commit to the things that fulfill you as a person and make you happy.

 

There is a clever saying that goes, “I am a human being, not a human doing.” It’s attributed as a quote to a number of people, but one version by motivational author Wayne Dyer is particularly insightful:

“I am a human being, not a human doing. Don’t equate your self-worth with how well you do things in life. You aren’t what you do. If you are what you do, then when you don’t, you aren’t.

Being a spouse or parent or part of a family is a much more important lifelong definition of who you are than your work. And that means your first priority, above all else in this life, should be allowing yourself the time to “be” with your family.

Working more vs. being more

At Endo Mastery, we focus a lot on productivity at work, which makes it sound like we’re all about working more and doing more, rather than being more. But, at the same time, we also emphasize efficiency. Marketing experts will tell you that efficiency is a very difficult concept to make exciting and compelling, but it’s truly the secret to a great life. Efficiency is what allows you to maximize the value of time at work, so you can minimize the amount of time at work.


Money may be the currency of things that we buy, but time is the currency of the relationships we love. Giving yourself and your family the gift of time is truly what you need to be committed to. It is a choice that you need to make deliberately and intentionally. What is a great life for you, first, and then how can the practice support that, second?


You better believe that when I stand with David to say our vows, I will not be thinking about all the work each of us will be doing in the future. I will be thinking about our time together in the future as a couple and family, with our work as a resource we optimize to enrich our lives with freedom and choices.

BUSY DOCTOR SYNDROME

DEBRA MILLER | DIRECTOR OF COACHING

There’s an old saying about how, if you want to make sure something gets done, you should ask a busy person to do it. Busy people have to stay focused in order to get things done, and consequently they get many more things done than unfocused people. It’s a blessing and a curse. The curse is what drives Busy Doctor Syndrome.

 

Doctors caught up in the busy syndrome are resistant to anything that appears to make their life more complicated than it is now, even things that will eventually make it better. They have their nose to the grindstone and they are not looking up to even notice the opportunities around them. All they care about is checking off that daily list of things that need to be done.

 

The list gets populated by things that need to be done in the practice, and things that need to be done in life. Most people divide their time between work and life and many people talk about work/life balance. But what is generally true of the busy syndrome is that regardless of where you draw the line, a busy person tends to fill up the available time on both sides. It’s rare to find someone who is time-limited and overwhelmed at work while being relaxed and unstressed at home, and vice versa.

No one else can do it …

The problem is that busy people fall into the “no one else can do it” trap. They take on tasks and responsibilities because they feel they are the only person who can. In reality, “no one else can do it” is actually an abbreviation for:

This leads to some unusual anomalies in the choices of busy doctors. For example, consider a task that occurs over and over again every month that a team member could be trained to do very well. Every time the task comes up, the busy doctor has a choice to slow down and take the time to train a team member, or to do the task easily, quickly and correctly themselves. Because their mindset is predominantly shaped by the feeling and focus of being “too busy right now”, they endlessly put off the beneficial step of training and delegating.

Overcoming the busy syndrome

Not surprisingly, resistance to training and delegating is actually commonplace in endodontic practices. When Endo Mastery begins coaching with our clients, we analyze the doctor’s activities and daily flow. Almost as a rule, doctors are generally losing at least 2 hours of every day on tasks that could be delegated to team members. That’s a big chunk of time that could be better spent by the doctor to reduce their busy syndrome while delivering care to more patients with less stress.

 

If you’re feeling the busy syndrome in your life, start by asking what is the simplest thing you do all the time that you could train a team member to do. Nothing is too small, and small things are the easiest to train at first. Do one thing every week, and progressively move to more comprehensive tasks. It is a process for sure and one that is a lot easier with coaching because Endo Mastery does the training for you. But on your own, you can make a big dent on your time crunch as all the little delegated tasks add up.