As we complete 2017 and begin 2018, it’s hard not to reflect on what went well this past year and how can we improve in the coming year. A new year is always a great opportunity to start with a clean slate and resolve to make real improvements with your practice and life. Webster’s definition of resolve is to reach a firm, deliberate decision about something. In my own life and with clients I’ve worked with, there is a measurable difference in results when a person resolves to make clearly defined improvements versus just going with the flow and hoping things get better. As we begin 2018, let me offer three “Be’s” that can make this year your best year ever.
Be Proactive — Rather than reacting to problems as they come (and they always do), resolve to anticipate challenges your practice will encounter and find solutions to handle them. Tony Robbins talks about how the quality of our life is related to the quality of the questions we ask ourselves. Some questions you may consider asking include:
- How frequently do I encounter a given problem?
- Is there new technology or services available to help solve the issue?
- How can I integrate these advancements into my practice?
Be Focused — Pareto’s 80/20 rule states that roughly 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts, yet we often treat every task that needs to be done as equal in importance. Focus on the two to three activities that produce 80% of your desired results and delegate, delay, or dismiss everything else. As an endodontist, I’ve found that at least 80% of my results are related to the quality and efficiency of my endodontic treatment and the relationships I have with our referring offices and patients. Most of my efforts are focused on continually improving these areas and finding leverage to deal with everything else. In our consulting services, we discuss the four pillars of practice success: Team, Environment, Referrals, and Marketing. This T.E.R.M. reminds our clients of what to focus on and how to use your team, space, and equipment for maximum leverage.
Be Learning — Make this new year an opportunity to expand your knowledge in areas that will provide more value to those you serve. What areas of your practice would you like to improve, and what continuing education courses or training programs are available to make improvements in these areas? When do you plan on signing up for this training, and how will you get the time off to attend? As we learn new skills and improve our current abilities, we become more valuable to our referring offices, patients, and community. Remember, when we stop learning, we stop earning.
As we become more proactive, focused, and continue learning, the pathway forward for our practice and life becomes clearer. Commit today to implementing these three “Be’s,” and make 2018 your best year ever!
Dr. Garth Hatch