I had one those really uplifting coaching conversations yesterday with a client who has been practising for over 25 years. I spend a great deal of time with dentists in their first ten years of practice and so I often find that the life lessons and stories that more experienced dentists have to share is both inspiring and energizing.
Many of the challenges stay the same….it’s the perspective that changes! Yesterday’s conversation was about the transition from expecting perfection from staff for so many years, to a more relaxed, less stressful approach. He understands today that his frustration when staff did not meet his expectations was a self perpetuating, downward spiral, particularly since he admitted that his expectations were not only NOT communicated, but that they changed from day to day! It would have been impossible for anyone to meet them!
His approach now is very different and I think there is a lesson for us all in this. He now listens more to his staff and their concerns, appreciates them more, acknowledges them, and views them not as necessary evils, but rather as human beings who care about his practice and patients and the profession. He claims that it’s just age that has mellowed his outlook. I believe that he made a conscious life choice to change direction because he became aware that his approach was not working for him, for his practice, for his staff, and for his own stress level.
This is a wake up call for us all. Don’t wait for 30 years to change what is not working. Whether it’s on your own or with a coach, give yourself permission to be introspective, step outside yourself and ask poignant questions, such as “Is this working?”, “What is this costing me?”, “How can I change this?”.