Where do we go from here?…..
…the million dollar question on everyone’s mind during this global pandemic, and the answer is far simpler than we think.
We move forward.
Is it as simple as putting one foot in front of the other? In some instances, perhaps, but what about in our businesses, in our dental practices? I’m here to tell you, this same principle applies, put one foot in front of the other.
The first thing we need to do is realize that much of what’s happening may indeed be out of our hands, so we must focus only on what we can control in the moment, not what’s happening all around us. Chaos breeds fear, so remain focused, and level headed. In the moments you feel like you’re spinning out, catch yourself, and say, “Is this out of my control?”. If the answer is yes, then you must literally, let it go. Focus only on what’s in front of you and within your control, then begin to push forward.
A great suggestion is to imagine how you want things to be, realistically of course, and envision the situation from that moment to the present moment. Almost as if you’re rewinding a DVD and seeing things reverse engineer. This often reveals ways out of a bad situation because now you’ve imagined the appropriate outcome, and you’ve worked your way back, reverse engineering, to your current situation. Along that path of rewinding, you’ll think of multiple strategies that propelled you to the final moment of where you want to be. Take for instance writing this blog piece, after spending a majority of my day writing, I wasn’t really in the mood, but I imagined the people reading it, being inspired by it, putting it into action, and I worked backwards from there, until I started typing away here.
The reason I find this method to be more effective than going from start to finish, meaning being aware of where you are now and creating steps to get to where you want to be, often leads you to running in circles. Why? Because you haven’t clearly identified your goal, or proverbial finish line, for the task you want to conquer. You need a clear vision of what you want, what your goal is, and how you imagine it to be. Then you can create the path to getting there. Working backwards tricks the brain to get over the hump of taking the first step, which many people find is the hardest. For many of us, execution rarely happens because we’re too busy making excuses: This isn’t fair. Why is this happening? I don’t deserve this. All of this is irrelevant, it doesn’t help us move forward, it only keeps us stuck on the hamster wheel, sitting in victim mode. Nothing good happens in victim mode. It’s a place of repetitive stagnancy. We need to move on and re-FOCUS.
The second thing we need to do is document our plan making sure we leave room for changes. Identify potential bumps in the road and pitfalls we didn’t previously identify that may derail us from our end goal. If you are so rigid in your plan that you lack flexibility, surely you will break. Remain fluid, follow your plan, but be open to lessons you might learn, and backroads you might need to take. We stress so much about being in first place, or making it to the finish line the fastest, that we leave behind the opportunity to go off roading and see the real beauty that’s out there. After you’ve written down, or recorded voice memos of your plan, get in motion! Include your formal start date. Maybe you’ll surprise yourself and start sooner, but no matter when you execute, WRITE IT DOWN and hold yourself accountable to begin. Get your team onboard so you can hold each other accountable. Have a team meeting and go over your vision, plan and timeline. Troubleshoot it together, allow them to provide their insight, and make edits as necessary. Agree on a start date and begin, one foot in front of the other.
Use this timeline in your monthly team meetings, talk about what you’ve already accomplished, how much closer everyone is to the goals, discuss roadblocks, pivot if you need to, but put value into your plan because if you let it go, if you don’t take it seriously, if you don’t carve out the time to get with your teams on this, they will not take it, or you, seriously. Where there is value, there is profit. If your team doesn’t see you put value into something, then why on earth should they? If you always remember what the value of execution is, profit will follow, and profit isn’t always going to be monetary. Remember, profit can be the knowledge you gain, the camaraderie you develop, the connections you make, etc. If you’re just thinking about how much money you’re going to make, you’ve already lost, you put money over value, you put it over purpose. See the difference?
Once you reach that sweet finish line, much like we’re reaching the end of 2020, look back on what you accomplished, what you overcame, how you surprised yourself, how your team surprised you. Give yourself and your team credit, and by the time that day comes, you’ll have a new adventure to set your sights upon, and you’ll have built the foundation to get you there. Keep evolving, keep pivoting, keep going, forward motion, one foot in front of the other.