Wednesday, April 16, 2008

...and doggonit people like me.

I had a patient the other day.
She is one these patients that likes everything we do here.
She is in her mid-thirties and appreciates the atmosphere that try to create.

They say (who is they you ask, I don't know) that the office with attract the people in age group around 10 years from the age of the dentists.
So I can see that my practice is filled with 30-50 year olds.
I think I break the mold a little because I am 39 (NOT almost 40) but I act like I am 25.
So my crowd does dip into the 20's as well.

Anyway, this patient really likes me.
She proceeded to tell me this story.
She was referred by this family. Dad, mom and two daughters, who at one time liked me (So much that they were referring their friends).
When this patient was coming in last week she was at their house and said I have to go to Dr. Gammichia's today.
She was talking to the Dad, when he said, "Yeah, mom and the girls still go to him and like him but I am not going to him anymore."
She said, "What happened?"
He said, "He said something that made me mad and I won't go there anymore."
"Well, what did he say?" she said.
He goes on to tell her that one time him and I were talking and he asked me if I would take his front teeth out and give him some sort of denture.
Now this kind of stuff turns me off. People not taking care of themselves and then just asking me to do stupid stuff like this. I don't do this kind of dentistry which is why I am not surprised by my smart-al-ick response.
She said I said to him, "If I take your teeth out, how am I going to feed my kids?"

I shook my head like, yeah, that is something I would say.
I was thinking to myself, "that's it?" He was mad at me for that. I was kind of relieved because I have a tendency to tick people off for way more than that. If you think the blog is the only place I get in trouble, well you are way wrong.

We have a practice that has a certain niche. We do great work here and I find that your office kind of attracts the people that you cater to. I cater to the people that care about their teeth. We, without knowing it, talk people out of the dentistry we don't like to do and into the stuff we do like doing.
Same with the type of people. We could care less about the people we don't like and bend over backward for the people that we like. So we build a practice full of people we like and do all the things we like doing.

I don't like grouchy people and I like to save teeth.

So I ended up defending myself to this patient. I said, "Listen, when I was younger, this story would of been a crushing blow." I had the mentality that EVERYONE must love me and anything else is failure.
But now that I am more mature (and I use that term loosely), I tell myself that I am okay with everyone not liking me.
I went on to tell her, "I am a certain way. I am a jokester. I like a light atmosphere. I like to make people feel comfortable, sometimes with hugs and sometimes with humor.
I do this day in and day out. MOST people like it. I am not going to change the way that I am. I think I have a good thing going here (and she was nodding in agreement). If one person doesn't like it then I have to be okay with that."

I have been watching a bunch of Stuart Smally and agreeing with his philosophy, "I am good enough, I am smart enough, and doggonit people like me".

I want you to know it pains me to say this. I still in my soul want everyone to like me but....
I can't do it. I have so much crap going on in every aspect of my life I don't have the energy to go after the one percent anymore.
Now all you people out there that feel the same way as I did, stop. Stop trying to please EVERYONE. You can't do it.
I think dentists are wired a lot alike. We are a breed that takes failure very hard. We liked to be liked.

So, of course, I say this to you but in the back of my mind I keep thinking should I pull this guys chart. Should I write him a little note. Should I give him a call and apologize. I...can'
I mean do you think the Ritz-Carlton's motto is "Let's try to please most people"
But again, as good as they are they don't please everyone.

This is how I justify this to myself.
Listen, I have a wife that loves me, unconditionally. I have kids that love me (because they don't know any better and genetically wired to do so). I have a great practice (I think) and some really great friends, and I am going to heaven when all this is done.
What more can a guy ask for?
As the great Billy Donovan said once, "Don't mess with happy."

See you guys Friday,
I hope you are enjoying the blog,


Anonymous said...


If you can recall your exact words that you said to the Dad and then use them on yourself, how would that make you feel? What message did it send to the Dad - 'this guy is thinking about his money, not about my teeth or oral health or anything else'.

Contact him to clarify what he heard. If it sounds like something you would have said back then but now it seems like a poor remark to make, then apologize. Then emphasize to him what your "Dental Creed" is and how you attempt to practice it.

All of us out here just want to be heard, just like you do. We all want to be liked, just like you do. When we become very clear to other people what we are really all about, what we believe to be the Truth, then the all-important TRUST comes into play. When we are heard, when we are respected, we begin to trust others. Clarity brings life into focus. Your business is DENTISTRY. We love our dentists because THEY CARE ABOUT OUR ORAL HEALTH CARE!

John, I am a Life Coach. People pay me to hear what they don't really want to hear. Be clear, as you have already demonstrated many times in this blog, and you will be held dear by your patients. They TRUST YOU.


Kyle DeLoach
Life Coach to the Dental Profession

Anonymous said...

I feel it;s way too late to apologize at this point. You can't make everyone like you. Just let it go. As far as your comment, it could have been taken the wrong way...offensive, but perhaps he didn't know you very well or your sense of humor. In the future, watch what you say around certain people, especially new patients.


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