Well, Luke is officially 13. We had a surprise party for him on Friday night. He had told me about two months ago that all he wanted was for me to take him to a PG-13 movie. As the big day approached, he started talking about how maybe he could have some friends over. But we kept telling him that he would hurt his dad’s feelings if he told me he didn’t want to go to the movies with me.
We had 7 of his friends meet us at the pizza place attached to the theater. I asked Luke if he wanted to get a bite to eat before the movie, and SURPRISE!!!! Everyone was there. Then we all went and saw Snow White and the Huntsman together. [It was just okay, especially with seven 13-years-olds. The wicked stepmother has to suck the life out of a young woman to stay young and she eats bird hearts and stuff like that.] All in all, it was a great night. On Sunday, we had the family over to again celebrate. He felt special.
Today I want to talk about encouragement. This is a topic that comes up in our office a lot. Let me back track and tell you that I am a dude. Dudes, by and large, are not good with feelings. I work with 7 or so girly girls.
And along with being a dude, I am a perfectionist. Being a perfectionist is sometimes good and sometimes bad. I am not happy with about 99% of the things I do. I am not the only perfectionist out there. You know what I am talking about.
I put in a crown: the color matches perfectly, but the MB margin has just a smidge of an overhang. I put in a filling: the anatomy is so sweet and then the contact is a little light. I put in veneers: they look awesome, so I sit back and wait for them to fail. This happens with everything. It is not the success that drives – me it is the limiting of the failure. This is a profession where things fail. So there it is.
If I looked over the whole of my practice, I would see that it is pretty great. I have great patients. They are really nice and they really like me and I really like them. I have done some really nice work, I know that.
I know in my heart of hearts that I am pretty good at this. Pankey used to say, "Strive for perfection and settle for excellence." But if you are striving for perfection and you settle on excellence, it is kind of like you are happy with 2nd place.
Anyway, enough about my craziness and the reason why I am going to have a heart attack at 52. I was sitting with one of my assistants the other day and she told me that it makes people feel good when they are encouraged. She told me that my father used to end the day telling everyone what a good job they had done. She said that was so nice.
Look, I know people like to be encouraged. I am just going to come right out and say it. I am not a good encourager. In fact, I suck at it. And I think it goes back to me being a perfectionist. If I am not happy with something, albeit maybe just 1% of it, it is hard for me to choke up a compliment.
Now, it is just me. I like the women I work with. I think they all bring a lot to table. think they all make this office great. I think they are all top-notch. I just don't tell them that.
Let me clarify. I don't sit them down and tell them how awesome they are. I told you, I am a dude. At the end of the day, when they are leaving and they say goodbye, I always thank them. I get in trouble at home with the same thing. If you think I am critical at the office, just wait til you see me at home. I am almost to jackass level.
For me, if I tell you I love you and we just go through this tough thing called life together, I am telling you something. But apparently this is not enough. Same at the office. This may sound bad: if you get invited to the Christmas party and I pay you every two weeks, is this not enough? If I tell all the patients you are the best and when you come back from vacation and I tell you we had a hard time without you, is this not enough? When I tell you, "There is no replacing you," this is me telling you I think you are great. This is me telling you that I think the practice wouldn't be the same without you. Why do I have to come out and say it?
I understand people need encouragement. Heck, I need it. But I get it when people come back. When people make an appointment, they are telling me they like me. They don't have to say it. When they refer their friends, they are telling me that I am good. Maybe I am reading all the wrong signals. Maybe I am just the guy up the road and I am convenient.
What do you think? Dudes, perfectionists, do you feel the same? Do you need verbal encouragement? Or am I the only jerk out here?
See you tomorrow.