Thank you for the chance to look back at the year and remember how far I have come. I went to an awesome business class in May. We celebrated many birthdays in my family. I wrote a good chunk of a novel during the month of November. We had a baby in September. What an amazing life. Of course, it is not always happy and easy without problems.
Our kids have been sick off and on, passing it around for the last couple weeks. My lead assistant just got engaged and is likely moving. The new computers at the office have taken hours of setup and debugging. Life is busy. But looking back, we have been blessed, for which I am grateful.
With that in mind, I got a call the other day from a recent dental graduate. His father used to be my dentist in our small town, and our families have been friends for years. He is buying a practice from another doctor in town and he wanted some advice. We are going to lunch tomorrow to talk. I have been thinking about what I will say to him, and looking back on what I would have wanted someone to tell me at that time in my life.
I am excited for him, but nervous as well. I want to help him avoid some of my mistakes. I also want to prepare him for the times when he will make those mistakes, because no matter how prepared he is, he will make them. We all have.
I feel like one of the most important things I can share with him is that he has permission to do things the way he feels is right. When I started practicing, I was defensive of everything. I was worried an employee would sue me for doing something wrong. I was afraid that I might hold on to an employee too long because I was afraid of making them angry.
I was also extremely private. I put as little as possible about myself and family on our website because I was afraid of stalkers or someone in cyberspace finding out about me and doing something weird. I don't know why, but that is what I did. I was keeping potential patients from getting to know me and becoming more comfortable around me before we had even met.
I acted out of fear, but I have learned in the last couple years that I have to overcome that and be proactive. Hire people that I like, and don't be afraid if it doesn't work out. Don't be afraid to open up to people, even online people, as scary as that may seem. That's the only way to connect with them.
What would you tell him?
Michael Lemme, DDS