The other day I reconnected with an orthodontist I went to GORP with many moons ago. He’s recently left the military and set up shop in one of those very popular metro areas that I’m always talking about – the ones that I would avoid if I were starting an orthodontic practice! As you might guess, my buddy is struggling to grow his fledgling practice (like most who open in these kinds of locations do). Anyway, he was telling me that he reads OrthoPundit and that he agrees with almost everything. I told him I’m glad he doesn’t agree with everything I have to say because that would be weird. We went on to discuss specific issues in his practice, and as you might guess, he told me he could use a few more new patients and case starts.

“Practicing orthodontics is easy. We are in the people business straightening teeth not the teeth business working on people. Your ability to make great smiles is assumed by the public. Heck they even assume that PCDs can do it. From that perspective, straightening teeth is ancillary to what we are really doing to attract patients and run a successful orthodontic practice,” I told him.

“Yeah I get that. I spend a lot of time talking to moms and building relationships with them so that I can grow my practice,” he replied.

“How’s that working out for you?” I asked him.

“What do you mean?” he wondered.

“Well, what I mean is, are you getting the results you desire?”

“No, I’m not,” he admitted.

“Well then, perhaps you don’t ‘get it’ quite as much as you think you do. Perhaps you understand the words but there is a disconnect somewhere between hearing and doing. There are several possible causes for your lack of results:

  1. What I’m saying and what you’re doing are not the same
  2. What you think you are doing and what you are doing are not the same
  3. What you think you are doing and what patients and parents perceive you to be doing are not the same
  4. You don’t understand what I’m saying at all

How do I know there is a disconnect? Because results are the only things that matter in this world and if you’re not getting the results you want then you can either suffer or change.” I told him.

Unlike most young orthodontists that I talk to, this one didn’t get mad or defensive or upset at my attempt to show him something he was unaware of and he simply said, “I see your point”. Because of his reaction and our relationship, I’m optimistic that he will actually change and his practice will grow and thrive long term. I will do all I can to help him and I’m good at helping people who will listen! Seeing others grow and succeed is very exciting to me.

Gang, I know many of you think you’re doing everything right and that some outside force is causing your practice to struggle. However, this is a mental cancer that will kill you or at least hold you back from the success you could so easily enjoy if you can get your head right. If you are getting the results you want, that is awesome! Keep doing what you have been doing. If you are not, well, it’s time to change something. The only thing you really have control over is yourself so your options are very limited! If you can understand that everything going on in your life is your fault you will free yourself to the point that you can make real change. You can do it!

Only you.