Dentist Vs. Corona - How to handle the outbreak (part 1)
A message from Dr. Ziv Simon
March 16, 2020
I hope this email finds you and loved ones well.
Crazy times and a state of emergency in a magnitude we have never experienced. All around the world.
In our small city of Beverly Hills, things are no better. The California Dental Association strongly recommended to close all dental offices except for emergency care.
My practice is officially closed. We may be facing a lock down or a shut down (which I think is the same). Social distancing is in full force.
I'm sharing my own struggle with the outbreak here. I know that most, if not all, dentists around the world are influenced by this outbreak or worse, directly affected by Corona. As dentists, we are the most prone to contraction because of the aerosols created in the operatory.
I don't want you to be passive and feel powerless.
This is the time to take care of business...and not just in the business sense.
What I'm planning to share with you during this crisis, will hopefully be valuable in coping with the challenging coming your way. Not just in your practice and with your finances but also with your family.
And most importantly, how to handle your inner game.
I'm also going to share practical advice on handling employees, schedule, vendors, education, production, overhead, profitability at the time of crisis, my health and fitness habits and anything our large community would want me to discuss.
I wish I could focus on another cool surgical procedure but now it's time to take of things. My priority is to reach out to you and other doctors around the world and offer support. If I can help you with one thing, with a small change or even make you smile or feel positive, I will be able to sleep well at night (I usually sleep great and I don't plan to change that).
If you are a practice owner or an associate, this crisis has major impact on your livelihood and everything that is important to you.
If you have a family (with or without kids), you feel the pressure at home. It's almost like it is a pandemic of FEAR.
At any capacity you are a leader. The people around you rely on you.
Whether it's your employees, co-workers or your family. They all look up to you. Waiting for your wisdom to shine and for your guidance to show them the way, comfort and support them.
If that all sounds familiar...Don't you feel like you want to go under a blanket and hide until it's over? Let others decide? get your consultants to tell you what to do? pray and hope for the best?
Totally normal, my friend.
We all have these thoughts. They all come from FEAR. I told you it's infective and as opposed to Corona, almost everybody gets infected.
You can ignore those feelings... But can you really?
Face those fears head on.
Fear can only come if you're afraid of loss or afraid of a process. You must understand that.
Don't push those fear deep inside. They will creep out and bite you in the....
Fear of loss: Fear of loss of income/money. So much depends on you making a good income, that if that is taken away or is compromised you will feel scared of the outcome. I get it.
You may be also fearful of losing your health. That's a strong fear. If you're ill, you can't work and support your loved ones.
Fear of process: To deal with the coming challenges will take an effort, time and sacrifice.
That is scary in itself.
We have ran so many marathons in our lives (dental school was one of them). We borrowed money to achieve things and build a foundation for our future.
Now we are facing a challenge to keep this machine going which will take an investment of time, money and energy.
All those resources are already scarce.
You now know that you're getting into another marathon and that is a scary thought. What if you don't have the energy and the zest you had previously? Can you pull off another challenge?
There are more types of fears but these are the main ones. Both are very true for the current Corona outbreak.
If your practice is shut down and you go into quarantine ===> Fear of loss and fear of process.
Now that you know what you are afraid of - how do you tackle this?
Ignoring those fears or lying about how you feel is going to play against you.
What helps me...
One thing that helps me when my fears come for a visit is to have a discussion with them. It's a rather one sided discussion.
When my fears let me know what I am going to be losing and what challenges I'm about to go through, this is what I tell them.
"Thank you for letting me know.
I don't have time for you right now.
It's a time of crisis and I must stay focused, calm and composed.
A lot depends on me. My practice and my employees need me to lead and navigate through this now.
My spouse and kids need me to be their rock and leader.
If I let you guys in, then I won't be able to accomplish all of that.
So no offense, I just don't have time for discouragement or negativity
It's time to take care of business and do the best under the current situation."
9 out of 10 it's a simple as that and works like a charm.
They do come back though. I have to say that fears are frequent and persistent visitors.
Step 2 is next and I'll finish my first email with this point.
Looks like this is going to be a long drawn crisis and I promise to communicate all that I personally implement at this time.
Step 2 for me is acceptance and a rapid mindset switch.
You cannot stay the same person you were before this crisis begun.
I'm not talking about your personality traits. You have a certain personality baseline which is also changeable but that's not the point here.
It's your mindset that has to switch from smooth sailing and repeatable daily routine (gym, breakfast, practice, lunch, practice, kids, home, weekend fun etc) to
==>extreme focus and intentional action taking<==.
Nothing about what is happening with you now is routine.
Forget how it was before.
You'll just get distracted and veer off track. What matters is now and tomorrow.
The only time I "allow" you to think about yesterday is when you are trying to re-create a good model that worked for you in the past. By all means, rebuild an already successful system.
Being the person you were in the past is not going to help you rebuild. The rules of the game are different now.
What about acceptance?
Acceptance is also a mindset switch.
You must accept that 2020 is not going to be a record year financially (you could, but it'll confuse and distract you again, creating all sorts of internal conflicts and lack of prioritization and focus).
Accept that life will be a bit tense.
Accept some tension at home.
Accept dealing with fears (by now you know how to talk to them).
There is one thing that is not negotiable:
You have control over how you feel.
No external force from the outside can affect how you feel inside.
I'm referring to communication from another dentist, friend, spouse or other family or even the current world events, stats about mortality rates and the hazards ahead.
Stop checking your feeds every minute. Don't listen to the news all day long. It is damaging to your mindset and distracting from what is at stake here.
You are not your fears or those other emotions.
You are the one experiencing them and it's up to you.
I will share more very soon.
Stay strong, my friend.