How to adapt right now (Part 2)
A message from Dr. Ziv Simon
March 17, 2020
Thank you to all dentists who sent those kind words after yesterday's email. Let's keep going strong.
Adaptation is key.
Before I talk about how to adapt to the new reality I want to make something super clear to you.
At this time more than ever, you must be in shape. Both physically and mentally.
Clean diet, cardio, some weights and stretching. You just must do this every day.
No matter at what shape and weight you are currently at. Do it for at least 20 minutes every day (YES, every day and also on the weekend).
This will sharpen your mind, keep you focused and give you more strength to "talk" to your fears which is exactly what you need. There is no excuse. I'm watching you;-).
Mental shape starts with not letting the garbage in.
What is garbage?
Panicky, hysterical and useless social media posts. Listening to the news 24/7. Checking your FB feed every 5 minutes. Listening to rumors and falling for fake news (like Corona loves Ibuprofen, so don't take Advil).
You gotta keep your mind on a clean diet of information from the outside. The scary news your friends, co-workers and even your spouse share with you is doing you giant disservice.
I'm empowering you to shut this all off.
When everyone around you is freaking out - You are a pillar of calm and strength.
When everyone around you is checking on the latest mortality rate - you listen to your favorite music.
When everyone around you is binging on fat, sugar and salt - you eat your salad and indulge in your favorite coffee (or whatever else you love that is not harmful).
I told you yesterday. Nothing external has power on your internal being. You have no control over the events right now.
you have full control over how you process information, how you react to what is happening around you and even how you feel.
You are the driver here.
Don't underestimate the power you have to make the best of what's presented to you.
Keeping your body and mind in shape is a must. There is too much at stake here.
I will be more specific about the things I personally do to stay healthy and focused. It's not as difficult as you may think. I have great systems and hacks that I will share with you later.
I promised to talk to you about how to adapt to the new reality. Yesterday, I talked to you about acceptance and its role in the current crisis.
Well, I consider acceptance as the door to adaptation.
Once you accepted the new reality, you already begun the process of adaptation.
Now, I'll be getting tactical with you. Please pay attention.
A new reality is very overwhelming and fear-provoking. I understand the overwhelm and confusion some people may feel at the moment.
What helps is to break a big large thing into smaller parts.
Like lego building in reverse.
What are the areas in your life that you need to adapt in?
Here are my main adaptation areas:
- Practice & finances
These are the big ones right now.
I'm not going to bog you down with the small details of what interlaces those main areas. Each one is a whole universe of things.
We must stay focus.
Creating those compartments in your mind will help you to adapt easier in each of those areas.
How's my home adaptation going?
Nobody leaves the house. Only pharmacy and grocery shopping. Home cooking only. Home schooling as best as possible. House is full of educational workbooks (and Xbox, PS4, Switch, ipads too).
Fridge is kept full with no hoarding. Cleaning products are easy to get and are necessary because the house get's messed up quite fast (I got 4 caged animals and they are going crazy every once in a while;-).
No tutors or friends come over. We practice social distancing which is very hard to do for us social creatures.
Try to keep bedtime and orderly and timely meals. All people and mostly kids love structure.
Talk about what is going on outside and what the Corona is. Demystify it for them. Our kids think it's like a Hollywood horror movie and that if I go to work Corona will turn me into an infected zombie.
Sir Isaac Newton came up with the idea of gravity while being in quarantine. Who knows what will come out of your household?
There is a lot of adaptation that must take place at home.
We feel captive. Husband and wife relationship needs work. We are over-consumed with the crisis, financial aspects, the care for our kids and other loved ones. Hard to find time and energy.
Don't give up. Try.
Talk about it. This crisis will pass and what is the most important is your family.
Remember: While everybody around you is freaking out and is losing it - You are a beacon of stability and calm.
Your family is looking up to you.
If you freak out, what will your little ones think? How much anxiety will they feel if you break?
I don't mean to put pressure on you and I know it's not always easy to "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON".
A calm mindset will carry you far along all those areas of much needed adaptation.
How about adaptation in my practice?
We are closed. I am only seeing emergency patients between 10-2.
I'm used to going 8 hours strong, 20-30 patients a day, surgery and all that is around it.
It's quiet now.
Here's how adapt to the quiet schedule. I "un-quiet" it.
First, I make sure all bills are paid (last thing you want to do when you don't produce). You can push some of those vendor bills 30 days but don't ignore them. We need to keep the lights on. We are planning to go full force when this is over.
Second, I make sure my staff is well informed about the situation and that they know their options. Every dentist handles staff salaries differently. There is no right or wrong.
It's not all dollars and cents in regards to your decision but a business is dollars and cents. You have to keep the business alive and your decisions are not easy and not popular.
Third, I make sure my patients are well informed and know that I am here for them in case of an emergency.
I focus on re-scheduling and getting the schedule ready for when this will be over.
Fourth, I make sure my referring dentists are also in the loop. I cover emergencies for them to help them reduce their overhead. My best friends are dentists and you are one of them.
The adaptation process is helped by using analogies. This is the most basic way to look at your practice.
Imagine your business being a human body.
This body is currently not getting enough oxygen (patients). It's turning blue. The body also has some injuries and is bleeding (expenses).
The body has some lung oxygen reserve (what you have in the bank) and if needed you can use a manual resuscitator (line of credit).
First, lets stop the bleeding (expenses).
You can't really stop expenses but you can cut out some. Anything that is not an absolutely must.
For a lot of us we needed to cut the biggest expense of all - Salaries.
This is very painful. Not just for the employees but also for the boss.
I want my employees to make good money and be happy and proud to be part of our team. It doesn't feel good. I'll share with you how I choked up yesterday about this topic.
So to adapt, I'm going to be tackling my business like the human body that is sick or in distress.
Make sure you have a credit line ready (that's the resuscitator). Check on all of your insurance policies (business interruption, overhead). Know the employment policies of the state your are practicing in. Understand sick leave, paid time off, unemployment insurance and everything your employees are going to possibly need.
There is tons more business stuff but this email is getting a bit too long and I don't want to lose you here.
My last adaptation area or compartment is: MINDSET.
This is where you will succeed.
When you adapt and change your mindset in light of this crisis, you can pull through and come back even better and bigger than before this mess started.
I have so much to share with you about mindset and I will keep it for one of the next emails.
I hope you find this communication helpful in understanding adaptation and why it is so important (especially now).
Final thoughts for today
There are 2 reasons humans have achieved so much in the world. All those great things were not created by lions or snakes and there is a reason for that.
We are not the strongest species, most talented, most intelligent or most capable out of all living creatures.
Humans mastered adaptation.
They didn't resist their circumstances. They adapted.
The second thing that made us achieve great things is that we are the only species that has imagination (more on that in the future).
Adaptation to a new reality is the key to you getting through this.
I shared some personal things here and you don't have to do the same. I wanted to give you some tools to break down this challenge and simple measures to adapt in different aspects of your life.