Your game plan for this time (Part 3)
A message from Dr. Ziv Simon
March 18, 2020
How are you feeling?
I hope the last 2 emails helped you understand what most dentists are going through right now. Those 2 communications are read by ~5000 dentists a day!
Thank you for sharing them. One dentist just emailed me that he read them out loud to his wife (a non-dentist). So feel free to keep sharing them with your colleagues and friends. Please help me spread this.
Now that you know more about handling fears and keeping them at bay, acceptance, mindset switching and the concept of adaptation...
An important question comes to mind:
So what do I do now?
How should I handle my day? Should I just stay home and watch the news?
Is there even something I can do?
Here's my take on these questions:
Even if we know very little about when this will end and when we can go back to our regular routine - Don't be passive.
It's an unhealthy state of mind.
Being passive, even if just in your mind, takes away all control from you.
Being passive means that you can be dominated by circumstances, entities and other people. You don't want that.
We have been stripped off one of the most important human needs - The need for certainty.
This is huge.
Don't be passive. It's the path of least resistance most people take. Fight!
You don't need to develop a vaccine for Corona... I know you feel like you're facing Goliath and all you have to fight him are a couple of pebbles.
Get your sling ready, David.
Your weapon is THE GAME PLAN.
I don't know everything and and there is tons of uncertainty right now.
I actually feel that I know very little but I know one thing -
you have to imagine your way out of this.
It's the gift we got through a mutation in our brain many thousands of years ago.
Our ancestors developed a unique ability called : IMAGINATION
We can imagine situations before they happen. We can invent a reality in our mind before it actually happens.
It's all through thinking.
All you need to do is think.
You will develop your game plan through thinking. The famous book by Napoleon Hill is called "Think and grow rich". It's not called "Get a degree and grow rich" or "Read books and grow rich".
To get your mind to exit a confused and anxious state you need movement.
It's something that I've been practicing for many years now. Every time I'm stuck, feel scared or confused - I move.
If possible, I'll go out for a run. I'll do a few jumping jacks or push-ups.
The movement immediately switches your state of mind. It opens your brain to doing something positive that is usually more productive than a state of passive status quo.
This has nothing to do with staying physically fit. The whole purpose of the "Movement" is to change the state you're in. It's like clicking the TV remote and flipping a channel. How long does that take? less than a second?
"Movement" doesn't need to be physical.
What if you're driving and you get into a negative/passive/fearful state of mind? How are you going to move?
You can't. You're stuck in your car.
When this happens to me, I keep driving but I stop everything else I'm doing at the same moment (for example, talking on the phone, listening to an audiobook).
I then look for a radio station with pop music and turn the volume up really really high. I may even sing.
The key is to do something completely different which in turn will create this mindset switch.
Let me know when you try this for the first time. I'd be curious to know about your experience. It can be really fun but more than anything - it takes you out of the current state of mind and into uncharted territory.
It's a brain and mindset hack. Like a computer reboot.
So "movement" is not only physical. It can involve turning music to full volume in your car (and getting scared looks at the traffic light...).
Another thing I've done is to get a hair cut.
I go to the barber and cut my hair really really short, army style. It feels as if with every piece of hair that falls on the floor, you lose doubt and fear. The short hair makes you feel different in the morning when it's cold. It almost feels like you're a different person which is exactly what you need in these moments.
Personally, with super short hair, I feel like a soldier or a spartan preparing for battle. This is the state of mind you need when facing a challenge like the Corona pandemic.
When it comes to hair style change, I can only talk to the male dentists in our community. Ladies - you know intuitively more than us about what "movement" will work for you. Email me about it.
Back to the game plan.
There is a lot of unknown right now about the spread of the disease, the risks and when we'll be able to go back to normal life.
What I do is focus on the short-term game plan. I'm focusing on the "practice & finances" area (remember, that was one of the areas where we need adaptation).
The long-term game plan is to get back to regular practice, recoup the losses, get the schedule filled up, enhance marketing and continue with your growth journey.
The timing on that is vague and it's very hard to even imagine how this will work out. Don't stress too much about it. You can go crazy if go through this rabbit hole.
It's like this question being asked:"What's the best way to invest a million dollars?" The answer: "Step 1: Get a million dollars....then...". We are all at the phase of "getting a million dollars".
What's first is first.
First is making sure we take the necessary steps every day to secure our practice. We must follow the regulations of our dental association, government, state and the law.
Make sure to follow protocol when it comes to your employees, your landlord (rent), banking, bills and other liabilities. Communicate with your CPA to make sure you don't leave open ends.
It's not my place to give financial advice but here's a thought:
It's great if you have a line of credit. Do you know that the bank can cancel your line of credit at any time unless.....(ask your financial person).
So the long-term game plan is to make sure your practice is secure by minimizing expenses, following the employment rules, openly communicating with employees and getting advice from HR experts.
You want to protect your business by doing the following "triage":
Stop the bleeding (expenses), get some extra oxygen (line of credit) and increase goodwill with your patients and employees through transparent and humane communication. This goodwill will pay dividends when you're up and running again.
Your best bet is to create a daily game plan.
Create a routine from morning to night for every day, Monday to Friday.
The best way I can inspire you to create a routine is to share mine. I have an agenda each day and I have certain milestones I want to hit each and every day.
This is Sparta! Life is a blood sport and we are going to battle.
I'll share my daily game plan in my next email.
I honor you for hanging in there but "hanging in there" is not enough. We are going to switch from defense to offense very soon.
Don't be passive and allow the circumstances and the elements dominate you.
You have great power even if you don't see it at the moment.
Your body and your spirit are super strong.
It's your brain that is messing with you. Your brain is focusing on your survival so it is doing everything to keep you safe, even if it means staying home under the blankets and which makes you feel like a little frightened squirrel.
Your brain is lying to you with fears and stories that tell you can't. The brain even rationalizes these fears. Your brain is a worthy opponent.
It's up to you if you want to believe these lies and stories.
Dentistry is not going away. caries and periodontitis have not been eradicated yet.
When dentistry comes back, I want you to be ready.
The time to start getting ready is now!
Our "Dentists Vs. Corona" group is picking up FAST.
Tomorrow we have a live broadcast from Beverly Hills. You can register through this link.
I look forward to seeing you in the broadcast. If you are practicing in a Corona affected area (which is probably the whole world by now), please email me back.
I may want to speak to you live during the broadcast.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE LIVE BROADCAST