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Episode #330: The Life Balance Mindset, with Dr. Tito Norris

the best practices show podcast Aug 23, 2021

  No one on their deathbed says to themselves, ‘I really wish I would've worked more.’ In fact, most people regret working too much, not cultivating relationships, and not letting themselves be happier. And to help you avoid some of these potential regrets, Kirk Behrendt brings in Dr. Tito Norris to share how he achieved his work-life balance mindset. If you want to know how you can have a life and still have a thriving business, listen to Episode 330 of The Best Practices Show!

Main Takeaways:

  • Before caring for others, you've got to care for yourself.
  • Care for yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally.
  • Being a workaholic is not sustainable for your health or well-being.
  • You can actually become more efficient while working less!
  • Take that vacation — your team needs a break from you!
  • Plan your vacations in advance and set it in stone.
  • Have systems in place. It could save you thousands of future hours!
  • Overvalue your time. Find the balance between work, family, and yourself.


  • “When you're lying in your deathbed, no one has ever said, ‘Gosh, I wish I would've worked more.’ Right? It’s quite the opposite. What people say is, ‘I wish I would've taken time to cultivate that relationship with my children and my spouse,’ whoever it might be. When I look at achievements in my life, those are the things I'm most proud of, is the fact that I've got a healthy relationship with my wife and children.” (04:35—05:07)
  • “Before I can take care of anyone else, I've really got to take care of myself. So, what does that mean? That means that I've got to put the right kind of fuel in my body. I've got to eat mindfully, eat nutritious things. And that's different things for different people, but we all know what we should and shouldn't be eating, and should and shouldn't be drinking, for that matter. And you've just got to start there, with fuel for your body.” (07:55—08:23)
  • “Find something that you love and take care of yourself physically, as well as emotionally and mentally, whether that's yoga, or meditation, counseling for mental health. All those factors are part of life balance.” (09:19—09:37)
  • “We just can't be workaholics these days. We've got to find that balance between being efficient at work, creating excellence at work, and finding that family time and taking that time off to take those vacations.” (09:39—09:57)
  • “I started my practice from scratch. I hung my own shingle in 1998. And probably for the first five years, I had two really young children, and I was trying desperately to grow my practice, and I was just burning the candle at both ends, just working my patootie off day in, day out, late nights, early mornings. And I had not taken time for myself. I was starting to get out of shape. And it wasn't doing well for my marriage, and there was a lot more stress there than there should've been. And I can't think of the actual cathartic moment or watershed moment where things changed, but I knew that I had to do something differently.” (10:59—11:50)
  • “I started prioritizing time off and scheduling that time off. And simply visualizing that time off and actually scheduling that time off in advance, like a year in advance, that actually forced me to take it off and actually forced me to close down the practice for those periods of time. And “close the practice,” those are like, three dirty words. But amazing things happen when you close the practice.” (12:05—12:35)
  • “We became so much more efficient when I started working less. When we started working fewer days, we actually skyrocketed. It’s so counterintuitive, but it’s so true.” (12:59—13:13)
  • “The key is to hire amazing people and to empower them to make great decisions, and to coach them.” (16:32—16:43)
  • “People want to be admired. They want to be respected and they want to be appreciated. They really, really want to be appreciated. So, it’s just one little thing that I try to do.” (25:30—25:45)
  • “I'm a big fan of John Kois. I've taken all of his restorative courses. And one sentence that John Kois said that’s really resonated with me was, if you're doing a crown prep, and during some point of that crown prep you use a burr, and then you take that burr out, and you use a different burr, if you ever go back to that burr that you first started off with, then you don't have a system. And so that, to me, epitomizes efficiencies in ergonomics, in communication, and all these things.” (27:12—27:56)
  • “In my practice, if an assistant hands me a green Microbrush, I know that that has phosphoric acid on it — that's my etchant — because that is our system. If they hand me a yellow Microbrush, I know that has sealant on it. And if they hand me a white one, then I know it’s got a silane coupling agent, a porcelain primer, on it. So, it seems like such a silly little minor system in my practice. But, come on, kids are out of school, 3:30 in the afternoon, you're in the heat of battle, there's stuff all over the place in your treatment room, and you reach out for a Microbrush, and you don't know what's on it because there's no color-coded system. And so, now, you've got to reach into the drawer. You grab a different Microbrush. You've got to get the acid etch back out or the sealant back out. And so, you've just wasted time and resources by not having a system.” (28:30—29:30)
  • “These are all systems that we’ve developed over time. And it flows so easily that we don't even need verbal communication. We've got that system down so pat because we’ve done it so many times, and we’ve refined it so many times that it’s just part of our ergonomics. It just flows. And when you can do that, we are saving thousands of future hours because I can do this procedure in four minutes of doctor time, every time.” (31:04—31:40)


  • Dr. Norris’s background. (03:22—06:47)
  • What life balance means. (07:47—10:14)
  • His turning point toward a different path. (10:57—13:13)
  • Setting vacation goals. (14:04—16:00)
  • Hire amazing people. (16:23—19:01)
  • The importance of core values during the hiring process. (19:12—24:55)
  • Build up your team members to motivate them. (25:29—26:54)
  • What “systems” means to Dr. Norris. (27:09—29:40)
  • Give your assistants the gift of a system. (30:13—31:44)
  • It’s all about time. (32:24—35:23)
  • Train GPs how to refer and take care of patients to save time. (35:56—39:53)
  • The future for Dr. Norris. (40:43—42:41)
  • The Norris Experience/the five touchpoints. (43:05—51:31)
  • Conclusion. (52:14—53:03)

Reach Out to Dr. Norris:

Dr. Norris’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tito.norris


The Norris Experience, October 1st & 2nd 2021: https://www.dynaflex.com/the-norris-experience/

Dr. Norris’s bracket system: https://stoneoakorthodontics.com/norris-20-26-self-ligating-bracket-system/

Good Reads:

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown: https://www.amazon.com/Boys-Boat-Americans-Berlin-Olympics/dp/0143125478

Dr. Tito Norris Bio:

Dr. Robert Norris is devoted to creating smiles for a lifetime. His unique background in mechanical engineering provides him with a distinct advantage in mastering the forces, vectors, and movements inherent in performing orthodontic treatment.

  • Dr. Norris attended The University of Texas at Austin where he received his bachelor’s degree with honors in Biology and a minor in Mechanical Engineering.
  • He was salutatorian of his dental school class at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School.
  • He completed a General Practice Residency at the V.A. Hospital in Washington, D.C.
  • He completed his orthodontics specialty training at Howard University and graduated as valedictorian with the highest GPA in the Orthodontic Department’s 25-year history.

Dr. Norris joined the Air Force and served as Chief of Orthodontics at Misawa Air Base, Japan. Here, he provided orthodontic care to service members and their families.

In 2007, he began work to make his office completely “green.” The office is part of a volunteer renewable energy program with CPS known as Windtricity. In April 2008, he completed a solar energy project at his orthodontic practice with the installation of 80 solar panels, providing 16 kW of electricity.

In 2010, he completed his office expansion, making it the first LEED-Certified orthodontic office in the world. LEED is Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design and is the U.S. Government’s stamp of approval on environmentally responsible office construction.

Dr. Norris is a resident of San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife and three children. As a Texas native, he grew up in Kingsville. He enjoys snow skiing, cycling, swimming, strength training, boating, hiking, and kayaking. Dr. Norris has lectured throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. His scientific papers have been published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Seminars in Orthodontics, as well as Clinical Impressions. To date, Dr. Norris and Simone are enjoying their proudest accomplishments, their three children. 


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