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Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

We don’t always associate a monetary cost with words, but there are seven words that will always cost you money in business: “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” When you don’t want to change or try new things, it holds you back from improving yourself and your practice. I interviewed Dr. Zach Sisler to find out why dentists fear trying new things, and he said it came down to three main factors: lack of knowledge, fear, and the feeling that they’re not good enough. You can overcome these obstacles, however, and it will help you create a great life.

I Don’t Know How

Dr. Sisler encounters many doctors who don’t want to try something new because they don’t already know how, but there are so many ways to obtain new knowledge. Whether it’s through CE courses, a mentorship, or reading, you can find knowledge to apply to your practice—you just have to be willing to seek it out. I’ve been reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits lately, though not for the first time. I like to come back to books after I’ve read them, because I’ve found that I learn something new each time. It’s not the book that’s changing, of course, but my brain. I’m in a different headspace each time, so I end up focusing on something that applies to me at that particular time.

Instead of referring procedures out because you don’t know how to do them, learn how, and keep those procedures in your practice. You might discover that you actually enjoy doing them and want to do them more often—then you can dive deeper and take further CE. It’s going to require money to acquire this new knowledge, but like I’ve said, “Never begrudge the money you spend on education,” because in the end you’re going to get way more out of it than what you pay.

I’m Afraid

Fear is another significant boulder in the path of our progress. We’re afraid of failing, of messing up, of the rejection we might face, but we forget something: what if it works? What if everything goes right, and it makes everything better? People are so scared of failure that they’re not even willing to get in the game and try something new, but you have to start somewhere. Think about the knowledge and the systems that you have, and let that give you the confidence to try.

There’s such an emphasis on succeeding that we often forget that success can be a lousy teacher. When everything runs smoothly and you never hit a snag, you never learn that you could be better; you already think you’re the best you could be. Failure, however, shows you that there’s room for improvement. Dr. Sisler considers failure a great teacher because it makes you analyze things to figure out ways to get around the failure and back to success. And when you do finally succeed, it can make that success feel even sweeter, because you had to work through the hard times to get there.

I’m Not Good Enough

The final obstacle to trying something is the mental block that no matter what we do, it’s just not going to be good enough. In dental school you’re graded on everything, and the teachers are constantly showing you how to make it better; though they’re trying to coach you along to improve, it instead feels as if you’re never going to be good enough. If you have a 100-question exam and you get a 99, people often fixate on the one they missed rather than the 99 they did not. Why do we have to focus on that one negative? It’s up to you how to view it, but like I’ve said, “self-talk is 80% negative,” so it’s too easy to ignore your accomplishment and talk yourself out of trying anything new again.

We need to be fine with not being perfect, because nothing ever is. It’s good to strive for perfection, however, so you can fall into excellence—you just need to recognize that it’s good enough. It can always be better, but if the patient is happy, you should be too.

When you subscribe to those seven expensive words, you hold yourself back. It may feel safe and comfortable, but you’re preventing yourself from growing and improving, and that comfort costs you and your practice money. You need to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new—it’s going to scare you, and you might fail, but you will absolutely learn. Schedule a consult today with the ACT team and let us help you get out of that comfort zone by showing you how great it could be. When you see how many of our clients have built a Better Practice, and a Better Life, you’ll want that for yourself!

Kirk Behrendt is the CEO and Founder of ACT Dental


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