On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant. I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.
Something I strive for. When I was a teenager, I remember watching a special about a team that won an NCAA title in basketball. Their semi-final game required one of their players to hit two free throws (while down one point with seconds left) to win it. What stuck with me was an interview with the head coach. As the player lined up for those free throws, the coach recalled saying to his assistant “he may miss, but he won’t choke.” The implication being that he was so experienced that the pressure wouldn’t get to him and prevent him from performing to his normal level. That line has stuck with me, and I find it significant.
Results are never guaranteed. There are bad bounces, unforeseen circumstances, and other issues that can affect them. What we can control is our approach and process. Giving a maximum effort and being committed to improving every time you attempt something is crucial. Done enough, it makes high level performance more easily reproduceable. Then, when a stressful or challenging situation arises, you will fall back to that high level of training and perform as best you can.
An interesting business conversation I had. I spoke to a friend and fellow business owner this week. He asked me what I do to “convince patients to stay with me.” My response was “nothing.” This confused him but I explained that I want volunteers in my practice, not hostages. Anyone who chooses to visit my office should be there only because it is their decision, not because I was able to scare or convince them to be.
Therefore, my “tactics” are simple. I am honest with my patients, give my best effort and expertise each visit, and never pressure them to make any decision for my benefit. This allows me to operate an extremely low stress business, deal primarily with great people, and sleep well knowing I’ll bever violate my principles or ethics. My friend asked if this method was effective for me, and I told him it was. Most of my patients continue to seek ongoing care (at a frequency of their choosing) and I am blessed to receive many referrals from them. Give me volunteers over hostages any day!
Something I think of often. There is a scene in “The Empire Strikes Back” where Yoda is training Luke and prompts him to go into an ominous looking cave. Luke senses that it is a dark, challenging place and insists on bringing his weapons with him even though he is told he will not need them. He asks Yoda what is in the cave, and he replies, “only what you take with you.”
We bring who and what we are to everything we do. Positive or negative, high or low energy, hard working or lazy; these are all examples. When we are achieving positive outcomes in our lives and our relationships are healthy, we are usually taking the right things with us. Conversely, when results are poor, relationships are constantly in strife, and we are regularly blaming others/circumstances for our shortcomings; we are not. As the saying goes, “wherever you go, there you are.” Make sure you are creating the best version of yourself because that version travels best into any endeavor.
A recent interaction. I was asked by an organization I respect to be a volunteer last fall. I was happy to help and agreed. The person in charge asked me for my information and I provided it immediately. I was told I would hear back in two days and though that turned into two months, I let it slide. Then I was asked to fill out a background check and did so. That was supposed to lead to a meeting five days later but stretched into two months before I finally heard back. I wasn’t thrilled, but was still willing to help, and we set a face-to-face meeting for last weekend. When I arrived to the meeting (on time), I was asked by the person I’d been dealing with if I could wait another 15-20 minutes. I said “no” to his face and let him know I was no longer interested in volunteering my skills to help them.
It can be a good thing to exercise patience and give people the benefit of the doubt. However, actions tell the tale. Though I respect the overall organization, the person I dealt with showed no value for my time, was lazy, and disorganized. Proceeding in a situation like that would only have made me bitter, so I decided against it. Selecting where you give your time and what behavior you are willing to accept is crucial. Personally, I only want to give my time to people and causes that uplift me, rather than dragging me down or causing regret.
Some quotes I love.
“I know 12-year-old men and I know 40-year-old boys. The difference is in the choices. Boys choose distractions that allow them to avoid duties. They choose the coffin of comfort. Men choose responsibility and growth. They choose never to play the victim. They choose life.” – Matt Beaudreau
“Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness.”
“Care about what people think and you will always be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu
“Where you are right now is the result of actions you took 1-2 years ago. That grew from thoughts you had 3-4 years ago, that were battling or supporting habits you built up over your entire life.” – Ed Latimore