Let’s be honest, as clinicians we love to spend money on the newest, latest or greatest tool touted to make our practices succeed. Sometimes they work out as planned and sometimes they don’t.
My practice’s proverbial closet is crammed full of ideas and investments that may or may not have worked out over the years. Some (like my Otis Spunkmeyer cookie oven for fresh baked cookies every day) turned out to be practice changers and others (like an aromatherapy machine to make the office smell more “soothing”) weren’t quite what I expected. However, there is one investment which has cost me the most, yet has paid the biggest dividends. It might sound cliche’ but that investment is the one I’ve made in me and my team.
Warren Buffet famously said: “”Invest in as much of yourself as you can, you are your own biggest asset by far.” The guy knows a thing or two about investments, right?
I’ve told the following story many times, but it bears repeating, especially if you’re a younger doc, in debt and not sure about your next move. I’ve been there, my friend.
It was 2000, I was 32 years old and had recently purchased my first GP practice.I was a total of roughly $700,000 in debt to the bank, had barely taken home any sort of living and found myself sitting at the kitchen table with my wife, our newborn and a guy telling me how a year at the Schuster Center for Professional Development would help me achieve my goals. So, then comes the big close. To do all of this, it’ll only cost me $57,000 which I can finance, BTW. (Side note: I’m that guy who WANTS to believe. Show me a way, and I’ll take that first step off the cliff, blindfolded, knowing that there’s a safe landing spot if I work hard and commit myself.)
I looked at my wife, then at my baby, then back to my wife. She nodded, I shook his hand, signed the contract and NEVER looked back. It was the greatest move I ever made (aside from marrying my wife). I went on to spend at least another $100,000 in CE and consultants in the next three years and I took an insurance-based 6 day/week practice to a fee for service 3.5 day/week practice and a higher net income in less than 4 years and never looked back.
Would you have made that move? Hard for you to say. You weren’t there, right? But do yourself a favor and take away a life changing lesson from my experience.
YOU are the greatest investment you can make. There’s so much all of us don’t know and there are experts out there to help us navigate the minefields of the business and leadership worlds. I hear a lot of questions of “which consultant should I use?” The question I would ask is: “Which consultants should I not use?” I plan on trying out many of them in my career, and taking lots of non-clinical CE (as well as lots of clinical CE, but most dentists love taking classes in what they know, which is the technical aspect). It’s only money. Yeah, I said it. Learn to come to grips with the fact that money is a commodity; It comes and goes and cannot bring you happiness or sorrow. It’s what you do with it that can change your life.
Seek out ways to invest in yourself, learn as much as you can as early as you can and then remain a lifelong learner. Share with your peers (like we do in the Orthopreneurs Facebook group) and mentor younger colleagues.
It may sometimes be tough, especially when you’re scared, in debt and don’t know what to do, but when you investment in yourself, it will pay immeasurable dividends beyond anything else you ever buy.
All the best,
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