This is my first blog post of 2020 and looking back on last year, I can unequivocally tell you that it was a tough year. Why?

I learned to embrace my vulnerability and accept the fact that I’m wrong. A lot, and it’s better than OK. It made me a far better person to realize that I don’t have all the answers and it’s OK to reach out and ask others for help. To be at peace when things don’t go right and to accept that many things are outside of my control has given me comfort, but it wasn’t easy to get there.

While the practice grew at a steady pace, it was the first time in 5 years that I didn’t reach my production goal for the year. But I appreciate all the amazing things that happened in my practice, and while we didn’t get where we planned, it’s OK. I took a deep breath and remembered my dad’s favorite saying: “Men plan and G-d laughs.” In the past, I would have lamented over not getting to my goal, but I worked diligently, did my best and need to focus on the future, not the past.

2019 found me going through team members at a rate I had never experienced in my 26 years in practice. Some were let go, some moved on, but I always treated people with respect and kindness and tried my best to accept my role in the relationship’s end and learn from it so I can be a better man and employer in the future. There are so many reasons why many of us struggle with our human resources, and I understand that while I may never have the “perfect” team, I will always treat every team member with kindness, respect and try to remember every day their amazing attributes that caused me to hire them.

I employed three amazing consultants in 2019, changed PMS and adopted OrthoFi. That’s a lot of stress on a practice and a steep learning curve, but every consultant taught us about specific areas in which we can get better and now we’re built for growth. I am so thankful that I have a business partner in Dr. Douglas Shaw who embraces change and investment in the practice the same way  I do. I always knew the importance of reinvestment in my practice, and last year saw us investing a lot. Note the word “invest” and not “spend”. There’s a huge difference and there’s no better investment out there than investment in ones self, but it’s not easy or cheap.

The practice grew and the OP Summit was fun, but the stress in my life escalated rapidly and it almost overwhelmed me. But I learned the importance of letting go. Not of goals or dreams, but of work. I hired a virtual assistant and while it took a lot of time and training (for both of us), the rewards are more free time and better productivity (and more time for a therapist and a coach).

My fast-paced brain made it difficult to stop, take a breath and be ever present in the lives of those around me, but I made it a priority to be a better father, husband and son. I can’t turn off my desire to work and build my practice. It gives me so much joy to create, but I made sure to remember those for whom I was creating and to simply be there for them with a hug or support. If you’re not wired to love working, it may be hard to understand, but making a conscious decision to close to the computer or turn off the lights at the office takes practice. To quote the late Dr. Vince Kokich: “An airplane that’s out of balance doesn’t fly very far.”

Last year, things didn’t always go well, but my 6th decade of life has given me perspective and a more “chill” approach to the process of growth and dealing with adversity. I’m blessed, unbelievably so, and every day I strive to (as I say in my affirmation): “Be a positive influence on the lives of those around me.” And A LOT more patience. 

Like I said, 2019 was a tough year. A great year, but a year of transition, learning, investment and change. Growth isn’t easy. Not meeting goals isn’t fun. Changing patterns of behavior or investing in oneself can be challenging.  But on reflection, I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂

Wishing you an amazing 2020!!!

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GLENN KRIEGER IS AN ORTHODONTIST WITH 20 YEARS OF RESTORATIVE AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY EXPERIENCE BEFORE HE RETURNED TO ORTHODONTIC RESIDENCY. DR. KRIEGER LEARNED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF WELL-DESIGNED PRACTICE POLICIES AND SYSTEMS DURING A YEAR AT THE SCHUSTER CENTER FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN SCOTTSDALE ARIZONA, AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING PRACTICES AND INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON GRADUATE BUSINESS SCHOOL’S “DENTIST AS CEO” PROGRAM. HE IS THE HOST OF “THE ORTHOPRENEURS PODCAST”, MANAGES THE ORTHOPRENEURS FACEBOOK GROUP AND RUNS THE ANNUAL ORTHOPRENEURS SUMMIT.

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