Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream…

If the title of this post seems a bit familiar, that’s because it should be. In the movie Catch Me if You Can, Leonardo DiCaprio’s father (played by Christopher Walken pictured above) used a story about two mice to explain how different people respond to life’s challenges.

“Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse, wouldn’t quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out.”

Every day, we’re confronted with challenges related to our practices. Just look around social media and you’ll see a ton of people complaining about their circumstances.

“My assistant quit with no notice, so now I’m screwed.”

“I’m so frustrated with patients who don’t keep their appointments.”

“I can’t stand the GPs I work with. They’re always driving me crazy.”

“I can’t seem to get my team members to come in for events that aren’t on work days.”

“I hate working at a corporate job.”

Any of these sound familiar? Have you ever faced these sorts of situations? What did you choose to do? Like the mice in the story, you have two choices: You can give up and just accept the situation or dig in, churn like crazy and walk out of the problem. Which option do you choose?
Yeah, I know, life can be hard. When I graduated from ortho residency at age 47 with 3 kids a brand new practice and a corporate job, I was just like any of you. I wasn’t going to make excuses or just accept situations I didn’t like. I worked my tail off and always threw more energy at a problem rather than just accept it. While my friends were out partying, I was coming up with a business plan. While they traveled on week-long vacations, I was working on the financial of my business. When they went to Disney with their kids, I was developing marketing strategies. In time, my life circumstances changed, and many of my friends are yet to buy their own practices but complain about their life circumstances.
I’m not saying that I’m anyone special or that I did something that others can’t do, but one needs to understand the value of hard work, especially when you don’t want to do it. (The concept of early sacrifice for later’s sake will be another post.)
John Foster Dulles, former U.S. Secretary of State said: “The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.”
So, are you facing the same life and practice problems that you’ve faced for a while?
Ok, so maybe you claim that you’re too overwhelmed to dig in and work your tail off. I don’t buy it. You became an orthodontist, so you’ve proven you can do it. But now that’s all behind you now and this is for keeps. If you want to be a successful business owner, you better learn to be the first one in the office and the last to leave and be working on your practice every day. Business ownership isn’t for the faint of heart. Of course, your options are to have a mediocre or crappy practice or just avoid that altogether and be a lifelong associate, but to be honest, I wouldn’t hire anyone who wanted to just “mail it in”.
So, whenever you face a leadership, marketing, HR or any other problem, you have the choice to give up and go to a movie or hang out with friends and family and watch your practice “drown”, or you can churn like crazy, work on your practice especially when you don’t feel like it and “walk out” with the practice of your dreams.
So here comes the encouragement with some tough love:
The choice to build your dream practice is entirely yours and if one day you don’t have the successful practice you always wanted, there’s nobody to blame but yourself.
All the best,
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