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It’s Always Personal

June 1, 2015

Filed under: Ethics — Tags: , — Barry @ 12:03 PM

Many dentists have experienced a long time patient leaving their practice for no other reason than the patient received new insurance…and it hurts.

Through the years I have had this situation occur and the best advice I get is not to take it personally.

But that never worked for me…for me, it’s always personal.

Samuel Johnson the British writer once said,

“Happiness is not found in self-contemplation; it is perceived only when it is reflected from another.”

Dentistry, not unlike any of the other health care service professions, is a very social field…especially when we create our practices around relationships.

Maybe I am naive…I don’t think so…but I believe that my work is more than just about business, money and success.  Oh sure those things count, but I was taught there are other ways to judge a successful career…and people matter.

Most of us were raised during a time of massive abundance.  Not only us, but our parents believed that all success was material success.  This, after all was what the “Me Generation” was all about.

I was raised on Covey’s habits.  I take them seriously,  after all who doesn’t want to be highly effective?  But at what expense?

I am getting older now, and I studied dentistry from dentists who are long gone.  They taught dentistry using terms like excellence as a virtue for its own sake.  Virtue?  It means moral excellence and righteousness, and for many it was the path to a good life, but not in a time when business trumps everything.  Say the word morality these days and people look at you funny, like you’re a religious nut rather than someone who can hold their head up high…with dignity.

I wondered how we got here?  Since I learned dentistry from people who lived in the forties and fifties…before the Age of Abundance, I wondered how we become products of the times we lived.  Personally, I was deeply effected by Covey, yet these days I see more virtue the teachers who came from a time when their success wasn’t taken for granted…they worked for it.  They didn’t believe that if their kid wanted to be David Beckham that it was possible by just kicking the ball a lot, and they could be anything they want to be.

We are products of our culture.  Really, do I need to know any more about Kim Kardashian, Bruce Jenner and Justin Bieber?  In the world of dentistry, do I need to be exposed to anymore Facebook pretenders?

Dentistry is an honored and noble profession that serves people.  At least that is what is was when I entered it.

It’s about people, it’s about service and yes maybe a little business too.

In 1972, The Godfather was released.  Take a look now at one of it’s best scenes with the great actor Al Pacino…revealing a line that we all hear too much of these days.

This is how we get acculturated—but it’s always personal.