When I speak I tell the story of “The One Thing” from the movie City Slickers. Remember the scene where Curly (Jack Palance), tells Billy Crystal that the meaning of life is just “one thing,” and everything else don’t mean shit. Well, I have been looking for that one thing that will make my practice successful.
A few years later, Marcus Buckingham wrote a book, The One Thing. He wrote about the one thing successful people do. They “stopped doing what they didn’t like doing.” For me that was pedodontics and root canals. And I told that to audiences for years. So…I could be happy and successful if I just removed those things from my practice…kids and pulps?
But a funny thing happened last week. I treated Travis, a kid with a lot of cavities and Louie who needed a root canal on tooth 18…lower left second molar…way back. Did I tell you that Travis is twelve and Louie…he’s ninety-six? I went against what Buckingham suggested. Guess what? I loved doing the root canal and the child’s fillings. The work came out great. I felt successful.
I thought about another rule I read about in one of Jim Collins’ books, either Built to Last or Good to Great. Collins says, “First who, then what.” What he means is that first choose who you want to work with and then choose what you want to do. This makes more sense to me, and it certainly applied to Louie and Travis, both of whom I really liked treating no matter what the procedure.
What comprises a good “who.” It’s what this blog is about…TAO. We have a trusting relationship, we appreciate each other and the value we bring to the table, and we take responsibility for ourselves. They help us, help them. There is no struggle. It’s fun, and we feel good about ourselves. I definitely think that Jim Collins’ rule is the “one thing” that creates success for me.