(Dr. Matthew J Messina (http://www.docmjmessina.com) maintains a private practice in general dentistry in Fairview Park, Ohio and is a consumer advisor for the American Dental Association (ADA), having served as a national spokesperson since 1995. He’s a great friend and advocate of The Fred Factor philosophy and shared the following post which appeared in the Ohio Dental Association publication, ODA Today.)
A young man of about 5 was in the office the other day having his teeth cleaned. He had seemed really happy when I came in, so I casually asked him how his day was. He broke into a huge smile and declared, “Super Awesome!” We all laughed and agreed that it was fantastic to have a super awesome day. But it did get me thinking.
What a wonderful thing to have a day that is super awesome. It seems that we have fewer of those days the older we get. When we are young, the simplest things make a day super awesome. A trip to the park on a sunny day, an ice cream cone, butterflies, playing catch, a nap. Somehow when we get older, our expectations get bigger and we set the bar higher to achieve super awesome.
Most of my days are really good, and I have quite a lot that are excellent. But even I have to think about what would make a day super awesome. I can say that I have been blessed to have a number of days that I can remember as an adult where all the planets aligned and I was at my absolute best when I needed to be. Those days truly were super awesome.
I imagine that children were put here to remind us of a time when life was super awesome! It really isn’t about everything having to be so good. To a five year old, super awesome is a matter of attitude. That’s the way it should be for us as well. We need to take each day and find the super awesome that’s hidden in the gray skies and rain.
My friend motivational speaker and author Mark Sanborn says that, “no one can prevent you from choosing to be extraordinary!” That is one of the foundational principles in his book The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary. The book tells the story of his postman Fred; a regular guy who shows that you can bring artistry to work, even if the work is mundane and you have very little in the way of resources to work with. Sanborn’s message is simple, yet profound; build relationships, take the initiative, make a difference! It resonates with people so well that over 2 million copies of the book have been sold.
On March 19th, Mark is releasing the follow up to the Fred Factor, called Fred 2.0 New Ideas on How to Keep Delivering Extraordinary Results. I have had the privilege of reading a pre-release copy and I’m pleased to enthusiastically recommend the book to you. Fred 2.0 expands on the principles contained in The Fred Factor and contains practical messages that relate directly to the practice of dentistry.
Sanborn defines a professional as someone who is more worried about the solutions to your problems than you are. That about sums up the profession of dentistry as well as anything I have heard. One of recurring challenges we face is the fact that we are always attempting to educate patients, given that we are more concerned about their health than they are. The profession of dentistry is all about prevention, which is getting people change course to stop things from happening in the future. We work to show them that we care, so that they will begin to care about themselves and let us help. Our ability to see the future is only good if we can convince people to listen. As Sanborn details in the book, intelligence and skill are important, but it is character and heart that connect with people.
Showing people that we care and have solutions to problems they don’t even know exist is hard work. At the end of the day, the best we can do is the best we can do and we can’t win over everyone. That doesn’t mean we don’t try. We just need to adjust our expectations. Success in dentistry can’t be measured with every patient each day. Sometimes, something we say today resonates and stimulates action weeks or years later. We need to change ourselves first and keep making the best effort for each patient on each day.
We get positive comments from some patients every day, which makes us happy. However, if we wait for everyone to notice and tell us what a great job we are doing, we will be sorely disappointed. We must first change our own attitude; transform our own lives from ordinary to the extraordinary. Happiness comes from knowing that we have done the right thing in doing little bit extra. In caring a little bit more.
After all, super awesome isn’t something that you get. Super awesome is something you create. It’s all around us. We just have to condition ourselves to see it. When someone asks you how your day was today, I hope you can join me and say it was “Super Awesome!”