We work in a profession, and indeed live in a world, where our flight/fight/fright response is continuously triggered. We are overwhelmed with stress complexity, bathed in neon blue lights, underexposed to the sun (working inside all day), consumers of sugars, carbs, alcohol, fake fats, maddened by our inability to grasp the enormity of an interconnected world (how much time do you stare at other people’s lives on social media?), lonely, under-loved, and impoverished of movement (to work means sitting down; to stand and move means not working).
We sit in a surgery at the behest of others: our boss, the GDC, our mortgage provider, our patient, our emergency-pain patient, our other emergency third-broken-tooth patient…
We have too much of what makes us unhealthy, not enough of the forces that make us strong, and our instinct for consumption has been commandeered by malicious forces (intentional or otherwise).
Fight back, my dental colleagues.
The ruthless desire for efficiency has sucked so much of the joy out of modern dentistry.
Working in a massive, sprawling world-level teaching hospital, I have operated with globally renowned neurosurgeons and maxillofacial, ENT and plastic surgeons… and one thing is clear, the best of them operate at their pace.
Sure, if an airway is lost, everything accelerates to light speed in the blink of an eye. From calm serenity to furious yet focused, purposeful action in less than a second.
But most of the time it is quiet, personal, slow, and lush. Read that again: personal, slow and lush.
The top surgeon works to get the best possible result that the entire body of their being can possibly achieve.
The financially bewitched managers try to exert pernicious pressure to make everything faster. Speed…more…quicker…more…cram it…more…squeeze in another…more MORE MORE!!! They have been enthralled by profit and by you earning them more profit.
*(If they were the patient of Mr Henry Marsh (look him up and read his books) and he was millimetre by millimetre resecting the tumour from their amygdala, I bet they would want him to work at his best possible pace for best possible results.)*
And there we have it; there is the answer: The best possible pace for best possible results.
We can all work at different speeds, but they won’t vary hugely. And the more you train under expertise, the quicker you will become as you move from incompetence to competence.
You need to find your optimal pace for the best possible outcome and work from there.
This will encompass: the best pace for welcoming your patient, for reading them and the personal nuance of their personality (all soft skills so far), preparing the surgery and your nurse, and then carrying out the ultra precise-surgery hard skills (which is much more precise than a mere neurosurgical millimetre, by the way).
This takes the time it takes.
Anything else is cutting corners. Anything else is hurrying, stressful, overwhelming and distracting, and it’s happening again this afternoon and again tomorrow… as well as next week and next month…that isn’t a career. That is chaos.
But …the harder I work the more I earn?
The faster the hamster runs on its little wheel the faster it spins.
Let’s see how fast this hamster can go…faster, faster faster will lead to exhaustion or death.
Do you want to run like the hamster, thrashing yourself to death in hope of earning more? Yearning for the weekend, dreading Monday morning, or counting the days until you get a week in the sun (the only part of your life allowed onto social media… Winks emoticon)?
You are not a bloody hamster. You are a young God with an incredible brain and infinite opportunity for greatness.
Work at the best possible pace for best possible results.
This may not be easy at first with a boss who runs a farm of obedient, clueless hamsters working for him, such that when you try to emulate the standards of a high-quality surgeon it’s likely you will be labelled a rebel or a trouble maker. Stay strong, and realise no slave ever became emancipated without a fight.
No clueless hamster wants to see a colleague outgrow their cage as they see their own failure reflected in your success. Your ambition shines a contrasting light on their laziness and apathy.
Or, you may have trapped yourself by creating personal financial circumstances that are propped up by the speedy rotation of the hamster wheel. It’s up to you to make a deal with yourself to either keep running or make a change. I can’t make you stop running, but I do know you can’t run forever…I expect you know it too.
Aspire courses are a design for life as well as your professional skills.
YOUR LIFE is purely your TIME and your HEALTH. Your time is finite, a resource which can never be replaced. Hence “wasting time” is criminal. Health directly affects the VALUE of your time. Healthy time is obviously better than sick time.
Healthy work environment (time as needed, equipment and team handpicked and optimised) = Productive work time
Unhealthy work environment = Running for hours on your hamster wheel with increasing disappointment, anxiety, boredom and self-loathing because your time is dictated by your earlier poor decision-making or by another who you uses you like a farm animal.
Keep your time high value; use it all wisely.
We are now accepting delegates onto our 2019 “Advanced Operative Aesthetic and Restorative Dentistry” course. We will teach you how to stop running like a hamster on a wheel you can’t outrun. Click here to learn more about our Aesthetic Restorative course.