Accelerating your practice and your life

Jan. 1, 2009
I have been using this lecture topic for a few months now. It is descriptive of what is covered and hopefully attractive enough for you to decide to attend occasionally.

by Mark Murphy, DDS

For more on this topic, go to and search using the following key words: business plan, financial plan, dreams, vision, ideal practice, Mark Murphy.

I have been using this lecture topic for a few months now. It is descriptive of what is covered and hopefully attractive enough for you to decide to attend occasionally. But there is much left unsaid behind these well-chosen words.

Our practices and our lives are often held back by forces that resist change. This change-aversive force or inertia is defined in physics as the property of matter that causes it to resist any change of its motion in either direction or speed. A body at rest has a tendency to remain at rest. A body in motion resists any change in either direction or speed. Furthermore, an object's inertia is determined by its mass. So, overcoming inertia in a bowling ball takes much more force than for a tennis ball.

In career terms, inertia translates as our fear of change, experiencing failure and disapproval, or fear of the new and unfamiliar. Furthermore, a person or practice's inertia is determined by its mass. It would take more force to move or change direction for an older, established practice than for a newer startup.

The examples below of the inertial forces that can act to keep us from accelerating or changing direction in our practices and reaching our potential are real. Our reactions to them may not always be rational or fair. Some we have control over; for others, we can be prepared. We can minimize risk, hold true to our dreams, and achieve an ideal practice and life if we overcome them.

  1. The current economic uncertainty
  2. Increasing life expectancy
  3. Seeing your ideal vision
  4. Aligning the entire team
  5. Strategic business planning
  6. Results-oriented behavior

It is also very personal. There is no single answer. Each of us has a distinct set of circumstances, temperaments, and objectives that morph our own interpretation of this optimized practice and balanced life that we seek. Your vision guides everything. From this vision exploration evolves a personal financial plan and business plan that serves as an execution strategy for optimization and alignment.

Your practice is the economic and behavioral reward engine that ultimately supports your personal financial plan. These plans must be congruent to provide harmonious alignment and predictability. Your strategic business plan sets goals and objectives to meet and exceed that are in line with your vision. Achieving these goals and objectives yields results that support the successful achievement of your vision ... and a 360-degree plan comes full circle.

Vision drives the plan ... that provides goals and objectives ... that yield results ... that support the vision.

The challenge is in the change mechanics that have to occur. How much force will it take to change direction or accelerate your practice? What risks will you need to manage? How can you craft a seamlessly integrated plan for your personal wealth and practice finances, and measure, monitor, and manage successful behavior for your patients, self, and team?

Come to one of my lectures or stop in on Howard Rochestie or Tom Cooper from Mercer Advisors programs. We are all talking about accelerating your practice and your life. Forbes magazine lists Mercer Advisors as the 10th largest fee-only investment advisor. For more than 20 years, Mercer has been in the business of practice consulting, investment management, and transition planning.

We have developed an on-track software communication tool that helps us measure, monitor, and manage patient, team, and self behavior seamlessly with all major practice-management programs. The new clinical education facility, the Scottsdale Center for Dentistry, boasts a best-of-breed clinical education curriculum including Dr. Frank Spear and his team, with customized clinical educational modules.

We need to optimize the things we can control, be prepared for those we cannot, and leverage ourselves in the practice to manage the “right things.” Listening to consistent, rather than conflicting, advice and having coaching relationships that have our best interests in mind go a long way toward living our dreams.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our greatest power as human beings — the freedom to choose our response.

In those choices lie our growth and happiness.

Mark Murphy, DDS, is the vice president of educational services for Mercer Advisors and director of professional relations for Quantum Dental Resources. He consults and lectures for dental labs, manufacturers, and dentists throughout the United States and Canada with Funktional Design Group. He is a former visiting faculty, trustee, and consultant to the Pankey Institute. Contact him at [email protected] or [email protected].

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