I just returned from an incredibly motivational and inspirational weekend at LVI, where we held our third annual Gala event. The speakers were all incredible! While their backgrounds varied, the message was the same: Life is too short, so enjoy each and every precious moment you have living, loving, and having fun.
Each speaker presented an inspirational story, but one speaker really made me rethink what I was doing. That speaker was Dr. Woody Oaks.
Woody’s message was one of importance and familiarity for those of us who divide time between this demanding profession of dentistry and our families and personal lives. Woody mentioned a short story he had written years ago, one that I had read with attention and heartfelt interest. As he referenced “Pink Ice Cream,” my mind went back to the words and the message of that story. The cherished moments he described in the story took place at the local ice cream stand, where he and his daughter would sit and eat “pink ice cream” together.
Well, Woody, I have my own cherished moment ... a moment I started to let go of until I heard you speak at LVI.
Every night, as my wife, Ann, and I would tuck the kids in bed, we would end the goodnight wishes with a ritual that went something like this: “Matthew, I love you to the moon!” and Matthew would reply, “Daddy, I love you to the sun!” Then I would say “Lukey, I love you to the stars!” and Luke would reply, “Daddy, I love you to the rainbow!” Then Ann would finish our dance with, “I love you all the most!” and the lights would then go out. I used to laugh about this as we would all giggle like little kids each and every night over the same thing. It is a ritual or routine, but it is anything but mundane. Does it sound silly? Why?
Life really is too short! There is no map of discovery or plan of life that leads you on the “journey.” Certainly, nobody is going to just hand it to you, but it is there for the taking, dangling in front of you like a golden carrot. Will you reach up and take it, or will you hopelessly wait your entire life for someone to give it to you? Life, like everything in it, is about choice. Even if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice! So, why does it take stories from real people such as Woody Oaks or W. Mitchell to create a stir somewhere inside each and every one of us? Why is it that a reaction must be instigated by an action? I think the answer is stress and busyness.
We all have stress in our lives, and it is impossible to live without it. However, there is stress which pushes to motivate you - what I call good stress - and then there is stress which harms you and others around you, and I call that bad stress. Busyness comes from allowing either one of the types of stresses to move you in directions which take you away from the important things in life. These types of distractions can diminish your health, your quality of life, and your family life. While it is easy to lose sight of what is important in life, do you even know what those things are? Have you sat down and identified what it is that drives you? Have you listed your goals in exacting detail?
Life shouldn’t have to revolve around tragedy. It shouldn’t have to involve circumstances which create awareness of how much each and every day means. So, why do we let it? I know we all can identify with the levels of stress and the busyness which consume our lives, so what are you willing to do about it to make a change? Why not start by slowing down a little and enjoying those who surround you every single day? Tell your team how special they are and how much you appreciate everything they do. Hug and kiss those kids, and tell your spouse how much you still love him or her. Spend a little extra time finding out about little Johnny’s baseball game and don’t worry so much about that hole in the schedule.
Promise yourself you will begin to eliminate that anger, that negativity, and that stress which consume your life and eat away at your stomach lining. Commit to worrying less and laughing more!
Woody, thank you for the message and the pink ice cream. For awhile, I nearly forgot that one little thing that makes bedtime so special - Matthew and Luke, “I love you to the moon and the stars!”
Dr. Matt Bynum lectures internationally on esthetic and reconstructive dentistry, practice management, motivation, and team-building. He is a clinical instructor and featured speaker at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies and is co-director and co-founder of the “Achieving Extreme Success” lecture series. Dr. Bynum maintains a full-time private practice in Simpsonville, S.C. Reach him at (864) 297-5585 or Matt@DrMattBynum.com.