A Big Hungry Black Dog

By Simon Hocken, Lead Coach: Business, Practice & Clinical Leadership

When you put down a bowl of food for a big, hungry, black dog, it wolfs it down in a couple of minutes. The dog will look up at you with those big brown eyes, which say, “can I have some more?” And if you put down another bowl, the food will be gone in a couple more minutes. In fact, you could probably put down bowls of food all day long, every day of the week and the big, hungry, black dog will keep eating them.

Owning a practice is just like having a big, hungry, black dog! However much of your time and energy you give, it’s never satisfied, there’s always something left to do. Many dentists I meet have given into their big, hungry, black dog and their practices have taken over their life, squeezing every last gram of time and energy out of them (and then a bit more).

Believe me, I know what it’s like, I’ve had three dental practices, two coaching businesses and a photography business and at times all of them have been the big, hungry, black dog, because, I’ve let it happen.

The reason, you and me give into the big, black, hungry black dog is, I think, for two reasons.

1. The first is easy to understand, it’s good old-fashioned fear. We are scared that unless we get everything done on our to-do lists, whatever the cost to our free time, significant relationships, health, family and friends etc, our business will fail and we will end up on the street selling, “The Big Issue…” So, we keep feeding the big, hungry, black dog.

2. The second reason we keep feeding the big, hungry, black dog is to do with the way we measure our success.

Many of us measure the success of our business using criteria such as these:
• Turnover
• Profit
• Income
• New Patient Numbers or Patient List Size
• Sale Value
• Potential

Whereas, if we were to measure our success in these terms, we would question the sense in continually feeding the big, hungry, black dog:
• Happiness
• Fulfillment
• Excitement
• Free time
• Wealth Creation
• Making a difference
• Legacy

In my experience, in order to shift to measuring your success by measuring the quality of your life rather than the measuring the quality of your business, you have to be in possession of a compelling plan for your immediate and longer-term future, which balances your life and your work. We call this, “Life Planning” and many Breathe Clients have done just this. These days they measure their success differently. They’ve got rid of the big, hungry, black dog.

If you would like to know more about how to create a compelling immediate and longer-term life plan, please visit our web site and read the testimonials of some of the dentists that have been on a Breathe Life Planning Retreat.

Our next Life Planning Retreat is in a few weeks time over a long weekend. (March 21-24).

If you think it might be right for you then please contact me directly on:

e. simon@nowbreathe.co.uk
t. 07770 430576

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