Chasing vs. Living the Dream.

Chasing vs. Living the Dream.

Last week I was browsing through a book on Epicurean Philosophy and stumbled across this great quote by Epicurus, who lived from 341 to 270 B.C.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

How true this still rings today, 2,300 years later. Put in terms my thick little skull can understand, “Where we are today was once a dream.”

Doctor, lawyer, dentist, orthodontist, professional practice owner, mother, father, husband, wife, partner, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, best friend – all of these accomplishments were once a dream. How much time are we spending chasing after the next dream versus living our current one?

Listen. I’m the first person to encourage you to keep chasing after new dreams and bigger goals. That’s called growth. However, growth doesn’t always mean getting bigger, it also means going deeper.

I specifically chose the logo of a tall oak tree for The Ortho MBA, one of our first and still extremely popular multi-week courses for private practice owners at Burleson Seminars. I instructed the designer to show not only the branches and the leaves but also the roots. I wanted members to understand this principle vividly.

Chasing after a higher net income goal is one thing, but doing it while figuring out how to spend more time at home with your kids is another. Growing top line revenue is one thing, but figuring out how to do it while improving your net promoter score is another. Starting more new patients or clients each year is one thing but doing it at a lower acquisition cost and through more word of mouth referrals is another.

Try this exercise. Sit down with your calendar and circle the number of productive days. Those are the days when you are in the clinic or in the practice producing results and revenue. 

Then, circle the number of planning days. These are the days where you are working on the business, not in the business. You might be in your office but the door is shut and you’re working on marketing, management, leadership development, meetings and all of the things you must do so that your productive days are as maximally productive as they can be. 

Finally, circle the number of personal days. These are days where you are not working in or on the business. These are days completely free for you to relax, recharge and refocus, so that you are the best version of you when you show up for your productivity and planning days. You might be on the golf course, taking the kids to school then meeting a friend for breakfast or lunch before heading to the spa or simply sitting by the pool reading a book. How many of these days do you have each month?

The most productive leaders, business owners and CEOs have these days in harmony. One third-productivity, one-third planning, one-third personal days. 

How do your numbers stack up?

If you’re spending too much time in the clinic, not enough time on planning and rarely enough days on yourself, you’re spending too much time chasing and not enough time living. I urge you to fix this balance before it’s too late.

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Worked at Burleson Orthodontics. Attended University of Missouri–Kansas City. Lives in Kansas City, Missouri.