A few days ago, I went down to my local Staples store to quickly pick up an ink cartridge for my printer. I had not been to Staples in a while, but I noticed a few interesting things. The workers seemed more cheerful. The store was brighter and cleaner than I had remembered. And the team members there were wearing T-shirts that read “Ask me what’s possible”
AND IT HIT ME
Whoever thought to use that slogan as a mantra for Staples was a genius of the highest order. In a cold, digitizing, and depersonalizing world where despair and mental illness are occupying headlines day after day, opening your eyes to what’s possible is one of the most critical missing pieces in our pursuit of happiness! To see this phrase in a retail store was a breath of fresh air. And, perhaps, it was the reason why morale at the store appeared to have improved dramatically!
So I asked the young man stocking the shelves I was perusing if I could take a photo of that shirt. He smiled and said, “Sure!” and agreed with me when I told him how great that slogan was. And then, in typical Alan fashion, I told him how kind he was to let me take that photo. I also reminded him to “remember to ask yourself what’s possible for you.” He smiled, said he would, thanked me, and we went on with our day.
HELP ME OUT ON THIS ONE!
Let’s put our collective heads together— where can we use this phrase in ALL aspects of our life? I’ll start. If we can encourage our patients to ask us what’s possible for their dental and systemic health, what do you think their reaction would be? Maybe it would open some people’s eyes to the possibilities that good oral health could offer them. Maybe some would take a cynical view of it, but does that really matter? If one person a week could have their interest in good health and good dentistry renewed, everyone wins! My dear friend, mentor, and co-learner, Mary Osborne, runs a total health practice seminar every year. We plan strategies to open patients’ eyes to improving their health with us, either as clinicians or guides to proper help.
If we can encourage our teams to ask us what’s possible for their happiness in our offices, would that not go a long way to retaining them and attracting more high-quality candidates for our offices? Don’t tell me there aren’t great people out there looking for work that’s meaningful and fulfilling. Let’s have those discussions in team meetings and see if we can learn how to help the people who help us the most improve their lives while at work. If we can encourage our children to ask us what’s possible for them in their growing and developing lives, then we, as parents, could be exponentially more successful in the most important job we have. If we can stimulate a discussion with our spouses or life partners about what’s possible for our enhanced happiness, a deeper and more fulfilling relationship that’s guided by the pursuit of that happiness—THE one meaningful goal in life—would become easily attainable.
Finally, if we simply ask ourselves what’s possible to further unlock our potential for a great life and create goals and benchmarks that reflect our unique core values and direct us towards a meaningful and prosperous life, we will move in a direction that cannot fail. Ever. Ask me how I know that one! And I wonder if we can add a similar phrase (we don’t want to violate any copyright laws) to our websites, business cards, and even uniforms! What do you think?
Life is about possibilities!
The world, in general, and dentistry, in particular, are changing at a faster pace than most of us can keep up with. We cannot control that. But what we CAN control is our reaction to it. Staples knows very well that big-box retailing is changing in the growing world of online shopping. Their workers could be facing the loss of their jobs, and their stakeholders or shareholders may be scared, as well. But that T-Shirt tells everyone to ask what is possible! More and more, it seems like our patients and we are pawns in a power struggle between corporations and insurance companies. That struggle will go on for a very long time, and we cannot stop that. The other side of that coin is that some people in Dentistry—patients and workers alike—are content with that life, and, in a world with more than one right answer, that’s OK. But I believe that there are possibilities for those of us who want more.
So I ask you….
What do you want? How can Dentistry allow you to make a good living while feeling content and fulfilled? Ask me what’s possible, and I’ll be glad to talk it over with you over Zoom or in person. I’m excited to explore possibilities in my own life as well as in yours!