The countdown is on. Come November, Dr. Lori Cockley, owner of East Berlin Dental in East Berlin, Pennsylvania, and her devoted team of dental professionals will leave for Belize. Thanks to help from International Health Outreach, they’ll be lending their skills to the local villages and towns that need it most. Helping men and women of all ages, the team will focus on preventative and restorative care while working alongside local dentists to encourage a more tooth-conscious culture. “We aren’t just shuckin’ teeth,” Dr. Cockley explains. “We want to leave them with something more. There’s a huge educational component.” The trip to Belize isn’t the first time the East Berlin team has volunteered internationally. The six-some also spent 16 days in the Vietnamese jungle helping and educating local people just last year. Volunteer efforts like this are hardly cake walks, and they don’t happen in a vacuum. There are countless fundraising events leading up to the November trip, and Dr. Cockley knows better than anyone how much legwork and dedication is behind the adventure. The entire team convenes regularly outside of work hours for unique forms of fundraising, like handcrafting jewelry to sell at open house events, to make the trip possible. The fundraising doubles as team-building, and the Madows’ teachings have shown Dr. Cockley that the best type of team is a cohesive one. It was at TBSE that she learned that a feeling of community – whether around the office or around the world – is the foundation of success in life as well as business. “It’s not just a job. We don’t just clean our instruments and go home. TBSE has taught me that we’re a part of something bigger.” Case in point: on the return flight from TBSE in 2011, Lori and her whole team had their noses buried in copies of “Get Off Your ‘But:’ How to End Self-Sabotage and Stand Up for Yourself,” a powerfully motivating book authored by one of the weekend’s premier speakers. While reading, the group noticed that one of the flight attendants had a particularly abrasive attitude. In response, one of Dr. Cockley’s team members handed her a heartfelt note that made her demeanor do an instant 180. It simply read: “You are fabulous.” If this wasn’t a life lesson about the power of positivity and engaging encouragement, nothing was. Hardships and negativity can be shattered with less effort than your brain might let on, and as a dental professional and a humans being, Dr. Cockley operates strongly under the notion that “we are all in this together.”
It seems like there is a holiday for everything these days and today is no exception. Whether you knew it or not, today is “Random Act of Kindness Day.” So we thought it would be a great idea for the dental community as a whole to jump on this bandwagon. You can’t go wrong when it comes to making someone else feel better by being kind.
Start with your patients. Do the unexpected. Is there someone coming in today that has been struggling to make payments on their bill? They are super nice, but things aren’t that easy for them? Why not write off the balance? Can you imagine the look on your patient’s face?
What about your awesome team? Maybe order in lunch or have a rose delivered to each team member as a special token of appreciation. Have you had a good month? How about giving out $50.00 bills with the stipulation that it must be spent on themselves! Pedicure gift certificates are always a great idea, too! Be creative and make them smile!
Of course there is your family. What can you do to make them feel special today? Give them a night off and take them all out to dinner? Suggest a family game night? Surprise them!
Lastly, a random act of kindness day wouldn’t be complete without helping out a complete stranger. Pay for the person’s toll behind you or another person’s coffee at the coffee shop. Maybe tip your waitress more than she expects. Compliment someone on their outfit or hairstyle and make their day! Smile at everyone you meet.
Ronald Reagan instituted this holiday while he was in office some 30 years ago. Kindness can go a long way and it always make both parties feel great! Go ahead and make someone’s day today and share a kind word or deed. Have a wonderful weekend!
Thanksgiving is in just two days, then Black Friday and the holiday season.
It’s a time to count your blessings, be considerate of others and be charitable. (Actually, we should be doing that year-round, but that’s a different topic altogether.)
But as you get into that spirit, please don’t forget that you have a business to run which is called a dental practice. The doctor and every team member are responsible for its success.
So – if you start discounting your work, not collecting what you are owed, and giving reduced fees to everyone with a crazy story – you will be undermining that business.
Charity is great – even required in some ways. But it needs to be on your terms.
It’s great to help the unfortunate in your community. But if you start to give discounts to everyone or fail to collect what is owed to you, you are undervaluing your work and eventually cheating yourself and your team.
So please do lots of charity. Pick some patients who are unfortunate and provide free or low-cost treatment. Do a “Dentistry From The Heart” event. Donate your time to a local free clinic. But also remember not to get screwed by patients who are trying to take advantage of your generosity. Then you will really have a practice to be thankful for!!
In our one day seminar entitled “How to Love Dentistry, Have Fun, and Prosper in 2011,” we talk about how important it is for you to give back to your community. And in his own seminars, our very good friend Dr. Mitchell Josephs who has a cosmetic practice in Palm Beach, Florida also speaks of charity and the many ways to give to the community. Although the plain and simple reason that we “give” is to help others, sometimes during the process, others just may find out and our generosity could turn out to be a “win-win.” Check out this video to see a touching story and how Dr. Josephs got himself and his office involved. It ultimately turned out to be good for Dr. Josephs due to the publicity he is getting almost every day now. Click HERE to view! Warning – the video may be graphic.
Hope you have a GREAT day. We are down here in freezing Florida preparing for our Jacksonville seminar Thursday and Ft. Lauderdale on Friday. Hope to see you!
One of the great things about dentistry is being able to enhance patient’s lives so significantly. Allowing people to look better, smile more readily, be free of pain, chew and function normally, live longer and have nice fresh breath for speaking and kissing are just a few of the things we do to improve the lives of everyone we touch. Even the most basic dental procedures are incredibly important – without good dental hygiene and regular cleanings millions more teeth would be lost every year.
Unfortunately even in the United States there are many citizens who have little or no access to oral health care. Many of these people, especially children, will have their futures dampened due to dental disease and lack of care. At The Madow Group, we are huge believers in helping the less fortunate achieve excellent dental health. We urge you to make 2010 the year that you help a few members of your community by providing free or low cost dental treatment. It will make you, the entire team and your patients feel even better about what you do.
Want to get involved on a larger scale? There are ways that you can touch thousands of deserving people from traditionally underserved parts of the country. For over fifty years, Oral Health America has been improving public health by eliminating oral disease through educating and empowering communities to provide access to care, and advocating for policies that create oral health parity.
Here are just a few examples of their great work:
ACCESS: OHA is close to their goal of providing 1,000,000 dental sealants to 225,000 children by 2010.
EDUCATION: Their messages of dental hygiene, proper professional care and healthy food choices have appeared in news sources which have reached over 170 million people.
ADVOCACY: For every American that lacks medical insurance, approximately two lack dental insurance. Only about one third of children covered by Medicaid obtain dental services each year. Oral Health America is advocating for the mouth to be included as one of our nation’s healthcare priorities, and is working in partnership with other oral health leaders to educate policymakers about disparities in access, social and economic equity, workforce, and effective community-based interventions.
We support this fantastic organization and hope that you will too. Please visit their website at www.oralhealthamerica.org to learn about the multitude of things they are doing to educate and improve the oral health care of so many in this country. While you are there learning about the fantastic work of this organization, we urge you to donate whatever you can afford. It’s guaranteed to make you feel even better about the great things we do in dentistry!