On Sunday, our beloved Baltimore Ravens were seventeen seconds from appearing in The Super Bowl.
A dropped pass by wide receiver Lee Evans in the end zone, which would have clinched the game, was heart breaking. But the real “kicker” was the next play when Billy Cundiff, our Pro Bowl kicker, missed a gimme field goal which would have put the game into overtime.
Now the New England Patriots are going to The Super Bowl and Baltimore sports fans are left either waiting for next year or trying to figure out if The Orioles can climb out of last place in 2012.
So what’s the dental lesson here?
Billy Cundiff is a great kicker. He is a star, and his steady foot is one of the factors that propelled The Ravens to the AFC Championship game. But even in a season in which we beat the hated Pittsburgh Steelers not once but twice, the sharpest and most painful memory is Billy “Don’t Be A Hero” Cundiff missing that easy field goal. He seems like a great guy, but the fact is, he has a fifteen million dollar contract and when everything was on the line he blew it.
In dentistry, it’s simple to keep everyone happy when things goes right. Most patients are pleasant and understanding, and if you perform at even an above average level they will love you.
And when the case goes well and the patient is thrilled with their new smile, it’s pretty easy to shine.
But the game is really on the line when things go wrong. When you successfully deal with a difficult treatment plan that doesn’t go well, or a botched insurance estimate, or a cranky patient who is impossible to please, or a screaming fearful kid – that’s where you truly win the brownie points.
Anyone can be a hero when there is smooth sailing. But navigating through rough waters in your practice is like making that field goal when the game is on the line. It’s what the patients really remember, and it’s what separates the best practices from the rest.