The Daily Grind offers readers a glimpse into the life of general dentists practicing today. Each post offers a perspective on managing a dental practice or balancing a life outside of the practice. The Daily Grind is written by several general dentist and student members of AGD. All content published on The Daily Grind is property of the Academy of General Dentistry and cannot be reposted or reprinted without permission.

Striving to Be Like the $350,000 Man

  • by Donald Murry III, DMD
  • Jun 6, 2017, 09:39 AM
I read an article a few weeks back — when my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers were still in the playoff picture — about how linebacker James Harrison, at the ripe ol’ age of 38, spends $350,000 a year on maintenance, conditioning and recovery of his body. He’s still making body-shivering collisions with players who are half his age and remains at the top of his game, so it clearly works. He’s even got the NFL baffled at how he’s able to do it — and is drug-tested more than any player in the league because of it. But $350,000?! That’s on top of the stellar treatment provided to him as part of his contract with the Steelers. Wow!

I bet that I won’t spend $350,000 on care, training and recovery of my body in my lifetime. Hence, the reason I’m a dentist and not a professional athlete, I guess. But there’s a message within that amazing statement, or at least I took it as such. It’s time to make yourself a better dentist and person. I don’t recommend making it a $350,000-a-year venture, but invest some time, energy and money into yourself. I put together a hefty list of things I want to change for the better this year, both personally and professionally, and I intend to crush it, much like Harrison crushes his 5:30 a.m. workouts daily — even getting one in in the morning after arriving back from Kansas City at 2:30 a.m. That’s dedication, people. 

I intend to be a better clinician. I’ve put together a significant continuing education schedule for the coming year. I’ve increased our marketing efforts fivefold. I intend to set a new bar for communication with my team members. I also intend to reset my attitude dial at morning huddles, before coffee enters my bloodstream — all in an effort to make myself a better boss and provider to my staff and patients. 

On the flip side, I’ve set equally high marks for my personal life. My time at work needs to be kept within a well-defined window of time, and my time at home with my young kids needs to be quality, connected, invested time. I too often hear dentists get up and speak at lectures about how they wish they could have their first 10 years of practice back, mostly because of the experiences they missed with their families. It’s understandable and something that’s a constant battle.

Add a 6 a.m. workout a few times a week, regular chiropractic visits and a massage once in a while, and it becomes more difficult to achieve these goals due to time constraints. But I’m focused on overcoming obstacles to achieve my mission. (And, man, I could have a masseuse on staff for back massages between every patient for less than $350,000! Wouldn’t that be the life?)

Push your boundaries for the better, people. Work hard, love hard, recover hard. Make it your mission. 
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