In auto racing school, you learn about looking where you want to go. Where you look (with your eyes), is generally where the car will go. It’s just a natural tendency that your body will go where your eyes are pointed. This is true with any physical activity. Likewise, your body will naturally steer the car where your eyes are fixed.
Have you ever had something on the side of the road get your attention? You stare at it briefly, and then you realize that your car has drifted… in the direction that you were looking. Right? Whoops! Where you look is where you’re likely to go.
Back to racing school. I did actually go to racing school – twice (Skip Barber Racing School).
They emphasize this concept of looking where you want to go. And, if your car is skidding towards a wall (or off the track), this goes against your compulsion to stare at the wall. When you’re clipping along at triple-digit speeds, and the wall is coming right at you, you’ll instinctively fixate on the wall. The problem is that if you stare at it, you WILL hit it. So, the racing instructors train us to resist that impulse. Look where you want to go… always. Even if you’re car is skidding into oblivion, fix your eyes on the part of the track you want your car to be.
When you focus on where you want to be, your body will try to take you there… naturally. This won’t guarantee that you won’t hit the wall. But, you have a much better chance at recovering control of the car if you use this technique. It takes practice and a lot of concentration to retrain your instincts.
The Dental Practice Wall
In our practices / businesses – especially in this economy – many of us may feel like we’re in a skid at one time or another. Production is down. The wall may be payroll. It could be overdue bills or loan payments. It could be that your office air conditioner unexpectedly took a dump. I could be a combination of many things. And, for some there may be additional pressure on the home front. Sometimes shit seems to happen all at once! That “wall” can feel like it’s coming right at you at triple-digit speed, and then the car in front of you blows a radiator hose dumping slippery coolant on the track. Aaaaaaaaaaaagh! Don’t stare at the wall! Or, you WILL hit it! Look where you want to go.
It can be very challenging to avert your eyes from the wall and focus on the goal. The goal is to be “busy” and profitable (not to mention being free of stress). Focusing on your goals can be tough when the wall feels like a giant magnet. But, looking down the track at your goal will give you a chance at missing the wall or perhaps just “kissing” it with your tires leaving your signature on the wall. Again… while there is no guarantee that focusing on your goal will prevent hitting the wall… if you DO stare at the wall, you can be assured you WILL hit it. Look where you WANT to go.
We have all likely looked at the wall in our practices…. more than once. We’ve all faced our trials and tribulations. It’s not easy being a Dental Warrior! As the last bastion of entrepreneurism in health care, we often stand alone… isolated… in our private practices. The internet has given us a place to commiserate and share our triumphs. I hope this blog serves as a fitting metaphor that may keep you on track. Those “tire kisses” on the wall allow us to keep moving forward and even preserve the chance of winning the race. The good news is that it’s a long race. And, many of us have wonderful pit crews (team and support) to keep us going.
Racing is thrilling. And, running a dental practice can be an adrenaline rush, too. Ultimately, it’s an endurance race. So, try not to let the wall distract you. Look where you want to go, Dental Warriors! Take it one day, or one lap, at a time.
Come race with me!
(all photography by the Dental Warrior)