A few laughed and a couple nodded with gusto. Just as many groaned and shot icy daggers toward the stage. Why be mad at me? All I did was tell the unadulterated truth, so help me, god.

I was presenting to a room of 50ish dental sleep professionals. They ventured to the dental sleep medicine event, differentiated by its emphasis on the business of sleep. Definitely not a clinical course.

Up to that point, the weekend meeting was very positive. The presenters were energetic and most of the attendees were optimistic and focused on learning and putting the new information to use so they could grow their practices.

Sure, there was some of the standard groveling about medical insurance which is kinda like dentistry’s version of waterboarding. Of course, there was some discussion about physicians’ unwillingness to follow the AASM’s practice parameters as it relates to oral appliance prescriptions. But even all that talk was hopeful, not the defeatist drivel I hear at so many meetings.

I wanted to keep the vibe going, and I thought riding the wave of truth would be the best way to keep it moving. So, I looked at the audience of smiling dental sleep practitioners and told them that the problem isn’t medical insurance or noncompliant physicians. It isn’t a lack of quality oral appliances or low allowables in their Medicare jurisdiction. Nope.

The problem is in the mirror. That’s the bad part.

The good part is that the solution is also in the mirror.

Intense pause to let it sink in. The knowing laughs, affirmative nods, groans, and glares filled the void.

It’s not unique to dental sleep either. We’ve all done it before. We delegate our sense of agency to some externality. Usually, it’s because the task before us consists of unknowns or difficult challenges. Fear swells and quiets our internal locus of control. We point the finger at everyone and everything else as if though we are helpless to shape our own lives.

I couldn’t exercise, my work schedule was too hectic.

There’s no time to write because I have too many other responsibilities.

I want to build a successful dental sleep business, but insurance…but physicians…but my team… but…

It’s easier that way. Until it’s not. Until the pain of inaction is greater than the pain of championing your own life. You want change? Then make an EFFING change. Nothing changes if nothing changes. Get busy living or get busy dying. Now, stop reading and start doing. Make it happen.

Does this type of tough talk annoy you or empower you? If you said the latter, you’ll love my new book Transform Dental Sleep: The Step-by-Step Guide to Doubling Your Sleep Patients, Increasing Physician Referrals, Simplifying Processes, and Improving Your Life. Order your copy in paperback, hardcover, or Kindle by clicking here. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll grow.


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