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Is Your Practice What You’d Like It to Be?

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Work in progress

I’ve got a question for you today. Here it is:

Is your practice what you’d like it to be? Does it work the way you want? Generate the income you’d like? Look the way you want it to look?

Is your practice what you’d like it to be?

Some of you said NO loudly. You’ve got lots of changes you’d like to make.

Some of you said yes, but you’ve got a short list of things you’d like to improve.

Almost no one said that their practice is exactly what they’d like it to be. Most people aren’t perfectly satisfied with what they’ve got going on in their office.

I’m not satisfied with my practice. I see plenty of room for improvement around here, and I’ll bet you do too.

Now that we’ve got our answer to my question, let’s take a minute and fast-forward 12 months. Visualize next summer: think July 2013.

What’s going to be different about your practice next summer? Will any of the changes you’d like to see made have been made by then? A year from now, will you be able to look back and see the difference you’ve made over the preceding year?

Or, alternatively, a year from now, will you be in exactly the same boat you’re in today? Will you be doing the same things, in the same place, in the same way, with the same issues—a year from now—that you were dealing with a year ago?

Most of us, busy with the crisis of the moment, fail to make the changes we’d like to make. We’re consumed by the ringing phone and incoming email. We rarely devote time to solving the big problems and making the big changes. We can’t find the energy, and we lack the focus.

Is that acceptable to you? Are you prepared to work this way in your current situation for another year and then another year and another year? Are you willing to accept things the way they are? Or are you motivated to make the changes now so you can reap the benefits of the improvements for the coming years?

If you’re going to make changes, you might as well do it right now: it’s not going to get easier later. You’re not going to be less busy, and you’re not likely to discover lots of free time. Now is as good as it gets when it comes to making changes. Now is it.

If you’re compelled to move forward—if you’re unwilling to accept that things will be the same a year from now—then here’s the plan. Of course, it won’t be easy:  change is never easy.

Pick your focus for the changes. Get very clear about what things will look like a year from now. Take notes, draw pictures, or cut things out of magazines: do whatever you have to do to have a very clear image of what your result will look like in 12 months. It might be a new office, a new staff, a new marketing approach, a new work schedule, or a new phone system: it doesn’t matter what you’re going to change so long as you have a clear sense of what the outcome will look like.

Now, develop a plan for getting from here to there. Break it down into 12 monthly steps. Break it down into one project per month and identify the month for each project. Create a project list and lay it out step by step.

Start this month with the first of the 12 projects. Take action on the first step.

Keep it up for the year, and in 12 months, you’ll have the change you’re seeking.

It’s that simple. It’s that manageable. You can make the change.

We’re not stuck where we are for lack of the skills, time, or energy we need to make the change. We’re usually stuck as a result of lack of a vision and a plan. If we take the time to get clear about where we’re going and devote a small amount of energy toward getting there, then we usually arrive at the intended destination. We’re usually stuck in place merely because we didn’t make a plan to get going.

Take a few minutes today to put together your plan for a change. A year from now, you’ll be where you wanted to go.

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