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Take Up a New Cause

Turn limiting beliefs into positive opportunities
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“Limiting beliefs” is a ubiquitous catchphrase and a popular topic of discussion these days. Pick up a journal, attend a conference or step into any random conversation between dental professionals and at some point, you will be hearing about the frustrations in the practice. Here’s a short list: the inability to find good employees, the last-minute changes in the schedule caused by no shows, lateness or short-notice cancellations, insurance company restrictions and requirements, patients who postpone making treatment decisions, team members who arrive late, etc. Conversations about these frustrations usually include phrases such as, “We’ll never… They will always… This never ends…”.

While it’s easy to chalk up this tendency to focus on the negative to human nature, be careful! Rationalization will make us feel better; it will not move us closer to our next-level performance. That is the goal, right? Next-level impact and performance; making a difference for our patients, community, team and practice.

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” This quote is attributed to Richard Bach, an American writer who held the No. 1 spot on The New York Times Best Sellers list for two years. He makes a solid point worth considering. Are we sometimes guilty of arguing for our limitations? Is it possible that in our efforts to create clarity we instead create our own road blocks?

In an October 2018 article, Forbes Magazine offered this explanation: “In order to move forward in life, your brain uses two kinds of coping strategies: enabling beliefs and limiting beliefs. Enabling beliefs are what successful people possess in abundance. Such beliefs underlie optimism, reasonable risk-taking and achievement. They are what allow you to fulfill your potential and become all that you are capable of. On the other hand, limiting beliefs are what hold you back, discourage striving and ultimately result in mediocre performance and prospective failure.”

To be fair, recognition of limiting beliefs is the first step on the road to next-level performance. The key is to recognize the opportunity to move onto your next best step forward and what you CAN do, not what you CANNOT control. Brendon Burchard, widely recognized as the world’s leading high performance coach explains it this way, “The way to actually change somebody’s life is not removing their limiting beliefs… if you just put less pressure on the break in your car it doesn’t mean you’re going to speed up. Your foot is still on the brake. If you’re always focusing on these things that are limiting you, you’re always going to be limited.” This is a critical pivot and a great meeting topic as you set your 2019 focus and goals.

As the practice leader, your role is to relentlessly push to the positive, helping your team expand their vision for what is possible. To be clear, this isn’t about limiting beliefs, it’s about the current limited vision of what is possible. Your challenge and opportunity is to disrupt the existing conversations and meeting patterns by taking up a new CAUSE. for team meetings that will work to expand the vision for creating solutions.

Here’s the 5-step process:

  1. Create an agenda that supports your team to grow beyond their circumstances.
  2. Avoid the blame game, and search for innovative solutions rather than excuses.
  3. Understand the issue at hand. Are you dealing with facts or opinions?
  4. Set the team up for success by starting the meeting on a positive note, with good energy. One surefire way is to share your favorite moment in the practice in the last week. Then ask the team to do share their best moment too, this could be a great patient reaction or interaction or shared team member experience.
  5. Engage with your team to do the pre‐work, so everyone comes to the meeting with facts, not just opinions, ready to contribute ideas for solutions. Remember to have the team’s back and honor everyone’s efforts as they learn the new process.

Today’s challenge is to consider these two key questions:

  • “Is it possible that your team is arguing for their limitations?”
  • “Are you ready to break through to a new vision that creates your next level success?”

James Cook was a British naval captain who discovered New Zealand and created the first accurate map of the Pacific. He challenged, “Do just once what others say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again.” Hear, hear Captain!

Ms. Hegarty, is a senior professional in human resources, management strategist and certified high performance coach focused on practice leadership & team development to support doctors to create their next level of success and a practice that they love. Her book, PIVOT, Practice Leadership Redefined is available on Amazon. Contact her via