10 Steps to a Better Life and Practice

What follows is a summary Norm shared with me on his guiding principles. It is shared with his permission and a deep sense of gratitude and humbleness to have a friend and mentor like him.

Taken from a longer letter:

“ to summarize, as one reflects over the past almost three decades, it has been an incredible journey with tremendous ups and downs. The key for me is to make a conscious choice every day to realize and practice the following: ( as long as we have our emotional health, all of us have the ability to make conscious choices….this does not take special talent or giftedness)
Having a mentor who is worthy of trusting and following unconditionally ( eg John Kois) we are all so fortunate to have John as our mentor

Unleashing the Passion to pursue the Vision….again unconditionally (everyone who is Kois trained has already demonstrated that they are high achievers, first by graduating from dental school, then pursuing higher education voluntarily at the Kois Center and several other institutions…the drive the passion is already there)
Willingness to make the necessary sacrifices, difficult decisions, despite the fears and uncertainties( resist the temptation to let “ineptitude” control your professional life)

Perseverance to stay the course, despite obstacles, setbacks…believe in the integrity of your mentor…make a conscious choice every day to not let mediocrity gain victory…understand that vision is achieved by evolution not revolution…patience…step by step

Have an ally who believes in you unconditionally, willing to support, caring enough to confront, committed enough to sacrifice as needed, intuitive and intelligent enough to guide even when it does not appear clear…this support is critical , as we can all waver without it

Willingness to stand behind the service/product until patient is totally satisfied…let the quality of the outcome drive you… this teaches us so much… this will help us follow the system better

Continue to seek knowledge…continuous improvement…be OK with knowing that we will never know it all or do it all perfectly

Sharing the Joy…by enhancing the lives of patients via successful treatment outcomes, both physically and emotionally, as well as empowering colleagues to implement these concepts…being a mentor.

Gratitude…realizing the unbelievable privilege that we all have and displaying this by our unconditional commitment to the vision…it’s really not about teeth…it’s about the enhancement of patient’s lives

Forgiveness…be secure enough to admit mistakes, giving yourself a break when things did not always go as planned, be accountable, pick yourself up, shake off the dirt, make it right, then change something and try again. ( Obviously this is easier said than done…and this may be the most valuable lesson that I have learned lately…its not a license or excuse to accept failure or mediocrity, rather a reminder of the reality of our human frailty and that it’s OK to pass the baton or reload and start again)
By Norm Ickert

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