The Harvard Business Review just came out with its issue on failures. I love this type of education because we often learn more from our failures than our successes.
As dentists, we are taught to be perfect. I said jokingly in a recent seminar that I think some of us may be psychologically traumatized by dental school for the rest of our lives. We are held to a perfect standard and anything less is viewed as unacceptable by faculty.
As dentists, we want to offer perfect care. While we all realize that there is no such thing as perfection, we strive for it day-in day-out and are often disappointed with our results even though they may be excellent.
This type of thinking often prevents us from evaluating our failures. We tend to justify anything that has gone wrong in some way rather than ever simply realizing it was a failure and learning from it.
All dentists experience failure. We’re human after all. Not all cases work out perfectly. We have staff member problems, patient problems, technology issues, etc.
The real key is to learn from our failures and grow. People who reach the highest levels of success often also fail the most. But, in spite of it all, they keep trying. They use failure as an educational tool to reflect, analyze and grow. These are some of the most honest people I know.
What was the last thing that failed in your practice? And what have you learned from it?