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November 25th, 2020

Episode 109 – When Life Hands You Lemons…Pivot! with Dr. Brian Toorani

“The one thing I knew how to do and was focused on my whole life was taken away, and I had to find an alternative,” says today’s guest Dr. Brian Toorani. When he suddenly became disabled and could no longer practice dentistry, Dr. Toorani refocused his efforts on the business side of his business…and discovered something unexpected. Today, Dr. Toorani joins us to share how to manage the anxiety that comes with running a dental practice including:

  • 4 pearls for being a phenomenal leader & CEO
  • Pivoting your mindset when things go wrong
  • Understanding your business so it’s profitable


REGAN: Greetings to you, wherever you may be today, Reagan here co host on everyday practices. This week, Chad and I are giving you an episode we want you to tuck into your heart this Thanksgiving. I know it sounds smooshy but hear me out. I’m gonna set the stage by asking you this. What if you woke up tomorrow and found out you can no longer practice dentistry ever again? What would you do? Well, that is exactly what happened to our special guest, Dr. Brian Toorani. While hanging Christmas lights outside his family home, one misstep completely upended his life, his career and threatened his very spirit. And while Dr. Toorani shares that as humans we naturally gravitate towards negativity, worry and fear of what might happen.

There is a way out of the darkness so you too can enjoy a successful life if you’re willing to think differently. We chose this episode because this year has no doubt dealt you some hard blows no matter what. And you deserve some proven methods to help you rise above the fray. For the next few minutes. I invite you to put your fears, any worries, any concerns you have in a box, put them in there, close the lid and set it off to the side and get ready to learn how you can build up your resilience connect better with your patients and team and create the life you deserve right now and listen all the way to the end because I’m going to share a special $700 scholarship and gift from PDA co founders Dr. Bruce Baird and Victoria Peterson that will increase your productivity by $50 in just 30 days, like a shot in the arm. Take advantage today. So you can handle future curveballs with resilience. Just like a productive dentist. Enjoy the show.

CHAD: Welcome everyone to everyday practices. This is Chad Johnson with my co host Reagan Robertson Reagan. How you doing?

REGAN: I’m doing excellent today. How are you? Chadwick?

CHAD: I’m doing fine here in sunny Iowa. Today we’ve got Dr. Brian Toorani Dr. Brian How you doing man?

BRIAN: I’m doing awesome. How are you guys? I

CHAD: Say I wanted to to let listeners know before I get you going that Dr. Toorani was a graduate of up in 99 and that he’s been a full time practicing dentist until June of 2019. And he’s been a circuit trainer and a speaker since 2010. If you’ve seen him around on the circuit, recently disabled and no longer practicing dentistry. He’s now running his practice full time as the CEO. So welcome to the show, buddy. We’re glad to have you with us. Regan, you were saying earlier that you kind of did a little background check on his social presence. Tell me about that. Reagan.

REGAN: Oh, I was fascinated so before we have our guests on you know, I always bop around online to learn a bit about our guests and see what they what they’re representing online and and Dr. Toorani so if you read the bio, you know, I saw that you’re recently disabled and I thought well, what’s the story behind this and and that you’ve been practicing for 21 years You look like you’ve been practicing for maybe 10 so I was like the genetics are playing a good role in setting.

BRIAN: hank you. Well, the gray hair will disagree with that but thank you

CHAD: You always have a million dollar smile man.

BRIAN: Life’s too short to not be smiling honestly. Darn right.

REGAN: I agree with that. So to see so to see you to see your your social proof we call social proof online so when you do just a quick Google search What do you see when the doctor’s name pops up? What reviews Do you have and you are killing it and you’re I mean you are five star rated across the board across all the review platforms, people calling you out specifically by name. And so I am really excited for today’s episode. your time with us means a lot because you made this transition into CEO of the practice and so I’m really interested for some pearls you know for our listeners to see what your journey has been like what you’ve learned from it, and I just know that you’re gonna have a lot to share.

BRIAN: Let’s thank you very much. Yeah, it’s been a very challenging road for sure. And it you know, I’ve made plenty of mistakes I’m hoping to share a lot of that with with everyone and prevent them from making the same mistakes.

CHAD: Let’s do it, man. What’s your what’s your bullet point number one, Where am I now that you’ve been practicing and what not more, I should say not clinical practice but the CEO what what’s giving you a renewed strength? What’s reinvigorated you as far as the business of dentistry?

BRIAN: It’s a great question, Chad, you know, honestly, I’m not gonna lie. I’ve dealt with massive anxiety attacks. Massive have even depression at times, and I still get anxiety attacks here and there. But I’ve, I’ve learned to recognize them. And I’ve learned to deal with them. I did another podcast about a year ago about depression, anxiety in dentistry. And I think it’s an on, it’s an area where a lot of people take it for granted, or they just kind of shove it under the carpet and or under the rug. And they just hope that they don’t have to deal with it. But I’ve had major attacks.

And you know, I’ve found ways to navigate through this area. But the bullet point number one, for me, is listen to your patients. And just make sure they know you’d love them and you care for them. And as as the CEO, I actually moved my office location from the back to the front. So I want to see every guest that walks by, I say hello to them, I make sure I give them a hug. And I just want to make sure that they know that we truly from the bottom of our heart, appreciate them coming to our office. So to the listeners out there, just make sure your patients know that you love them.

That’s my bullet point number one, and you can’t fake it, you can’t learn it, it has to come from the heart and has to be real. And it’s not just the dentist, it’s the entire team has to feel that way towards the patients. And when patients feel that they’re loved and appreciated, they will continue to come and they’ll continue to refer people. And they’ll continue to give great reviews online, just by simply just reminding them and they’ll they’ll totally do that. Because they almost feel obligated because they know you love them so much. So that’s been my big pros. I’ve always tried to just make sure my patients know that we appreciate them and we love them.

CHAD: That’s really cool. I mean, in and of itself, we could end right there.

REGAN: I was gonna say that’s our punch pearl number one.

CHAD: You know, honestly, Reagan, he should have made that like, backwards like 54321. And that be the last one.

BRIAN: I’ve got more stuff, guys.

CHAD: Okay, so let’s, let’s hit number two, what

BRIAN: Number two, I think as dentists, we work so hard. In our practice, we are all about production and making sure we’re efficient, we’re scheduled, right, and, you know, we are all go go, go go go. We often forget about ourselves and those around us. So I recently was at a seminar was about leadership. And I learned there that we we as dentists, we really have to not just take care of the practice, but we have to take care of ourselves, our mind, our body, and our relationships and our pockets.

So those are the four things I would share. And this is not coming from it’s from somebody else who’s an amazing, well known speaker, I can’t tell you the name, but I want to give him props, but it’s the one thing I learned, I wrote down that every day, I want to improve my relationship with somebody out there, whether it’s an old friend or a family member, or just somebody. So I try to just let them know that I love them and I care for them. And every day I try to do something positive for my body, exercise activity, walk, if you can’t do weights, that’s okay, go do cardio, do something that helps you physically and the mind, I try to listen to positive podcasts, read positive books.

And I try to prevent my mind from thinking negative. And you know, through stress and difficult times, we naturally naturally gravitate towards that net negative mentality and the worry and the fear of what may happen. But if we just kind of found a way to just kind of put it on pause and instead fit the more positive powered thoughts, I think it’ll overcome the anxiety. So I’ve been focusing on that feeding the mind, taking care of the body, watching what I eat.

\And in everyday, I try to take one positive action towards improving profitability, whether it’s finding a way to negotiate an expense or finding a way to get more new patients to Hey, finding a way to reduce my, I don’t know car payment or something. Every day I try to some form, improve those four areas. That’s my pearls number two. And number three is culture and your team. A lot of us dentists, you know we are looking for employees, some quit some leaves, some gets fired.

But and we get discouraged when we look at the applicant pool and who we have to look for. So we settle we settle for people who are not the right fit. And I’ve made that mistake many times and my biggest perlas don’t settle, find the rockstars and hold on to them. And because they’re the key part of your culture in your practice. So if you have the wrong people on your team or on your ship, your destination is just going to suck. But you’re better off hitting the right destination slower with less crew on your ship.

But having a great time to get rid of the employees that your gut feeling tells you you should have or unique To just don’t delay it because the longer you delay it the poison spreads. And and when you find key team players, you know, give them kudos recognize them, take care of them, pay them, well. Don’t be cheap, and take great care of them and go out of the way for them, treat them like family, and they will treat you just as much as like a family. It’s funny, I just asked Didi, my business coordinator, she’s, she’s amazing.

And, you know, she’s kinda like my therapist, I can talk to her. She gives me pointers when I need to be slapped around. She’s the one coming slap me around, say, go get your goodness done, go do this. But I asked, I said, you know, I’m on your podcast. And, and, and I know what what pointers would you want? Would you from your perspective have? She said love your team? Yeah. And that was her message. So you doctors out there, love your team. And just treat them like family and appreciate them. And trust me, they’ll go out of their way.

And it all stems from positivity, which is my point number four, four, ready to go. Number four, go through the challenges. And through all the rough times, it’s so easy for us to walk into the office and be upset that, hey, we have a hole in the schedule, why didn’t you confirm this appointment? Why didn’t you guys get to financials? Or why why why why why. But, you know, the, the best part is, you know, I think we need to come into work with the proper mindset, which is what we asked our team to do. But we as leaders have to come into our practice, just with zero negativity, zero worries, you need to just at least hide it or stash it away.

But you need to come into the office with energy positivity, and you need to spread that like a disease, a good disease, to everybody, everybody needs to get pumped. And it starts with whoever the leader is. And you know, and a lot of us bring being busy and not being able to work on our practices, we hired consultants or coaches, and we expect them to do the magic for our practice. Well, the magic, I mean, they may tell you, just like a trainer at the gym, they may tell you which weights to lift and which machines to use.

But if you don’t do it yourself everyday, there’s no way you’re going to get in shape. So we as leaders must practice what we preach and come in positive, ready to go. And no excuses. And I think we need to lead by example. And continued to come into work in a positive manner. Right?

CHAD: That really so I just I mean, all of your, all of your beginning points really lead up to that, because as leaders, you have to be prepared for that. So self care is critical. Um, it’s not the first time that I’ve heard you know, dentists suffer pretty crippling anxiety and depression at times. So yeah, taking care of yourself, it’s really hard to come in with that intentional energetic presence that you want to give.

BRIAN: Yeah, I mean, I’ve, I had an anxiety attack about two weeks ago, my friends were with me, I, you know, it’s funny, my relation to my wife has gotten better and better. I talked to her about this and asked her Is this normal, she goes, it’s not abnormal. It’s totally normal.

And she, you know, she listens to me. But, you know, I’ve learned to recognize what leads to my anxiety attacks. And I’m trying to interrupt it before it takes its full effect. And one of the things is, I think I speak for everyone, but one of the biggest things is we are so hard on ourselves that we don’t show weakness, or we don’t show emotion. But you know, it’s okay to have tears coming out, it’s okay to have anxiety, it’s okay to be sad, upset and emotional. It’s perfectly okay, it’s your body telling you that it needs to let something out. What we have to do is recognize it, let it do its thing, and then move forward and make peace with it. And that’s, you know, and there’s many different methods, whether it’s music or doing, you know, doing your box breathing, to meditating to whatever, but you need to find a way to get you back to a positive state of mind.

And I think that’s very, very important. And you know, as far as leadership, the other thing I was gonna say Chad is, is I think what is most required to be a good leader is to have grit. You have to have grit. It’s the leaders that have grit that survive, and they’ll always bounce back. They may fall, but they’ll always bounce back. And it’s the leaders that have True Grit that will always always leave a mark and they’ll never be forgotten. Right.

REGAN: Well, speaking of having the grit and and you really touched on something you may fall but but you get up and there’s an excellent TED talk on grit too. Could you talk to us a little bit about you had I mean, to me, from my perspective, I’m not a dentist but it would be I have majorly changed careers over my lifespan. And so there’s a transition that comes with that. And you do have to adapt. And so you going through, you know, you were disabled. And so you realize what how did you feel when you found out, I’m not going to be practicing dentist, I’m gonna have to switch up my game, how can I do this and be a leader and move forward in the way I want to move forward,

BRIAN: I was a lost soul. So just to give the audience a little, little background on this, please, if you’re listening to this podcast, Don’t be an idiot like me. I, okay. So if you’re listening in, sit down, because you’re about to just start falling backwards from laughing on how stupid I was. I am that dentist that got on the ladder hanging Christmas lights fell, landed on his wrist, broke his right wrist, destroyed every ligament in his wrist, concussion, survived it.

But basically, I destroyed my wrist completely. So please don’t hang Christmas lights. And if you are out. And if you’re still not gonna listen, make sure you have proper coverage. Honestly, I’m so grateful for the decisions I made my first year out of dental school, I had purchased a very good disability, personal disability coverage, it still hasn’t kicked in yet, it’s still in the works. I also have had signed up for what’s called business overhead insurance. So if you’re disabled, you’re expensive from your practice are paid up to a certain amount up to a certain period until you get back.

So make sure you take care of your team, your practice and your family by having the proper coverage, both for disability and life. If you’re going to purchase a big, make a big purchase, make sure you increase your term policy for your life so that it protects your family. So talk to your insurance advisors and find out if your coverage will protect you when things don’t go right. And such as it did for me. But you know, after that, Reagan, just so you know, I you know, I was in a cast, I actually worked with a cast for about a month, it was very difficult when the cast came up is when I realized when that that the extent of my injury. So that was that was February of 2018.

And I promised myself that I wouldn’t check it out. I’m going to see if I can handle this for a year. I punch through it, I actually worked more days because of my my production was down, I just didn’t focus on my wrist. I just kept chugging along. And, and our hustle as Chad says. And I just hustled and hustled to get numbers to work and in and get caught up on things. And then I realized my risk was getting worse and worse. And I was actually drinking more and more every night, taking massive not not pain medication. But motion was like candy to me. That’s the only way I got through it. And last, this past January, February, the pain just I was doing a big interior case.

And I remember my wrist, I twisted and I just since then it’s never been the same. And that’s when I realized I need to make a career change. And that’s when my anxiety attacks peaked every night, I go home crying, overwhelmed with not knowing what’s coming. It was uncharted territory. I mean, I was a breadwinner for my family, my team depends on me to produce. And here I am, I’m going home with pain, knowing that I don’t know how much longer I can do this. So I promised myself last February that I do this, no more than halfway through this year, and I’d find better solutions. And that’s when I started looking for help. I brought an associate, he worked out great.

He’s doing a phenomenal job. And he’s fit into our team really well. And I punch through and I did it till end of June. And that’s why June 28 was my last day because I could no longer handle the pain. And it got to that level. So a lot of anxiety regen on the transition. You know, the one thing that I knew how to do and I felt like I was getting better and better at taking all these advanced clinical courses. And the one thing I’ve focused on my whole life was just taken away. And I had to find ways to find an alternative and A New Hope, a new destination. My advice given to me was to sell my practice by everyone except what my count because in production was going to go down in value was going to go down to sell it but I couldn’t do that. So I couldn’t First off, just turn it over and give it to my associate even though he was interested because it would not be right.

The practice wasn’t as efficient and productive as it could be. And I didn’t want this young man to have stress like I had gone through. So I needed to help him to support him. So he had a bright, great future ahead. You know, many people would have just taken advantage and dished it off to him but I couldn’t do that I I wouldn’t be able to sleep well at night knowing that I did that to somebody else. Number two, I couldn’t just turn over my patients or just anybody had to be somebody that I knew would be a good fit for the practice. So They were taking care of number three, my employees, I could not just dish them off, I had to make sure they were there.

My family, I had to make sure they were taken care of. So I went against the grain and decided not to sell my practice, and hold on to it as this and then run it as a CEO. And that’s what I’ve been doing. And the one thing I realized was I need a lot of courses. I know nothing about this dentistry business thing. And

REGAN: Wait, cause stop freeze frame, reverse it. I know nothing about the business part of it.

BRIAN: 21 years in. Yeah.

CHAD: And it’s really common.

BRIAN: Very common. Oh, yeah. So you know, so what I did was I started looking for courses, and I took a course on leadership, business. And I started looking at the metrics of my practice. And I realized I was depending on my disability, and I’m, I’m still counting on it coming through it. I still haven’t, hasn’t been finalized yet. But, but the truth is, I’m at a point where I want the business to be so productive and efficient and profitable to where I don’t have to micromanage it, when my team around me can make it effective, profitable and successful. And that’s been my main focus.

And actually, it gave me a new it gave me a new goal. A new is fun. Now, I’m so jazzed to chat about about, like, I’m learning so much stuff. It’s like starting Denesh all over again. Yes, it’s amazing. It’s like learning veneers or implants. For the first time, I’m so jazzed about what I’m learning about the business side that I’m excited. And I’m seeing, I’m seeing positive strides towards it. So, you know, my way of punching through it was an I fell I cried, I, you know, acted like a like, like a problem you call it? Yes. That was the problem.

CHAD: Because I wanted you to say it, but since this, you know, is listen to my people will just call it up.

BRIAN: Yeah, so I realized I had to make a change. And, and the problem was me. So I changed my mental state, I realized, you know, I need to just not depend on others. I don’t need to depend on my insurance company, I need to find a way to make my business as profitable as possible. That’s also one of the reasons Chad, I’m taking a break from, you know, doing courses on PRF to implants to grafting. I, my primary focus right now is my business for sure. And once I get it to where I want it to be in about a year, then I’m going to add other things. But I am laser focused on the most important task at hand, which is my business.

CHAD: Very cool. Reagan. I want to do something crazy. Okay. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.

REGAN: I trust you completely.

CHAD: I think he should be invited to the PDA workshop.

REGAN: I think you should be invited to the PDA workshop

BRIAN: to I’m going to tell you count me in. Right now. It sounds like this is business related. And it’ll help me as well. Absolutely. Oh, yes.

CHAD: So, um, Reagan, did you also hear him say the problem was me? Yeah. How, you know, like, you really have to go down low enough to be able to admit that. But as soon as you do, then you’re ready to fly.

REGAN: It’s so true. It hurts so bad, doesn’t it?

BRIAN: It hurt. So here’s what I’ve also learned as a leader, nobody is willing to change no matter what, until the pain level gets big enough to where you are willing to make a change, whether it’s getting in shape or fixing your relationship or your business. It you have to get to that pain level. And once you get to that pain level, you can set some amazing goals. And that’s when you are truly willing to change.

CHAD: Well, Brian, I appreciate you coming on today. thank you on behalf of everyday practices and productive dentist Academy for joining us today. So thanks a lot, man. Do you have any closing thoughts you want to throw out there, Brian?

BRIAN: Yes. So thanks for having me, Chad. It’s been a blast. And what you’re doing is amazing. I love dentistry. I’ve always been passionate about it and just keep rocking it and keep taking positive steps forward.


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