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Episode 151: Remember, You Will Die

“It’s never too early to start thinking about the things that will outlive you.” ~Dr. Bruce B. Baird

I was given an unusual gift by one of the doctors who attended a PDA Productivity Workshop. It was a skull ring with the words “Memento Mori” inscribed on the inside. 

For those who don’t know, “Memento Mori” is Latin for “Remember, you will die.”

Well, I can tell you that was an interesting gift to get in the middle of a conversation about productivity and dental business. But it made me stop and think.

What am I building? What am I sacrificing as I build? What really matters to me? What legacy am I leaving?

As dentists and business owners, we get so wrapped up in the process of working hard and making a living that we forget that at some point we will die. Yes, it’s important to build a business that is profitable and takes great care of patients. But that ring really made me pause and evaluate the larger picture of my life.

So today I want to share some of my journey and as you listen I want to challenge all of you to think about a few things:

  • What is most important to you
  • Where is your balance of business and life
  • What legacy are you building, and what are you sacrificing

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Regan 0:00
Hi, Dr. Regan. Robertson, CCO productive dentist Academy here and I have a question for you, are you finding it hard to get your team aligned to your vision, but you know, you deserve growth, just like everybody else. That’s why we’ve created the PDA productivity workshop. For nearly 20 years PDA workshops have helped dentists just like you align their teams, get control of scheduling, and create productive practices that they love walking into every day. Just imagine how you will feel when you know your schedule is productive, your systems are humming, and your team is aligned to your vision. It’s simple, but it’s not necessarily easy. We can help visit www.productivedentist.com/workshop that’s productivedentist.com/workshop to secure your seats now.

Dr. Bruce Baird 0:47
What am I doing today? That is going to be here long after I’m gone. What are the things that you know, legacy? What are the things that I’m doing? And a lot of that is going to be you know, the stories that you know your kids, you know, remember, and I told John early on, you know, I went through divorce and I missed some of that, and I’m sad for you know, I’m sad for it and so, you know, have I been able to make up for it? Well, I don’t think you can ever make up for lost time, but I think you can focus on what you can and focus on the things that are going to be most important to you in the long run.

Dr. Bruce Baird 1:34
Hello, everyone. This is Dr. Bruce B. Baird and you’re listening to the Productive Dentist Podcast, in this podcast I will give you everything that I’ve learned over the last 40 years in dentistry working with 1000s of dentists. I’ll tell you it’s not that my way is the only way it’s just one that has worked extremely well for me and I’d love to share that with you. So you too can enjoy the choices and lifestyle the productivity allows more time for things you love, increased pay, better team relationships, and lowered stress. Let’s get into it with this week’s episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast.

Dr. Bruce Baird 2:12
Hi, this is Dr. Bruce Baird with the Productive Dentist Podcast. Hope you guys are having a great week and looking forward to this week coming up. I’m going to be speaking at a meeting in Albuquerque called Thrive Dental. It’s a great group of people and I’m really looking forward to just sharing information about fiscal responsibility, which I thought they asked me to speak about physical and you know, I was like, “What what do you want me to talk about that?” And they said “No fiscal like money,” and I was like, “Oh, cool. Yeah, I’m more than happy to spend time talking about that.” But I digress, a few weeks, a few PDAs ago, I had a young dentist to I’m actually speaking for at thrive and he gave me a gift, and it was very interesting. I wondered why on earth and he said, “Here’s a ring, I want you to have this ring.” We were at a cocktail reception and I said, “Oh, I can’t take this ring, that I mean it’s beautiful, you know,” and it’s actually a skull ring, and I’m like, “Oh, okay, well, thank you. And on the inside of the ring, it says memento more, and I’m wondering, okay, well, what the heck is memento mori? And I mean, a lot of people have heard of that I just never had and it’d be 68 years old, and I just don’t know what memento mori is and what memento mori means is remember, are kind of like this, remember, you will die, it’s like, remember, you will die and the more I started thinking about that, and the more I started evaluating it, and then I started thinking about my life, and I started thinking about all the things I’ve done in my career, and, you know, I never really thought about dying and I’ve always just kind of pushed forward and said, “You know, I’m just going to do this and do that.” And, I’ve always had lots of goals and strategies, and I love business, and I love Excel spreadsheets, and I love my family, I love my grandkids, you know, and everything’s great, but what I have started thinking about is, you know, in our life, you know, things are going great. Well, we don’t really think about the things that are most important to us. You know, and, and to me, you know, that’s family. You know, yes, you know, we want to have a successful practice and we were gonna I continue to do podcasts on successful practices and what things you need to do to make sure you get to the next level. But I think a lot of times we get so down in the dirt and down in the thought process of making a living and, and working hard and doing all that stuff, we forget that at some point in time, we’re gonna die, and I’ve had old, I’ve had friends that were older that have passed on, and, you know, I have one friend that just recently passed. I’ve talked about him in the past. He was my real estate guy here in town, excuse me, and he, passed away unexpectedly, actually, just a couple months ago and he leaves behind, I don’t know, hundreds of millions of dollars to family and he was a phenomenal individual, and he took care of a lot of folks, but I don’t think he was ever thinking, “I’m going to make all this money, and then I’m going to die,”and then what’s going to happen, and, you know, I start thinking about my past and going, you know, all the things and all the work and all the things I’ve done, but I’ve said before, I think oftentimes, I did all those things, while sacrificing many things that were probably the most important, the most important things, which would be family, friends legacy, because you just never know when it’s gonna happen. I had another friend last year passed away, he, he was going to retire three months, he was going to retire, and unfortunately, he had a brain aneurysm and died. So everything that we plan for everything that we look for, yes, I want you to I’m going to teach you the business of dentistry. I want to help you understand financially, how you can separate yourself so that you’re not having to worry about it. I’ve told you guys, my last, gosh, my last 15 years in practice, I was working two days a week. It took me that long to realize what was important, and the things that we do is we want to help you increase your productivity so that you actually can work less and make more. Now, it’s not about the money, you know, as I’ve always said, it’s about taking great care of patients. But what are the most important things to you? What are the things that are going to long outlive you? And for most of you, you’re not my age, and so you don’t get to see it from my perspective. So I share it with you and it may hit home, it may not. If you were 21 years old, or 25 years old, you may go out I’m not worried about death and I can understand that I wasn’t worried about it either and I’m not worried about it now. However, I do think that there’s things that you can do, again, setting your business up, doing the things you need to do, and doing it with a total understanding that you’re going to be as balanced as you can. That’s where you know, your church, potentially your spiritual growth, I think that becomes really important and the closer you get to death, people start getting really thinking that that’s really important, but they forget about it early on and what I’m saying is work on that spiritual growth every day and that can be meditation, it can be reading the Bible, it can be doing whatever it is you do for that spiritual growth. It’s important. Many of you are engineers and I think probably a lot of dentists also have ADD. So we tend to hyper-focus and I think that that can be a negative, but it also is a positive. You know, you can hyper-focus on something and get something done. Like the book I wrote back in 91 on implants, I wrote it over a period of 10 days. I just locked myself in a room and I said, “I’m not coming out till I had a book finished.” That was to the chagrin of my family, my girls and the basketball games or whatever, you know, I just couldn’t see the forest for the trees and what I want you to think about is what am I doing today that is going to be here long after I’m gone. What are the things that you know, legacy? What are the things that I’m doing? And a lot of that is going to be you know, the store where you said, you know, your kids, remember? And I told you early on, you know, I went through divorce and, and I missed some of that and I’m sad for it, you know, I’m sad for it and so, you know, have I been able to make up for it? Well, I don’t think you can ever make up for lost time, but I think you can focus on what you can and focus on the things that are going to be most important to you in the long run, which are trying to help your family trying to help your kids teaching lessons. My girls, I had a great chance to go a week, week and a half ago, I got a great chance to go with my oldest daughter and one of my grandsons to spring training for the Texas Rangers out in Surprise, Arizona, we had a blast, you know, now I’m thinking, “Okay, I want to be able to do this with all my grandkids, I want to be able to go and spend time now.” Yes, being financially stable is super important, but I think you can do both, you know, and I think that that’s the message I want to say, I’ve got buddies of mine that have just grounded out and, and burned out, you know, they grind out dentistry and, and everything is about making money for the family and, and supporting the family, because that’s what we think as a leader of our family, we think, “Oh, we’ve got to do this,” and we can put everything else aside. What I’d say is, don’t do that. Let’s help you figure out what’s going on in your practice, how can we maximize your time and increase your profitability, because those to me allow you to have choices to be able to do things that go on long after you’re gone, and like I say, the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve thought about the more the older you get, the more you think about death and I’m not worried about it. I’m trying to work it out. I’m doing all the things that I know to do I get my blood drawn, I’m doing all the health things I can.

Dr. Bruce Baird 12:15
I’ve actually really kind of quit drinking for about the last 30 days, just kind of seeing what it would do, and, you know, hey, I feel great. So, you know, it’s, it’s like, uh, you know, my dad was, you know, I think I’ve told you guys he was an alcoholic and drank quite often, and I always wondered, you know, in my, in my water, those kind of guys and you know, I joke with people. I said, “Well, I don’t wake up in the morning and want to put Tito’s in my Cheerios.” But you know, I have a tendency when I drink I tend to have had too much fun. Well, I’ve kind of backed that off to say, “Is this really necessary? Is that what I want to do?” I want to have, I want to have glass wine whenever I want, that’s fine, but I just don’t want it to control where I’m at and a lot of dentists, fine medication medications or alcohol or other things to kind of numb things so that you don’t have to face the reality and the reality is memento mori. The reality is, we all are dying. We’re all terminal and so what are the things that are most important that you want to leave behind? I just want you to think about it. I never really thought about it in that ring. My friend Gavin gave that ring to me and I was like, “Wow, interesting.” First, I was like, “Whoa, I was kind of taken aback.” And then I realized what the ring really stood for is live for today, you know, take great care of the people that God has put in your in your life, take great care of your friends, reach back out to people, be the kind of friend you always wanted to be. I love that Tim McGraw’s song, live like you were dying, because we’re all, we’re all dying, and so the opportunity to do things when you get an opportunity to go on a massive trip. Okay, remember, you know, hopefully, you’re going to be working for a long time, and hopefully you’re going to continue to do very well in your business, but you have an opportunity to go on a big trip with a bunch of friends and stuff and you’re like, “I can’t do that. I don’t want to spend the money.” Well, I’m one of those dentists who’s always outproduced what they want to do, but I do believe that you can have it all. You can take great care of your patients, you can take great care of your family, great care your kids, great care of your grandkids. Does it take effort? Yeah, take some effort. You gotta, you gotta want it, you gotta want to, to have that legacy, but the older you get, the more you’re going to start thinking about that. I’m going to challenge you to don’t start thinking about it when you get older, like my buddy who passed four months before he was going to retire, we always think, “Oh, once I get here, I’m going to do this, once I get there, I can do this.” Don’t do that. What I’m telling you is, be the can, do the things you want to do, a set up your business so it allows you to do that, and really, that’s what we do at PDA. We’ve been working with dentists for almost 20 years, and I want to make sure you get to do the things that you want to do and that you leave a legacy that you want to leave of whatever that is. I know this was kind of a heavy podcast, but it’s something that has really made me think this last six months, you know, to live like you were dying, you know, go go smile, have fun, go to the club, and go play golf, but set up a business that is self-sustaining, one that’s going to be successful, even after you’re gone, because when you do that, you’re going to find that your legacy will live on a lot longer and you’re going to affect people you know, forever and you know, and I want your kids or your grandkids to be able to think back I want mine to think back and go doc was awesome. He did this, we got to do that we got to do this. And those are all things that are possible. So I hope you guys have a great week, and I look forward to next week’s podcast.

Dr. Bruce Baird
Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast. If you found this episode helpful, make sure you subscribe, pass it along to a friend. Give us a like on iTunes and Spotify or drop me an email at podcast at productive dentist comm don’t forget to check out other podcasts from the Productive Dentist Academy of productivedentistpodcast.com Join me again next week for another episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast

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