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April 3rd, 2023

Episode 152: If You Say You Can’t, Then You Must!

“Have you ever done something that you didn’t like at first but the more you worked at it, the more you enjoyed doing it?” ~Dr. Bruce B. Baird

“I can’t do it.”

“I’ll never be able to…”

“I couldn’t possibly…”

These phrases are the reasons why most people aren’t as successful as they could be. Before they even begin doing something they know they want to do, they limit themselves with negative thoughts.

In this episode of The Productive Dentist Podcast, I’d like to remind you of the power of reframing your mindset. I challenge you to push beyond your perceived limitations. I’ll talk a little bit about my own limiting beliefs, and what I’ve done to overcome them.

It’s also important that we emphasize teamwork and having a strong system in place to maximize productivity and success. A positive attitude and determination to continuously improve can lead to unexpected levels of success.

When you think you can’t do something, it’s time to adopt a new mantra: “If you can’t do something, then you must!” This mantra has served me well over the years, and now I share it with you.

If you’re ready to break free from your own limiting beliefs and achieve personal and professional levels of success you’ve only dreamed of, then listen in to discover:

  • What matters most to you
  • Those things you always say you can’t do
  • What negative thoughts limit your success

Never miss an episode! Subscribe on iTunes & Spotify. Visit us at


Regan 0:00
Hi, Dr. Regan Robertson, CCO of 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 that’s to secure your seats now.

Dr. Bruce Baird 0:47
You get to something where you think I can you know, I’m not a good businessman, I’m just not good at business. Well, that means you got to get good at business, that’s your challenge, that’s what is gonna make you better than you were last year. Hello, everyone, this is Dr. Bruce B. Baird and you’re listening to The Productive Dentists 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, 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 dentists podcast.

Dr. Bruce Baird 1:48
This is Dr. Bruce Baird with a Productive Dentist Podcast, and today, we are going to talk about something that, you know, I’ve been kind of following my whole career my whole life. I don’t remember who it was that told me or when I heard this, my kids have heard me say it 100 times and the statement is, “If you say that you can’t, then you must.” And when I heard that I was you know, I was like, “Well, I can’t hit a curveball.” You know, I was playing baseball, I can’t hit a curveball. Well, if you say that, then again, I don’t remember where I heard it, but then I must. So what I did is, I practiced and practiced and practiced until I could hit a curveball. My kids would say I can’t do that. You know, I remember working with Mica on math. She goes, “Dad, I just can’t do that.” And I said, “Well, if you say that you can’t, and you must,” and so she would roll her eyes, and then we would start working on, you know, working on math, and she became very, very good at math, and I think everyone can take a lesson from that, you know, and the reason I say this is because when you say you can’t do something, you’re basically limiting opportunities, you know, or you say, “I’m not, I’m, I’m not good at doing this, or I’m not good at playing golf.” Well, if it’s important to you, if you’re not good at playing golf, and you don’t like golf and don’t and you can’t stand golf, then you don’t have to worry about this. But if you say you know, I can’t do something, then and it’s something you’d like to do then, what you do is you must do it and meaning I’m going to work at it, I’m going to practice, I’m going to do better, and how does that affect us in dentistry? You know, when I first started, I said, you know, I’m just not good with teams, I’m just not good with employees, and I did that for 15 years. You know, if I say now that I can’t work with employees, then I must work with them. I must find better ways, I must find, I must, I must learn, I must take whatever courses I need to take you know, across the board. I’ve always said you know, I hate doing root canals, and it’s not that I wasn’t good at it, I just didn’t enjoy it. You know, I went to all the courses, I became very good at doing them very effectively and efficiently. It’s just I didn’t want, I didn’t really like doing them. So that’s different, you know, if I said I can’t do a crown prep in under 20 minutes, you know which remember, you could take a high-speed handpiece, electric handpiece and cut a tooth in half in 30 seconds. So you ought to be able to do a crown prep in less than 20 minutes. In the old days, there were guys who were teaching crown preps in less than five minutes, in less than 60 seconds, but the bottom line is, if you’re saying, you know, I can’t do something within a 20-minute period, but you feel like it’s something that’s possible, then my suggestion to you is figure it out, learn, you know, watch others, watch videos, there is so much stuff now. Back in the day, we didn’t have YouTube, we didn’t have all this digital learning, you know, to watch somebody do certain things, and now you can find, you know, all types of different procedures that can be done. You can say, you know, I don’t like doing veneers and that’s very different than saying, I really can’t do them to where they look, well, they look good, or they, I can’t do them to the, to the level of excellence that I want to be able to do them. Well, that’s the perfect time to say, “Well, I must learn to do that.” Especially if it’s something you would enjoy doing, changing people’s lives, changing their smiles, it’s a big deal and so I think all of us that have a philosophy of next year, I’m going to be better than I am this year, which I have done for pretty much my whole career. I’ve always thought I’m a better dentist today than I was last year at the same time and even though I put the handpiece down, I honestly believe, because I’ve continued to read and research and look at the new digital equipment, everything, I do believe that even though I haven’t picked up a handpiece, I’m better this year than I was last because of all of the different things that I’m learning and picking up, and so a good example is that I could never do 2000 an hour, like Bruce, you know, and I thought, well, I could never do more than 2300 an hour. That was kind of how PDA was started. I don’t think I can ever do more than 2300 an hour. Well, when I found out, I didn’t really push myself when I got up to 2000, 2300 an hour, in which many people said I don’t know how you can do that and do quality dentistry. Well, working efficiently and doing bigger treatment plans and having better marketing and having a great team. Don’t shortcut yourself, because it’s not you that’s going to be doing 2000 an hour, it’s your system. it’s the team that’s around you. If you say that you can’t, then you must and I will tell you that philosophy can take you lots of places you never thought you’d be able to go. Again, me saying, you know, I don’t ever see me doing 2300 an hour, now I wonder what that will look like. It didn’t mean I couldn’t do it, but I was going man, I’m just not sure if I could ever get there. Well, when I got there, I was like, well, that really wasn’t that hard, and has as my productivity per hour continued to grow over the next few years, you know, when I put the handpiece up, I was at the highest production levels in my entire career I was doing over 4000 an hour, 4200 an hour and then 4300, and you know, that’s, that’s 32 to 35,000 a day. If you say that you can’t, then you must, if you say it’s gonna be hard, well, yeah, you’re gonna be right. You know, but when you say can’t, that’s when that’s when my kids would say, “Dad, I can’t do that, daddy”. Well, let’s just step back a little bit. Let’s figure out why you can’t, do you have the physical ability to be able to do it? Oh, yeah. Then why do you use the word I can’t? Is it, I mean, because it’s going to be too hard for you? Is it going to be that you don’t want to put in the time and the work to be able to hit a curveball or to be able to hit the jump shot or to be able to hit free throws at a certain percentage or to be able to, you know, deal in any anything, and it doesn’t just have to be a sport. But you know, I hear him say that, well, I hear doctors all the time saying, “Well, I could never do what you’re doing.” Well, okay, what you’re either saying is one of two things. You’re either saying, I could never do what you’re doing, Bruce, because you’re so much better than I am. Well, I can promise you that’s not true. Or you’re saying I could never do it the way you do it, Bruce, because I’m not willing to put in the time and effort. Well, those are two different statements. So what I don’t want you to do, if you don’t want to put the time and effort in then you’re fine. You are going to be where you’re going to be. But if you step back and say I could never do it like you, name a dentist out there that is one of the top dentists in the country. You know, I could never do things like John Kois, I could never do things like Frank’s, I could never do it like whoever, never do implants like a room guard, I could never do implants like, like, you know, Carl Mish.

Dr. Bruce Baird 10:12
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t strive to be the best that you can be and you’re gonna find that you’re going to end up somewhere that you really never thought you’d be. Which is what’s so fun to me about dentistry, it’s what’s so fun about life. You know, right now I’m going through a process, and I’ve been starting to play a little more golf, I’m usually a once a week golfer, but I’ve been picking it up a little I play twice this week and my games getting better, but I can’t hit my sandwich. So I hit a good drive, I’m hitting the sandwich right in front of the green, or I’ve got to maybe 120 yards, 110, 105, and I have these different wedges that go different distances, and I’m sitting here going, “I can’t hit him.” Well, and I sure enough, if you believe you can’t, then you can’t, you know, there’s lots of old adages about that, you know, if you can’t, if you say you can’t do something, then more than likely, you’re not going to be able to do it, but what I’m saying is, I can’t get my wedges, but the next couple of weeks when I’m not traveling, I’ll be in Palm Beach the next three days, and I’m gonna be lecturing in Albuquerque this weekend coming up, but if I say I can’t hit, no, we’re just I’ve got to, and I’ve got access to a trap, man. simulator. I’ve got a great teacher and instructor and I told him, I’m having trouble hitting them, but I’m, and I’m saying I can’t hit him. Well, that means I must hit them. You don’t I mean, I’m because I mean, it’s gonna save me three or four shots around, is that important to me? Well, obviously, it is, and I’m saying, yes, it is important, I want to play. If I’m going to be out on the golf course, I want to play to the best of my ability, and, you know, I’m not going to be shooting my age anytime soon, although it’s in the back of my mind someday that I hopefully will be able to do it if I stay in good health and good shape, but no matter what it is that you’re doing, take time, take, take time to listen to yourself, take time to listen in your mind the things that are coming out, and the things that are coming out of your mouth because the negativity of saying I can’t do something, again, remember, you may not ever want to do that, you may not like that, that’s fine. I can’t do that, I don’t want to do it, that’s fine, but if ever in your life you get to something where you think I can, you know, I’m not a good businessman, I’m just not good at business. Well, that means you got to get good at business, that’s your challenge, that’s what is going to make you better than you were last year. If you say I can’t manage people, that’s like saying, I can’t handle it and at that point, I began learning everything I could about how to manage people, how to become a leader, how to, how to do those things. Some people, for us, mostly, it happens that they’re just good. You, you always know that, oh, they’re good at everything? Well, more than likely, they worked their ass off. More than likely they worked really hard to get where they are, you know. Are there people out there that just naturally you’re good at something? Yeah, but they’re probably not good at something else, and so they’ve had to have that exact same philosophy of, I want to be the best that I can be at the things I want to be best at and when I say best, best I can do, I’m not gonna say I’m better than anyone else. I just want to be the best that can be. Does that make sense? It’s, I want you to challenge yourself. You know, I’m just not a good business person. I hear that all the time, might mean you don’t like it, but it doesn’t mean you’re not good at it because you’ve never really even attempted it, and so what I will say is I’ve had some pretty crappy business people come through Productive Dentist Academy that now are crushing it, because they understand their business, they understand it top to bottom, front to back and it did it took them a while to learn it. Yeah, it took them a while, but you know what all that stress of saying I’m not good at business has now gone because they have that competency and says, “Okay, I’m pretty damn good at business. I like business,” and it’s something you’d never would have thought you liked. If you ever done something where you really worked on it now you go man, I really liked this, this is a lot of fun, and a lot of times you don’t know until you do it, but demonstrate to me is fun. If there was ever anything that I just wasn’t comfortable doing, I would do it over and over and over again. When I was in the military taking out thirds, and I was taking that complete bony third, I was not that good at it. When I started, when I finished, I was really good at it. So I’m challenging you guys that are out there listening to think about those words, man, I can’t do that, or I don’t do this well, or I don’t like doing this. Well, why don’t you like doing it? Because you haven’t committed to it? And so make those commitments, make the commitments of being better next year than you are this year and if you do that, you’re gonna find yourself at when you turn 50 or 60, or whatever, 10 years down the road, 15, 20 years down the road, you’re gonna find that you’re in a place that you never thought you’d be and that’s what I wish for you, that’s what I pray for you, and just hope that those things become kind of a mantra for you. It was a mantra for my kids, because I would tell them, “Oh, no, if you say you can’t, then you must,” and they would. If they ever said I can’t do that, they immediately would follow up, but I know I’m boss and that’s because that was a constant that I always was doing. So anyway, I hope you enjoyed this podcast, and I look forward to the next week and the next podcast we do.

Dr. Bruce Baird 16:14
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 Don’t forget to check out other podcasts from the Productive Dentist Academy of me again next week for another episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast.

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