Arndt Ok

When is Okay really Okay in your dental office?

April 17, 2013
Sometimes okay really isn't okay

“How ya doin’?”
“How’s it going today?”
“How’s your practice?”
“How are you doing with the goals you set for this month?”

Does this sound familiar? It sounds all too familiar to me. I hear it from most of my clients at some point, and as a coach, nothing gets my blood pressure up faster than the word “okay.” Give me “horrible,” give me “devastating,” give me, “this is the worst it’s ever been!” Those are statements of pain, passion, and a desire to DO BETTER. But okay? Okay is a resignation, the death knell for any aspirations to change, grow, or learn. Okay means, “I give up. I’ll live with this because I don’t have the guts to do anything about it.” If you’re doing okay, you need to WAKE UP and get moving! If that means facing a bad situation (it probably does), so what? What good can possibly come from ignoring a problem? How can you possibly benefit from pretending that you’re happy when you’re really not?

Not convinced? Still pretty sure that “okay” beats the pants off the stress of working toward something better? Take my “Are you okay?” quiz to see just how out-of-whack your life can be when you settle for “okay:”


Yes ___ No___ 1. Do you feel detached and dispassionate about things (job, family, hobbies) that used to be fun and invigorating?

Yes ___ No___ 2. Do you feel like your to-do list is insurmountable, and even the smallest tasks are too much to handle?

Yes ___ No___ 3. Do you feel like you’re going through the motions without really being involved in your own life?

Yes ___ No___ 4. Do you feel anxious, but unable to pinpoint the source of that anxiety?

Yes ___ No___ 5. Do you want to change, but have no idea how or where to start?

Yes ___No___ 6. Do you share your hopes and fears with someone close to you, or do you dismiss them as unimportant or uninteresting?

Yes ___ No___ 7. Do you feel as if you’re just biding your time until something wonderfully good or terribly bad happens?

Yes ___ No___ 8. Do you feel out of control?

Yes ___ No___ 9. Do you think you have to “do it all alone”?

Yes ___ No___ 10. Did the Lone Ranger have Tonto?

Now, you could answer “yes” to all of these questions and still be okay. I mean, feeling anxious or dispassionate or bored does not cause you to kick the dog or spend time in the intensive care unit. Those are situations in which being “okay” would seem like a huge, wonderful oasis in a desert of pain and suffering. But when you have all of the trappings of a great life — a strong dental practice, a great family, diverse interests — and all you can say is, “I’m okay,” something is WRONG! You need to expect more; you should expect to feel absolutely marvelous. You need to strive for fantastic, for out-of-this-world, for “Gee, life couldn’t get any better!” We aren’t here to simply survive. We aren’t meant to live our lives in an okay place, in okay circumstances, surrounded by okayness. You should expect more than just okay from yourself, your business, and the people around you.

Now that we’ve established that okay is, in fact, not okay, what can you do to go beyond it?

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Here’s my list of the top five ways to overcome okay:

1. Admit that you’ve been accepting an “okay” situation. Maybe your business has been stagnating, or you’ve been putting up with an “okay” employee. Maybe you’ve been taking your spouse for granted, or you’ve been trying to ignore a problem with one of your children. Figure out what you’ve been tolerating, and recognize that you want — and deserve — better.

2. Learn what it would take to turn “okay” into great. Ask yourself what the ideal situation looks like, and develop a plan for getting there. Set specific and realistic goals, and start working toward them. You’ll be amazed at how your anxiety and boredom simply vanish in the face of a can-do attitude and focused energy.

3. Confront the okayness, in whatever form it’s taken. If it’s a person, tell him or her what you’re no longer going to accept. Explain the steps you’re taking and lay out some expectations for him or her as well. Adopt an “I’m not okay, you’re not okay” attitude, and refuse to compromise your goals for the sake of familiarity or comfort. If the okayness is a place, a job, or a situation, write a letter or journal entry directed at it. Tell it (and reinforce to yourself) what you’re going to do, and …

4. Do it! Implement your action plan, and don’t be afraid to fail. Remember, even BAD IS BETTER THAN OKAY!

5. Ask for support along the way. Whether or not it’s professional in nature, you’ll need someone to encourage you, to help develop your thoughts, and to hold you accountable.

Okay is a tempting place to be when you’re in the uncomfortable first stages of making a change, so it’s vital to find people who can direct you forward. I’ve always been passionate about going above and beyond “okay.” If you’re willing to take risks, step out of your comfort zone, and pursue your dreams, you can escape “okay” too! I’ll leave you with some coaching questions to get you thinking.

1. What one okay situation in your life would you like to make NOT okay?

2. What are you most passionate about in your life?

3. What are you willing to do today to exercise your passion?

Dr. Ron Arndt is a certified professional dental coach. He blends 20 years of clinical dental practice with five years of executive corporate experience in the financial planning and investment management industry. With his graduate business training and hands-on experience, he coaches dental professionals throughout the United States and Canada. Dr. Arndt is the author of a series of ThinBooks© and web-based Right Hiring and Retention for the Dental Team© learning modules. He is the author of “Killing The Practice Before It Kills You: How Throwing Out My Business Model Saved My Life.” Dr. Arndt can be contacted at 440-748-6161, e-mail [email protected], or Website