Do You Own Your Freedom?
NOTE: My brand new book, coauthored with Dan Kennedy, titled “Own Your Freedom” launches next Tuesday, October 12th! We have some fantastic bonuses through Friday for those who pre-order the book at https://ownyourfreedombook.com/
From potential to responsibility.
At the beginning of your career, life is full of possibilities. The sky's the limit. You have the Freedom to choose who you want to be and what you want to become. But as your life and career progress, there are hidden forces that threaten your Freedom. These hidden forces often come disguised as “opportunities”. It isn’t until too late that we discover that they come at the cost of golden handcuffs.
These threats include…
- Your practice and your team. Managing staff, payroll, overhead, capital investments, marketing, equipment leases…the list goes on. The allure of “being your own boss” gives way to the reality of being “owned” by a monster of your own making. One day, you wake up and realize that an entire team of people are depending on you to show up, work hard, solve problems and take care of them. And so, being a conscientious person, you grind it out. Day after day.
- Insurance companies and commoditization. Shrinking reimbursements are only the tip of the iceberg: Insurance companies want to control every step of the process. Control gives them maximum ability to create a more profitable outcome (for them). They are not on your side. You are a cog in their behemoth machine. Individual practice owners have no leverage and no voice in the process.
- Expansion of Medicare to include dentistry. Regardless of whether or not you support this expansion… We can agree that once obtained, government oversight and bureaucracy rarely relinquish power. Programs such as Medicare come with an onerous amount of restrictions and loss of control. Each new guideline and requirement reduces your ability to choose what type of practice you want to run, what type of patients you want to serve, and how.
- Government taxation and interference. Politicians and bureaucrats have realized that the populace’s desire for a “savior” can be leveraged for power and control. The genie is out of the bottle… and it is a tyrant. Taxation, wealth distribution and fear mongering. The underlying philosophy is simple: If I don’t have it, you shouldn’t either. There is a systematic effort to make producers (a shrinking group) responsible for providing for everyone else.
- The “doctor” lifestyle. It can be easy to cave to society's expectations of a “successful” lifestyle – especially after surviving the rigors of dental school. There is nothing wrong with a nice house, cars, vacations, whatever. Just remember that once lifestyle expectations grow, they are hard to take away. Especially when subsidized by debt, too much lifestyle too early can become golden handcuffs.
Do you own your life? Or does it own you?
Are you forced to get up every morning when the alarm clock demands? Go to the office whether you want to or not? Continue to practice your specialty whether you enjoy it or not? This is not necessarily a bad thing, for a season. It is the path to success and excellence in any field. The question is: What is your plan for the future?
If you don’t have a plan for how these responsibilities ultimately serve you and your goals, you no longer own your life – it owns you.
Yes, there is a sacrifice period for any goal worth achieving. But that sacrifice period should be a door into a better future. For me, dental school was just that: a doorway into a better future. No one would want to stay in dental school forever (think of the movie Groundhog Day) – that would be hell on earth. The same thinking should apply to your practice. Yes, you can and should continue to practice for as long as you enjoy it, but you should achieve a level of Freedom that allows you to make that choice and practice on your own terms.
Otherwise, you don’t own your life… it owns you.
Are your current responsibilities and obligations creating a path to a better future for you? Do you have a plan for creating more Freedom in your life in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years?
Too many professionals reach a certain point in their career and settle… surrendering to the assumption that they must now work until some mystical retirement age before the next door in their life opens. But at that point, it may be too late. Health may decline, loved ones may not be there to enjoy life with, or some other unforeseen circumstance may occur. It’s a hard truth.
The goal should be to achieve Freedom while you are still young enough to enjoy it… not at some distant “retirement” age.
It is possible for “good” things in your life to become tyranny.
As we learn from history – the only way to face a tyrant is with courage, grit, and determination. It is time to fight for your Freedom, and the time is now.
Freedom starts with a decision. A commitment.
The next step is to create a clear set of goals. What does success look like? Be specific. Discuss this as a couple. Come up with a plan. Find role models, those who have achieved what you desire for yourself. As Jim Rohn famously said: You become the average of the five people you surround yourself with. Be intentional. Make some hard decisions.
For me, creating dependable cash flow outside my practice was the key that unlocked a whole new world of Freedom. Cash flow is created by acquiring capital assets. Yes, my practice was the financial engine that made this possible, but I didn’t want to have to depend on my ability to trade time for dollars forever. Just like dental school, my practice was just a stepping stone into a bigger, brighter future
Don’t wait for life to give you a wakeup call, or until precious years of your life spin by. Make today the day you choose to own your life and your Freedom.
The world needs more Free leaders who aren’t chained to the obligations of a practice, debt, or consumption lifestyle and who can create impact, give back, and truly lead.
Will you answer the call and “Own Your Freedom”?
PS: As you may know, for the last year I’ve been working with my co-author, Dan S. Kennedy, to write a book that we felt would be crucial for America, and to address what we saw as threats to Freedom. Every day we’re confronted with some freedom that we took for granted now under attack.
It’s about taking responsibility for your life. It’s about refusing to settle. It’s about choosing to do what it takes to achieve and preserve Freedom for yourself and your family.
Own Your Freedom will launch on Tuesday, October 12th, but we have some fantastic bonuses available through Friday for those who pre-order the book. Plus, 100% of the pre-launch profits will go to The Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation – a charity that provides $35,000 in scholarships to every child of Marines and federal law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
If the message resonates with you, I’d be honored if you shared this article or one of my Facebook posts with your friends – or post your own thoughts on the subject. If there’s someone in particular you’d like to help, you might even order a book for them and share the ideals of Freedom together.