It’s so, so easy for “us dentists” to get bogged down with the drudgery of everyday practice. For many, the incessant focus on clinical techniques and skills…while often neglecting the equally essential marketing and business systems that really build the practice…robs them of the higher levels of success waiting for them in life. And then there’s LIFE itself! Are you getting the most out of your life outside of dentistry…and putting the most you can into it? Does your focus on “restorative margins” keep you from enjoying the abundant “life margins” that mean so much more?
I asked myself those questions over 16 years ago, and I vowed that I would not only work my you-know-what off to develop the practice I’ve always wanted…I would also be sure to enjoy the ride! On top of that, I made it a personal mission to help other dentists discover the freedom and “life margins” a successful, profitable practice creates. How? By helping them to find and unlock the “Buried Treasure” inside their own practices!
So, what exactly are these “life margins” I’m talking about? Well, they’re different for different people. One obvious, common margin is revenue. More specifically, PROFITS…but it’s only one part of the equation. It does little good to bust your hump at the expense of other, more meaningful things in life, just to generate more revenue if you can’t enjoy it.
Don’t get me wrong, now. I’m all for maximizing revenue and profits. But there’s got to be a balance that energizes you instead of exhausts you. You may know a little or a lot about my life, and what means most to me. Let me share with you some of my “life margins”, or, the true reasons I do what I do.
TIME: In my view this is the most valuable, and fleeting, life margin we have. Time is offered to us all equally as a resource, and what we do with it determines how much of it we get to enjoy, vs. not. It’s free, but worth so much. It’s constant, and can’t be stopped or stored away for future use. And time must be spent for time to be “gained”…it’s also the one margin that allows for all other margins. I work hard to create “time margins” in my life that allow me to enjoy what’s most important to me. Make sense?
FAMILY: Simply put, my family is my biggest motivation! They are my biggest hobby, too! I love spending quality time with my family, which consists of everything from taking my kids to their school and activities, to family game nights at home. My wife Elizabeth and I are careful to carve out time for ourselves, as it’s critical for us to strengthen our relationship as a couple, and as parents of our three children. Reid (9), Kenan (7), and Olivia (5) are each a true joy to experience! We love watching the boys play baseball, or Olivia at gymnastics, or all three on the summer swim team. I’m so thankful to have an awesome family with which to share my life!
FAITH / SPIRITUALITY: While I don’t often write or talk often about my faith and spiritual development…at least not in this type of setting…it’s an absolute MUST for me to devote considerable energy and time to this. When it gets right down to it, all the “stuff” that we all clamor for in life is just that…stuff. I believe it’s perfectly fine to be successful, make a lot of money, and afford the things you may want. But those pursuits should never be your dominant motivation, and certainly not at the expense of other, more important things. My faith keeps me grounded, and it keeps my priorities in line. (Confession: it wasn’t always that way.)
GIVING: I’ve always said that, when you’re more successful, you have more opportunities to help others be more successful! Whether sharing knowledge, contributing time and work, or giving to great causes, having a mission of purposeful giving is very important to me. As you likely know, when you give, you get so much more in return. Having a life margin for giving is always rewarding in more ways than one. Case in point: Elizabeth and I have recently decided to adopt a child, and we’re waiting now for the right opportunity and situation. Our kids are so excited that we’ll have a new baby sometime soon…and I know we’ll be blessed as much as we can possibly bless a new child. Stay tuned!
PLAYING: Now, the fun part! Life wouldn’t be life without play. If you know me, you know I’m not always so flippin’ serious. I love to have fun! Playing with my kids is always a highlight, as is a great round of golf with my buddies (although my score is usually a different story). Elizabeth and I love to travel, and we often bring the kids with us, as we did to New York and Martha’s Vineyard this summer…as well as the Florida Keys this fall. Living in North Carolina is awesome because we’re only 3 hours from sea kayaking and surfing at the beach, and just 2 hours from hiking an skiing in the mountains. There aren’t many things we don’t like to do…except maybe sitting still.
It’s crucial to do everything you can in your business life to enable maximizing your “life margins”, whatever they may be. I’ve found that you initially have to work smart and hard to not have to work so hard later on! That’s why I do what I do outside of clinical dentistry, sharing with and coaching other dentists to be more effective and profitable. I get a rush out of knowing I helped a practice boost their monthly numbers AND their enjoyment of dentistry. And it means even more when a dentist contacts me and says: “I’m now working less, making more, and doing more of what I love to do”!
Dr. Chris Bowman is a full-time practicing dentist from Charlotte, North Carolina. A 1994 graduate of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, he started Advanced Dentistry of Charlotte in 1996 after two years of being an “associate resident” dentist at a large, successful practice in Mooresville, NC. Dr. Bowman and his professional dental team are committed to the highest possible levels of clinical care and customer service, using the latest available technology, materials, and good old-fashioned personal attention.
Dr. Bowman averages over 150 hours of continuing education annually. In addition, he serves as a Clinical Instructor for Six Month Smiles. Focal points in his private practice include elective cosmetic dentistry, Six Month Smiles, Invisalign, oral appliance therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea, sedation dentistry, and non-surgical periodontal therapy.
A consummate student of business systems, communications and marketing, Dr. Bowman is also dedicated to helping dentists from the US, Canada, and abroad to achieve the highest levels of success and profitability in their practices. He founded Dental Insiders Alliance in 2006, a monthly membership and coaching program for dentists. DIA currently reaches over 2300 dentists domestically and internationally, at several membership levels ranging from E-letter subscribers to private coaching clients in his Dental Success Blueprint program. Dr. Bowman’s services include practice building email communications, monthly teleseminars and webinars, 1-on-1 coaching calls, marketing critiques, and live on-site coaching programs for his private Dental Success Blueprint clients.
Dr. Bowman has authored numerous articles on practice growth, communications, marketing, and internal business strategies. He is a regular contributor to The Profitable Dentist magazine, Tom Orent’s 1000 Gems, and several online dental forums. He has also shared the stage internationally as a dynamic speaker with many of dentistry’s leading speakers at such events as Excellence in Dentistry’s “Spring Break” Seminar, the Academy of Comprehensive Esthetics Seminar, 1000 Gems Super Seminars, Dr. Brock Rondeau’s Annual Orthodontic Symposiums, Six Month Smiles Advanced Level Reunions, and the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s 9th Annual Session.