We’ve Got a Situation

By Dr. Addison Killeen

November 15, 2022

New Vocabulary

Recently I was on vacation in Jamaica with the family to celebrate our 10-year Wedding anniversary. One day, we took an excursion over to the dolphin sanctuary to swim with dolphins and tour the countryside. The driver, while having a simple and low-paying job, taught me a few things that I wanted to pass along.

Once we got in, he started with a comment, “We don’t have problems, only ‘Situations.’”

He stated, “If we’re about to hit a car or something, I won’t say, ‘Watch out!’ or ‘Oh no!’ I’ll only say ‘Situation!’”

We all laughed, but it definitely reminded me of something that happens everyday in our dental practices. We often see problems, or slip-ups, in how things go in the practice. The music is too loud in the operatory, the floors aren’t clean when a patient walks in, or the phone calls weren’t answered correctly. You can always call these “problems,” or you can take this as an opportunity (or a situation) to improve yourself and the practice. Each of these instances is not a reason to ruin your day, it’s just a situation that you have the opportunity to correct.


“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

Another thing I noticed is that everyone in Jamaica is happy. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” surely comes to mind. But also are they high on life, or high on something else? Who knows! However, I did notice that they genuinely practice happiness all the time.

Do they have legitimate circumstances to be happy about? Maybe, but from the American point of view, it can be challenging to see. The driver had to stop by his house to grab his lunch and his living situation seemed less than idyllic. The cleaning lady at the hotel probably makes less than my sterilization tech, but she would chat with me every morning, say hello to my 10 month old son, and remembered his name.

Sometimes we may feel like our practice is failing, or just feel beat down. When this happens, we should “choose to be happy”. We could even call this praxis, which is when we act happy and thereby it helps us become happy. Our minds will start to follow how we act.

This goes the same for team members. If you’re down, depressed, soft spoken then the team might follow and act the same. If you’re exude happiness, energy, and excitement to be there (even if you’re 100% faking it), then the team will follow your lead in that respect as well.

As challenges arise in your practice this week, remember: it’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity. And don’t worry, be happy.