The “Next Level”

There are certain words and phrases that, while originally well intentioned, have become hackneyed and trite. “Have a nice day,” “meaningful,” “impactful,” and “good to great” all come to mind.

I’m not merely fossicking here, because “We want to go to the next level” has become one of those tendentious phrases that seems to mean so much but results in so little.

Whether that “next level” is financial (which it usually is), or competence, or repute, or anything else, I’ve found that it’s less a matter of action than one of thought. That’s because you seldom reach new heights by merely doing more of the same of what you’re doing now. You have to change your mindset and thought patterns if you truly want to metamorphose into a new being.

Fortunately, that’s not physically difficult—there are neither cocoons nor hibernations required. Unfortunately, it can be quire difficult mentally, because different frames of reference and perspective are required.

Earlier today a woman wrote to ask exactly where in Los Angeles my June workshop would be, since that would depend whether she would go. (This is a workshop that would normally cost at least $1000, but I’m doing for $100!) Upon investigation, I find that her days are totally filled, primarily because she is “selling all day” and feels obligated to run at 4:30 or so in the morning. If you’re in a rut that doesn’t allow you the time to explore how to leave the rut, guess where you’ll remain? (Hint: Not on the next level.) This is why doctors who schedule back-to-back patients every day all week can’t improve their practices.

Here is some quick help:

  1. Who are you? How do you define yourself? Are you a consultant, or are you someone who dramatically improves sales results or ensures strategic goals are exceeded?
  2. What do you do? Do you “coach” or “consult” or “facilitate”? Or do you improve your clients and help them reach results unattainable without you?
  3. Why are you doing this? Is it to make money, or to salve your ego, or to implement a methodology you love? Or is it to make a difference in the world and create a legacy?

Look through a telescope, not a microscope. Change your mentality so that you’re thinking big and not constantly stuck on trifles and trivialities. There is a hebetude around people who immerse themselves in the granular and specific. There is an excitement around those who forge new paths and provide new ideas.

If you want to arrive at “the next level,” start aiming for three levels above that.

© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved.


6 thoughts on “The “Next Level”

  1. Mr. Weiss,
    Doctors schedule patients back-to-back patients every day all week because their income is controlled directly by their contracts with health insurance companies. They have no control over what they charge each patient, unlike an individual business owner may, however they have the same overhead costs as any business owner does, such as rising health insurance costs for their employees. When a physician attempts to seek reimbursement for more complicated patient issues, he/she is accused of “upcoding”. The insurance companies monitor how many patients each doctor sees, what and how many drugs they prescribe, how many tests they order and how many referrals they make to specialists. What it actually costs a physician to see a patient (particularly a primary care provider) is far more than what he/she is reimbursed for by the insurance companies. Hence, back-to-back patients, all day, every day. Most doctors keep up with what is current in their fields only by reading and studying late into the evening and every weekend, after they finish writing charts, answering emails, filling out forms and returning phone calls. They run at 5 am because it’s the only time they can. Medical practices, particularly primary care providers, spend an inordinate amount of time and money attempting to get health insurance companies to actually pay them what they owe them. Your quick, throwaway comment is frustrating to the many physicians who would love to not have to endure the schedules that they do in order to simultaneously provide good patient care and satisfy the health insurance industry’s increasing demands.

  2. I’m sorry, but if someone can undergo the grueling (and often absurd) demands of medical school and beyond, they can run a practice better. Back-to-back scheduling means that any minor issue, let alone an emergency, makes all other appointments late. Doctors are notorious for keeping patients waiting or paying them short shrift. Health care isn’t merely about diagnosis and prescription, it’s about empathy and behavior change.

    My primary care doctor is superb. He takes what time is needed, is almost always on time, and makes sure I fully understand what’s going on. If doctors are so oppressed, then they ought to do something about it. But hearing a doctor who controls aspects of my health complain that “the system” is killing him or her sends me up a wall.

    I admire everyone in nursing, medicine, and health care trying to add to the quality of our lives. I don’t admire whiners. Back-to-back scheduling and cursory attention at a doctor’s office is unacceptable because our time is as important as the doctor’s time. The notion that we’re waiting to pay obeisance to some god is infuriating.

    No one has put a gun to someone’s head forcing them into medicine. My health should be improved by my doctors. Their problems shouldn’t be foist onto me if I’m paying them. Apparently, I’ve struck a nerve. Alas, physician heal thyself (and thy career).

  3. The problem with trying to improve the situation, is that people go to great lengths justifying why it is happening. This pessimistic attitude will seldom get them out of their situation. Instead of focusing on current problems, one should put the ego aside, accept criticism and put effort into finding solutions. A good mindset, in my opinion, is to look at the road ahead and not into the rear-view mirror.

  4. Coincidentally, I just recently finished “The Art of the Examination” by Barry Polansky, a book written by a dentist for other dentists. I don’t claim to know the first thing about teeth, but this is an excellent book that talks about just this very aspect of medicine in general. You don’t have to be a doctor to understand that your professional services aren’t just about the professional as much as about the clients or patients you serve. A great read for anyone inside or out of the medical field.

  5. I’ve had three consultants to the dental profession in my Mentor Program, and they all make their money by improving the “front” of the operation and the “back room,” as well as freeing up the dentist’s time. My own dentist’s office right now often forgets to schedule my next appointments and checkups. These people learn medicine or dentistry, but no one teaches them business.

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