Are you a “Yes” person?

Believe it or not, many of the most successful dentists are. Of course, when we talk about being a Yes Person, we’re definitely not talking about being a toady, someone who tries to curry favor by thoughtlessly agreeing with anything that’s said.

No, we’re talking about those leaders who are willing to say Yes to challenges. Your attitude towards life plays a huge role in determining both your personal fulfillment and your ultimate success. Being a naysayer not only alienates you from the people around you, it can undermine everything you do.

It can even affect your health: Researchers have found that having a sense of optimism—characterized by enthusiasm, hopefulness, engagement, and a sense of purpose—can be linked to a measurably reduced risk of heart attack and stroke.

Knowledge Is Only a Part

Before you became a dentist, you had to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to provide proper dental care. Knowledge is important, of course, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle: for long-term success, you’ll need more than what can learn in a classroom or lab. Fulfillment only comes through growth … and growth requires a specific attitude–a “yes” attitude, if you will.

A Yes Person is the one who routinely goes the extra mile for the benefit of others. Yes Persons are confident, committed, and open to new experiences. This gives them an advantage, both personally and professionally. When you view patients as opportunities to make a positive difference in  the world, you start to realize how relevant even the most menial tasks can be.

It All Comes Down to People

It’s a cruel irony that the more ways we have to communicate, the less we actually feel like anyone is listening. Television, billboards, web pages, social media … we’re bombarded with input on a moment-by-moment basis. We learn to tune it out in self-defense … but tuning out tends to leave us feeling isolated, unimportant, and unreal.

Folks have always sought a sympathetic ear from medical professionals, but now more than ever, patients want to be treated like people. They want to be heard. They come to you in trust, looking for both empathy and a solution.

The person who is sick or in pain (or worse, has a child or loved one in pain), that person wants relief right now; they’re not looking for an appointment in two weeks. Anyone–current patient or first-time caller–who comes to you with severe dental pain should hear the same response: “We’ll fit you in today.” When existing patients feel taken care of, they’ll talk you up to others; going out of your way for a new patient in need could earn you a customer for life.

Your Team Deserves Your Best

Developing a “Yes” mindset doesn’t apply just to patients: it should also extend to your team. Be approachable. Be reasonable. Be fair. Become the leader your people will turn to for encouragement and insight.

Your willingness to go above and beyond for everyone is one of the best ways to build trust with you team. They’ll feel more valuable, and will typically contribute more to the overall practice. Seeing you doing more than the minimum for both patients and employees will encourage them to do the same. Remember, saying yes is contagious, and helps encourage your staff to develop an open, positive, and mentally flexible attitude.

The Way to Truly Thrive

Becoming a Yes Person opens you up to recognizing opportunities and taking on new challenges. Sure, taking some chances can seem intimidating, but saying no–letting that intimidation dictate your choices–is the first step towards stagnation.

Entrepreneur and motivational speaker Gary Cardone is fond of saying that “Failure is not an option!” To take that one step further, the fear of failing isn’t really an option, either: by not moving outside of your comfort zone for fear of making a mistake, you’ve failed before you even start

Will you make mistakes along the way? Sure–that’s part of growth. But to truly experience success–to truly thrive–developing a Yes Person attitude is essential. And it can all start with one simple step:

Just Say Yes.