In the first of a new column, Bhavin Bhatt explains how he broke through the Invisalign glass ceiling.
One of the highlights of the past year has been becoming the first GDP to upgrade from Platinum Elite to Diamond Apex in 2021 (or so I have been told).
This means starting over 150 Invisalign cases in under six months.
I became Diamond Tier two within four weeks (200+ cases).
I wanted to share my journey in becoming a Diamond Apex provider. There are also many parallels with the four-minute mile.
I believe we will now see a batch of dental associates join me in the Diamond Club.
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Diamond Apex provider
Becoming Diamond Apex was always a dream for me, as it may be for many of you.
However, as a dental associate working in a mixed dental practice in east London, with two Diamond Providers within a five-minute drive, I did not believe it would ever happen.
‘Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die’ – David Crowder.
I love this quote – but I realised, there is a price to pay and sacrifices that need making. But the rewards are so worth it.
Once the myth is broken (just like the myth that man could not run the mile in under four minutes) the stigma of becoming Diamond is no longer so daunting.
More than 20,000 people have run the mile in under four minutes after Roger Banister broke the ceiling.
It takes one person to prove to the rest that they can do it.
Follow your dreams and convictions. Believe in yourself and your ability, irrespective of your life circumstances and situation.
It would have been easy to accept Diamond Apex was beyond me. With an orthodontist within five minutes charging £3,100 for Invisalign, Vivera, whitening and fixed if needed, and a well-established GDP who is also Diamond completing over 1,000 cases – it would have been easy to give up in such a saturated market.
But I stuck with it.
‘The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes’ – Benjamin Disraeli.
Due to RSI and flexor tendonitis in my right hand, my poor health forced me to incorporate remote and virtual workflows even before lockdown.
This gave me a unique insight and a competitive edge above the rest.
Whilst lockdown signalled an acceptance of digital and remote workflow, becoming Diamond Apex was now becoming a reality. I was the right guy in the right place at the right time who saw the right opportunity.
I was able to succeed as I believed in the new shift in society due to Covid-19. And I saw the opportunity to use slick and efficient workflows to scale and grow.
Growth brings more challenges and opportunities than just quick wins. Patience is the key.
Health issues forced me to have multiple sabbaticals. It presented opportunities to learn and grow in non clinical fields.
These opportunities also helped me to utilise growth strategies and tips that I call the three Ps and three Es to grow, which I will share with you.
The three Ps
- Perseverance – 2020 taught us that there is so much that we cannot control. All we can therefore do is persevere on activities that increase the probability of winning and focus less on external events beyond our control
- Patience – in a world of instant gratification playing the long game is hard. Only by studying the lives of great people like Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi do we see how the guys that played the long game win. Inspirational figures from history keep their focus on the goal
- Positive outlook – pioneers and great characters always thrive with an abundance and a growth based mindset irrespective of their circumstances. This was critical to enable a ‘thrive’ mindset.
The three Es
- Emotional element – dentistry can often diminish our emotional element. Remaining aware of the predominant emotions and thoughts in our minds helps us to remedy and rectify. Then we can maintain productivity and keep focused on the goal
- Environment – I often find that I have to unfollow certain people on social media. Stop going into certain groups or avoid certain topics. This ‘environment’ would detract my energy from the critical tasks. ‘Element/environment/energy’ will turn productivity into activity (productivity is where the growth is). Therefore, surround yourself with people with similar goals and aspirations
- Energy – growth brings multiple challenges. As an associate (where I cannot control/impact hiring/firing etc), I am more prone to challenges. Focusing on how and where I spend my energy, with a focus on sleep, nutrition and meditation helped to bridge the gap and keep me growing.
Roger Banister moment
I call this my Roger Banister moment. I am a dental associate in his mid 40s, I do not have a personal instagram account on a business to consumer model.
The dental practice where I work has less than 1,000 instagram followers. We do not have a huge referral base for orthodontics.
And I work in the most competitive and commoditised city for Invisalign in the world, with two Diamond providers within five minutes of our proximity.
Lots of reasons therefore to fail in my quest to reach Diamond Apex.
But what I do have is a great principal who saw my vision and helped, motivated and gave me the tools to make my vision a possibility.
On this journey we realised the goal was to make the workflow easy, simple, and predictable. All we therefore had to do was to focus on:
- People – giving the right people the right system and training
- Systems – we have to upgrade, and evolve our Invisalign journey in a clinical and non clinical sense
- Technology – understand what technology to use. That makes life easier and more efficient, as well as simplifies the patient journey.
Re-igniting the passion for dentistry
My hope and dream is that we see a surge of colleagues embracing a digital-remote and virtual workflow. This workflow has re-ignited my passion and love for dentistry and given me freedom, flexibility and the finances that I have always wanted.
This year promises to offer incredible opportunities for those who believe the ceiling is shattered now that I am Diamond Apex and those with courage and conviction will thrive.
‘Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts’ – Winston Churchill.
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