Getting to “NO”

Build your relationships first….then your dentistry. ~ Bob Barkley

Getting to “NO”

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When a person consistently behaves in a fashion which is in alignment with their core values, and we also agree with those core values, we label it ‘personal integrity’.

But notice what I have done here, I have added “and we also agree”, in other words, we come into every situation and every new relationship, with a bias – our own.

But what if we are unfamiliar with OUR bias? Then we tend to see the world and others through a distorted lens – we fail to make the mental corrections critically necessary for discovering the truth.

If we listen to another person with our ears and from our perspective, we get OUR reality- and not theirs. We get what we think they think. We get what we think they feel. We guess. We project. We conflate. And we then start to function off of assumptions and not facts. And that can easily lead to confusion and conflicts.

Living with integrity is also commonly called, “living authentically”, which perhaps is good for us, but may or may not be good for others.


Because what if the person does not share our values? What if the person does not share our priorities? What if they function from a mental paradigm which is so different from our own, that we can hardly agree on what the most basic observations mean?

All of this is why L. D. Pankey repeated over and over, “Know yourself”, Know your patient”, because knowing ourself allows us to take the blinders off, and better see who the patient is -and what they are truly seeking.

And if we do not know ourselves, we cannot easily discern if what the patient is seeking is what we can (or are willing) to help them with. Because if we are living with integrity, we must also have red lines we will not cross, and therefore we will have patients we cannot help because doing so will violate who we are. And repeatedly violating who we are inside isn’t good for us or anyone around us.

Consequently, living with integrity requires us to lovingly say “no” – the most liberating word in all of our vocabulary. And “getting to “no” clears the way for us to be able to say “yes” more often with the right people.

Paul A. Henny,DDS

Thought Experiments LLC, ©2018


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