Believe in Your Ideas. Believe in Yourself. 

September 6, 2022 Bill Davis

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” — Napoleon Hill

When L.D. Pankey was developing his Philosophy, he studied with many early American business authors and teachers. One such person was Napoleon Hill (1883 -1970). In 1937 Hill published a bestselling book, “Think and Grow Rich” which emphasized a positive attitude and having good communication skills.

Every innovation, every invention, every work of art begins with an idea. Long before the Wright brothers ever flew, Leonardo Da Vinci had sketched and designed an aircraft. Da Vinci conceived of mechanized flight, but the Wright brothers believed it was possible, acted on that belief, and thus achieved flight. Likewise, in 1929 L.D. Pankey had the idea that teeth could and should be saved, although at first, he didn’t know how.

L.D. Pankey’s belief that teeth could be saved was so strong it motivated him to do some research, study what was known at that time, and do the experimentation necessary to make his idea a reality. Belief in himself and his idea helped him persist despite some uncertainty, blind alleys, and many other frustrations.

There is an old Chinese saying, “If you do not know where you are going, you are likely to end up somewhere.” Too many people end up “somewhere” because they have not clearly defined where they want to go. The first step in moving toward greater satisfaction, therefore, is to set specific goals.

Vague goals such as “I’d like to be a better dentist” or “I’d like to be happier” or “I’d like to make more money” are common. Be more specific, for example:

  • I would like to learn about implant placement.
  • I want to have more fun with my children.
  • I want to earn 15% more this year.”

Then, be even more specific and set definite time frames so you can measure your progress:

  • I would like to begin training in implant placement this coming September and be placing implants successfully in June. Tomorrow I will begin by investigating continuing education programs in the science of implants.
  • I would like to have more fun with my children. At dinner tonight I will ask my children about ideas for fun activities, and we will start by doing one of the activities each week.
  • I would like to increase my income by 15% this year. I will meet with my accountant and a dental practice coach this month to look at ways to increase my profitability. I will also do some reading in practice management.

Once you have conceived your ideas, you must believe it is possible to achieve them. Without the power of belief, you will not take them seriously; nor are you likely to weather the many setbacks and frustrations that will probably come.

Related Course

E1: Aesthetic & Functional Treatment Planning

DATE: May 1 2025 @ 8:00 am - May 4 2025 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 39

Dentist Tuition: $ 6800

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (Per Night): $ 345

Transform your experience of practicing dentistry, increase predictability, profitability and fulfillment. The Essentials Series is the Key, and Aesthetic and Functional Treatment Planning is where your journey begins.  Following a system of…

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About Author

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Bill Davis

William J. Davis DDS, MS is practicing dentist and a Professor at the University of Toledo in the College Of Medicine. He has been directing a hospital based General Practice Residency for past 40 years. Formal education at Marquette, Sloan Kettering Michigan, the Pankey Institute and Northwestern. In 1987 he co-authored a book with Dr. L.D. Pankey, “A Philosophy of the Practice of Dentistry”. Bill has been married to his wife, Pamela, for 50 years. They have three adult sons and four grandchildren. When not practicing dentistry he teaches flying.

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Hard Skills/Soft Skills Part 2

February 10, 2020 North Shetter DDS

In Part 1, I discussed combining Hard Skills and Soft Skills to wisely and intentionally produce the best outcomes. Soft skills are necessary to establish rapport, work with emotional intelligence, listen actively, and do outcomes based thinking. Hard skills are necessary to produce excellent clinical results. 

In Part 2, I would like you to consider there is no single specific thing that will differentiate your practice and make it successful. Our work life and personal life are based on balance. Whether you use the Pankey model of Work, Play, Love and Worship or Stephen Covey’s model, balance is the key.   

As a professional, there is an expectation among your clients and peers that you and those around you will own and maintain excellence in the hard skills of your callingbut the aforementioned soft skills are also essential. Our family, clients, and staff also deserve to be part of the other three parts of the cross of life. For example: 

  • Pre-block days off in the schedule just like you book productive time at work. Your most productive time will be when you come back to work after a vacation.  
  • Take the staff to a Study Club event for fun.  
  • Support your staff having a volleyball team just like you support your kids’ soccer team.  
  • Be respectful of personal events in your employee’s family lives. Support from you when times are tough will be repaid many times over.   
  • Whether formally or in private take time to be thankful for the blessing of your family, your career and those who trust and support you.   

James Allen, in his book As A Man Thinketh, emphasized the incredible power of positive attitude and abundance thinking. When we find our staff doing something good and we compliment them, there is ten times the power of “constructive criticism.” When we hear laughter in the office, it is a good thing. Stress is lower among happy people. When we take time to train staff to take intra-oral photos and then trust them to do it right, we are all winners.   

The leader in your life and practice is you. Think deeply about the life you want to live and how that will affect those around you. When you learn to see the glass of life as half full and not half empty, you are making progress. When you then are willing to share your glass with others, you are ready for success. 

Related Course

E1: Aesthetic & Functional Treatment Planning

DATE: August 21 2025 @ 8:00 am - August 24 2025 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 39

Dentist Tuition: $ 6800

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (Per Night): $ 345

Transform your experience of practicing dentistry, increase predictability, profitability and fulfillment. The Essentials Series is the Key, and Aesthetic and Functional Treatment Planning is where your journey begins.  Following a system of…

Learn More>

About Author

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North Shetter DDS

Dr Shetter attended the University of Detroit Mercy where he received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1972. He then entered the U. S. Army and provided dental care at Ft Bragg, NC for the 82nd Airborne and Special Forces. In late 1975 he and his wife Jan moved to Menominee, MI and began private practice. He now is the senior doctor in a three doctor small group practice. Dr. Shetter has studied extensively at the Pankey Institute, been co-director of a Seattle Study Club branch in Green Bay WI where he has been a mentor to several dental offices. He has been a speaker for the Seattle Study Club. He has postgraduate training in orthodontics, implant restorative procedures, sedation and sleep disordered breathing. His practice is focused on fee for service, outcomes based dentistry. Marina Cove Consulting LLC is his effort to help other dentists discover emotional and economic success and deliver the highest standard of care they are capable of.

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Hard Skills/Soft Skills Part 1

February 6, 2020 North Shetter DDS

There have been numerous articles lately about the growing importance of “soft skills” (behaviorally adept process) in the development of a successful dental practice. Where have these writers been living for the past forty years?  

In the early 1980’s one of the key points of The Pankey Institute Continuum courses was the proper balance of skills at work and in life. L.D. Pankey learned that from studying the Greek philosophers. L.D. often said, “You can’t deliver what you don’t have on the shelf.” He was talking about more than occlusion and crown margins. He was talking about the ability to understand and work with our family, clients and our staff. So, what is more important – Hard Skills or Soft Skills? 

Hard Skills/Soft Skills Combination 

Over the course of my career, we have been blessed with a myriad of technical breakthroughs. Does anyone remember the joys and frustrations of early composites like AdapticToday the strength, color, and marginal integrity of resin restoratives gives us the ability to do dentistry we never imagined in 1976. Our diagnostic and imaging tools have made life better by being both user-friendly and patient-friendly. We have implants that really work, bone regeneration, and much more.   

This generates some hard questions. Are we as a professional staying current and taking advantage of these breakthroughs? Are we doing a thorough diagnosis and comprehensive treatment plan on all our clients? Are we taking the time to understand the outcomes desired by our patients and then educating them on the options that exist today? These are Hard Skills/Soft Skills combinations. Well managed, they will make any practice “special” in the eyes of clients new and old. 

We do not have to be able to provide all the technical aspects of our profession.  We should, however, know about them and be able to understand where they might be used to our client’s advantage. We must then be able to educate our clients about the potential value of a service and know where to send them to have it delivered with care and quality should they choose to do so.   

If you own a CEREC unit does that mean you will never again do a cast gold onlay? Truly mastering the capacity of your CEREC is a daunting task. It is a hard skill you can be proud of. However, if your practice begins to revolve around only Emax restorations you have missed the point. Your clients deserve a comprehensive exam and diagnosis. Their treatment plan should be based on the whole field of dentistry and the outcomes that they desire at this point in time. This is a hard skill and soft skill combination. 

A Balance 

If you and your staff develop the soft skills necessary to establish rapport, work with emotional intelligence, listen actively, and do outcomes based on thinking, then delivering the hard skills with excellence will be easier and more fun.  

Related Course

E3: Restorative Integration of Form & Function

DATE: October 5 2025 @ 8:00 am - October 9 2025 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 41

Dentist Tuition: $ 7400

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 345

Understanding that “form follows function” is critical for knowing how to blend what looks good with what predictably functions well. E3 is the phase of your Essentials journey in which…

Learn More>

About Author

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North Shetter DDS

Dr Shetter attended the University of Detroit Mercy where he received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1972. He then entered the U. S. Army and provided dental care at Ft Bragg, NC for the 82nd Airborne and Special Forces. In late 1975 he and his wife Jan moved to Menominee, MI and began private practice. He now is the senior doctor in a three doctor small group practice. Dr. Shetter has studied extensively at the Pankey Institute, been co-director of a Seattle Study Club branch in Green Bay WI where he has been a mentor to several dental offices. He has been a speaker for the Seattle Study Club. He has postgraduate training in orthodontics, implant restorative procedures, sedation and sleep disordered breathing. His practice is focused on fee for service, outcomes based dentistry. Marina Cove Consulting LLC is his effort to help other dentists discover emotional and economic success and deliver the highest standard of care they are capable of.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

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I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR