In the words of Aerosmith...I'm back in the saddle again! It's good to be back after a nice summer sabbatical. I needed it (see paragraph #2).

   I last left you with "Against All Odds: A Marathon Journey." I was incredibly humbled and grateful for the feedback, prayers, and well wishes for Leah and our family. 2,200 views from all over the world. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who read it. As an update, Leah is doing very well and she and Tony are excited to celebrate Jackson's first birthday later this month!

   It's hard to believe it has been a year since, A Labor of Love. So much as changed in one revolution around the sun. In the past twelve months, I've experienced our family tree grow with four new cousins. Our office family has also grown too! We welcomed Tori to the team as our office manager and also Lindsey's second child- Kase Frank. As is the circle of life, at 98 years, our grandfather (Jiddo) passed away. We continue to live his dream and carry on his legacy. Following in Jiddo's adventurous spirit, I traveled to Maryland's Gap, Arizona's deserts, Hawaii's jungles and beaches, Colorado's snow capped peaks, Philly's Bell, Chicago's Bean and Ohio's everything in between. I trained for and completed my first marathon. I waded through and leaned on faith for some very personal family health issues and scares. I read (ok listened) to many books, wrote eight blog posts and a few editorials for various publications. I even started writing my first book. I watched my second residency class graduate. I lost some hearing at a few concerts and attended a few plays. I cheered for all of my teams whether they were undefeated or 0-16. I even said goodbye to Lebron and my 2003 Ford Taurus. Shannon and I celebrated our fourth anniversary and I entered my third decade. I also began assuming many more administrative responsibilities in our office. Needless to say, my life has changed quite a bit over the past 365 days.

   We all want to shut it down sometimes, but I physically need to be able to reset. I have been cursed and gifted with migraines. Like everyone else, my body has a fuel gauge. If I over stress, travel too much, don't sleep enough or act like I'm twenty for two days in a row my tank reaches the proverbial "E." Subsequently, pervasive percussions begin in my left temple or behind my left eye. If I've really overdone it, the pain crosses over like Columbus crossed the ocean blue, and can often last for days. Migraines have become a recurring "check" in my life. I call them a gift because at least my body has a warning signal for an unhealthy amount of stress. I need it because a full life and my profession breed stress.  This summer, my migraines were becoming more consistent (see paragraph two) and I was brushing it off as a sign of the times. Finally, the "times" gave me a sign. It had been there for over two years. Every morning I would walk by a counter top in our office hallway and would see a red and white book displayed neatly in the corner. It was Simon Sinek's Start with Why

Image result for apple innovation   It is fascinating that "self-help" books have a negative connotation. What kind of world do we live in where people who are taking the initiative to reduce/manage their stress levels and further themselves get ridiculed? I love "self-help" books, especially the topic of leadership- chalk it up to my Eagle Scout days. These books give you new ideas, tools, perspectives, and champion introspection. For how can one lead another if they do not even know themselves. Start with Why is predicated on the following sequence. For the majority of us, we mistakenly place our "what" and "how" over our "why." Every organization or individual knows what they do and how they do it. As an example in the business world and paraphrasing Simon, we don't buy Apple computers because of their what and how. WHAT they do is make high quality computers. A beautiful design and a simple, user friendly interface is HOW they make computers. However, so does Dell, HP, IBM etc. The reason we buy Apple is because of Apple's uncanny ability to communicate their WHY FIRST. Apple says that in everything we do we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. How we do this is with a beautiful design and a simple, user interface. What we make are high quality computers. It is because an individual believes in Apple's why that they buy, not just their computers, but their mp3 players, phones, tv etc.

   Certainly, Start with Why was not to be read with just a business lens. More importantly, it was meant to be read on a personal level. One revelation that occurred to me while reading Start with Why was that my whats and hows were consuming me. They were the vast majority of my stressors and my increasing migraines this summer were the result. It was that "aha" moment: I drifted too far from my why in the hustle and bustle of life. What I was feeling, Simon wonderfully sums up by quoting Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism. "If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present." Wise words from a man who lived 2,500 years ago.

Our lives can be a confluence of conundrums. Surely, in our insatiable world today, we can go from zero to sixty in nano seconds. Often we feel pulled in a million directions: faith, family, work, social life, personal goals, and even fantasy football. Our labors of love become more labors than love. We get so wrapped up with what happened last week or what we need to do next week. Our worlds expound as if they are chasing Hubble's ever-expanding universe. We need to remember that that we are, but a tiny cog in our communities, let alone the cosmos. This does not diminish our self value or worth, but shows where we need to focus our energies. We need to reel in our universe and center ourselves. Consequently, returning to our core grants the inner peace to go from sixty to zero, realigns us back to living in the present, and invites us to start again with our WHY.

Dr. George R. Williams is a general dentist at Williams Family Dental Group in Canton, Ohio. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Dentistry and Canton Mercy Medical Center General Practice Residency.  For questions or suggestions for blog posts, please feel free to contact him at drgrw@williamsdentalgroup.com



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