As I write this piece, I am sitting on an airplane homeward bound after a 12 day “sabbatical” from New York and clinical practice.
The first leg of my trip was to San Antonio, Texas where I attended the annual meeting of AADPA (American Academy of Dental Practice Administration). Essentially, this is a four-day conference dedicated to raising the awareness of its members in pursuit of excellence without necessarily talking about the clinical dentistry (though there is always time set aside to discuss emerging technology). Business leaders, psychologists, futurists are among the invited lecturers. There are also a variety of motivational speakers who discuss a wide range of topics designed to inspire introspection and personal growth.
Such topics include the art of listening and healing, the essential qualities of leadership, how to embrace change as a growth experience, how to live a balanced life….
In the past I have heard some truly remarkable people share their insights: Rabbi Harold Kushner (Why Bad Things Happen To Good People and When All You Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough), Steven Covey (Seven Habits of Highly Successful People), John Izzo (Second Innocence: Rediscovering Joy and Wonder), and Mark Hansen and Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup For The Soul). To hear their eloquence, to feel the power of their words, to see an audience of professionals moved to tears, is akin to experiencing an epiphany.
One of the most empowering speakers this year was Chad Hymas who at age 27 tragically broke his neck and was left a quadriplegic. With two small children and a wife, his was a tale of overcoming unimaginable and overwhelming obstacles. His personal triumphs are a testament of sheer determination spurred by the unrelenting tough love of his father. His message: “If I can cope with the challenges I face each and every day (dressing, bathing being an involved husband and father), what’s your excuse?”
Chad has over 100 speaking engagements a year throughout the country and travels alone confined to a wheelchair with limited use of his hands. In fact the day after he spoke to us, he was travelling to Africa to speak before an audience of 10,000. WOW!
So after four days of meetings from 7am-4:30pm, I left San Antonio for Vail, Colorado for six days of skiing with my wife in the beautiful awe-inspiring vistas of the Rocky Mountains. What a wonderful setting to take a time-out and cogitate over what I had just experienced, and to recognize and appreciate how wonderful life truly is.
I count my blessings and am truly thankful.
I return to New York renewed in spirit and rested in mind and body (rubber legs not withstanding!).