The “First” Principle

November 14, 2019 Paul Henny DDS

I was recently rereading one of Avrom King’s essays and stumbled upon the deeply profound statement: “Fear and love cannot coexist; where there is one, there is the absence of the other.” 

I have discussed in the past that the central intention of L.D. Pankey’s interpretation of the phrase “quid pro quo,” was love.

And when I use love here, I am referencing M. Scott Peck’s definition: “The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.” 

Note, that this definition has a “quid”—the giving of the self, and it has a “quo”—the spiritual development. The “first” (the quid) begets the reward (the quo).  

Dr. Pankey famously demonstrated this “first principle when he elected to not quote a fee at the beginning of his treatment process, and then at the end of it, asked the person to pay him based on their perceived value of what he had done for them. Think about that for a moment, because to act in that fashion requires a tremendous amount of courage and self-confidence.  

Do you think that you could ever get to a place in your life where you could act in a similar fashionto give freely of yourself in the very best ways possible, and then risk the possibility that the receiver of that gift might not appreciate everything you have done for them on an appropriate level? 

There is only one reason why Dr. Pankey could do this. He had an attitude of abundance which radiated through everything that he did. And as a result, others believed in him and followed his leadership to discover a better place for themselves. In other words, Dr. Pankey’s love for others led to their spiritual development, which then led to him being appropriately compensated. 

I am not suggesting here that you should stop quoting fees to your patients. I think most people need to know fees (or at least fee ranges) to be able to successfully manage their personal budgets, but I am suggesting that you learn how to give generously on the front end of your relationships with people without an expectation beyond appreciationbecause if you can’t earn their appreciation, you can’t really earn your fee. 

Now, back to the Avrom King quote. “Fear and love cannot coexist; where there is one, there is the absence of the other.” You can’t successfully take this risk, unless youlike Dr. Pankeypossess an abundant mindset, so are therefore capable of loving (in the M. Scott Peck senseyour patients? 

That capacity comes from within. We can’t facilitate growth and development in others without simultaneously facilitating it in ourselves. 

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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…

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Paul Henny DDS

Dr. Paul Henny maintains an esthetically-focused restorative practice in Roanoke, Virginia. Additionally, he has been a national speaker in dentistry, a visiting faculty member of the Pankey Institute, and visiting lecturer at the Jefferson College or Health Sciences. Dr. Henny has been a member of the Roanoke Valley Dental Society, The Academy of General Dentistry, The American College of Oral Implantology, The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantology. He is Past President and co-founder of the Robert F. Barkley Dental Study Club.

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Quid Pro Quo

June 12, 2019 Paul Henny DDS

Like many aspiring students on a track toward dental school, I studied Latin with the hope that someday my understanding of Latin root word forms would translate into a greater value to me as a dentist.

That day never really came as an obvious epiphany, but rather as thousands of subtle moments later while reading, listening, or learning.

Not Your Standard Definition…

And it also came the day when that I started to attend The Pankey Institute and saw the tag line was “quid pro quo,” and it confused me. It confused me because all standard definitions of quid pro quo sound transactional – something is given or taken in return for something else, so it did not line up with the Institute’s preferred definition: “Give before receiving,” which has a much different tone…a much different intention.

Even today, due to my Latin training when I see “quid pro quo,” I have to stop myself and insert the Pankey definition when thinking about my profession. And I would argue that it is deeply important that we all do so, because viewing dentistry primarily as a transactional business is to devalue it down to a highly skilled trade. And this totally neglects the spiritual and more holistic aspects of our work which are the true source of joy, fulfillment, and meaning over long careers – a lesson Dr. Pankey routinely taught.

The Pankey Institute’s definition of quid pro quo is more aligned with words like Scott Peck’s “love” (selflessly giving to another with the sole agenda of helping them to grow and to become healthier and more fully functioning). The Institute’s definition is more aligned with trust and investing…investing in the sense that we believe that if we selflessly facilitate in others’ greater self-knowledge, self-understanding, and personal empowerment, they will reciprocate by gifting us an opportunity to help them achieve their goals.

What is the quid? What is the quo?

In other words, we offer our true and sincere caring as the “quid,” and if done in the right way, at the right time, with the right person we get the “quo” in return, as a reward experienced as a new trusting and deeply helpful relationship which yields respect, admiration, and appreciation in an ongoing fashion.

We get emotional confirmation in return. As dentists serving patients in our professional capacity, we get proper financial compensation in return as a SYMBOL of how much the person values the relationship and what it has brought into their life.

“Because I care.”

In a recent sermon, our minister said: “The summons for us as people of God…those who are called to be full of compassion, mercy, and love, is to live in such a way that people ask ‘Why’? Why do you feed me? Why do you clothe me? Why do you visit me when I am sick? Why do you do these things for me? And our response will be, simply, because I care…because I love you.”

Quid pro quo…THAT is what it means to me.

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About Author

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Paul Henny DDS

Dr. Paul Henny maintains an esthetically-focused restorative practice in Roanoke, Virginia. Additionally, he has been a national speaker in dentistry, a visiting faculty member of the Pankey Institute, and visiting lecturer at the Jefferson College or Health Sciences. Dr. Henny has been a member of the Roanoke Valley Dental Society, The Academy of General Dentistry, The American College of Oral Implantology, The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantology. He is Past President and co-founder of the Robert F. Barkley Dental Study Club.

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