Stick with me - there's a business moral to this tale.
I mentioned briefly the other day my Personal Shopper experience with Alison at John Lewis in Cheadle, Cheshire.
I'm useless and picking my own clothes;
I really don't like shopping for clothes; it brings me out in a nervous sweat.
Which, I suppose, is why I rarely update my outfits until it's a necessity - and lockdown provided a golden opportunity to don the Under Armour track suits and forget the rest.
As I've already shared, eventually the feedback from family forced me to take action.
Having resigned myself to an unpleasant day of struggling in and out of high street shops and their fitting rooms, it was Annie who suggested "why not see a Personal Shopper?"
My initial incredulity was replaced by a sense of anticipation, tinged with fear, as she reached for her iPhone and booked online there and then for a visit over the Bank Holiday weekend.
On the day in question, Alison from John Lewis called my mobile first thing in the morning to introduce herself, and fact find me.
My "sizes" had already been posted online as part of the sign up, but Alison wanted to know more about me as a person - professionally and personally - to know more about my desired outcomes and the events that were triggering them.
(Is this all beginning to sound familiar?)
She was delighted to discover that my website had just been upgraded to include pictures from a recent photo shoot - so she was able to get the measure of me and my personality before I arrived.
The set time arrived and, as we descended the escalator to the men's floor, there she was, waiting to greet us.
Straight into a private consult room, where 4 complete outfits were already hung on the wall - all in my sizes of course and way beyond anything I would have the vision to pick for myself.
They didn't all make the cut - but 2.5 hours later I did emerge, a little poorer but armed with multiple combinations to see me well through the Autumn and Winter speaking and coaching season.
Most importantly - with a renewed sense of self confidence.
Goodbye tracksuit man - hello casual but professional business coach.
I have to tell you that, even in the 10 days or so since I returned home with all my goodies, it has made a big difference to me psychologically. I even attended a family birthday dinner last weekend to a chorus of "oohs" and "aahs" as I walked through the restaurant door.
So, what can we learn from this story?
If you are in a funk at work - plan a makeover;
If you are not an expert at a subject - hire one;
Make sure that the TCO experience that you deliver to potential new patients is as good as the Personal Shopper experience that Alison delivered to me;
Remember that Alison didn't ask me what type of clothes I wanted to wear - she asked me what I wanted to achieve and how I wanted to feel - outcomes;
Make sure that your patient experience is so remark-able that your patients want to tell their family, friends and colleagues about you.
I may well see you in the next few weeks at The Practice Plan Regional Workshops with Sarah Buxton or at The London Dentistry Show - I'll be the confident dresser. I can't wait.