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5 Ways to Have Strength for the Dental Journey

A recurring theme that keeps presenting itself to me lately, is whatever we choose to do for a living, it is going to be a marathon rather than a sprint. In that vein, there are several things that we can do to prepare for the journey that is the life of our dental career. I meet dentists constantly and I will argue strenuously with anyone that the people that I meet are some of the kindest, most caring, skilled, intelligent folks on our planet. Sometimes, that’s exactly what gets us into trouble. While there is no such thing as “too nice”, there is something that we do not have: the proper boundaries and principles set up in our practices to effectively operate a business.

1. Focus on the victories rather than the losses.

Many times we get to the end of a day and there could be 25 happy patients that walked out the door and one that was upset by something (often for no good reason). If we choose (and it is definitely a choice) to let the one negative outweigh the rest of the positives, we will eventually become paranoid and discontent. Our focus is what defines our experience. If there is anything to address, do it, and move on quickly and don’t look back. There is no way to let the losses build up in our minds and the victories to be overshadowed and keep a healthy, sane mind! It’s just not possible. Pat your team on the back and lead them in this direction as well. Your reaction will determine theirs, just as a toddler that falls down and gets a “you’re alright” has a smaller reaction than one that gets a parent that makes a big deal out of a small event.

2. How well would you function without the team members that you have and how can we appreciate them daily for what they do for us?

A true leader guides by example and if we show up for work even one day without our best attitude, it WILL trickle down to our team. Our team members work extremely hard and if we have a frustrating day, how it is handled will define how our team views us. It’s fine to share a struggle that you have with those that work for you, but don’t lay that burden on others if it’s not necessary. We have a rule in our practice that you don’t bring a problem to anyone on the team unless you have thought it through and come to the table with at least 3 possible solutions. Then you don’t simply dump a problem on another team member, including the doctor, but you are a part of the solution. Always strive to be a leader that is on the solution side.

3. Do whatever it takes to maintain the passion for what you do

Almost any profession or job can become mundane if we forget to take the time to re-invent and re-invigorate. Be certain to surround yourself with positive people and be vigilant about who you let into your circle of influence. Remember to sign up for a few conferences in those areas that pique your curiosity. Don’t do it simply to satisfy CE requirements, but because you are interested to learn something new. If you can’t think of anything that interests or excites you, it might be time to do some serious soul-searching or see your doctor. It is not a sign of weakness to go to a meeting that will renew your passion for dentistry, it is absolutely necessary. If you have lost the passion, remember that what we do for our patients, when done well, can be life-changing. When we give a patient a new, beautiful smile or restorations that help them to chew the food that they have been missing, it is much more meaningful than we sometimes imagine. While patients don’t always express it, they DO appreciate what we do for them. We have the ability to change lives; and that alone should get us happily out of bed in the morning. I also can not stress enough that connecting with like minded/positive/supportive colleagues, since during times of ‘lost passion’ support is so important.

4. Resolve to do your very best and let that be good enough.

This is a big one with our profession. We are extremely conscientious individuals who strive for perfection. Even though we know that the work we do is going into a mouth that only the Lord knows what goes on in there! We still assume that the work that WE do will never fail. Don’t saddle yourself with the “perfection syndrome”. Ask yourself if you have truly done your best and if the answer is “yes”, move on! I love it that we have highly evolved consciences, but it can lead to a lot of self-doubt and other consequences if left to run amuck.

5. What would you be grateful for today if you woke up tomorrow and that’s all you had?

Someone told me this recently and it really hit home. How many things in our life do we take for granted every day? Whom (and what) would we truly miss if we woke up tomorrow and they were gone? Take time every day to express the gratitude that you have for the people and things in your life that matter most. Sure, there are days that I would prefer to get up and NOT go to work, but I am grateful every day that I have a wonderful job. I would hugely miss what I do if it did not exist tomorrow or I was unable to help the people that I am able to help.

The privilege of being called doctor is not one that we take lightly, but it can become mundane. Never forget that training for the marathon that is our career life requires persistence and nurturing. Keep yourself on the right path and the rewards are immeasurable and extremely gratifying.

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    Health fitness

    January 3, 2012

  • […] 5 Ways To Have Strength For The Dental Journey by Steffany Mohan, […]

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