Chapter 26: Putting It All Into Perspective
Right now, you are understandably focused on building your dentistry business, and that’s okay. That is what you have been working toward for many years. But, you need to realize that having a satisfying life will take more than getting more patients or bringing in more revenue. You need to learn to feel as comfortable with taking time away from work as you do in pouring effort into your business. And, you deserve it. You deserve some consideration, too. When you have a balanced perspective on your life in and out of the office, you will reap the rewards you have worked so hard to acquire.
Why You Matter Most
If you are like many people who enter the dentistry profession, you tend to focus on the needs of others. You might constantly question yourself about what you can do to make your business better. What do your patients and employees need from you? What can you do to make life easier for them? How can you, single-handedly, create an office environment where not only your business will thrive but patients and employees will also thrive within it? What can you do to educate your patients better and train your employees to handle their tasks more confidently? In your mind, your whole dental business might be all about others.
Yet, you need to realize that you are just as important as anyone else. In fact, in terms of your dental business, you are more important. After all, it is you who make the business possible, you who provide a paycheck for your employees and you who make the business decisions to help your dental clinic thrive. Without you, things would be very different, and another dentist would have to fill the vacuum your absence would leave in the lives of your employees and patients.
Besides your position as leader (or co-leader if you are in a group or partnership practice), there is another point to consider. You are the most important person there is to yourself. Anyone else in your life can leave you behind at any time. No relationship is guaranteed to last forever. Marriages end, older family members die, and younger family members tend to move away from home. In the end, you are the only person on earth you can truly count on to take care of you. Therefore, you have to do that taking care every day. It is not only your job to do it, but it can be a source of great joy and pride in your own accomplishments. Certainly, you should be open to receiving help that is available. But, the bottom line is that no one can take care of your interests in the same way you can.
You Can Treat Yourself Well Without Failing Your Patients
There seems to be a myth among healthcare professionals that says you have to abuse your health to take care of other people’s health. Doctors and dentists routinely work long hours, regardless of how physically exhausted or emotionally drained they might become. This myth also says that treating yourself well causes you to fail your patients when they need you. And, the myth couldn’t be further from the truth.
In reality, you can only have energy, stamina and intellect to share with your patients and staff if you build up your physical and emotional reserves. This means doing things that make you happy, taking time off regularly to relax and unwind, enjoying off-work activities and spending precious time with your loved ones.
Go Beyond Conventional Wisdom
Conventional wisdom says a doctor should be a workaholic, manically focused on treating patients. Do you buy into that myth? If so, you still have a lot to learn about the dental profession. As a new dentist, you may need to remind yourself that there is life outside the office. If so, then take a moment to get in touch with that reality., Then, get out in the world and enjoy your life! Have the family life that makes you feel fulfilled and happy! Do what you want to do and go where you want to go, if only occasionally! You can contribute great things to your world, but that same world can also contribute to your personal enjoyment of life. Your dental practice is your anchor in the world. Now, develop your wings so you can live a full and balanced life from day one of your practice. You will never regret it!