The Personal Growth Paradox

Build your relationships first….then your dentistry. ~ Bob Barkley

The Personal Growth Paradox

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Jerry Seinfeld was discussing what it initially felt like to get married, which he described as a feeling of nervousness and helplessness, “like being strapped into a rollercoaster, headed to the top of the hill, where the marriage awaits!”

“It’s like any growth,” Seinfeld said, “you can’t really be ready for it. It’s new….you’re going to have a new life as a result…You’re going to be a new person.”

Jerry Seinfeld is right on this, we are never fully ready for growth in our personal and professional lives. We are never fully ready to start a practice, to hire a new team member, let another one go, start a marketing program, incorporate a new technique, or to experiment with better ways to facilitate learning with our patients.

Personal growth represents one of life’s many paradoxes; we are not ready to grow precisely because we need to grow, so we must start before we feel we are fully prepared for it.

Almost by definition, growth must be something which makes us feel unprepared and uncertain, because if the growth process was comfortable and easy, it wouldn’t be growth, it would be familiar and therefore a repeat of something we already know.

And it would be boring…

Nor would it move the needle.

There will never be a perfect time to do something which challenges and stretches us. And this will always be the case, so we need to get used to it feeling that way.

Starting a marriage? …A new and unknown level of interpersonal commitment.

Having your first child? …Lots of learning on-the-fly.

Choosing a new and more consciously purposeful direction for our practice? …Lots of unknowns on the front end.

This is not to say that growth should be a reckless process, particularly with regard to running a business and managing relationships. We must first explore our desires, intentions, and motivations. We need to think things through…but at some point we must embrace uncertainty because it is the only path forward.

We can never be ready for true growth, and that’s why it’s called “growth”. All we can do is step into it with everything we’ve got, and move forward toward the next uncertainty.

Paul A. Henny, DDS

Thought Experiments LLC, ©2017

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