Our practices and lives are works-in-process, and we have a choice with regard to how much we want to guide, lead, influence, and propagate that which we create.
Setting values-driven goals, and then focusing on their attainment is the best way to achieve all of the above. Below are five “cultural goals,” which are global in context, and which speak to the nature of your heart, and therefore can help you to transform your practice from just being just a place others visit, into a supportive community for healing, growth, and development of all participants.
- AUTHENTICITY: work hard at moving away from manipulating people toward an aim you have in mind for them, and instead lead them through your authentic personal power. Become the person others want to listen to -and follow – by speaking honestly, and non-judgmentally from your heart. This would include knowing when not to say a word…developing the self-disciple to wait for the ‘learning moment.’
- SELF-COMPASSION: As dentists, we are often our own worst critics. We see, magnified, every day where we fell short, or where we could have done better. And this happens repeatedly on both technical and interpersonal levels. Learn to accept your current state of imperfection, while remaining aware of how you can do better next time.
- GRATITUDE: We have all successfully climbed many mountains. We have all performed at exceptionally high levels through high school, college, and dental school. We can all do things with our hands and minds that very few people can understand, much-the-less do repeatedly at extremely high levels of technical competence day-in and day-out. Learn how to step back and give yourself a pat on the back – even when things aren’t going perfectly. And learn to be grateful for the opportunities you have been given and currently enjoy, as there are many.
- LISTEN TO YOURSELF: You have amazing intuitive capacities, most of which lie dormant behind executing day-to-day commitments and rather mindless routines. Learn to listen to that little voice inside which has great wisdom about yourself and how to creatively resolve some of the complex problems you are facing, instead of attempting to do the same things over and over and hoping for some magical change in outcome.
- CALMNESS: We live in an extremely over-stimulative culture where we are bombarded moment by moment with more information and situations than we can possibly process and toward which -appropriately respond. This can create an addiction to a lifestyle about which we think we need this overstimulation to feel worth while, when in fact the opposite is true. Living in the moment is where joy and satisfaction reside, and it is not possible to be ‘in the moment’ when our brain is going 100 miles an hour performing mindless tasks or consuming empty information. Learning to live in the moment is a counter-cultural thought, but if you can master it, you will never regret it.
- MISSIONAL WORK: Find a way to evolve your dental practice into being about a whole lot more than just teeth and money. Make it about helping people to help themselves. Become a facilitator of understanding, growth, and of increasing self-responsibility. And when you achieve this, you will never regret going to the office on Mondays again.
Paul A. Henny, DDS
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