Life lessons learned from the greatest profession. Dentistry.
“Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside. Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.”
Mom woke me with a gentle kiss on the cheek. It was late, and not unusual for her to come in the room to check on me after returning from a late night Amway rally.
The hallway light shone through the crack of the door as she excitedly placed a book on the table beside my bed.
“I brought you a book to read…”
“It’s Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman….you will like this!” she blurted excitedly...
“thanks Mom” I replied with groggy haste hoping she would just shut the door and leave.
Some of the greatest gifts my mother bestowed upon me as a teen were books like this (take note if you haven’t read!). These books have dominated and influenced my life dramatically. “Always do your best, what you sew now you will reap later…”
“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.”
My entire life I have continued to grow and learn from inspirational books and people.
Some of the greatest lessons learned, however, have come from you my friend.
This business in particular is chock full of people full of empathy, insight, professionalism. Sincere, altruistic people are rampant in dentistry. Offering professional treatment plans they would provide to their most loved family, and providing the high level of care and concern that makes their moms proud…..
These are the life lessons I have learned from the greatest profession, Dentistry
Continuous Improvement – Dentistry has a mandatory Continued education component. You inspire me! You took on the difficult task of learning your profession, and this learning never ceases. Many of you continue to challenge yourself and learn more complicated procedures. Apprentice with masters of the trade, and absorb all the knowledge as you continue to expand your skills.
Thankyou for teaching me about the value of continual improvement.
Integrity and honesty – Every person judges themselves to be honest with great integrity. My hope is that dentistry continues with great integrity and professionalism. As a profession, there is no room for anything but integrity and honesty. MOST professionals are VERY respectful of the opinion and skill of their colleagues. Going back to the “continual improvement” concept – there is a degree of modesty in this business. There is a reason that a complicated procedure is sent to a specialist, or maybe referred to a very skilled and respected colleague.
The degree of integrity and honesty means providing treatment plans that only benefit the patient. Treatment offered is the absolute best you can provide, and if this can also mean sending your patient to another dentist to complete a procedure.
This profession offers many opportunities to grow and expand services. Offering a larger menu of treatment through continued improvement of education and skill. Implants, orthodontics, surgery, laser, cosmetics…
Every improvement comes with a degree of self imposed integrity and honesty. The ability to provide the treatment doesn’t always make it right for the next patient.
Patience – There is no fast track to true success. Watching the young entrepreneurs that have already invested hundreds of thousands in education, turn around and invest another million or more in opening a business that they understand may take years to provide a return. They go in with the knowledge that there is a lot to learn (continual improvement) and only by approaching this business with integrity and honesty will they ever succeed. Dentistry is a lifetime of skill improvement that never ends. New materials, new techniques.
Building a strong following and loyal patient base not only requires the continual improvement, and the integrity and honesty. It requires time.
Relationship and Sincerity - Sincere intentions for the best outcomes of your patients leads to relationships. The personal services you provide say a lot about you, and you are proud of the service you provide. I have learned that a sincere relationship is built on wanting to do your best for the other person! This is about THEM, not you. Dentistry has taught me how lifetime relationships are built. The relationships developed with patients leads to referrals. Over time, this level of trust leads to entire families coming to see you. Trust you. These relationships expand and friends are also invited.
For me, sincere relationships are the foundation of true success. A mutually beneficial relationship where each party appreciates what the other person can do….
Relationship and sincerity extends to team. Respect is given for the skill of the receptionist who keeps the chairs rocking, the guests have an incredible experience when they arrive and when they leave. The assistant that knows exactly what you are thinking and has the patient comfortable and happy. The chairs are efficient and as a team you provide exceptional services. The hygienist is a rock star that patients flock to see. The extended skills of this team grow from the continued education you seek as equal. Everyone is on the same page wanting the same outcome for the patient…everyone has a position on the team that is respected and admired.
Networking – Dentistry is a profession that is built on mutual respect. The people you meet that can help you as a professional, and often become friends….maybe even close friends. The many friends I have made in this profession have allowed me to explore so many interesting facets of life. This isn’t just about dentistry, it’s about success in LIFE and dentistry. Networking has opened my mind to new skills and opportunities. It’s allowed me to meet interesting people from all walks of life. Networking is about opportunity and is a true blessing of dentistry. You can’t help but meet a lot of people!
Hard Work and Perseverance– Watching one of my best friends buy his first clinic, and live in the basement of the clinic for years as they worked to pay off the clinic. Driving the “beater” car and renting the apartment as the payments continued to bleed the account. Taking years to finally be able to get a regular paycheck, only to find out they need to reinvest and take a couple of months off from getting paid. Extending the hours of the clinic, working the weekends, taking on another associate position….just to pay the bills.
It takes perseverance and a good attitude to succeed in this business!
I was 17 when I graduated in 1983. My mom had decided to move before I graduated, and I moved out on my own – having secured a job that paid enough to pay the rent in Winnipeg! It was a great experience, and I wouldn’t change a thing. About 9 months after grad – my finances were suffering working at Superstore as I had been cut down from 40+ hours per week to 12 and I couldn’t stand “Pit” (the nickname for my disgusting room mate) any longer.
Dad offered me a job in Saskatoon to clean the dental supply warehouse, and some money to go to U of S.
I quit my job, and hit the road.
That was February of 1984.
The lessons learned from you are a blessing, and I thank you for the opportunities in this profession!