Don’t you wish it could be smooth sailing all the time? I do! Wouldn’t it be great if every patient was compliant, every team member carried out responsibilities correctly, and every interaction with your spouse was filled with love and laughter? What a pleasure that would be! However, while these things might be good in theory, a completely care-free life would actually be pretty dull. Moreover, it would never allow you to grow, leaving you feeling unfilled, aimless, even life-less.
Challenges and difficulties are how we define our character. That’s why dental consulting may not be the best choice when you are looking for true growth. Not to ruffle feathers, but consultant often brushes over difficulties or finds ways to overcome challenges without looking at their source. A dental coach, on the other hand, will help you to meet challenges head-on so that you can become the best version of yourself.
Challenges Define Who You Are
Many times, my clients assume that if they are going through difficulties, they are not experiencing true growth. Like most of us – and our patients – they just want out of “pain”. Challenges can shape you as much as – and usually more than – successes. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should not overcome challenges, but it is through this journey of overcoming that you will lay the foundation for long-term success. When you are going through a rough patch, it is vital that you stay true to who you are. Pause to find those things that sustain you and that nourish you at the core of your being. I have spoken many times about the importance of a personal foundation. Your personal foundation is more important than ever when you are facing challenges. You must find the values, the relationships, and the goals that get you out of bed in the morning. Connecting to your foundation will get your through current difficulties – and the ones still to come, because they will continue to come. It’s just the way life is!
Cultivate Self-Awareness and a Sense of Responsibility
When we encounter challenges, many of us have a tendency to deny responsibility; it is human nature. We pass the blame onto other people, the government, the environment, our education, or a dozen other external factors. Unfortunately, this process is what prevents us from finding true growth in the midst of trial. It may be true that these other people share some responsibility for our difficulties. However, it is rare that we are without some share of blame, or at least the problem. Oftentimes, that is hard for us to see because we are so engaged in what is going on. In my personal experience as a working dentist, I have found that difficulties often arise because of an inability to empathize and listen. When I became absorbed in my own challenges and worries, I was no longer able to serve those around me with true integrity. This only compounded the existing problems, often making them much worse. When you meet with challenges, I encourage you to face them with gusto. Find what you could have done to prevent these difficulties. Look for ways that you could have been a better listener and a more empathetic dentist.
The Role of Dental Coaching in this Process
Of course, when you are going through difficulties, you shouldn’t have to do it alone. Many practitioners turn to dental consulting. While a consultant can get you through these rough patches, he or she will typically address only the challenges of the moment. This is a primary difference of what I get asked most often: “What is it YOU do versus a dental consultant?” Generally speaking, coaching is more effective in working through challenges (I view them as opportunities …); otherwise, when another problem comes along, you will be right back where you started. This is one of the primary reasons that I became a dental coach, as I too, had experienced some tremendous challenges and overcame them with the help of my coach.
In short, I help my clients create and connect with their personal foundations. I teach them self-assessment, awareness, listening, and empathy. Not only does this help them to navigate current obstacles. The work also teaches them self-management skills that will last a lifetime. You, too, can develop those skills either on your own, or with the help of a professional, credentialed coach who can help you navigate your life and its challenges and opportunities in an efficient and effective way.