Today is Ash Wednesday, the day that Catholics and other Christians begin celebrating the season of Lent. In the traditional liturgical sense, Lent is a time to renounce your own inclinations in order to repent and draw closer to God. Although this period is especially dear to the hearts of Christians, others have begun to adopt some of the practices of Lent. They give up certain indulgences or bad habits in an attempt to de-clutter their lives or grow closer to others. As a dentist mentor, I encourage you to embrace this challenge yourself. Whether you celebrate Lent in a religious sense or not, use this day to find those things that are holding you back from true relationships with others. Find and eliminate the aspects of your life that keep you from being the best you can be.
Giving up the Things That Hold You Back
This is rather a broad challenge isn’t it? How do you find and give up all of the things that are keeping you from your true potential? Truth be told, this is a long-term challenge, lasting a lot longer than 40 days. In fact, you can always improve and grow. This means constantly reassessing your life and throwing out the things that are getting in your way. Begin the challenge this Ash Wednesday. Ask yourself, “Where do I see myself in ten years?” When you answer, you can include your practice, your location, and your personal relationships. Then honestly evaluate your current situation and look for those things that will keep you from achieving those goals ten years down the line.
Do not be afraid to get rid of the “good” things. All too often, we swallow what we’re told. A consultant or business analyst or dental expert tells us that there are certain things we absolutely must be doing. This isn’t the case. Your life and your practice are unique. There is no reason to adhere to someone else’s method of working if it is not working for you.
One thing you must give up is unnecessary stress. We live in a fast-paced society, and we are constantly under pressure to achieve and to do. Allow yourself to slow down and evaluate what is most important to you. What is keeping you from engaging fully with these aspects of your life?
Your Dentist Mentor Encourages You to Do Something for Others
For Christians, Lenten sacrifices are not simply about giving up something pleasant. Believers give up some lesser good in order to focus more devotedly on a greater good. This attitude is something that we can adopt every day in our practices. As dentists, we are committed to the wellbeing of others. We spend our lives easing pain, improving quality of life, and helping people feel better about themselves. We are wrapped up in the good of daily life, productivity, education, etc. However, in the hustle and bustle of our lives, it is easy to forget about why we help others in the first place.
As a dentist mentor, I urge you to give up self-interest. Cultivate a listening attitude. Learn to understand the true needs of others so that you can meet them where they are and serve them in the best way possible. Give up control. Yes, you run your practice, but your employees are valuable members of the business. Allow them to make suggestions for how things can improve. Really take their proposals to heart without prejudging them based on your experiences.
Giving up your habits can be tough. Ask an ascetic about his or her journey, and you’ll hear that it was a bumpy road. However, most will also tell you that at the end of the journey they found a great peace because they connected with something greater than themselves. Allow yourself to take this journey and find the peace that waits for you at its end.