As the holidays approach, many people are starting to take some time off. They’re going to visit family and friends, or they are just taking some time for themselves and their immediate family. Are you doing the same? If you are, congratulations – you are already on the path to a balanced work/personal life. However, if you are like most dentists (my younger self included), the idea of personal time is almost a foreign concept. I encourage you to make rest and personal time one of your top dental practice goals as we head into the new year. The longer I work as a dental coach, the more I have come to realize the significance of rest – for your practice, your family, and your fundamental wellbeing.
Not Slowing Down Can Cost You
As a practicing dentist, I understand the daily ins and outs of the field. As much as I love my job, I thoroughly believe that we have one of the hardest callings on earth. Yes, dentistry is a calling – we are called to serve others and to improve their lives through dedicated service. Perhaps because of this higher purpose that most of us feel, we often run ourselves ragged trying to meet everyone’s needs. This can become especially daunting during the holidays when we are trying to treat patients, tie up yearend taxes and business matters, decorate for Christmas, shop for the kids, etc. However, though the holidays may exacerbate the busyness of our lives, this problem is not relegated to December. It’s a running theme through our lives for the entire year.
Perhaps on first appraisal, this constant activity doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. Like many, you may thrive on activity. Eventually, however, it will get to you. When you don’t slow down, you lose touch with those around you. Your family may suffer. Even your relationships with your patients may weaken, as you rush from appointment to appointment, too busy to listen to their needs and exchange a kind word. Perhaps the underlying problem is that you will begin to lose touch with yourself. Tragically, you will forget that sense of purpose – that higher calling – and work will become a drudgery.
Setting Your Dental Practice Goals
Creating time for yourself and those you love is vital, but it can be extremely difficult to set those dental practice goals and stick to them. Busy-ness is quite literally an addiction. Constant activity releases stress hormones and other chemicals in your brain. It will take time to adjust to their absence from your system. Nevertheless, with hard work and determination on your part, it is possible to break through that cycle and find a better balance between your personal and professional life. Working with a dental coach can be helpful. He or she can help you set dental practice goals and determine the best ways to achieve those goals. However, even the best coach cannot force you to take the personal time you need. To do that, you must learn to listen to your inner voice – the voice that told you that you had a higher calling in the first place. Perhaps your voice stems from your religion, your spiritual life, or your personal relationships with others. Whatever your source of inspiration, it’s time to reconnect, to enjoy the rest you need, and to rekindle your passion for your calling.