Far too often, I meet dentists who assume that their personal lives have little to do with their professional development. This could not be farther from the truth! In fact, I believe that personal and professional growth are so closely related that you cannot have one without the other. Unfortunately, our stress-filled culture often places more emphasis on the financial or “practical” side of life, neglecting the vital personal side of things. My job as a dental coach is to guide my clients in both personal and dental practice growth so that they can enjoy true balance, deep satisfaction, and greater overall success.
The Personal-Professional Relationship
We often believe that people who have everything “together” in their business lives must be satisfied in their personal lives as well. Sadly, this is not always the case. Think of all the Hollywood celebrities who seem to have it all – beauty, talent, fame – but their marriages and personal relationships are in a constant state of upheaval. On a more personal level, consider a colleague or dental school classmate who has incredible clinical skill yet cannot build his or practice because of an abrasive chairside manner. Of course, focusing solely on your personal growth is impractical. You still have to worry about profitability, marketing, budgeting, and many other factors. However, when you can take a balanced approach, addressing all areas of your life, you are more likely to enjoy personal peace and greater dental practice growth.
How to Achieve Personal and Dental Practice Growth
When trying to grow in all areas of life, I typically recommend that my clients focus on two main things:
Relationship skills: Consultants and business experts often focus on networking and making professional connections for greater dental practice growth. While these things are certainly important, they are not the basis of true growth. Your success depends on your personal connection to your patients, team, family, community, and the environment. We live in a digital age that is lacking in true connection. Why have a conversation when a text will suffice? Involvement in your community and true concern for others and the environment will make you stand out from your competition. More importantly, connection will give you a sense of groundedness, purpose, and inner peace.
Communication: Good communication skills are essential to true connection. To form a lasting bond with anyone, whether it is your spouse, your hygienist, or your patients, you must learn to listen to their needs. It takes hard work and determination. Communication courses can help, of course, but don’t wait to develop these essential skills. Begin today. During your next appointment. Ask your patient what you can do to help him or her. Then listen – really listen without imposing your expertise or personal interests on the conversation. Do the same thing when you get home. Ask your spouse or your child how their day was. Make a concerted effort to pay full attention without letting your mind wander to the stack of bills on the kitchen table or the difficult root canal you must perform the next day. This time spent listening will make you a stronger and more compassionate person. It will also teach you vital skills which will translate to all aspects of your life, including the growth and development of your business.