The leader's personal vision isthe strength in troubled times

March 1, 2009
Vision is undoubtedly the most important part of finding and keeping success in a dental practice.

by Bill Blatchford, DDS

For more on this topic, go to and search using the following key words: vision, success, Bill Blatchford, leadership, values, adversity, greatness, conviction.

Vision is undoubtedly the most important part of finding and keeping success in a dental practice. The leader needs to know the path, be passionate about life and its possibilities, and then communicate his or her vision. Vision is the area most dentists ignore, and they instead want to know the details about block-booking or bonuses. If you do not have enthusiasm and conviction on your journey, no amount of information or instruction will help you reach the top.

Personal vision is most imperative for leading during troubled times. This is the strength of conviction that will carry you and your team during times of both adversity and greatness. It is about finding out who you really are and communicating it in all you do.

In “Alice in Wonderland,” Lewis Carroll writes,
One day, Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in the tree. “What road do I take?” she asked. His response was a question, “Where do you want to go?” “I don't know,” Alice answered. “Then,” said the cat, “It doesn't matter.”

Uncovering your personal vision takes some soul-searching. We are talking here about your standards and values, such as honesty, responsibility, and courage. Personal vision is not about goals or specific skills. It is a short and passionate statement about how you want to be known. This is not an invention but a delving into yourself to discover what is already there and what you aspire to become.

Personal vision should not have to mention teeth or practice. It is about your own standards and values which are near and dear to your heart. What values are you teaching your children? If you believe you lack passion, enthusiasm, and energy, write a vision of what you hope to become and then become that person.

Another approach is thinking about what you want to be remembered for. What is important to you? What is your legacy? Again, this has nothing to do with teeth, money, or goals. Vision is the essence of you.

Stephen Covey has some suggestions. Imagine your 85th birthday party and everyone in your life is there. What accolades would they be giving? What values and standards would they say you had exhibited during your life? What would you like them to say about your life?

Here is a simple and passionate example written by one of our doctors:

“I want without reservation to bring glory to God, to honor others, to honor myself, to achieve my destination, and to enjoy the journey. I want to be a man of wisdom, a man of substantial love, a man of integrity, a man of joy.”

Find your vision and communicate it in words and body language. You cannot copy someone else's vision. It must be your own. It must motivate you and bring you to your knees.

George Bernard Shaw wrote:

“This is the true joy in life: being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can.

“I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

Every dentist who wants to succeed needs to uncover his or her personal vision that is already present. List your fears and address them. Once you have completed your work on vision, communicate it clearly. Leadership will be better, your team will form, your family and patients will see you more clearly, and there will be more joy.

This is the first chapter in Blatchford “BLUEPRINTS,” a book defining successful systems and methods to have the dentist netting 50% and a team that receives a bonus and more time off with pay. “BLUEPRINTS” is being published this spring. Watch to order.

Dr. Bill Blatchford is a leading dental business coach who has worked with more than 2,000 offices to help dentists achieve more time off, more net, and more enjoyment. Become a member of Blatchford FILES, Dr. Blatchford's monthly CD on winning at dental business. The first two months are free. Call (541) 389-9088 or visit for more information.

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