Lisa Radman White
Utopia-A community, society, situation, or circumstance that possesses highly desirable, nearly perfect qualities.
"Nearly all creators of Utopia have resembled the man who has toothache, and therefore thinks happiness consists in not having toothache. . . .Whoever tries to imagine perfection simply reveals his own emptiness."-George Orwell, "Why Socialists Don't Believe in Fun," Dec., 1943.
What is your utopia? This question is probably answered quite differently depending on where you are in your life, so let's consider the two extremes.
Residents-Let's start with those dental residents about to jettison out into the world. After more than 50 lectures at residency programs all over the US, I hear the same goal from them upon completion-the focus is on location, location, location. Understandably, residents have spent many years in school and are ready to live where they want to. One huge consideration is: What opportunities are available where someone wants to live?
Ask yourself whether the cost of living is higher and the potential for income lower. Are you ruling out opportunities that are a great fit and provide the financial rewards and practice situation you desire? Are you ruling out this great opportunity because it's not exactly where you want to live, not your utopia? A dental professor recently told me, "Let me know where your utopia is and I'll move there." He knows (and so do I) there is no such place.
There should be more considerations than location when looking for your utopia. However, if you are solely using location, at least be realistic about what that means to you financially and opportunity-wise so that once you get there, you're not disappointed. In addition to your utopia today, I encourage you to think about how your goals will differ in five years. Maybe school systems and Little League don't matter currently, but if you have kids, these will soon be key components to your utopia.
Nearing retirement-Utopia could equal retirement. But when should you sell? Do you know the best way to transition out of your practice? How much can you get for your practice? A desire to sell at a specific point in time for the highest price possible is utopia for many. If this is you, the best way to achieve that goal is to hire someone who specializes in transitions like yours. You should be able to find someone who transitions general dentistry practices or endodontic practices, and who has gone through your situation many times before.
Just like that first crown you placed or first root canal you completed, it probably didn't go exactly as planned, and the same can be said of practice transitions. There are so many issues that can come up, and if you don't have someone who's been there and done that, it can easily fall apart. This is not to say by having a transition consultant or broker that everything will go perfectly, but rather to say an experienced consultant can make sure that the transition stays on the right course to help you reach your goal. The experienced consultant knows how to navigate the many issues that can derail a closing and make you miss your utopia.
Utopia-I hope you find it. In the meantime, think through all of your options and don't let one item derail you.
"None of the abstract concepts comes closer to fulfilled utopia than that of eternal peace."-German philosopher Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno in Minima Moralia.
Lisa Radman White is the president of Radman, White & Associates Inc., a transition firm solely focused on transitioning endodontic practices. She has lectured at the AAE and many of the endodontic residency programs. She is the national endodontic representative for ADS. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (972) 386-7222.