by Paul Homoly, DDS
Your bridge to an adventure of a lifetime
For the last 18 years, I have taken a weeklong, summertime vacation with my college-day buddies - Kevin, John, Bill, and Jack. We refer to each other as “cronies,” and the week we spend together is dubbed “Cronyfest!” It’s the highlight of my summer. Cronyfest often begins with all of us flying to Charlotte (my hometown), piling into a rented SUV along with our golf clubs and coolers, and launching into a spirited, three-hour road trip. That trip takes us to Charleston, S.C., for a few days of golf, fun in the sun, and all the Southern hospitality we can handle. The high point of the drive occurs when we see the twin towers of the new Cooper River Bridge (shown on this page) come into view over the Lowcountry landscape of Charleston Harbor. We cross this bridge every year to get from west Charleston to our stomping grounds on the Isle of Palms. We don’t always know what lies in store for us when we get there, but we do know when we cross that bridge annually, an adventure waits for us on the other side.
Accreditation in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry is your bridge to an adventure, quite possibly a professional adventure of a lifetime. Reaching the goal of accreditation is not easy, it’s expensive and time consuming; however, the payback of this goal is much more than the return on your invested time, money, and effort. The payback is the unseen adventure waiting for you on the other side of earning your accreditation. The payback is your new stomping ground - the people, the experiences, and the opportunities that accompany AACD Accreditation.
To set the goal of AACD Accreditation takes confidence - confidence you can do what it takes, find the time and resources, and stay with a challenging project. A good way to develop confidence is to look at your past in a way that gives you the most confidence to take on a big project.
Last winter, I skied down a double black diamond run on Bachelor Mountain in Bend, Ore. Halfway down, fear gripped me so badly I froze. My instructor yelled up to me: “Turn around and look how far you’ve already come!” She was right. Looking back gave me the confidence to push off and finish the run.
Look back on your career and take time to appreciate how far you have already come. When you look at the past with appreciation, you can more easily see its lessons. These lessons are called past positives.
Past positives reveal your strengths. Recognizing and appreciating your past positives has a huge impact on your preferred image of the future, and stokes your confidence to pursue it. Pull confidence from the positive lessons from your past, and apply it to your future goals.
In 1977, I set an unthinkable goal - to develop an all-implant and restorative dentistry practice. At the time, our profession tended to put implant dentists on the same level as Dr. Frankenstein. There were only a few dozen dentists in the country who embraced implant dentistry. I remember sketching out what I needed to do: create alliances with mentors and manufacturers, start a statewide study club, participate in implant programs as a presenter, and - most important - earn my designation as a certified Implant Dentist from the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. This designation is comparable to accreditation in the AACD. That’s much to accomplish for a 28-year-old dentist. The source of my confidence was not my ability as a dentist. My confidence sprang from my past successes in other areas of life. The principal success was my ability as an acrobatic pilot.
I started flying in 1975 while I was a Navy dentist stationed at the Marine Corps Air station at Cherry Point, N.C. I earned my private pilot’s license, met a patient who was a Marine Corps fighter pilot and flight instructor, and bought an aerobatic airplane. It was like a Corvette with wings. With fewer than 100 total hours of flying time, I learned to perform the most positive G aerobatic maneuvers for which my airplane was certified. Flying was my greatest source of confidence.
How about you? What’s your greatest source of confidence? That’s where you look to remind yourself you can take on bold projects. Confidence is belief in your ability. Confidence is the gunpowder of your life. One day you will look back on your successful pursuit of becoming an accredited member of the AACD. I assure you that you will see it as a huge past positive - one that will give you the confidence to reach even bolder goals.
Bold goals yield byproducts, those unexpected events and outcomes that accompany pursuing the goals that are - at times - of equal or even greater value than the original goals. Your pursuit of AACD Accreditation will yield byproducts the sum of which may far exceed your expectations.
Seven years ago, I set a goal of earning the designation of Certified Speaking Professional - CSP - from the National Speakers Association (NSA). It is the highest earned designation in professional speaking. Fewer than 10 percent of professional speakers have this designation.
The process of meeting the CSP criteria is complex, and the paperwork and documentation are staggering. It took me, with the support of my team, more than a year just to assemble the initial application. Five years later, I fulfilled all of the requirements. In July 2005, I walked on stage with 25 other speakers - to a standing ovation from hundreds of other professional speakers - and received the NSA’s highest earned honor. I believe I am the only dentist in the world to hold this designation. Today, the medallion awarded to me hangs in my office; however, the byproducts of this achievement are now beginning to positively alter my career and life in a huge way.
My CSP designation has opened doors to relationships, both inside the NSA and in the general business community, that are carving new niches for my work. The examination and documentation process made me a better speaker and student of the art. It’s easier and more fun for me now to impact an audience. Predictably, my audiences are learning more and enjoying my workshops and seminars more. Despite this, the most important byproduct of earning my CSP designation is not the impact it has had on my work, its greatest impact has been on who I had to become to earn the designation.
Achieving bold goals changes us - we are not the same people we were when we set the goals. We are better, stronger, and smarter than when we started. Our best leaders know this when they shape the standards for the goals we pursue, acting as stewards of our best interests. Often the best leaders’ wisdom is apparent only after we have known what it’s like on their side of the goal. Achieving bold goals propels us toward becoming better leaders. This is one of the best reasons to pursue accreditation in the AACD.
If you love cosmetic dentistry and are looking to take your practice and yourself to the next level, be bold and get on the bridge to accreditation and enjoy an adventure of a lifetime.
Dr. Paul Homoly graduated from the University of Illinois College of Dentistry in 1975. He practiced restorative dentistry for 20 years in Charlotte, N.C. During the last portion of his clinical career, Dr. Homoly expanded his work as a consultant and trainer. He is president of Homoly Communications Institute, a resource for dental industry professionals that provides seminars, workshops, and consultations on case acceptance, practice development, speaking, and practice management. Contact Dr. Homoly at (800) 294-9370, via e-mail at email@example.com, or on the Web at www.paulhomoly.com.