The economics of self-appreciation

Jan. 1, 2006
Great dental teams succeed because they are composed of great individuals. These team members believe in themselves and the value of their work.

Great dental teams succeed because they are composed of great individuals. These team members believe in themselves and the value of their work. They are not just skilled in carrying out their respective responsibilities. They are skilled masters of their own fate because they believe they have the power to shape that fate.

Any business that has these people on its payroll is fortunate because they have the confidence to make things work the way they should. These people are willing to think out of the box, adapt to circumstances, and mold difficult situations in a way that turns potential defeat into remarkable victory. They work at being the best and setting high goals for themselves. They do not limit themselves to what is easy. Instead, they work to make things easier, smoother, and better, and they see possibility where others see impossibility. Above all, they know they are good and they don’t allow themselves to forget it.

We’re all human, which means we experience doubts and insecurities. We sometimes think too often about our flaws and things we’re not doing perfectly. Self-appreciation means looking in the other direction. It doesn’t mean you stop working to improve, but it does mean cultivating a strong sense of your own worth.

Take a long hard look at yourself and list your qualities worth appreciating. What, for example, do you contribute to the practice that makes patients healthier, happier, more attractive, comfortable, or knowledgeable? In which professional skills do you excel? What is your best personality trait? What professional accomplishments are you proud of? How do they benefit you, your teammates, your patients, or the practice? What educational assets do you bring to the practice? What else can you brag about?

Now pull out a pen and paper and write down your answers. Pretty impressive, aren’t you?

Then ask yourself how often you think about these good points. More than likely, the answer is not very often. If this is the case, it’s time to rearrange your mindset. Allowing yourself to feel good about yourself does not make you a megalomaniac or a self-absorbed know-it-all. It does not mean you are perfect, but it does mean there are things you do perfectly and that you have some exceptional qualities. This knowledge helps you understand your place in the grand scheme of things and to reach more effectively for what you deserve.

Self-appreciation is a pathway to becoming better. People who appreciate themselves do not waste time patting themselves on the back. They set new goals and embrace new challenges. They are not threatened by someone else’s strengths, knowledge or proficiency. In fact, people who appreciate their own worth make it a practice to learn from those who can provide them with new insights. They are comfortable sharing their own knowledge and expertise without fear that doing so will detract from who they are and what they do.

Appreciating yourself often leads to changing the way you treat yourself. If you are proud of yourself and your accomplishments, you tend to take better care of yourself. After all, you deserve it! Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating right and exercising. Feed your mind and body with things that are good, clean, and positive. Stay away from things and people that depress you, and surround yourself with people who are upbeat. Maintain a sense of humor and find something to laugh at every day. Be positive and you will get positive in return. Appreciate yourself and others will appreciate you, too.

This column is for the team to “clip and save” each month. Cynthia McKane-Wagester, RDH, MBA, is a practicing hygienist and president of McKane & Associates, a full-service management-consulting firm. She can be reached by phone at (800) 341-1244 or by e-mail at [email protected]. Visit her Web site at

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