Success still boils down to this: How badly do you want it?

Aug. 1, 1998
Why are some people more successful than others? How come the other guy gets all the luck? I hear so many people - not just dentists - complain that they deserve what the other guy has. What is my answer to them? Quit whining and work for it! If you want to be like one of the leaders in any business, then emulate them by working as hard as they did to get their position. Pay your dues. You reap what you sow. But how badly do you want it?

William G. Dickerson, DDS, FAACD

Why are some people more successful than others? How come the other guy gets all the luck? I hear so many people - not just dentists - complain that they deserve what the other guy has. What is my answer to them? Quit whining and work for it! If you want to be like one of the leaders in any business, then emulate them by working as hard as they did to get their position. Pay your dues. You reap what you sow. But how badly do you want it?

Many people will criticize Bill Gates or someone like him for having so much money. They think they should get some of it as he is too successful.

The truth is that Bill Gates worked very hard to get where he is and owes it all to his work ethic. While other people were playing in a softball league, watching their favorite TV show, or down at the local pub pounding a few, Bill Gates was sitting in front of a computer dreaming up ways to make it better. Before you wish you were in someone else`s shoes, remember the hard work that was necessary to get him or her there and to maintain that success. Most of us could never be Bill Gates because we are unwilling to make the sacrifices that he has made in his life.

The same thing applies to a dental office. Why are some dentists successful and others not? Because they work for that success. When you are running out of your office because you can`t wait to get out of there, the successful dentists still are working on improving their practice.

It isn`t unusual for me to call Ron Jackson long after his practice is closed and still find him and his wife doing some ancillary function to make their business more successful. It isn`t easy, even though they make it appear that it is. Many of my clinical instructors have created successful practices by taking time on weekends to do community lectures or participate in promotional events. Are you willing to do that? If not, then don`t complain.

Some of my tips for success are in the related article at right.

I am not saying that you need to become a workaholic, but the successful people generally are just that. However, they work that hard because they enjoy it; it`s their hobby. If you don`t enjoy it, then don`t do it.

I totally understand the need to have balance, and juggling the family and work aspects of your life is difficult. However, one of your purposes in life is to be a role model for your children to emulate. Being miserable and unsuccessful in your occupation is not being a good role model. Sometimes, you have to sacrifice a little in each aspect of your life to create that balance. It is my belief that not having a good work ethic is just as harmful to your children as not spending enough time with them.

Most importantly, don`t criticize those who are successful. Jealousy is an ugly and destructive emotion that serves no purpose. Don`t feel you deserve something that you don`t have, because if you did, you would have it. Understand that luck in business really is spelled WORK. The important thing to ask yourself is how badly do you want it?

Dickersons`s Work Ethic

1. Try to get by on less sleep. The successful people don`t seem to need as much sleep as others do. This could dramatically improve your time for productivity. When your kids are asleep, instead of watching some meaningless TV show, spend the time working. I know my wife and I are most productive when the kids are asleep. This way, it doesn`t take away from my family time.

2. Develop a habit of making checklists for things you need to get done. Time management begins with prioritizing your projects and responsibilities. Organization is the best way to be more efficient and productive.

3. Set aside scheduled time for specific duties that you need to accomplish on a regular basis. For example, I think you should take a half day a week to work on improving your practice and its image. If you don`t schedule the time, something else always will come up. If you take Fridays off, work in the morning on your practice, not in it.

4. Commit to a project completely. Doing something half ass is the blueprint for mediocrity and failure. If you are going to take on a project, commit to it.

5. Lastly, make it enjoyable. If you don`t like doing it, you won`t be good at it. It`s important to understand that the challenge of creating a successful business is fun. When you look at it as a challenge, your competitive juices will get you going.

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