by Cathy Jameson, PhD
When taking your practice to the "next level," you must first decide what that means, where that next level may be, and what you want to accomplish. Each journey must begin with the end in mind. We all know this and apply this to many of the activities of our lives: vacations, education, a new house, etc. The same "vision" of the end result is critical to your practice development.
I truly believe there is no reason whatsoever that you can't have the practice of your dreams. You can have your "ideal" practice. In fact, life is much too short to accept anything less than your ideal. But what is ideal? It means something different for everyone who ponders the question. All that matters — when you are determining and defining your ideal practice — is what ideal means to you. Once you have defined it, begin to make that vision become a reality.
The vision of your ideal practice may change throughout your career. You will change and grow, and your practice will develop as you mature and experience life. Your practice will always reflect you and, therefore, your vision will change as you change. Sometimes you will feel that the joy of going to work is gone. Sometimes the challenge of doing a case is no longer exhilarating. Or, sometimes you become aware of a sense of frustration about your practice. At those points, it may be healthy to stop for a moment, sit down with pen and paper, and write out what you would like to do in your practice. Jot down as many details as you can think of.
What would you consider "ideal" in each of the following areas?
- Types of treatment provided
- Your team: business, clinical, hygiene, or other doctors
- Your facility
- Your technology/equipment
- Your ideal patient visit
- The efficiency of your operation
- The management of stress in your practice and in your life
- Your income
- Your financial well-being
- Your time off
- Your reputation in the community
Once you have written down your ideals in each of these areas, a series of questions should emerge. First, have you already reached those ideals? If not, why not? Are you going to make these ideals happen? Who do you need in your life to help you accomplish these ideals? When will you begin? I hope you say, "Now!" There is absolutely no reason why you should not be spending each and every one of your valuable days doing exactly what you want to do in exactly the manner you choose. Don't put this off. Take the first step, and the journey will have begun.
There is amazing power in the mind of a human being. Napoleon Hill said long ago, "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, so shall he achieve."
He based this statement on a truism that was validated centuries prior. This is not a theory, but a fact. You do become what you think about. When you clearly and succinctly determine your ideal practice — when you can literally see this ideal in your mind's eye — you have taken the first critical step to making the ideal become a reality. Your actions will go immediately to work to make this happen.
Pause for a moment. Go someplace where you cannot be interrupted. Take this article with you. Go through each of the above areas of your practice and define the ideal in each one.
Be kind to yourself. Honor the "who" that you are. Do not get in your own way by not giving yourself permission to be successful, to be creative, and to rejoice in the work that you do. Establish or revisit your practice vision. Then, do whatever it takes to bring that vision to a place of reality.
Cathy Jameson, PhD, is president of Jameson Management, Inc., an international dental lecture and consulting firm. She has been a featured speaker for the major dental meetings throughout the world and is an adjunct faculty member of the Oklahoma University School of Dentistry and an associate professor at the NYU College of Dentistry. Her books, Great Communication = Great Production and Collect What You Produce are top sellers for PennWell Books.