Obstacles into opportunities

Wouldn`t it be wonderful if opportunity announced itself so boldly? We`d know then to throw the door wide open and let it in! But, alas, that is not the case. Although we live and practice in a sea of opportunity, those chances for fame and fortune often swim right by us like so many unseen fish.

Paul Homoly, DDS

"Knock, knock."

"Who`s there?"

"R.U."

"R.U. who?"

"R.U. going to let opportunity just pass you by?"

Wouldn`t it be wonderful if opportunity announced itself so boldly? We`d know then to throw the door wide open and let it in! But, alas, that is not the case. Although we live and practice in a sea of opportunity, those chances for fame and fortune often swim right by us like so many unseen fish.

In my 25 years in dentistry and 50 years of living, I can recall numerous opportunities that have come my way. Some I saw, some I didn`t. Some opportunities I captured. Others I let slip away. For better or for worse, I am where I am today based on the opportunities that I`ve had and what I have done with those opportunities.

For a long time, I thought that opportunities would be self-evident, like good old R.U. in my lame knock-knock joke. But, I`ve come to realize that such is seldom the case. The philosopher, Eric Hoffer, was much closer to the mark when he wrote in his book, Reflections on the Human Condition, "It still holds true that man is most uniquely human when he turns obstacles into opportunities."

Turn obstacles into opportunities. That, folks, is the key.

How good are you at recognizing opportunity when it knocks? More importantly, how good are you at seeing the opportunity within the obstacles that block your way? This column, "Opportunity Knocks," is about learning how to recognize and seize opportunity.

Now, more than ever, the success of your practice will rest squarely on your ability to recognize an opportunity when it presents itself. Life and the practice of dentistry are becoming increasingly complicated. The demands of family, patients, staff, third parties, technology, and more contaminate the clarity with which we may see and act on opportunities.

The acceleration of our lives and practices has put many of us on overload, numbing our senses of intuition, imagination, and spirit, and dulling the delicate skill of recognizing opportunities. "Opportunity Knocks" will help sharpen your edge.

The nature of opportunity is that it has many faces. Expect to read about topics that will thrill you or threaten you. Expect to read about possibilities, luck, chance, choice, obstacles, leverage, stepping stones, timing, and coincidences. This column is not written to affirm what you`re already doing. It`s written to reveal the possibilities in what you are not doing.

It has been said that only one in 20 see opportunity when it first reveals itself. It is no coincidence that only one in 20 retire wealthy. Accumulating wealth and recognizing opportunity are inexorably connected. "Opportunity Knocks" is about helping you to make that connection.

"Knock, knock."

"Who`s there?"

"Ima."

"Ima who?"

"Ima gonna get away if you don`t grab me quick!"

Dr. Homoly is author of Dentists: An Endangered Species - A Survival Guide for Fee-for-Service Care. He has practiced restorative dentistry for 20 years. He is president of Innovative Practice Solutions, helping thousands of dentists implement reconstructive dentistry through his hundreds of continuing-education workshops and seminars. Dr. Homoly can be reached at (794) 342-4900 or via e-mail at phomoly@aol.com.

More in Burs, Polishers, and Laboratory