Run your own race

In the age of social media, we are constantly bombarded by what other people are doing. You see pictures of people’s homes, cars, holidays, dogs, cats, babies etc. etc. Dental forums are much the same but instead you see pictures of layered composites, porcelain onlays and anterior implants with soft tissue control that we all find a bit arousing. (Just me?) But the downside of this is that you start to feel like you’re behind. You feel like you should be doing smile designs or sinus lifts.

So you book an implants course because Steve from uni is doing them. You sign up to the latest ‘short term ortho’ system because Sharon’s made a mint. You might pay over the odds for a dental practice that you never really wanted because prices keep going up and you don’t want to miss the boat. In short, you start chasing other people.

Stop. You need to run your own race.

You mustn’t start doing something because someone else is doing it. As a dentist and person you are an individual with your own individual skills and interests. More importantly, you will have your own individual goals of what you want to achieve from your career and life. If you just follow other people, you’re chasing their goals and not your own.

The worst thing you can do is to try to copy multiple people. You lurch from one idea to the other with no real direction. You’re following people but they are heading off in different directions and you end up going in circles, busy going no where.

How to run your own race

You need to start with goals. I would start with big goals. Where do you want to live, who do you want to spend time with, what do you want to do with your life? Once you know your ambitions, work backwards to create the road map to achieving them.

It’s obviously not as easy as that and your goals are likely to change over time. But understanding your own objectives helps you to evaluate opportunities that present themselves. Instead of worrying about Malcolm buying up dental practices, think about whether buying a business would help you to achieve your goals. If it does, great! If it doesn’t, still great. You can move on to other things.

The perils of ‘Facebook dentistry’

‘Facebook dentistry’ is not much like real dentistry. You don’t see the cock-ups. You don’t see the fifteen times it didn’t quite work. You only see the perfect fissure pattern or the faultless emergence profile.

It’s great to share ideas and success stories, especially as dentistry can otherwise be quite a solitary profession. But it is ever so important that you don’t see what other people are doing and allow it to distract you from your own personal goals. Remember to run your own race.

Follow Andrew via email

Enter your email address to hear about Andrew's latest posts by email.