Dentistry is hard.

Author: Grace Rizza, Identity Dental Marketing

I started my dental journey March 3, 2008 when I started my a position as a marketing director in a 2 location practice based in the Chicagoland area. I remember the distinct challenges of working on a dental team.

The definition of hard includes “not easily broken” and “with a great deal of effort” and both are true in dentistry.

It takes a great deal of effort to provide excellent clinical dental care, deal with insurance-related obstacles, hire and fire dental employees, oversee tasks and processes, keep up with continuing education, along with every other minor detail required to excel.

Additionally, dentistry is solid. There will always be a need for dental care among the general population, making it a secure field, with amazing opportunity.

As I enter my 15th year in this space, I reflect on this journey and I feel this “hard” is better than any other “hard” I could’ve chosen. However, I want you to know, business ownership and dentistry DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT HARD. There’s an aspect to dentistry (which persists in many business owners as well) that makes everything more challenging that many fail to address: Perfectionism.

Joy is lost when perfectionism prevails. Perfect doesn’t exist. Instead, when a leader pursues growth, they’ll be able to enjoy the journey. I’ve designed thousands of dental brands, websites, and marketing programs over the years and I’ve had the joy of watching struggling practices reinvent themselves and succeed. I’ve had the joy of seeing successful dental teams hit levels of success they never thought possible.

I’ve also had the challenge of seeing stubborn, know-it-all practice owners ignore advisors and stunt their own growth year over year. I’ve seen these types refuse to accept that they’re at the helm of their own misery. I’ve seen the practice owner who is addicted to get-rich-quick schemes fall victim to every sales person who has the next too-good-to-be-true offer.

At the end of the day, whether you’re running a lean and mean team, with predictability and harmony; or you’re striving to grow a bigger every day; the focus has to be on joy. You must fiercely protect your joy. This makes all the HARD work, worthwhile. But, perfectionism will steal that from you and here’s how.

  • Perfectionism will tell you that none of your employees are good enough, leading to putting unrealistic pressure on them to perform, while not allowing yourself time to build the accountability needed for team growth. This will interfere with developing the strong team you need.
  • Perfectionism will have you terminating every advisor after only a few months as soon as you disagree on something or have a miscommunication. It will prevent you from talking through and learning from obstacles.
  • Perfectionism will keep you jumping through hoops for that terrible patient who threatened to ruin your 5-star reputation on Google.

Catering to patients, leading a team, and mastering all of the nuances needed to progress can be a challenge, but if you keep your mindset in check, focus on PROGRESS, fight perfectionism, find DAILY wins, and learn as you go, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Subsequently, it’ll be less hard for people to work for you. Patients will gravitate to you and support you, because they will trust you while connecting with your positive, hopeful energy.

All growth starts in the mind. If you’re in a place where you no longer feel joy or passion in your work, it may not be time to quit, it may be time to adjust your thinking. Put your obstacles into perspective by treating them as opportunities. Make a plan, work the plan, and celebrate your achievements. NEVER compare yourself to others. Hold yourself to your own standards and continue to raise the bar, without beating yourself (or your team) up. You’ve got this.

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