Choosing a purpose for yourself and your dental practice
A ship is hard to steer when it’s not in motion, and a ship isn’t in motion if it doesn’t have a mission or destination to get to. Defining your mission is of the utmost importance because you are choosing a purpose for yourself and your dental practice – instead of meandering through things just thinking, “Oh, this seems like a good thing to do, it worked for that guy.” When you define your mission, it makes it a heck of a lot easier to stay focused on where you’re going because 1) you define where you want to go, and 2) it is easier to say no to things that don’t help you get to your destination. Those 2 features alone will keep you focused, motivated, and committed to achieving your goals. Broadly speaking, here are 4 steps I took to define my ultimate mission, and I hope they help you define yours.
Understanding Your Values and Passions
This entire exercise of defining your ultimate mission may not be as easy as you think. You will have to wrestle with what you want, and what are your values, and evaluate if up to this moment, you have lived your life according to your values. It could be very sobering. But now is the best time to stop wandering in the ocean and pick where you want to go. First, your mission should align with your values and passions because they are the driving forces behind your goals. If they don’t align, everyone will be battling who you are trying to do something that doesn’t drive you. To identify your core values and passions, take some time to reflect on what truly matters to you and brings you the most joy and fulfillment – both as a doctor and a person. Additionally, if you are to do this exercise correctly, you need to ask thought-provoking questions like, “What do I care about the most? What are my most important beliefs? What activities make me lose track of time?” I would also consider who and what type of people I feel naturally called to help – such as the homeless, or those who need dental implants, or those who have trouble eating, etc.
Identifying Your Unique Strengths
Get the highlight reel out and highlight your unique strengths. I can guarantee you have a set of strengths you never realized before once you take time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished. Knowing your unique strengths is essential to defining your ultimate mission as it allows you to leverage your talents and skills to achieve your goals. This means increasing the chances of success, more likelihood of enjoying what you do, and critically importantly, getting the positive reinforcing feedback of success (which you should celebrate by the way – regardless of size). You can identify your strengths by assessing your past accomplishments and seeking feedback from others. Also, look deep and take a personality test because you could be surprised at some qualities that are highlighted that are holding you back that were unidentified till now. This is part of finding your mission is about building yourself up and knowing full well what you kick ass at doing.
Creating Your Ultimate Mission Statement
Crafting a clear and concise ultimate mission statement is crucial as it serves as a guidepost for your life’s purpose. Your ultimate mission statement should reflect your values, passions, and strengths, and it should be inspiring and motivating. You can create your ultimate mission statement by summarizing your core values, passions, and strengths into a single statement that encapsulates your purpose. I was surprised at how time consuming this part could be, but don’t get discouraged. Every time you write down a statement, you learn more about yourself and what makes you feel alive and excited. I would suggest applying this to your dental practice too because when you are focused, you know and listen to your customer intimately, thereby narrowing your service offering, which leads to proper capital spending and cost management, which means helping more people and being profitable. A reminder, that you should set your ultimate mission first so that your business works for you, not the other way around which can have difficult consequences.
Strategies for Achieving Your Ultimate Mission
Without a plan, you are daydreaming. If you have a half-baked plan, it will stop you from acting decisively and swiftly even if you know your ultimate mission. Developing a plan to work towards your ultimate mission, therefore, is essential to achieving your goals. From whatever point you are starting from, your ultimate mission may seem (and possibly be) far away, but don’t get caught in the feeling of being overwhelmed – every marathon is completed one step at a time. Do the same thing – break down your ultimate mission into smaller, achievable goals and create a roadmap to achieving them. You can also seek out mentors, resources, and support systems to help you stay on track. If you feel you need someone on your team to give you more support, that’s fine. Go for it! I sought after a mentor who changed my life around by helping me sort through these very 4 aspects of myself and my ultimate mission. By the way, while you are on this quest, bring your spouse and family along because they will be your ultimate support system and keep you motivated because they want and depend on you to succeed in your mission.
Defining your ultimate mission takes time, introspection, and self-awareness, but it is worth the effort. It provides you with a sense of clarity, purpose, and direction in life. By understanding your values, passions, and strengths, crafting a clear ultimate mission statement, and developing a plan to achieve your goals, you can live a fulfilling and purpose-driven life. One of the best results from doing this is that your work won’t consume your life, instead, you will have molded it and directed it according to your will – which is arguably one of the greatest freedoms you can choose, exercise, and experience.
Defining your ultimate mission takes time, introspection, and self-awareness, but it is worth the effort. It provides you with a sense of clarity, purpose, and direction in life. By understanding your values, passions, and strengths, crafting a clear ultimate mission statement, and developing a plan to achieve your goals, you can live a fulfilling and purpose-driven life.
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