October is a month for gratitude. I didn’t know that. Technically, gratitude should be experienced daily, right? In any case, I was thinking about gratitude this morning and decided to write about it.
Here are 5 things I’m truly grateful for in my career as a dentist.
Moving to the United States
To be fair, I don’t know what would have been in store for me had I decided to specialize in India or practice in Dubai following graduation from Manipal. I had never considered the option in a serious way. My goal had always been to study further in the US and practice here. It was not easy then, and the process is not easy now. I still read close to 10 emails every month about how to ‘improve my profile’ from prospective applicants. I doubt that will stop in the coming years.
Moving here was one of the best decisions I made earlier on in life. It would not have been possible without the support of my family. Since moving, I have found mentors who have believed in me and encouraged me towards a variety of leadership and volunteering positions. They have connected me with other like minded individuals. And today, I feel blessed seeing a community of friends, not just colleagues, around myself.
America is as meritocratic as it gets, and hard work really does pay off. While it is not perfect, it is certainly closer to perfect than I imagined.
Writing Persevering- A Complete Guide to Applications, Schools and Work Opportunities for Foreign Trained Dentists in the US.
I never thought I’d write a book and have it available on Amazon one day. The idea was a fleeting one that came to me during one of my 5 AM writing sessions in Seattle nearly 5 years ago. I feel blessed to have received plenty of encouragement from friends, family and colleagues in completing the book. I had nearly lost interest mid way, because of how big the project was. A simple push from a few colleagues helped me finish. Without that push, Persevering would not have been born. Today, the book has been sold in countries all over the world and receives so much love from its readers.
Get your copy or read a review here.
American Dental Association
I’m grateful for an association like the ADA that has kept me engaged with the profession since the beginning. Starting with the opportunity to apply for and receive a nomination for ADA’s 10 under 10 two years ago. This nomination provided me with much exposure, and the grant funding helped me work towards my second book! This year I have also been grateful to be a part of the ADA Institute for Diversity and Leadership. The Institute has helped me network with absolute go- getters, and sponsors 3 trips to Chicago where you get to meet other participants and learn lessons on leadership. It has been a fantastic year for me because of this reason.
I had applied a few years ago and gotten rejected for both of the aforementioned prestigious positions. I kept applying and eventually, got accepted. Perseverance does pay off!
Don’t let one rejection deter you from applying again. Just keep trying.
I have found my mentors in lots of different places and am grateful for their continued belief in my abilities. Three of my mentors were professors I met via dental school and continuing education. Another mentor was the President at a local dental society in the Greater Seattle area. My new mentors in the Bay Area are professors from my GPR program. And another is our President at the local ACD chapter. As you can tell, many of my mentors have come via organized dentistry and the rest have been through educational environments.
It is crucial for new dentists to get involved in organized dentistry and use those opportunities to network. Simply being a part of an association is not enough. Leading and volunteering on a committee is the best way to gain the trust of our seniors, and have the opportunity to get mentored or coached by them. When your work speaks for itself, people are more keen to support you.
New Dentist Business Club
Founding and teaching at this study club has been a professional and personal highlight for me. The monthly meetings provide an important break to focus on continuing education. And the members that attend become my friends over time! When I was moving to the Bay, I was reassured by already knowing a few other dentists in the area via NDBC. Now, those connections are lifelong friends. Some of the speakers at NDBC also became the first users and later loyal customers of SamsoSmile. When pitching it, I never felt like I was selling a product to a stranger. My credibility had been established previously because of the Club. So there were fewer barriers towards adoption.
This post can go on forever because this profession has given me so much to be grateful for. I haven’t even spoken about patients yet!
Dentistry is truly a profession that never stops giving. Posts like this serve as a reminder that we should be grateful for our skill set and ability to create impact in others’ lives.
What are you grateful for today?