We all need tools, different kinds of them. Think of tools like assets in a tax bracket- there are tangible tools and intangible tools. Tangible tools in a dental office would be the dental chair, clinical supplies, things you can physically see and touch. Intangible tools are things you can’t see, yet are equally important. For example, the goodwill of your patients, a team that has faith in you, your leadership skills, etc.
Think of tools like assets in a tax bracket- there are tangible tools and intangible tools.
As young associates with the hope of achieving our professional goals sooner, there is an imperative need to have tools. Here are some tools (a mix of tangible as well as intangible) that every new dentist would benefit from:
A business card
There are a number of reasons why distributing business cards (liberally) is a good idea. Firstly, dentists don’t traditionally hand out business cards, so this is one way to make yourself stand out. Secondly, unless you’re great at building a connection with someone under 5 minutes, you’re not leaving people with anything memorable. Lastly, consider it a way to continue the conversation. May be you met someone on an elevator who would like to collaborate on a community event? Business cards will help you both stay in touch.
People we went to high school with are spending most of their down time, browsing social media. These are the same people who are going to be your patients tomorrow, and so will their kids and grandkids. Think about this every time you post something. While it is important to be genuine, it is also vital to be respectful and courteous. Starting a professional Instagram account is the easiest way to get serious about building your brand. It’s helpful for potential patients, colleagues and vendors to see what makes you an interesting person, outside of dentistry.
After only a few years of real world practice, I woke up one day with severe back pain. I was able to confirm later that studying long nights bent into books, practicing dentistry without loupes back in India, and a lack of stretching and strengthening exercises, had done irreparable damage to my spine. After a few sessions with my chiropractor and doing the recommended exercises, I turned to yoga. And, I’ve never left. 30 mins daily will not only help your muscles become stronger, it will also improve concentration, and make you more relaxed!
‘You CAN sit with us’
At a dental society meeting, don’t only sit with your friends. I understand how awkward it is to sit with new people and introduce yourself as an associate at a corporate office! However, what makes organized dentistry great is the ability to network. I’ve had friends who found a new associateship, met a dentist looking to retire, and heard of a rare CE opportunity, simply by being at the table. The possibilities are endless.
Speak the truth
We all have a natural tendency to ‘sugarcoat’ things. We sometimes try to make our lives sound a little better than they are, especially when we speak with colleagues. I used to do the same, until the time I realized I wasn’t getting the help I needed. Nowadays, if someone asks me how I am faring in my associateship, I tell them like it is. It is when we start discussing pay, benefits and mentorship at associateships with honesty, that we will sincerely begin learning what is missing.
Have a personal compass
Are you exactly where you need to be in order to achieve your goals? Not all associateships are created equal. ‘Be diligent about reflection before complacency sets in’, my mentor told me earlier this year. If you are in an associateship that is not providing you with new skills, or is conditioning you to tolerate mediocrity – it might be time to leave. Having the courage to make tough choices now, will leave you thanking yourself later!
Do you use these tools already? I’d love to hear about it! Drop me a comment or send out a DM on Instagram @dr.deshpande