Back in 2018, when I was just a fresh graduate, I had no plans of starting a practice, founding a 100 member+ national Study Club or applying for awards. I was yet to be involved in organized dentistry and write for the ADA New Dentist Now blog. I had not yet started my website or become active across social media channels.
All of that changed when in 2019 I learned the importance of a peer group and began the New Dentist Business Club and later, joined the Creative Collective. Surrounding myself with people smarter, and more ambitious than me, provided me with a much larger perspective on life outside of dental school. I felt inspired after connecting with these new people, and began to reconsider my goals.
Many people, without a peer group, face anxiety and confusion about how to navigate their careers, or overcome challenging situations. A peer group can make all the difference and here are four reasons you should reevaluate the people you surround yourself with.
Peers can imagine a bigger dream for you
‘Persevering’ would have remained unfinished and gathering metaphorical dust in my google drive, had it not been for members of my peer group who pushed me towards publishing it. Writing a manuscript is a tedious task, and when you are busy, you will have countless excuses to put it off until the ‘time is right’. I was inclined to do the same with ‘Persevering’. Coincidentally, I happened to mention it to members of the Creative Collective. Sonia Chopra DDS, who is a member of our group, immediately said that I had to publish the book. The demand for such content was high amongst foreign trained dentists and my book would be the answer to many people struggling to move to the United States.
Those few words of encouragement made a big difference to me. And a few months later, my book was out!
Peers can help you navigate tough situations
I went through an awkward incident a few months ago when a senior male colleague spoke in a disrespectful tone with me, disrespectful being a gross understatement. I wasn’t planning on reporting the incident or going through due process with HR, but a peer reminded me to advocate for myself. She said that if I don’t use this opportunity to launch an official complaint, the behavior will go unchecked and will likely repeat itself with other female colleagues, who have more to lose. When bad behavior goes unchecked, we end up normalizing it and the perpetrator never learns that they were wrong. In fact, as time goes on, they justify their behavior and become less adaptable to change.
Having been through a similar situation and having successfully navigated it within her own work place, my peer was full of advice on what to do next. Her advice helped me advocate for myself and bring the incident to my superiors’ attention. Today, it makes me proud to think of how I stood up for myself. As humans, we always have the ability to make meaningful change in the workforce.
Peers can inspire you by example
Some of my peers in the New Dentist Business Club became successful practice owners within just a few years of graduation. Other peers from the Creative Collective won prestigious awards, launched speaking careers, received funding to conduct their research and do all of this while maintaining enviable work life balance. I have been so inspired by seeing these people, and know, that it fuels my own drive to achieve more and reach greater heights.
Surround yourself with rockstars and you will find yourself slowly becoming one too.
Two of my colleagues were selected to be a part of the ADA IDL class two years ago. This inspired me to apply and after being rejected once, I finally got accepted last week! I am excited to participate in this unique leadership program, with full sponsorship from the ADA, and build better communication and networking skills, while also having fun!
Peers can advise you on what NOT to do
A few months ago, I thought of launching a podcast with my sister. We hoped for it to be a healthcare tech podcast hosting our unique perspectives (I as a doctor, and my sister as an engineer). After speaking to two of my peers I realized that while the value of the podcast is there, we do not have an audience who would listen to it, and we also don’t have the time it needs! With my full time residency program commitment and my sister’s work and family responsibilities, launching a podcast would not get the priority or time it requires. Both of my peers advised against it, recommending us to consider launching it after putting some more thought into it.
I hope all of you reading this can take the necessary steps to surround yourself with cheerleaders and peers that are smarter and more successful than you. This is how we learn and become better versions of ourselves. Joining a mastermind or a Study Club is no longer difficult, you just have to make the effort towards making it a reality. All the best!