What does making an impact in dentistry look like to you? Who do you want to influence the most? How can you make a difference in the work that you do?
These are tough questions to ponder but I know if you are reading this, you want to leave your mark.
The truth is, you’re leaving your footprint whether you want to or not. The challenge is how much of a positive impact can you make?
Let’s dial this back and look at the definition of what making an impact means. According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, making an impact means to have a strong effect on someone or something.1
Most of us want to make a difference in our career and in the lives of our clients and colleagues. However, in reality we go about our daily routines and interactions largely unaware of the impact we make.
Imagine if you were intentional in your actions.
Think of the positive lasting impression you could make by being deliberate and consistent in your actions. Imagine the difference you could pass on to the next generation in dentistry by sharing your knowledge and experiences with purpose.
You have the ability to make a positive difference. You were born to make an impact!
“The only limit to your impact is your imagination and your commitment.” -Tony Robbins
My impact became intentional when I wrote down what I ultimately wanted to achieve in my work. This wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be! It took research and countless attempts to clearly define an inspirational picture of my ambitions, hopes, and dreams for my career. When it finally came together, I had direction and purpose.
“To help create and empower world-class dental leaders and teams to make a significant difference in their practice and in the lives of their patients.” -Julie Friesen Dental Coaching And Consulting
I established values to guide me on how I want to “show up” for my clients, dive into my work, make smart decisions and grow both personally and professionally. This is my purpose. To me it’s exciting, compelling, and vivid! It inspires me to get out of bed in the morning and energizes me to pull an all-nighter to finish a project.
There is something so powerful in defining who you are, what you stand for, and how you are different. You own why you do what you do and how you do it. Yes, this is the whole vision, mission, core values thing! However, it doesn’t stop there.
The secret to supercharging your impact? To be intentional everyday with your purpose. It requires a daily habit of focus and taking action. You must reflect and commit to your purpose for your work each day. This is your impact game changer!
“When you live each day with intentionality, there’s almost no limit
to what you can do.” -John C. Maxwell
Let’s be honest, no one can maintain “being on” all the time. Even with a deliberate daily routine, chances are that, from time to time, we will lose focus and drift into emotional reactions.
Having a busy schedule and a growing business, many times my mind can be fixated on work. An unexpected interruption can get an instinctive reaction that sometimes doesn’t align with who I want to be. Sound familiar?
Knee jerk reactions come from a state of mind of what we are feeling at the time and are acted upon without much thought. In these moments, we don’t consider the impact our words and actions have. Spontaneous reactions often produce negative results affecting our relationships, business, and lives.
So, how do we reset our focus?
One way is through imagery.
My vision statement is framed on my desk as a daily reminder of my purpose and goals.
On the days I need extra motivation, I move the frame closer, right beside my computer and instantly I feel energized. It helps to shake off tension, get grounded, and be who I want to be. I feel centered, in control, and able to focus on the needs of others. It just goes to show how small things can have a big impact!
Reacting is emotional. Responding is emotional intelligence!
As a dental coach, I support dentists and teams when they’re facing overwhelming challenges. When a practice feels like it’s in chaos and emotions are running high, it’s essential that I respond not react to the environment. I think of it as “keeping my head above the water.” If I’m pulled under by the current of their situation, I can’t help them – and helping teams is my mission!
In an intentional state, we are conscious of our words and actions responding with awareness, respect and heart.
Can you think of someone who has supported your career in dentistry? Someone you trust, respect and enjoy being around? A person you look up to and aim to be more like.
Someone who is a positive influence for me might not be the right fit for you. However, some traits universally make a good impression no matter what. Most of us lean towards someone who is respectful, confident, optimistic, a good listener, a team player, and someone who keeps their promises.
Can you relate to any of these?
The fact is, we take on the traits of people we spend time with. The favorable influence of others helps mold and shape us. Their fresh perspective makes our world bigger and their confidence in us helps move us forward. We make our mark by what we give back!
The common thread of supercharged impact is our consistencies with people. Our consistency with others builds trust, trust builds loyalty and loyalty is the heartbeat of everlasting relationships.
This is impact!
Our work can be anywhere from creating a new process to training a new team. It is what you pass on to the next generation(s) and to your peers. It is having achieved something that lives on and reflects your purpose.
Recently, I received a card from a dental team. Inside were wonderful words of gratitude, encouragement and love. One comment in particular touched my heart so deeply it brought tears to my eyes. She wrote,
“Thank you for everything you’ve done! Thank you for your guidance, and inspiration…but mostly, thank you for believing in me, and more importantly making me believe in myself. You are truly one of a kind. All the best to you!” -Michelle, Treatment Coordinator
Knowingly or unknowingly, we leave an impression wherever we go. Sometimes we receive encouraging words to know we are on the right path, sometimes we don’t. We have to trust in ourselves and be true to our vision statement to know for sure we’re pursuing our purpose.
There are three types of people in this world; people who watch things happen, people who wonder what happened, and people who make things happen. All progress big or small starts with you – you are not meant to be average!
This is a defining time in dentistry to help our world get healthier. It’s estimated that oral diseases affect nearly 3.5 billion people worldwide (Global Burden of Disease Study, 2017)2 Together as the dental industry we must step forward into the front lines and bridge the gap between dental health and overall physical health. It’s time for dental teams to confidently take a direct seat in educating and helping people to optimal wellness and living longer.
Decide today to leave your footprint in dentistry. Get clear with your path and commit to intentionally going after your purpose every day. Become the leader you’re looking for so you can guide and inspire others into action.
“Choose to make the future not just a place you’re going but a better
place you’ve helped create.” Love, Julie
“Impact”. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English / [by] A.S. Hornby; Editor Jonathan Crowther. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1995.
Global. Regional and national incidence, prevalence and years lived with disability for 354 diseases and injuries for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2017: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Lancet 2018; 392: 1789–8583.