Would You Give Yourself a Passing Grade?
Remember when you were a child and report card time came around? It could be an anxious time, but also an exhilarating time. This is when you got an objective evaluation of your strengths and an honest assessment of areas where you needed to improve. Ultimately, if you satisfied the requirements you were promoted to the next grade, which was always exciting. It meant you were ready for a new level of challenges.
It’s a pattern that continues right through young adulthood. During each phase of dental school you learn new skills, your progress is reviewed, you’re tested, and then you move on to the next level, where the process starts again.
But what do you do when you are on your own in private practice? Who is there to give you an honest evaluation of where you stand in key areas of performance? Who guides you and stops you from falling into bad habits? Who is there to tell you it’s time to take it to the next level? Who tells you what that next level is?
The answer of course is that it is up to you to ensure that you keep growing. It’s very easy, when that external accountability is no longer there, to fall into a pattern where you just keep doing what you’re doing—to keep living what I call the Groundhog Year.
Committing to a life of excellence is all about resisting the path of least resistance. It’s about doing regular self-assessed “report cards” on your professional development and assigning yourself new goals to meet.
At this stage in life, it’s entirely up to you to decide if you make the grade.