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5 Touchstones for Building a Successful Career

Building your career? Learn about what can help you realize the future you envision.

As a new dentist, your future is full of potential. You've set yourself up for success in a rewarding profession and you are well on your way. At this stage, you likely know the value of building a strong foundation for whatever you tackle - your career, your family, your health and your finances. After all, tomorrow's successes are likely dependent on the actions and steps you take today. Planning can influence the direction you take.

As you look ahead to building your career, there are five touchstones that can help ensure you realize the future career you envision. And we're happy to share them.


Present your best self

Your interactions with people as you practice dentistry can have lasting impacts. How you are perceived by others can shape your ability to grow your patient base and, ultimately, whether you'll achieve your professional goals.

Regardless of technical prowess or specialized knowledge, professional success is predicated on one's actions, reliability, and good judgement. And in the dental profession, empathy and listening skills are absolutely essential as well, especially when you're dealing with patients who may be afraid of pain or discomfort and unsure of why they need a particular treatment.


Be a team player

It's hard to get ahead on your own, even if you're a solo practitioner. You may need the support and cooperation of others.

Whether you're an associate dentist or the owner of your own practice, it's important to recognize that everyone you work alongside has a role to play. The commitment and professionalism of hygienists, office staff, cleaning personnel — and even outside partners like an accountant and attorney — are key to your success.

You ultimately help yourself when you take time to value the contributions of others. They may be motivated to do their best on your behalf.


Learn and grow through feedback

For many healthcare professionals, there's an instinct to avoid self-examination or peer evaluation out of a concern that negative feedback could stall your momentum. That doesn't have to be the case.

Provide opportunities for your peers, staff and patients to let you know how you're doing. If you're open to learning their views, they'll likely be constructive with any criticism. Consider it an opportunity for either getting on the right track or staying on a course that's working. You may discover that questioning your assumptions and adjusting your perspective results in a happier and more productive work environment not just for yourself, but for everyone around you.


Embrace networking

In this age of Zoom meetings and social media addiction, it's sometimes easy to forget that real-world, face-to-face human contact can give you a major advantage in establishing community ties, building a reputation as a business leader, and opening pipelines for new patients.

Take advantage of opportunities for in-person interaction, whether golf tournaments, cultural events, PTA meetings, American Dental Association meetings and events, or other activities that match your interests and give you the chance to get to know members of the community. Networking through social media and online forums can be constructive too.

It may be possible to grow your patient base and keep them loyal just by being an amazing dentist — but you can improve those odds by showing people out in the world that you're also a dynamic, caring and engaged person.


Take care of yourself

Dentistry can be demanding profession, making it tough at times to keep your focus on your physical and emotional health. Don't forget that you're not a robot — you're a living, breathing human who needs rest, nutritious meals, and a solid sleep routine. You may be putting in 6-day weeks or 10-hour days because you enjoy taking care of patients and taking care of yourself is just as essential.

Dentists are at particular risk for musculoskeletal issues1 that can affect the hands, neck, shoulders and back. Staying aware of the potential for physical strain and working to offset it with doctor-recommended stretches, good office ergonomics, yoga, strength training, massages or other treatments, may prove vital to your long-term health.

What's more, staying well rested, and keeping calm and relaxed can have a very positive impact on your decision- making and your mood.

We at the ADA Members Insurance Plan, underwritten by Protective, understand the value of planning. That's what we help ADA members like you do every day. In fact, that's the only thing we do. Establishing a strong financial foundation today, can ensure you meet your financial goals down the road.

As your career advances and your life circumstances change, you may find you need help understanding personal and business financial protection products too. If so, the ADA Members Insurance Plan is here for you, as it has been for many decades. We can help you find the insurance products you need to meet your needs. We'd welcome the opportunity to help you. Call us at 888.689.7154 or visit us at ada.protective.com.