My last blog entitled "So you want to quit dentistry?" elicited some interesting (and yet predictable) reactions. If you missed it, read it here. Predictably, Tubulites responded with positive comments. A few wrote their comments under that blog and others on our WhatsApp groups. However the reaction through social media was much different - much more negative. It pretty much proved what I was alluding to.
However, those conversations did make me think deeper and ask two questions:
1. How in heaven's name can one fuel their passion when everything around them appears to be collapsing?
2. What is it about passionate individuals that fuels a different type of approach in these conditions? How do they use such challenging conditions as fuel for their growth rather than giving up?
Let's explore the first question - "How in heaven's name can one fuel their passion when everything around them appears to be collapsing?"
Let me tell you a story. Tubules is 10 years old this year. Out of those 10, for the first 7 years, I operated the entire operation on my own. I was the CEO, the first-line and second-line and third-line support, the customer service team, the marketing, the sales, the networker, the CFO, the bookkeeper, the TubulesLive presenter and software and hardware developer, the TubulesTalk reviewer, the study club co-ordinator, the clown etc etc. In essence I had the equivalent of 38 jobs! I did all of these while still working full time as a dental practitioner. In the first 3.5 of those 7 years I was even doing my MClin Dent in Periodontics. In those 7 years - I slept 2 hours a day (or night - sometimes it is all a blur) and I barely saved anything as I worked like mad to invest every penny into Tubules. I earnt nothing! The pure definition of insanity is doing something so massive that it eats into your time, it eats into your life, it eats into your living and forces you to take out loans that you have no clue how you will repay. Yet I remained that very insane person. Compounded on top of this was the challenge of convincing dental professionals that this was a useful resource - and no one believed me! The company barely made enough money to survive and I ploughed on and on. I was scared that things may not work. I had the fear of failure. I had the fear of someone complaining against me - and bringing my entire hard work down, I had the fear of some competition finding a way to destroy the project (maybe push me under the bus). There were (and still are) instances when I sometimes feel like quitting.
Sound familiar? Fear of litigation, fear of the patient complaining against me, fear of being pushed under the bus? - and when dentists are faced with this - they are certain to approach the boundary of quitting the profession. Some have quit and so many have felt that they HAVE to quit. Others are in environments that are not allowing them to practice the dentistry that they would love and think it will be better to quit. Sound familiar?
Back to my story... So why is it that I, somehow, continued to plough on despite the challenges? Why is it that despite so many challenges (that continue up to today) I plough on ahead. What is it that fuels this? Ladies and gentleman - it is the Passion Mindset. The Passion Mindset is one that embodies all 5 facets of passion. I have posted them on some of the previous blogs but here they are again:
- Purpose - Values and motivational goals
- Intent (Mindset) - Education, community and leadership
- High intensity - flow and emotions
It was embodying these facets all together that allowed me to build the resilience to continue. I had something in each of these that gave me the entire Passion Mindset. I briefly explain these here and briefly tell you how each facet was developed. The Passion Mindset has never been created anywhere, I created this because, from my experiences, I know it has power.
- Purpose - Values and motivational goals
I knew two things. My purpose and my values.
I was certain of my purpose. I knew my WHY. If you really want to know more about this - you should read Simon Sinek's FIND YOUR WHY. Coincidentally Dr Richard Porter has written an awesome blog about it too.
I knew my values. My values are to help people, to motivate and inspire them, and to bring people together. My values are to be humble, honest and enthusiastic. John DeMartini talks a lot about values.
And knowing my PURPOSE and my VALUES meant that I was steadfast. I could not quit, and I could not deviate from my vision. Every time I was hit with a hard situation, I could go back to these two characteristics and know why I had to carry on and find a way. It gave me the rock and the foundation to continue. It gave me the stone on which I could stand and remind myself that quitting was not an option.
Goal setting can only happen when you know your PURPOSE AND your VALUES. Knowing your WHY is not enough - it has to be tied in with your values. That in itself becomes the rock that enables you to set your vision and your goals.
When you have such a strong purpose, such strong embedded values and steadfast goals - you start developing resilience because you HAVE to achieve your goals.
That enables your next facet to become stronger
- Intent (Mindset) - Education, community and leadership.
You become intent on achieving those goals. The purpose is bigger than YOU. The purpose is bigger than an individual. It enables two important things to happen.
One is sacrifice and the other is optimism and faith.
You start developing the mental intent that is so strong that you sacrifice personal goals to invest in education (learning more), invest in finding the right community (the like-minded individuals I talked about in the first blog) and showing leadership in achieving your goals.
More importantly, that support network (the positive network you develop), that intense education and the powerful intent enable you to start having some kind of optimism. You start having faith. A strong faith in your abilities to achieve your goals because you have a purpose.
Passion Mindset individuals invest in their education, their community and the development of their leadership.
Before you know it, what you do becomes your identity. You will no longer say "I do dentistry" but you will proudly say "I am a dentist". I never say I run Tubules - I proudly say I am a "Tubulite"
The right environment becomes a magnet for you. Simply because you are in the right community with the right mindset, you begin to discover the opportunities. So many Tubulites have found jobs through our community for this reason.
For me, I could not find the right environment so I decided to build my own - the Tubules community. I built Tubules to achieve my vision.
Do you think you can build your own environment?
- High intensity - flow and emotions
More importantly, then you start getting into the flow and the intensity with which you perform becomes something that not many people can keep up with. Your emotions become tied in with what is developing into your passion.
Ask my team - they think I am a whirlwind at Tubules.
The above is just a brief. It is impossible to go into detail. It is something I have developed. The Passion Mindset is something I developed from my experiences. However, as dental professionals - can you develop one? can you strengthen each of those facets? Because if you do, you will be able to find and ReIgnite your passion even when things are not going to plan. You will keep the fire burning inside you even when outside is a flood of water trying to dampen it down.
Let's explore that second question I thought about. "What is it about the passionate individuals that fuels a different type of approach in these conditions? How do they use such challenging conditions as fuel for their growth rather than giving up?"
The answer lies above. The combination of the facets ignites within you some kind of optimism, faith, high intensity, flow and eventually a PASSION Mindset.
The world around you will not change until you change yourself. In dentistry, don't expect the NHS to change, don't expect the situation to change. It might or it may not. However, you have the full energy to change - so that whether you are in a good situation or in terrible circumstances - you have the mental strength to remain positive, energetic and steadfast. Perhaps it is time to consider how you are thinking - perhaps instead of thinking about quitting - start developing the Passion Mindset.
It took me from the left side of this curve to the right. Are you ready to do the same?