There Is More Than One Way to Achieve Success

deanna mountainsN

ot only do each of us have a unique definition of success and what that looks like to us, but how we get there varies, too. Today we’re not going to delve into what success is. I’d like you to look instead at the journey to success  the path you take and how you navigate it.

Within four days I had the opportunity to hike/climb/walk the same trail with two very different people. The trail I’m referring to is what is known as the “Incline.” It’s in Manitou Springs, just west of Colorado Springs, at the base of Pikes Peak. It begins at 6,000 feet in elevation, gains over 2,000 feet in elevation, and is just under a mile. It’s difficult. The “steps” are what was left over from a railway that was washed out, and some of the rail ties are missing.

The first person I hiked this with, Jayne, is my usual hiking partner. She has summited over 30 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks, a few of them with me. 

Her attitude is, “However long it takes, just watch the sky for storms. Don’t rest for too long, keep hydrated, and we’ll get to the top.”

The second person was Haley Sue, my oldest daughter, who works out daily and was a collegiate golfer.

Haley’s attitude is, “Just don’t stop. Keep moving, even if it’s slow. If you stop, you’ll never make it.”

Two very different methods for reaching the top. Guess what? It doesn’t matter which method you use. Both get you to the top. Here is where I see the business analogy.

If every dentist that graduated from dental school passed their boards and viewed success the exact same way, what difference would personality make in a practice? NONE. Thankfully, that isn’t the situation in the dental field today. How each of you care for your patients and run your clinic has a direct correlation to your success.

Do you spend time with your patients talking about their personal and business life? Do you socialize with your team outside of the office? Are you pretty much all business and talk only about your patients’ oral health? Do you work long days a few times a week, or are you available whenever your patients need you? Do you enjoy a balance of work and personal time? I’m not saying 50/50 here. I’m asking if you are enjoying activities that bring you pleasure, as well as working and building a successful practice.

Or is your attitude work all the time, build the practice, and spend time enjoying the fruits of your labor later?

I’m going to suggest moderation (like what you say to your patients about sweets). Delayed gratification is great when wanting to dig out of dental school and practice debt, and you delay a new home, a new car, and vacations. Yet you worked extremely long, hard hours to get your education, so you deserve and need to have some fun.

Eventually you will reap the financial rewards, and also the personal satisfaction, of making a difference in your patients’ dental and overall health. Not in that order, either. Staying on the path will assure you success. How that success looks depends on how you envision it. Be sure to be specific with your description and vision of success, so that when you reach it, you’ll recognize it. It’s not quite as obvious as the top of the “Incline.” There are no more stairs to climb, and it’s relatively flat (there is still 11+ miles to the summit of Pike’s Peak, if you truly want to summit).

Success is obtained in an individual way, and it looks different for each individual.

I did both of the above methods of hiking the “Incline.” To be totally honest, both were difficult. Both were fun. Both times I had an extreme sense of accomplishment when I got back down to the bottom. I was successful in my endeavor each time.

If you’d like help defining what success looks like for you, or how to obtain it with joy and passion, I’d love to help.

Strength – Stop going through the motions. Write out what success looks like for you in all areas of your life.

Dignity – You don’t get to blame anyone here, not even the economy. You are where you are in life because of choices you made.

Grace – If your life doesn’t look the way you want, be gentle with yourself, and forgive yourself. If you’ve been blaming, forgive the person you are blaming, even if it’s you.