A study by the BDA (British Dental Association) found:
47% of dentists have low levels of job satisfaction
44% of dentists have low levels of happiness
60% of dentists experience high levels of anxiety.
I suspect that we won't receive much sympathy from the general population who see dentists as doing very well thank you...........
Those of us who run our own practices will have seen a large increase in litigation, regulation, administration and associated costs. The message I regularly hear from practice principals is that they want to be able to concentrate on looking after their patients but the increased burden of running a business is wearing them down.
I have always taken a different view. To be able to enjoy a vocation where you provide a valuable service to the community, whilst having the opportunity grow a commercial enterprise has always been a privilege.
How many businesses enjoy a true monopoly as we do? How many businesses are guaranteed payment every year by the government for delivering a service to the community (under the NHS)?
The freedom of getting up every morning and being able to plan your day without being answerable to anyone is priceless. To be your own boss, lead your team and to have their respect can be truly uplifting. However, as the quote above so rightly states, with that freedom comes responsibility. We have the burden ensure the ongoing success of our business and to look after our team.
Does it really need to be a burden?
When I first set up Barbican Dental Care, I used to rush around like a headless chicken, trying to run the business between treating patients. One frantic day, one of my wise patients (a chairman of a blue chip company) took me to one side and whispered, "Neil, you only have so many hours in the day. Concentrate on what you do best and what you enjoy, delegate the rest".
In a previous post I quoted the holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl:
"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom".
Understanding the importance of that "space" and taking the time to consider our response is the key to our freedom. It helps us find our true Intention. Once we know what that is, we can enjoy our freedom and embrace our responsibilities.