Remember the adage, “Women have to work twice as hard to be considered half as good”? Dr. Lois Frankel writes in her bestseller “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office,” “It’s a myth that people get ahead because they work hard. The truth is, no one ever got promoted purely because of hard work. Likability, strategic thinking, networking, being a team player are but a few of the other factors that go into crafting a successful career.”
Rather than “work hard,” here is the secret to “work smart” — Think strategically by developing your own personal mission statement that focuses on your work and your life. As successful dentists, you probably already have office mission or philosophy statements. A personal mission statement is a bit different. Writing this type of statement offers you the opportunity to establish what’s really important to you. It’s important to think strategically about yourself, and there’s no better time than now — the beginning of a new year.
As difficult as it may be to “examine your baggage,” you will understand yourself better by figuring out what you are already carrying around.
In your professional world, you may be lingering over the loss of a patient to another practice, not getting the prestigious award, or the subtle lack of inclusion on a CE program. All of these bags can cause self-defeating behavior when allowed to fester.
What are some of the things you’re still angry or troubled about? What baggage do you have that you’d like to lose?
Write it down. Try to figure out how to grow from the experience and move on without dragging around multiple rolling bags.
2. Identify past successes
Where have you been personally successful in recent years? These successes could be at work, in your community, or at home. Write them down and see if there are any common themes.
3. Define what you want from work
As part of this personal mission-statement exercise, write a letter to yourself dated three years from today. What exciting and realistic picture do you see for your office in three years? Keep these in mind: your gross income, net income, number of employees, amount of office space, location of your office(s), and why people will want to work for you. Review this letter at the beginning of each year. You’ll be surprised and pleased with your progress.
4. Define what you want personally
Sit down in a quiet, calm place and answer these questions: What does personal success look like to you? What are your criteria for personal success? Make up your own definition of success, then compare your progress against your own parameters—no one else’s.
5. Write it down
Be true to yourself. Don’t come up with a statement that appears to be what your parents, spouse, or friends expect of you.
I wrote my personal mission statement more than a decade ago while sitting in the antique lobby of the Menger Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. It’s not meant to be carved in stone, and I have tweaked it over the years. This statement has helped keep me grounded, focused, and satisfied with my accomplishments.