Part 1: "Drivers" vs. "Cruisers": The Search for Fulfillment as a Dental Practice Owner

Doctors are natural born achievers, very goal-oriented people. Pursuing these goals gives meaning to their lives, something to live for. As a goal-oriented person, you’ve probably spent much of your life focusing on certain professional goals. Early in your career, the responsibilities tied to these goals seem secondary. Once the essential goals have been reached, the responsibility to maintain them becomes the heavier focus, and as more goals are achieved, more responsibilities are incurred.

That shift, when goals become responsibilities, indicates an important transition in your career. That maintenance stage lasts a different length of time for each doctor. Some doctors decide to grow their practice further and set larger professional goals.

Other times, doctors may end up feeling like their practice runs their lives. It often starts with the Sunday night blues. Unrecognized, they begin to feel trapped by their professional responsibilities; what they need is a light at the end of the tunnel.

For example, Doctor A had just turned forty-six years old. He operated a successful practice grossing about $600,000 a year. His income after expenses was about 46% of the gross collections, which enabled him and his family to enjoy a good living. He practiced four days a week. His practice was stable and maintained a steady flow of new patients.

He had a nice house and drove a nice car to and from the office. He started to set aside money for retirement and some college funds for his children. In short, he had achieved what many would consider the American dream. Yet, he was not truly happy.

(Continued in next month's newsletter.)