Making an Olympian effort to achieve your professional goals as an implant dentist

Watching the Olympics really focuses the mind on setting clear goals and achieving these goals. We’ve seen some athletes’ palpable disappointment at missing out on a medal and the clear joy of those who do make it to the podium and have managed to achieve their Olympic goals.

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And it’s not just the athletes who have goals – dentists in the Olympic village have an important role to play in helping them to achieve success, eliminating pain and offering preventive advice. You don’t need me to tell you that there are many, many countries world-wide where dental care is lacking and, for some, the treatment being offered in Rio amounts to an oral health opportunity of a lifetime, as well as representing an incredible achievement for the dentists taking part.

Implant dentistry is really no different when it comes to making a success of the business through goal-setting. While an athlete may look to achieve a personal best in the 110m hurdles, many a dentist is striving to turn more consultations into treatment acceptances, as just one example.

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The key is realising that dreams can only really come to fruition if you know what you want to achieve long-term, and then plan to get there with your team on-side. So, needless to say, the first thing to ask yourself is – what do I want to achieve professionally? And then you have to set long-term goals to achieve that.

If it is improving the aforementioned acceptance rate for implant treatment plans, how can you do that? Or does achieving your aspirations require going on a postgraduate course, perhaps? Maybe your goals directly involve another team member, such as your nurse offering oral health education to your implant patients, thereby freeing you up to do more of the clinical work you love.

Whatever it is, planning is essential and we’re looking at the longer term. Alas, unless your dream is to win the National lottery and you beat the odds of something like 1 in 14 million, achieving goals involves playing the long game.

An oft-repeated term in sport is the need for a positive mental attitude, which really does make a difference, as does having your team on board. Look one year down the line, then five and then ten, plan SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) and – just like this summer’s Olympians –  you too can feel like you’ve won gold and tested your limits as you pursue and then achieve your professional ambitions.

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