From the editor's desk: You’re only as successful as you want to be

Feb. 19, 2021
You are in charge of you and your career. It may be a bit of hard work along the way, but it's ultimately worth it when you meet your goals and are truly happy with what you do.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Getting yourself together requires a level of honesty that’s hard to imagine. There is nothing easy about realizing you’re the one that’s been holding you back this whole time.”

While I want to hate that quote, I love it so much that it’s taped on my laptop, which forces me to look at it every day. There is no better wakeup call than realizing you are responsible for your own destiny and your life is what you make of it.

I haven’t always held this belief. I actually expected people to help me, like it was their responsibility or something. I fell a few times before I figured out that someone may not help me. I’m an independent person now, but when I was younger, I was dependent on others. So, falling on my face was a wakeup call to let me know that nobody was going to help me. I was the only one who could help me. I now apply that to everything in my life. If my career isn’t blooming, if I’m stagnate where I am and in what I’m doing, that’s on me.

Creating your best life is hard work! Nobody is going to come up to you while you’re sitting on the couch and give you anything, like an amazing career. If you want that, you need to work for it. You need to find what you love, what drives you, what makes you happy, and go after it!

If you find what you love to do and figure out how to make money at it, you’ll never “work” a day in your life. So, what drives you? What are you passionate about? When you wake up each morning, what is it that excites you? That is what you want to do! For me, it was my love of dentistry and desire to create a better life for my family and me. Rather than job search and come up with a second career, I decided to focus on the thing that I loved. How could I better myself where I was? I didn’t know what that was going to look like, but I knew I wanted it.

Goals are important

It was a February day when I sat down and made my first set of goals, and that list would be the foundation of all that I’ve worked so hard to accomplish. I scribbled down things that I wanted to achieve, both big and small. I kept that list for years, and unfortunately it got lost in a move. My goals have changed over the years—new goals wore out and old goals expanded. I recommend that you make a list of your goals. Think about what you want to accomplish in life, where you’d like to go, and what you want. Create a blueprint for your life.

Be prepared during this journey to create what you want and know there will be hurdles to jump, land mines to avoid, and setbacks called “life.” Your endurance will be tested time and again but keep your eye on the prize. People will try to derail you because they also want what you want. But it’s your vision, so keep that in mind. Listen to input and remember to go where your heart takes you. Life is going to get in your way, and that’s OK, just get back on your path.

Remember, it’s not anyone’s responsibility to make you happy, successful, rich, famous, or king of the world. That’s your job. Stop expecting anyone to hand you something they can’t give you. You must do that. Start with taking responsibility for your actions and make a list of goals. Then make things happen. You are in control. As the Good Witch of the North said to Dorothy, “You had the power all along.”

Get out there and create your best life!

Tija Hunter, CDA, EFDA, CDIA, CDSO, CDSH, MADAA, is a member and current vice president of the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA), where she holds the honor of Master. Tija is the editor of Dental Assisting Digest and contributes to Dental Economics magazine. She is the director of the Dental Careers Institute, a dental assisting and dental continuing education program, and an international speaker and a certified trainer in nitrous oxide in several states.