Director's Message: Are you a 'what' or a 'why' dental professional?

Director's Message: Are you a 'what' or a 'why' dental professional? Kristine Hodsdon is the director of RDH eVillage.

Two hygienists are working alongside one another in an open hygiene suite. A child walks by and asks what they’re doing.

The first hygienists replies, "Cleaning and polishing teeth, and it’s what I do every day. All I do is scrape, tell patients to floss and rinse, and input notes in the computer.”

The other hygienist smiles, proudly proclaiming, "I’m positively impacting a person’s overall health!”

We’ve all met professionals who focus on the “what” they’re doing instead of the “why” they’re doing it. It’s difficult to feel passionate about something when we’re missing the meaning behind what we’re doing and why we’re here.

So why are we here? What’s our purpose?

How a person defines purpose has as much to do with his or her mindset as it does with personal, philosophical, cultural, religious, and scientific beliefs.

The purpose of knowing your purpose

Defining purpose in work, life, and business is not about the daily tasks; it’s about the reason for the tasks in the first place — the why, not the what. Discovering purpose allows a person to create the vision behind the tasks, and knowing that vision can dramatically change results.

For example, a dental consultant’s purpose is not to analyze reports — that’s a task. The reason for this task is to help a dentist enjoy his or her life by having a profitable and sustainable practice.

People who are fulfilled at work know how the work they do supports the company’s or practice’s vision, values, and goals whether it’s their own company/practice or someone else’s.

Knowing your purpose helps:

  • Give meaning to everything you do.
  • Guide you through tough times and difficult decisons.
  • Encourage you to follow your instinct instead of following the crowd.
  • Motivate you on your journey even (or especially) when you encounter failure or rejection.

How to fulfill your purpose and make a living

We’ve been talking about finding purpose in the work that you’re already doing. If you want to envision a career or business, based on your life purpose, try the following approach.

  1. Determine your strengths. Life purpose is directly related to personal strengths. For example, if communication is your strength, then your purpose may be found in that area.
  2. Determine your passions. Passions are the things you love to do -- with or without external rewards (such as money or recognition).
  3. Determine your causes. Identify the causes that matter to you. Is there a condition in the world that makes you feel discontent or compels you to action?
  4. Find the sweet spot. After determining your strengths, passions, and causes, find the overlap between them. That’s the sweet spot, where you’re likely to find the most fulfillment in your work life.
  5. Your mission, should you choose to accept it ... Based on the information above, write a personal mission statement; it can help guide your passions throughout your career.

It’s not (necessarily) about the money.

Instead of focusing on a monetary goal, try setting goals that “add value” -- a goal that improves the quality of people's lives or of the earth. Whether you’re a hygienist, dentist, speaker, consultant, brand manager, or executive, it’s ultimately through helping others that we all achieve our life purpose.

Kristine Hodsdon
Director, RDH eVillage

P.S. Upcoming May Programs — 90 Day Business Insider

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