DO IT: 3 ways to refocus and overcome setbacks

To be an achiever is both a blessing and a curse. If you find yourself looking back at goals that life has delayed, here are three ways to refocus and begin again.

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To be an achiever is both a blessing and a curse. If you find yourself looking back at goals that life has delayed, here are three ways to refocus and begin again.

Have you ever taken a personality assessment to discover what your strengths are? I recommend it for everyone! My first and primary strength is an achiever. To be an achiever is both a blessing and a curse. It has given me the courage even in my doubts to conquer the world or at least the dental hygiene world. At times, it has also given me the whisper of discontent and the feeling that I have not done enough.

The greatest gifts in my life entered by way of my husband and birth of my children. As a spouse, parent, and professional the balancing act became overwhelming. In my mind, I lost control. If you are an achiever like myself, you may feel or have felt the same way when your goals escape your grasp on one or more occasions.

I have reached some great milestones in my career. Some goals I have attempted more than once and never finished because of the demands of my career or personal life. So many people have told me, "Jasmin, you're so young. You have plenty of time to achieve your goals." That is true but it doesn't remove the feelings of regret at not finishing what I started.

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So here I am again ready to embark on the journey to further my education and complete my master’s degree. When I began my current program, I asked myself, "Why are you doing this to yourself again?" Call me crazy! I love learning and most importantly I love my profession! I chose to obtain my MSDH degree. I want to maximize my education to elevate the profession of dental hygiene one small step at a time.

Some exclaim, "You can't do anything with an advanced degree in dental hygiene." I disagree. I believe we should rock the boat and be creative with our education. I followed that path when I pursued my baccalaureate degree. I was the first student in the degree completion program to create a practicum that involved working with the HIV/AIDS population. I had the freedom to use my creativity to establish an introductory program that is still being used today! How cool is that?!

I am using that same energy to redefine my future and create opportunity for myself as a millennial RDH. You may have experienced similar feelings or thoughts—hang in there! There are three things that help me refocus to accomplish my goals:

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1. Know that you are not alone.

The greatest joys in my life are my husband and children. Know that it is okay to make them a priority. Some of the fondest memories I have is being able to experience all the firsts of my children. I was a happy cloth-diapering and nur

sing mom that took my children on many adventures. Now that they are school aged, I volunteer at their school regularly and I am still actively involved. There are many hygienists who are accomplishing their goals and raising a family. Being an awesome mom and career woman is possible! Remember that if you need to let restructure your priorities, everything will be okay. The most important thing you have is your family and their support.

2. Create a vision or mission for your life and career.

Know that the goals that you set for your life can be fluid. It is imperative that you create separate goals for your personal and professional life. This separation will allow you to focus on your career but also rein in your vision so you never lose sight of what’s most important. For many years, I lived my life being reactive. Until I understood my vision and created a five-year plan, I lacked true direction. When I created that plan I reaped major benefits in my personal and professional life, and you can too.

3. Develop self-awareness.

You cannot live your life with true passion or intention without first understanding who you are. Take the time to learn about yourself and love every ounce of what you see. That confidence that you gain in understanding what you want will assist you in taking the necessary steps to achieve it. Know that there are no mistakes in your journey. Your path in life is yours to cherish and will not follow any other persons. Take each experience and learn from it. Once I accepted that, I could embrace all the wonderful things that I have enjoyed so far and can't wait to experience what's next!

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When I conquered these steps, I conquered my personal and professional freedom. My five-year plan is almost complete! I have one more goal to accomplish! Whatever you want to achieve, do it! Even if you have a delay, DON’T QUIT! Reach for the stars and live through your passion! We have chosen an amazing career that is steadily evolving. Know that there are hygienists out there like myself rooting for your success and we will support you each step of the way!

Author's note: This article has been updated from my blog post.


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Jasmin HaleyJasmin Haley, RDH, BSDH, CDA, is the founder of Beyond the Prophy LLC and an instructor of dental hygiene at a community college. She has 15 years combined experience in the dental field as a dental hygiene educator, clinician, and dental assistant. Haley’s interests include HIV/AIDS, cultural competency, and dental public health. She offers continuing dental education and can be reached at beyondtheprophy@gmail.com.

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