Find your own happiness and make a difference in your dental practice

Jan. 24, 2011
Dental Assisting Digest™ Editor Kevin Henry encourages dental assistants to make sure they are not relying on someone else to make them happy. He exhorts assistants to find ways to make even the most mundane tasks in the dental office enjoyable, and in doing so to make a difference in the lives of patients and coworkers.

By Kevin Henry, Editor

Earlier this month, I traveled to St. Louis to speak to the Greater St. Louis Dental Assistants Society. I always love getting a chance to speak to dental assistants, and I was grateful to my friend (and DAD regular contributor) Tija Hunter for the invitation. My talk centered on "battling and beating the demons of dental assisting." I strongly believe there are obstacles for every dental assistant in his or her job, and I also strongly believe that those obstacles can be overcome with the right tools and attitude.

One of the things I stress in my lecture is that dental assistants (and people in general) control their own happiness. If someone else is controlling how happy you are, then something is wrong with that picture and needs to be changed. It's easy to spot someone who is happy in their career vs. someone who is not, and I wanted to emphasize to the group in St. Louis ways to find happiness and fulfillment in the dental practice.

I travel all over the world in my job (and I am blessed to be able to do so). Because of that, I try to keep all of my travels to one airline so I can save the miles and take my daughter on vacation with me during the year sometime (another blessing). For that reason, I always fly American Airlines. AA has a lot of flights in and out of Tulsa so this makes it easy for me to connect through Dallas or Chicago to anywhere in the world. But, for my flight to St. Louis, Southwest offered a direct flight at a price that was hard to beat. So, I swallowed my Platinum status on American, and booked my flight on Southwest.

It has been a long time since I flew on Southwest, but I quickly remembered what I liked about the airline ... the attitude of the crew on board. You can tell they enjoy what they do and have a good time doing it. Bingo (yes, that was his name, oh! ... sorry, I couldn't resist) made the announcements on the way back from St. Louis to Tulsa and his deviations from the standard "how to use your seat belt" protocol made the crowd chuckle. They were probably the same jokes he has told 100 times, but he still told them with a laugh in his voice and a smile on his face. It started our hour-long flight off on the right foot.

I have no doubt that Bingo made a choice before our flight boarded that he was going to have some fun that day, and he was going to make even the mundane part of his job enjoyable. It made an impact on me and the rest of the passengers.

I hope you will do the same at your dental practice. Find happiness where you can. Make a difference to your patients with a smile or a joke. Make your corner of the world a better and happier place. You can do it.

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