Reach your full potential: It is a process

Determine the type of person you aspire to be and set your sights on being the best you can be in every interaction.

By Rebecca Claunch, RDH

Determine the type of person you aspire to be and set your sights on being the best you can be in every interaction. You may never change others, but you can work toward a change in yourself. Develop passion for your work, bring it into your organization, and use that passion to empower it. A successful, cohesive organization results in well deserved rewards for all involved. Make an effort at creating an atmosphere of harmony and cohesiveness and strive to reach your full potential every day.

Communication is the path toward gaining understanding. An ancient proverb states: "Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand." What a wonderful testament for achieving understanding through communication.

A team is built on common goals. Those common goals will create unity. Know your mission or goal every day. Missions cannot be successfully achieved without a plan and a common goal. The mission will not be accomplished if you do not know the strategy, purpose or plan. Leave personal difficulties behind when you enter the work place. (Familiarly does sometimes breed contempt, so therefore keeping personal information private will lessen the ammunition that might be used against you, now or later.)

The workplace is the place to take care of the business at hand. Recognize that your co-workers may not be your best friends, but that a good working relationship is important, and it requires effort to establish. You are working there to be in service to clients and co-workers (this does not mean doormat). Remember that you are providing a service that most would not or could not provide! Service to others is honorable, doing it well and treating those in service positions with respect is a mark of admirable personal character.

Learn something new everyday. Be aware that learning opportunities are abundant and may take place during unlikely moments. When you "know everything" the chance to identify learning prospects will be missed. Differing viewpoints lead to personal growth. Tolerance leads to the recognition that we each have our own perspectives, making individual experiences unique.

Be intrigued by other people's viewpoints, it is difficult to be angry when intrigued. Be open to differences because fresh ideas and experience may encourage new attitudes. Agree to disagree and allow learning to occur from every encounter. Realize the strengths of yourself and others.

Embrace continuing education classes, begin executing tasks, offer support, and be willing to take part in duties required of others. These acts fuel respect, prompting others to begin to perform similarly. Any "attitude adjustment" may be life changing; positive builds up — negative tears down. Show kindness in all situations. It may or may not be accepted; yet the attempt at kindness is always appropriate. Kindness costs nothing and is a priceless character trait.

Fine-tuning skills or performance, passing on experience and knowledge to others are the qualities of a mentor. Mentoring promotes success. Occasionally, failures will occur and are a fact of life. Modify your view of failure, as it can be the trigger for implementing change. Each failure makes way for new achievements creating exciting prospects toward improvement.

One size does not fit all, just as one way is never the only way. Work styles are diverse and varying work styles produce results in new inventive ways. Jobs bear a resemblance to puzzles. Corner pieces do not fit the inside areas of a jigsaw puzzle just as some do not fit the job they find themselves in.

Place staff in positions so they "fit the puzzle"; change positions when warranted. We all have resources for helping each other. Use those resources toward benefitting staff members that do not fit by seeking out positions that do fit the individual, allowing a chance to achieve success. Accomplishments create happiness and happiness creates success. Some individuals may never be a match for a specific organization or position. Realizing that it is acceptable to move on to a job better suited to that person can be empowering for everyone. Success will result when a person's job and working environment are well matched.

Character and integrity are attributes we witness far too seldom. What do these attributes mean to you? Trust and a sense of value develop when these qualities are on display. Work toward acquiring those traits daily. To be trusted and valued by staff and employers is cause for soaring morale and loyalty. Trust is one key to a successful, empowered workplace.

Everyone desires recognition; employers as well as staff members have the need to be recognized. Everyone longs to feel as if they matter. Accept and give acknowledgment graciously. Be aware that not all accomplishments come with recognition but some of those may be the most personally rewarding. Take time to pat yourself and co-workers on the back for a job well done. Energy and enthusiasm rebound again and again as recognition takes place.

Simple changes in attitude and behavior produce impressive results personally and professionally. Plan your mission, communicate your goals, work together to make them happen and begin to witness powerful changes transpire as you strive to reach your full potential!

Rebecca Claunch, RDH, graduated from University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Dentistry, Division of Dental Hygiene in 1982. Ms. Claunch continues her education through UMKC School of Dentistry, Division of Dental Hygiene, with plans to pursue a Masters Degree. She is an advocate for distance education and degree completion. Email comments to: rclaunch@aol.com. Ms. Claunch provides consulting services through: Observation=Opportunity.

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