What Can a Dentist Teach You About Life and Success?

By Joe Capista in Success on March 4th, 2008 / One Comment

Success is not single sided; it is a holistic experience taking into account all of life’s experiences. I view success as a Five Part Formula. Our conversation about success starts with business, but ends with the total life experience.

If I asked a group of people to write down everything they needed for success in business and life we could probably fill countless whiteboards, blackboards, flipcharts, computer files and notepads. I have found there are only five basic skills needed in order to be successful:

  1. Become an Expert / Have a Great Product and/or Service
  2. Develop Sales and Marketing Skills
  3. Get Help from Experts (Mentors)
  4. Control Your Thoughts
  5. Create Balance in Your Life

Each part is equally important to the others as they support a balance of business success and life success. Business and life successes are not exclusive of one another. When you have both, there is a synergy so that you have greater TOTAL SUCCESS as opposed to success in individual parts.

Success is Not a Result of Making Money
Of the five basic skills listed for success, money is not included for specific reasons. Success is not a result of making money; making money is a result of success. Money is not necessarily a part of success; it can be a way of keeping score. I truly believe that success is the result of providing value and service. We are paid based on the amount of value and service we provide. Money is a measure of that value and service.

When we work with our customers, we should be paid directly for the amount of value and service we provide. In reality, we should be providing more value and service than we are being paid. If you do that, money will never be an issue. You will always be paid the fee you deserve because you are providing more to your customer based on the amount of value and service you provide to them. Henry Ford said, “Wealth, like happiness, is never attained when sought after directly. It comes as a byproduct of providing a useful service.”

The reason I know that money is not part of success is because one of the most successful people I know is my father. My father worked in a factory and never had the opportunity to make much money. Yet he is still a success.

If you are in a position of a professional or you have the type of job where you can make a good living, you should be making money. In fact, you have an obligation to yourself and your family to make money. If you are performing in your job to the fullest extent or with the greatest skills it could be done, you will make money. If you are not, you are cheating yourself and your family.

It’s like the Biblical story where the servants were given money from their master. The gold they were given symbolized talents. Two servants worked with the money, made more and were praised. They used their talents. The one who didn’t invest the money but instead buried the gold and did nothing with it was admonished and his gold was taken away and given to the servants who made use of the gold. If we have been given talents and do not use them, we are cheating ourselves and, in the end, the customer.

If you never graduated from high school and you work in a factory, you may not have the opportunity to make a lot of money, but that does not mean you cannot be successful. You can still have the components in your life to be a successful person. However, if the people who have been given the talents to make money don’t do it, they are cheating themselves by not applying themselves to their fullest extent and making money.

Making Money is the Result of Success
Again, success is not the result of making money; making money is the result of success. Success is the result of providing value and service. Money measures the amount of value and service that you provide. Simply put, when you provide value and service, you will be successful and make money.

Although there have been many words and pages already dedicated to the first three parts of the formula, they are so important they bear repeating. Looking at the five parts you would find the following:

Become an Expert – Have a Great Product and/or Service
Expertise is not easy to come by and many people fool themselves into thinking their knowledge is adequate and self-designate their level of skill as that of an “expert.” Some people believe because they fulfilled a required curriculum or passed a test they are suddenly an expert. It is not uncommon upon completion of dental school that some dentists think they know everything they need to know. In reality, they know very little.

Markets change and demands for the service you provide changes. If you don’t recognize the market shift or change in demand for what you are doing you will be left behind. This is true for any industry. At some point I knew that if I wanted to be an expert dentist, and more specifically a cosmetic dentist, I had to get specialized training. There were four places I could have gone for the next level of training. I chose The Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies (LVI) because I liked their philosophy and what they had to offer.

In the last few years alone, I took multiple courses that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in time and expense to become a cosmetic dentist. It was a major commitment and one I was willing to make. Anyone who is an expert in their field has to make an incredible commitment of time, money and energy. It doesn’t just happen by chance. I also discovered along the way that as I focused on improving my skills as a cosmetic dentist my skills as a general dentist improved.

Be on Top of The Game
Developing a high level of expertise was really a matter of vision for me. In the last eight years I knew I wanted to do more cosmetic dentistry. I was intrigued by what was possible and instinctively knew I had to learn more. The standard curriculum no longer met my needs and I needed more professional training. I also realized early on that improving my overall ability is about being fair to my patient. Everybody, no matter what industry they are in, needs to be on top of their game.

If you’re not at the top of your game, you’re not being fair to your customer. It may not mean you are giving them an inferior product, but you’re certainly not giving them the highest quality of service. I’ve discovered many folks balk at continued education and advanced training. They are captured by a mind-set that whispers, “I don’t deserve to spend that kind of money on myself,” or “I’ll just get by.” I’ve found these folks are usually worried about what they’re giving up, mainly in dollars, as opposed to what they’re going to get.

By investing in your own training and education, you will gain more in the long run than you’re giving up. With increased skill comes increased confidence. With increased confidence comes increased competence. The rewards will continue to multiply.

Many are comfortable with the status quo. They feel because they’ve been at something for a long time it qualifies them as an expert. I learned a long time ago just because you’ve got a lot of years in or you’ve done something repeatedly, that doesn’t necessarily make you an expert. Some people work in a vacuum doing the same thing day in and day out thinking they are the best at what they do. Wrong!

You can’t increase your expertise on your own; someone has to teach you. I don’t care if you’re already at the top of your game, there’s somebody that’s on top of you that’s doing it better. That’s the person you have to talk to!

This is about your Service, your Product and the level at which you deliver. Years ago I heard a saying that has stayed with me, “If you’re not moving ahead, you’re moving backwards or you’re dying.” I know as long as I’m fixing teeth, I’m going to be focused on learning a new and better way and definitely keep up with the latest and greatest techniques and technology.

If someone wants to be considered an expert, they have to put constant effort into learning all they can about what they do, what their customers need and what the market demands.

Special Book Promotion: Joe Capista – A Dentist Writes About Success

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One Response to “What Can a Dentist Teach You About Life and Success?”

  1. D.Bheemeswar Says:

    I appreciate that that success is not related with money making, it is good article to read that gives some teething thoughts for those who feel they have brains. Success depends on how skilful one is in the given/chosen field of working. If they are working in different fields the knowledge they have is the turning point rather than what they earn or what are their degrees.

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