It can often be easy to identify when someone else is throwing good money after bad, but hard with ourselves. As medical professionals, we can be especially prone to this dark spot because we are highly educated and intelligent. Unfortunately, the skills that make us good dentists are not the same skills required to make good investments.
But it’s so important to learn when it’s time to cut your losses. In our Instagram world, it can be particularly painful to say, “Hey, this isn’t working out like I thought it would.” We want to wrap ourselves in the security of success.
Not every business venture can always succeed. It doesn’t make us failures as business owners, investors, or people. If you are anything like me, it can be hard to pick yourself up after a setback. How do you do it? How to do ensure you don’t just make the same mistakes all over again?
Reinventing yourself starts with creating a driving purpose for everything you do.
What is your true north?
We hear this again and again lately in business. What is your mission? What is your vision? What are your values?
It all comes down to determining what your true purpose is. What are you hoping to achieve with your business? With your investment? With your time?
Without sitting down and really coming to terms with what drives you, chances are, you are imitating the people around you. You will keep going in a circle, stuck in a rat race, as you compare your life to those around you. If we emulate the external world of others, we become empty ourselves. There is no substance driving our choices except more – faster cars, bigger houses, fatter paycheques.
When you know where your true north points, you can use that to guide your decisions. It becomes a lot easier to say ‘no’ to choices that aren’t right for you. If an opportunity doesn’t serve your purpose – no matter how great it sounds – it’s not the right opportunity to pursue.
Once you have your purpose defined for yourself, you can take three steps to help keep you on the right path and reinvent yourself.
1) Stop lying to yourself.
More damaging than the lies we tell our business partners or support network are the lies we tell ourselves. Without confronting the truth, it is impossible to fix the situation. Even when it’s uncomfortable, the only way to get over something is to get through it.
When we confront the truth of a situation, we have the opportunity for self-responsibility. We have the opportunity to own, not just the issue, but the solution.
Sometimes people will find justifications. I will hear business owners step back and say, “Well, I didn’t cause the natural disaster. How can I be responsible?” While there are always factors outside our control, we are always responsible for how we interpret a situation and how we react to it.
Taking responsibility for everything around you gives you power. You can influence your environment even if it feels like you have no control.
2) Find clarity in numbers.
The numbers don’t lie. Taking a good hard look at your numbers can help open your eyes to the reality of your situation.
So many of us focus on the top line of a business. In other words, we love hearing our revenue. And it sounds great to say we’re raking in $60 or $70,000 a month in revenue. The catch is that businesses really function on the bottom line. How much do you have in the bank?
It’s a common theme here on the blog, but cash flow really is the lifeblood of a business. We need a steady influx of cash to keep everything functioning well. Even if we are raking in profits, if it’s all tied up in investments, we can start to see the business suffer.
The truth is, humans are change adverse. Have you ever walked into an office and wondered, “Why are they doing this way?” and the answer is, “Because we’ve always done it that way.” Chances are there are examples of the same in your own business.
Sometimes other people taking a peek under the hood can help point out these instances. Why are you doing this? Why are you spending that?
The reality of your business is your bottom line. Without cash flow, you are working for your business and not the other way around.
3) Surround yourself with successful people.
We’re like mirrors. We reflect the people around us. One of the best ways to change our habits or to reinvent ourselves is to surround ourselves with people we wish we were more like.
For business purposes, that means surrounding yourself with savvy investors, smart business owners, and overall successful people. Not only will their drive and ambition rub off on your (and vice versa) but you will have a deep well of sound advice and support.
To create long-term wealth, one of the best ways remains associating with people who have created it for themselves.
The close of a year always feels like the right time to clear away the cobwebs of our professional lives and start fresh. This is the perfect opportunity to make resolutions for 2019 that reflect who we want to be. What do our future selves look like as practice owners, as dentists, as people?
If we make thoughtful steps in the direction of our own true north, imagine where we could be a year from now.