Everybody wants to bring their A game to work, but dentists are prone to burnout!
When I was at university I had the mindset that I either did something perfectly or it was wrong.
A-Type personalities are competitive, controlling, high-functioning, have a sense of urgency, feel time poor, as well as having perfection as their standard…
Are you also doing a mental checklist when reading this? Yes! Yes. Tick, tick, tick…
Because I certainly relate to these traits.
As does my recent podcast guest; sports psychologist and mindfulness coach John Shackleton.
John says, “-Those are the five top internal causes of stress in people, and yet funnily enough those are five of the six or seven categories that the corporate world is recruiting on, and any entrepreneur will say that’s exactly what’s made them successful, and yet they’re the causes of internal stress.”
And whilst I’m becoming more aware that it’s not necessarily the best way to be all of the time, my chat with John was a reminder just how much Type A Behaviour Patterns (TABP) lead to burnout.
Read on for five ways to ensure you succeed without hitting burnout…
Reason 1 – Distorted Concept of Control:
One of my mentors often says, “Jesse, your business growth is inversely proportioned to your need for control.”
We often believe we control more than we do, however we do not control the weather or the traffic or even some of our own actions.
#1 Way to Succeed without a Burnout:
Don’t let ‘being in control’ control you.
Letting go of the idea that you can fix everything is liberating and in turn can lower stress levels.
Clarity is more productive in business than control.
With clarity, you can plan and know that good preparation includes understanding that things change.
And change is something we cannot control.
Reason 2 – Obsess about Success:
Once upon a time, peak performance would have been all about achieving more, doing more, and having more.
But the definitions of ‘peak performance’ and ‘success’ have certainly changed.
External success and internal success are different things.
When I had my first dental practice, it looked wildly successful to the outsider, but internally I was unhappy and unfulfilled.
True Success doesn’t lead to negative feelings.
#2 Way to Succeed without a Burnout:
Type-A people often consider success to be fulfilling all areas at once.
Setting and achieving goals are important for the success of your dental business, but not at the cost of your health.
If we look at success as having to constantly achieve higher, we set ourselves up for failure, so, define what success is for you and pace your goalsetting.
Reason 3 – Persistence of Perfectionism
Perfection can hinder us in achieving work goals and prevent us from having more meaning or happiness.
Most Type A Personalities have the view that no one can do it as well as they can.
There’s this natural tendency to hold on.
#3 Way to Succeed without a Burnout:
We need to let go of perfectionism and take that step to delegate.
Some people consider this a spiritual acceptance – John certainly does.
And it’s this acceptance that is key in understanding that as much as we’d like to think we can do everything, it’s not feasible and if we try it’s likely we’ll lead to burnout.
Furthermore, a practice is best run as a team sport not a solo one, and choosing the right team members in the first place will make it easier to let go…
Reason 4 – Taking Time:
Ultimately having financial freedom leads to freedom in other areas of our lives, and it’s clear that time is more valuable than ever before.
I coach dentists every day on how to gain more profit, achieve more time, and as a result experience less stress.
We take time, we lose time, we kill time… but do we make time for ourselves so we can avoid burnout?
#4 Way to Succeed without a Burnout:
A-type people cram as much in their schedule as possible.
Be mindful how you use your time and spend some time in the present doing the things you enjoy, the sport that makes you feel alive and with the people you love.
Make time for your existing patients and for your staff… because they give you their time.
Using time efficiently is important.
Make time to collect your thoughts and to rediscover who you are and what it is you want.
John Shackleton says he meditates while he drives and that you can be mindful anywhere and anytime, and that it’s good to read about meditation so you can include it in your daily schedule.
Reason 5 – Competing to be a Champion:
I believe in goalsetting, but there are ways to do this without compromising other elements of your life.
It’s also important to understanding your competitors but not to focus on them.
#5 Way to Succeed without a Burnout:
You need to set clear goals for your practice, and for your personal life too that are small but significant, such as making sure you attend your child’s school event.
One of my daughter’s is a competing gymnast and I’m there to support her, especially because I want to ensure she maintains her identity outside of her role as an athlete.
And this is important for dentists too, because you’re more than just the work you do.
Remember who you are outside of the arena and be aware of your competitors, but don’t be consumed by competition.
Ultimately, work is just one part of life, and a big part for fellow A Type Personalities, but burnout in life can lead to burnout in business, so balance is a better path for future success.
Remember to listen to the podcast with John Shackleton for more on his interesting journey and for practical advice on meditation.