Do you remember how the media made fun of George H. W. Bush’s reference to not getting that “vision thing?”
Well call me crazy, but after practicing dentistry for over thirty-six years, I think I’ll join the ex-Prez, and say that I, too, don’t get that vision thing.
Oh, I understand it at an intellectual level. It certainly makes sense. Who am I to argue against Rhonda Byrne, the author of The Secret, or Brian Tracy the author of the classic book, Goals?
It’s just that when I was in dental school I had this vision of retiring by the time I was thirty-five. I saw myself living on the beach and yadda, yadda, yadda.
What do they say? “Man plans, and God laughs.”
Well that’s been my experience. Oh, I certainly have gotten close on a few things like writing my book, The Art of the Examination…not even close to the deadline I set. But I did do it, and the clarity wasn’t quite as focused as as I would have liked.
And really that is my point. We can only get a general idea of what we want, and if we continue to make decisions in that direction, we may just get there. But there are no guarantees.
I recently had a conversation with a good friend who asked me when I was going to retire from dentistry.
I told him I missed that date…January 1st, 1983. So here I am 28 years later trying to accomplish my long-term goal.
Or was it?
Maybe retiring wasn’t really my goal…my vision.
Maybe what I was really trying to create was what my mentor, Yaro Starak calls a “lifestyle of freedom.”
Looking back now, it seems that I did accomplish THAT goal. I have not worked nights in over twenty years, I haven’t worked weekends in over twenty-five years, and these days I only work three days per week. I can live with that.
My friend pressed me for more information about my retirement.
I told him it would come in stages with the last stage being only working on certain patients, doing certain procedures and only in prime time.
He said that prime time is between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. or nights.
I told him not the patients’ prime time…my prime time.
You see the secret of vision isn’t clarity of dates, numbers and time like the gurus suggest with creating SMART goals. The secret is to be clear on your direction and what lies behind the dates and numbers. Delving into the discovery of a powerful “why” will get you there easier than creating a stringent detailed plan.
Now that’s a vision...and after all these years I just may get there,