If you could go back in time and give advice to your younger self, what would you say? Would you talk about mindset? Hard work? Career direction?
Because wisdom comes with age, Glenn Vo asked the members of the Nifty Thrifty Dentists Facebook community to share the advice they wish they could give their younger selves.
Dozens of dental professionals responded to Glenn’s question and, while some of them just made amusing jokes (like Dr. Hoffpauir who said he would tell his younger self to buy Apple stock . . .), many members shared a lot of wisdom. Here are four themes that emerged among the members.
Believe in yourself.
If you’ve never heard the term “crab mentality,” it’s the term used to describe people trying to hold each other down. The name comes from the behavior of crabs in a bucket. Basically, when live crabs are trapped in a bucket, it is highly unlikely that any will escape because others will pull them back down to the bottom.
The same type of behavior often happens in our lives. When we try to accomplish big things, family, friends, colleagues, and others often try to pull us down, telling us our big goals won’t work or that we don’t have what it takes to achieve them. It can be hard to believe you are capable of pursuing your dreams when others constantly tell you that you aren’t capable.
One member shared that when she was younger, she had very low confidence. She wanted to go to dental hygiene school and eventually dental school but didn’t think she was smart enough to get admitted. Even after she got admitted, she carried that low confidence with her. She never thought she could make it to dental school. She did. When she was younger, family members and others tried to convince her that she couldn’t do those things, and she carried that negativity with her for years. Over time, she proved to be much more capable than she thought and now wishes she believed in herself from the start.
Don’t take life so seriously.
Life will pass us by if we don’t take time to relax, enjoy, and savor it. That’s the advice of quite a few dental professionals who responded to Glenn’s question.
One dentist said she would tell her younger self to enjoy life and live it to the fullest because every moment that passes never returns. Three members said they would tell their younger selves to take time off, travel, and take vacations. You can always work longer, but every year that goes by without a vacation is lost.
One dentist emphasized that life is not a sprint, so slow down and enjoy the ride. Your practice will not implode if you take the time to take care of yourself. You need to step away, travel, putter around the house, and spend time with family and friends.
An entrepreneurial dental professional works hard, solves problems, and is constantly looking to set themselves apart from the average person in their role. This is true for doctors and team members. When it comes to working in the dental industry, we can do what everyone else does and get average results, or we can do things better and get better results.
A lot of the dental professionals expressed regret that they weren’t more ambitious about business endeavors. They said they would advise their younger selves to start businesses, learn to be entrepreneurial, and take some risks.
Be financially smart.
We only have one pass to get our lives right. The decisions we make today are the ones that will impact us tomorrow and beyond.
Many of the dental professionals who responded said they would have told their younger selves to be smarter financially and more aware of the long-term impact of financial decisions.
One member regretted buying a house when it didn’t make sense. Others regretted not investing in stocks, saving money, and investing for retirement sooner.
As one member put it, she would tell herself to learn from how her grandparents lived and see whether they built the financial resources to sustain themselves in retirement. If so, learn from how they did it and do the same. If not, learn from them and make different choices.
What Advice Would You Give to Your Younger Self?
Hindsight is 20/20, right? So why not learn from other people’s hindsight? No matter where you are in your career and life, learning from other people’s successes and mistakes can help.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation in the Nifty Thrifty Dentists Facebook community.