Dr. Meghna Dassani was at home one day when, suddenly, her phone rang. Her husband was already at work, one hour away. It was an odd hour for a phone call, so naturally, she was worried.
When she answered, her fears were confirmed. Her parents were on the line to deliver the devastating news that her father-in-law had passed away. Dr. Dassani had to deliver the news to her husband.
Not wanting to deliver such terrible news over the phone, she called her husband and asked him to come home, saying she didn’t feel well. When he got home, she broke the news.
Naturally, they had more questions than answers. A seemingly healthy 54-year-old man, with no major health issued passed away suddenly. The more Dr. Dassani dug into his passing, the more it became clear that sleep apnea was a major reason for his passing.
Using Your “Why” to Drive Impact
From the moment Dr. Dassani discovered sleep apnea as a major cause of her father-in-law’s sudden death, airway medicine took on a deeper meaning.
No longer did she simply ask people whether they snored without a deep burning passion to help them solve the underlying cause and avoid a similar fate as her father-in-law. Like many people, while she knew the serious nature of snoring, she didn’t view it with such a burning passion before her father-in-law passed away.
Now, when a patient tells her they snore, she is even more driven to help them determine whether they have sleep apnea. She sees it as a mission to save lives and potentially help other families avoid the heartache her family was unable to avoid.
How to Identify Your Why Behind Your Work
Discovering your why doesn’t have to come from deep tragedy and heartache like Dr. Dassani. Sometimes all it takes to find our why is to look back at earlier times in our lives.
Because dental practices can get hectic and stressful, it can get easy to forget about the passion we had during less stressful times. For dentists, look back to before you went to dental school or before you graduated from college or even high school. What fired you up when you thought about being an adult? Did you want to help more people get access to healthcare? What good did you want to promote in the world? What did you want to help prevent?
Each of those passions can be pursued through dentistry. Like Dr. Dassani, we can take time to remember the impact we are making on the health and safety of our patients. We can also connect charitable initiatives to causes outside of our clinical care. The opportunities are endless. But connecting our production to a positive impact within or even outside of our practices, helps us reignite a passion we may have lost after several years of being overworked and stressed out.
The same exercise can work for dental team members, too. What good did you want to promote earlier in life? What about now? What gets you excited outside of your work? How can you connect your production at work to supporting a bigger purpose? Can you connect your work to a health benefit you or a family member dealt with? Could you use productivity bonuses to fund a passion project? The opportunities are endless.
Are you using your “why” to elevate your work?
When you can connect your work to a greater purpose, you instantly become more effective. You ask the additional question that reveals a health issue you can help solve. You get out of bed easier in the morning, even when it’s cold outside and you just want to call out. You take those extra dental CE courses to expand your skills. You become more productive because your production leads to change about which you’re passionate.