Ask any successful person how they did it, and they will almost inevitably mention the influence of a mentor, somebody who made a difference in their career and life for the better.
In the Trapped in an OP Facebook group, a member asked the group to name a person who has made a big impact in dentistry and tell us what they’ve done. Dozens of members named mentors and industry titans and described what made them so impactful.
Wouldn’t it be incredible for people to think of you when someone asks a question like this? The more successful people become, the more opportunities they can have to make a difference in other people’s careers or personal lives. If they do know that they are a mentor to someone else, they likely mentor them in the same way that they were mentored themselves.
Three themes emerged in the conversation about what makes someone impactful. If you want to impact the next generation like the mentors and titans of the dental world have impacted the current one, you can start by doing these three things.
Be active in your community.
Many people go throughout their lives without much care for anyone but themselves and their loved ones. While it’s important to take care of yourself and your family, you can have a greater impact on others by being active in your community.
By doing so, you’ll meet other community leaders and people in need. You will get opportunities to mentor others and encourage people who need help. And you’ll meet other people who are active in the community, mentors, and people who need to be mentored.
People who are active in the community leave an impact well beyond those with whom they interact at work and home. They have countless opportunities to make a lasting impact as a human. They lead their lives with a higher purpose. They are often seen as shining examples of humanitarianism because they are committed to making the world a better place for others, starting in their local communities.
So how can you be active in your community? It’s as simple as looking for local events on the newspaper or local news station. Volunteer your time. Donate money. Support your local sports teams. Host events at your practice. Opportunities are endless.
Be a strong leader.
Strong leaders leave lasting impressions on others. They are encouraging. They lift people up. They help people become the best versions of themselves. It doesn’t matter if you are an official “leader” in your practice or the newest team member, you can lead at home or at work. You can lead a small project. You lead yourself well. You can lead culture shifts or improvements. Everyone is a leader.
In the Trapped in an OP discussion, one member talked about how much he admired his mentor for being a respected and authoritative speaker on restorative implant dentistry. His strong leadership helped him make a name for himself and build the trust it takes for others to take your advice to heart. If you want to make a difference in others, consistently work on becoming a better leader in ways that are important to the next generation. What might start out as leading by example can eventually blossom into mentoring, speaking, or leadership opportunities to make a difference in other people’s lives.
Be a teacher.
A lot of people who joined the discussion mentioned school teachers or people in leadership who had the heart of a teacher. If you have the heart of a teacher, you have a tremendous opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives.
If you’re willing to invest in teaching others the knowledge, skills, and personal attributes you believe have helped you get where you are, you have a tremendous opportunity to change people’s lives.
Who has made a difference in your career and life?
Who do you define as a mentor? How did they make a difference in your career and life?
Write about it in the comments, below, and join the discussion in the Trapped in the OP Facebook community.