Today marks the official countdown to our much-anticipated first day of patients, which is set for May 30th. To the children in school, the next 4 weeks are going to creep by very slowly even as they race to finish up the school year and start their summer vacation over Memorial Day weekend. For me, my journey in starting my own practice, which began over a year ago, is a slow one full of unanticipated delays and lessons learned. However, as we near the finish line, I cannot slow time down enough to get everything on my checklists done! Those who know me well know I love checklists, sometimes multiple copies of the same list dispersed over different mediums: virtual checklist for my phone on the go, written checklist on a notepad for my workbag, another written checklist for my Moleksin notebook, because things just aren’t official until they’re written down in a Moleskin. My Google calendar is color coded for each member of my family and work is even separated into different categories. Lately every week is lit up with colors, which is a testament of how busy my life has become. When it’s yet another late night and I am the only person who is still up at home, I would ask myself again why am I doing this? Why not just enjoy an 8am to 5pm job and the financial security that comes along with it like I’ve been doing for the past 7+ years?
Because hard work is programed into my brain ever since I was a child and now I don’t know how to stop. Because I love not being idle. Because I want to use my knowledge and skills to make a positive impact. Because I get excited whenever I speak to someone about practical ways we can improve oral health care for children with special health care needs. Because I love it that others share my excitement and believe in me. Because I want to be a role model for my children and show them how to care for others first. Because I want to have ownership of my vision, execution, failings, and successes. Because I am a wife, a mother, a dentist, and a business owner and I want other young women to know that they don’t always have to choose and they can find the right balance that works for them.
These are the reasons that motivate me to stay up late at night because I still have a job outside of my practice and if you’re a mom, you know that the most productive time to work is when the kids are down for the night. These are the reasons that despite my anxiety and fear of failure, I keep pushing forward.
If there are lessons to be learned on this journey so far, they would be:
- I cannot do this without the support of my husband and children. My husband has a full time job yet he volunteered to be my IT consultant and my sounding board. My kids go on construction site visits with me almost weekly and they have put up with me on the worst of days when I am drained of patience.
- I cannot serve my patients well by myself. I need community partners like United Ability, Mitchell’s Place, local schools, my staff, etc to help me. Their guidance and wisdom have been instrumental in shaping how I plan my treatment of each patient that walks through my door.
- As type A as I am, I cannot plan for it all. As I mentioned earlier, it’s taken me over a year to finally start my own practice. I’ve learn to give up control and to have faith in God’s plans and timing for me. When I tried to control things my way, they didn’t work out and there would almost always be setbacks so now I’ve learned to trust and know that things will happen when and how they’re meant to be.
I am fortunate to have a team that is as excited as I am and we cannot wait to open our doors to the community to share our vision with you, to serve you, and to play an integral role in giving back and improving the lives of our patients!