Excerpt: The Professional Crisis

My story is not so unique. Many of us find ourselves moving down life’s path without a real sense of direction, or a map. Yes, we all want to be successful and financially secure, but how often do we look down the road and ask, “is this what I want to be happy?” 

My guess is, if you did have the foresight to make a life plan, you lessened your “wants” to “needs,” and you reduced your “desires” to be reasonable and practical. Well, this is just where I found myself. I was reasonable, practical, and hard-working; I just wasn’t happy. 

I graduated from USC Dental School in 1970 and then served two years in the Navy practicing dentistry. In 1973, I opened a dental practice in Mission Viejo, California. Always actively learning and striving to improve, I took advanced courses, earned a Fellowship in General Dentistry, and was a member of an invitation-only study group made up of the finest practices in Orange County, California.  

The study group introduced me to many books, seminars, and ideas geared to better the quality of my practice, and life. During meetings, we would discuss these principles in detail, including how to apply them in our businesses and everyday lives. By 2005, I was happily married, our children were all doing well, and I had a very large and busy practice with a great staff.  

My office was on the third floor of a large medical center. Each morning I would hike up three flights of stairs, all the while thinking, I wonder how many more times I’m going to have to go up these freaking stairs! 

From the outside it appeared I was very successful, but in my head I was a failure. I knew something about this thinking was wrong; I just couldn’t figure it out.