What will you put on the canvas?

I remember a number of years ago after my first marriage ended, when I chose to sell my dental practice and move out on my own, I felt somewhat lost. Many of the stable things in my life were no longer there. It seemed like the canvas which was my life, normally filled with images and colour, now had glaring white space staring back at me. And I felt at a loss as to what do do.

I wonder if the same is true for many in the dental industry during this COVID-19 situation. just a few weeks ago, your canvas was filled with the images and colour of your practice, team and patients; your hobbies, friendships and family; your fitness, spiritual practices and self-development. Now, white space has appeared. Your work attendance is random. You no longer see your friends. Your sport, activities and entertainment have all been curtailed. Are you feeling a loss as to what to do, as I did all those years ago?

If you are, you might wish to heed the advice my sister, Jenny, gave me that helped me gain control back over my life and future: “in each area of your life, just do the next, small, positive thing you can think of.”

In an attempt to rebuild parts of our lives, we often identify big goals.

“I will get fit.”

“I will get a great job/career.”

“I will become a much better person.”

Big goals are important, but they take time to realise. Jenny’s advice worked for me because all I had to do was focus on the next small step I needed to take. And to make sure that next, small step was one in the right direction. (For a short while, the next, small, positive thing was simply to make my bed.)

I encourage you to look at the white space that has appeared on your canvas and start with small brush strokes, slowly but determinedly replacing the images and colour of your life.

For example, in the space that was catching up with friends, the next small, positive step could be to telephone one of your friends today.

In the space that was your work, the next small, positive step could be to search online for a new method of tackling a task or perform a treatment.

In the space that was income, the next small, positive step could be to write up a budget for the next month.

Gaining a sense of control back over your life avoids the fear and panic that is associated with the unknown, the unplanned and unprepared for. Consistently taking the next, small, positive step is how you progress and achieve your larger goals. 

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” Robert Collier