Dreams, Realities & Walls

Woman daydreaming at breakfast, contemplating selling her dental practice to achieve her dreams.

The adage “be careful what you wish for” resonates with many, and dentistry is no exception when it comes to the realization of dreams. As aspiring dentists, the vision often involves a thriving practice affording economic freedom, family time, and an enviable quality of life – encompassing luxury possessions, vacation homes, international travel, private education for children, and exclusive club memberships. While, for some, these dreams materialize through hard work and sacrifices, the attainment of financial success does not always translate into happiness or contentment.

A scenario emerges where success begets an insatiable appetite for more – more earnings, more possessions, more hours at work – leading to an unending pursuit that may not yield the anticipated fulfillment. The narrative shifts from dreams achieved to larger, more demanding aspirations, resulting in increased responsibilities and sacrifices. The pursuit of these elevated dreams may not bring the expected happiness or stability; instead, it demands greater effort, more maintenance, and continual sacrifices. For some, this cycle becomes perpetual.

Inevitably, the dreams-turned-reality can breed personal challenges, such as heightened stress, marital discord, substance abuse, or dependency, and a sense of isolation. Despite outward appearances, the dental profession poses physical and mental challenges, and the façade of happiness and success often conceals internal struggles.

With over 30 years in practice transitions, we have observed many dentists and colleagues reaching a point where the joy of dentistry diminishes, and they contemplate leaving the profession. However, the fear of not earning a comparable income elsewhere restrains them. The dread of Sunday nights and the anticipation of escaping the office on Thursday at 5:00 PM become telltale signs of burnout, and personal lives start to unravel under the weight of stress, time constraints, and the obligations needed to sustain once-cherished dreams that now some wish had never come true.

Recently, we engaged with a specialist considering the sale of a prosperous, long-established practice. Despite realizing dreams from dental school years and early career aspirations, the prospect of selling the practice was met with a humorous, yet poignant remark – “once the practice is sold, all you will see of me are ‘elbows and butts.'” While lighthearted, this sentiment reflects a common desire to escape the relentless demands of the profession. Many find themselves hurtling towards the proverbial “wall” – a point of no return – unless initiative-taking measures are taken.

Thankfully, the wall is avoidable for many. What if you could transform your practice from a non-interest-bearing asset into an interest-bearing one, extract equity for retirement investments, maintain clinical income for lifestyle expenses, reduce or eliminate management responsibilities, potentially decrease clinical and management time while sustaining or surpassing current income, and ensure security with the knowledge that your practice will sell for maximum value in case of death or disability?

For those content with their achieved dreams, congratulations! To those aspiring to transform dreams into reality, Legacy Practice Transitions can assist you in attaining financial independence, a lifestyle with work optional choices, and a balanced blend of professional and personal fulfillment. And for those hurtling towards the “Wall” or already facing it, we offer transition programs tailored to your needs. At any stage or age in your career, Legacy Practice Transitions has programs and partners to help you dream, turn your dreams into reality, and navigate away from the wall.