Imagine what your life would be like if you left your practice and dentistry altogether. Think about how long you have reigned over your practice. You have loyal patients who look forward to their appointments; they too have become your friends. Because work has meant so much, you have not taken time to develop many outside hobbies.
When you hand the keys to the clinic to your successor, you are joining the ranks of retired dentists. When I talk to clients about their lives after dentistry, I get a full range of responses, from elation and the thrill of freedom to a sense of feeling adrift and lacking motivation. I have been surprised by the emotional toll retirement exacts on so many clients who quit, only to struggle to find a new purpose.
Not surprisingly, the dentists who are the most passionate about dentistry have the hardest time letting go. Many practice sales are aborted at the last minute, not because of buyer’s remorse, but because the seller was just not able to relinquish practising as a dentist.
So how do you know when you are ready to quit?
Try the mirror test where you stand in front of the mirror each morning and ask yourself: “If I had only a few days left on this earth, would I go to my practice today?” If the answer is a resounding “No” five mornings in a row, you are ready to transition to retirement without regret.