Today's Dentistry

Where to Begin?

It’s my pleasure to continue with the tradition Dr. Warr established and provide articles that convey the soul of our practice to readers of the LocalsGuide. I am grateful to Shields and the readers for the outpouring of acceptance and friendship that I’ve been able to feel as I begin this journey.

There are so many of us that are starting new things. There are new parents, new grandparents, new students, new retirees, new medical diagnosis, new empty nesters, etc. With each new endeavor we may find some changes that come easy and perhaps some struggles that will require focused effort to endure. I wanted to share some thoughts about continuously self-evaluating and beginning with the end in mind.

When I was a boy I participated in competition orienteering. I’d be given a compass, a map with specific waypoints marked, and a punch card. At each of these waypoints a uniquely designed punch could be found. I needed to punch the boxes on my card in the correct order to qualify for race grading. The races were timed and the fastest person to complete the course, with a correct punch card, would be given an award. I enjoyed these events immensely. Even before the race began I was studying my map, plotting my course and looking for obstacles that I might encounter. This process ended up turning into great principles that I have continued to rely on throughout my life:

  1. Self-evaluate
  2. Determine the next step
  3. Develop a plan to achieve it.


We have different roles and responsibilities that pull us in sometimes opposite and unbalanced directions. It’s important to define each of those first. You may have some the following categories: Work; Home; Personal; Friends; Family; Church; Health; etc. What are your responsibilities for each of those categories? What do you feel are your strengths in each of those realms? When taking an accounting of your interests it can also be time to cut-back or eliminate tasks that are not bringing you fulfillment. There may be duties that you don’t want to admit need your attention. That’s okay! Just make a list.

Determine the Next Step:

How can I personally feel successful in each of those categories? Remember that this is your own personal measurement, not the comparison of the achievements of others. It’s also important to remember that your next steps should be attainable. It’s wise to seek counsel from family and friends and those that you look up to, however, these goals are personal and for you to ultimately determine.

Develop a Plan to Achieve It:

Some of us are very focused Point A to Point B people. Others of us are freer in our journey and want to enjoy the experience of it. There’s no wrong way to accomplish goals, and one important point I’ve learned is that humans take time. Time can be the vessel that transforms knowledge into wisdom.

I hope that whatever the circumstance we find ourselves passing through we can take a moment and reflect on what we need to be doing to take the next step. Then, muster a little courage and take that step or reach for that goal and make it a priority in your life. When you experience a failure or setback, get up and dust yourself off and start again. My hope is that we may all find enjoyment in our successes.






Our practice is working together to realize a shared vision of uncompromising excellence in dentistry.
Our practice is working together to realize a shared vision of uncompromising excellence in dentistry.
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Dr. James Burneson

Our practice is working together to realize a shared vision of uncompromising excellence in dentistry.

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