growth mentorship
Management + Leadership

How having a mentor gave me my ‘best year yet’

“Lead. Live. Laugh. Love. Learn … Leave a legacy.”

These are the words hand-printed and signed by Dr. David Maloley on the inside cover of his 2018 book, “Titans of Dentistry: How the Top Performers Think and Act Differently,” co-authored by Dr. Justin Short. The book includes interviews with 39 “titans” in dentistry, providing the reader with insight into how they think and behave differently from the average practitioner.

I met Dr. Maloley after he spoke at the Professional Development and Leadership Conference hosted by Colorado ASDA in spring 2018. I drove him to an event after the conference, and as a fan of his podcast, The Relentless Dentist, speaking with him in person was amazing.

Days after the ASDA event, I was still thinking about Dr. Maloley’s presentation. One thing he said stuck with me: “A fulfilling life does not happen by chance.” He explained: “We can engineer our best year every year.”

I am a second-career dental student, watching my 30s pass as I balance the demands of family, finances and, of course, dental school. I experienced unfulfilling success in my 20s, working as an accountant for Fortune 500 companies such as Deloitte and Kinder Morgan. In the spirit of pursuing a more fulfilling life, I was determined to extract more content and advice from Dr. Maloley, so I expressed interest in his coaching program. He described a framework to engineering your best year every year, and I was desperate to dive in to his program and learn more about maintaining a successful career. He was welcoming to my inquiry, even thanking me for pursuing. He offered a formal phone interview to discuss the program and to find out if I was a good fit. Thankfully, we came to an agreement. I suddenly had my own high-performance coach!

From the beginning, Dr. Maloley explained that he would be tough on me. I had to be committed, dedicated and vulnerable. We would need to go to the deepest pits of my life to unlock my full potential. He sent me “Titans” in fall 2018, shortly after I began learning his high-performance principles: clarity, energy, courage, productivity, influence and self-psychology. To my surprise, there was a common theme among most of the titans featured in the book: They all overcame significant obstacles in their journey. These obstacles made them better, provided greater purpose and clarity in their lives, and proved to be instrumental to the success of their careers.

I have spent 12 months under Dr. Maloley’s mentorship, and I’m happy to report the past year has been my best year yet. Professionally, I’ve made strides in achieving my goals. Ten months away from graduation, I’ve been offered an associateship/partnership at a successful practice. Our philosophies and career goals are so closely aligned, it sometimes feels too good to be true. The team has allowed me to contribute to their planning meetings, and we’re working toward a seamless onboarding. Most importantly, I’ve become a more compassionate husband, exceptional father and effective leader. Having a mentor like Dr. Maloley has unlocked my potential and allowed me to live a life that is true to me. Through continuous growth and service to others, I feel more fulfilled, present and excited for the challenges that life will present me.

~Nate Rivera, Colorado ’20

Nate Rivera

Nate is a Colorado native and fourth year dental student at CU School of Dental Medicine. He served as Treasurer of the Colorado ASDA Chapter. Nate enjoys all Colorado outdoor activities, especially camping, fishing and spending time with friends and family.

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1 Comment

  1. Mandar Vasant Joglekar says:

    Nice article!!! To succeed in any profession, one needs a mentor!!

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