Meet Alex Bondarev. He’s a multi-careerist based in New York. I’ve known him for years through the music community. He’s a talented artist. And while I haven’t visited him to get my teeth checked, I bet he’s a great dentist, too.
- Attending faculty / instructor
On his motivations for having multiple careers
From as far back as I can remember, I’ve always created music by writing songs, lyrics, and performing. It was just something that was in my soul and was coming through me as naturally as breathing does.
As I grew up, I noticed I like making things with my hands, I liked drawing, and that I enjoyed teaching and had wanted to be a healer in some capacity.
Dentistry was a way to combine the other interests and skills I had.
Advice to aspiring multi-careerists
Balance, focus, and efficient time management are key. I’ve found that it’s helpful to have hours solely dedicated to focus on each of those things–to watering each garden in your life.
Waking up early and having structure to create, to study, to practice regularly helps too. Whenever you’re struggling remember that each discipline affects the other.
Having dedicated down time where you switch your mind off to meditate, read, exercise has been essential for me also.
On overcoming obstacles
Being a healthcare provider and a professional artist take immense amounts of time and dedication.
I’ve had to miss opportunities, conferences, take time from work, and feel like I’m constantly balancing these things.
Personal and family life can suffer from over-dedicating yourself.
Whenever I’m faced between two seemingly important choices or paths I check in with what will serve me and others most longterm.
On how multiple careers are beneficial
I compare it to the yin and yang. They are both opposite sides of my personality that feed one another. Music is a wonderful release when I feel too rigid in dentistry.
When I focus on treating patients, ideas in music flow more easily to me when I’m working on them.
I meet patients and they tell me fascinating stories that become songs, friendships, and opportunities.
On managing personal time
Family is always still number one to me. I often try to involve my family in my songwriting process and have my little ones in the studio with me whenever I can, bring them to shows and expose them to as much music and art as possible. Same with the dental office.
Blocking out time dedicated solely to family is key though.
Downtime with them is sacred and I always try to solely focus on that whenever I set time aside.
On what he wished he knew earlier
Time is so precious. Never waste a moment.
There’s always a garden to water that needs your attention. It’s okay to say no to some things so you can say yes to others.
On what to read and listen to
I’m looking into this as well so I’m open to any recommendations. Podcasts have been very helpful for me and some of my favorites are Tim Ferriss, Lewis Howes.
I like to read biographies of the greats and study their levels of focus and dedication (Bob Dylan, Michael Jordan, John Lewis, Springsteen, so many others!).
On the stigma of having many careers
I think people often assume there’s a lack of focus there but I don’t agree with that. I’m often baffled by people who do just one thing.
The truth is almost every person is a kaleidoscope of interests and passions and it’s a blessing to be able to dedicate yourself to the things that spark a fire in you.
On sublimating ego
I’m there to serve the patients and give them the best care possible. I just keep that in mind at all times.
Where to find Alex
Kabir Sehgal is a Multi Grammy & Latin Grammy Award winner, as well as New York Times bestselling author.