6 Leadership Moves Dentists Need to Make Right Now!
A FREE GUIDE FOR NAVIGATING THE
COVID-19 CRISIS 🦠😷
A FREE GUIDE FOR NAVIGATING THE
COVID-19 CRISIS 🦠😷
You may be scared and overwhelmed because of the fear of unknown or because all of the things you think you “should” be doing. However, we want to encourage you to stop “shoulding” on yourself. It only makes you feel bad and is not helpful in anyway. You may think that you are supposed to have all of the answers because you are a business owner, a boss, a parent, etc. but give yourself permission to be ok with NOT having all of the answers right now and just doing your best day by day.
Don’t forget, we as dentists know a lot about infection disease. You earned your education and that is something that never can be taken from us. You have inevitably had setbacks in your career and if you are listening today you are obviously resourceful and resilient, and you can get back on track! So give yourself permission to have the ice cream and wine, and we will get through this together!
Hey guys, this is Shawn and Allison and our podcast today is going to probably be as, as real as it gets. And that’s because right now what’s going on in our nation just requires honesty and vulnerability and real talk. Because the reality is people are struggling. You know, we’re struggling like we don’t have this all figured out. So today we want to talk about a little bit about not just the mindset, but the heart of it. You know, how to, how to not lose hope immense. Just the fear and the panic and the unknown and the fear of that unknown. So that’s what we’re going to talk about. And even even this session, it just might be messy, but our promise to you is that we’re just going to be as real and honest as we can.
So Shawn, I I have been up and down and up and down when I drove over here today, I was crying. It’s about a half an hour drive down here from my office. And I was just crying cause I’m so scared and overwhelmed and I really want a firm answer because that’s my scientific brain and no one can give me, this is exactly what’s going to happen and this is how it’s going to end. I don’t know. So I call her my girlfriends and I’m like, I’m crying. This is awful. And she was like, gave me this great message of hope. It was beautiful. And so I told her to post it and then she started crying. Why is she crying? Well, she’s crying because she feels so overwhelmed of all the things she should be doing right now. And I, I, I feel that way too. I mean, I dunno. Are you feeling that? That I should be doing all these things right now? You know, I am feeling that.
And it’s funny cause in our household one thing my wife Kellie and I always say is don’t, “don’t should on me”. Like if we’re ever in a disagreement and that comes out, it never, it never brings life, it can never accomplish what it’s meant to. And yet, so often we end up shoulding on ourselves.
And that’s not a place that brings life. No, it’s not helpful in any way. It just makes us feel bad and, and it’s not real. There’s only so much that we can do. So what were you feeling like you should be doing? Oh my goodness. Well last Friday I thought, okay, I’m going to make this an opportunity. I’m going to be a leader in my community. And I made all this list of things I was going to do. And then Saturday I bought a pint of ice cream and I ate the entire thing and had some wine. Sunday wasn’t much better. So it’s been this up and down and up and down where I know there’s all these things I should do and then the fear just grabs me and I and I can’t do it. It’s, it’s frustrating.
Well, and for me it’s, it’s some, it’s similar in a sense that I’m always aware that maybe when things get challenging or when strength is needed, something about the way I operate is I want to help when I’m needed.
I don’t always want to assert my strength all the time because I don’t mind. I think it’s cause like my brother and sister were just strong in who they were and I didn’t mind them getting the spotlight. I was, I was a really great like supporter and fan. But at times the way that I’m built is again, like my strength only shows up when it’s needed. So right now I feel like my strength is needed and yet I look inside and I don’t feel like I have much to give me too.
And I feel like because I’m a business owner and because people know my name and I’m a mom, I’m supposed to have all the answers and I’m supposed to be, I should be doing things, but I don’t know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing right now and so it’s overwhelming for me.
I also feel like there’s, the economy is tanking and I’m still supposed to pay all these people pay my kids rents. I mean, it’s frightening.
There’s just a lot of responsibility on normal individuals, but when you own your own practice, the responsibility, I mean I think it’s a funny because if you’ve heard any of our podcast episodes so often we talk about this idea of stewarding hope and it almost sounds like it’s because we’re talking about some pandemic like coronavirus, but we just talk that way about dentistry in general because dentistry is hard all by itself. Like that’s what we’ve been saying. Like that’s pretty much the theme of this podcast. If you haven’t heard. It’s like we’re just honest about the fact that dentistry today is incredibly difficult. And that was before COVID-19. That was before this disruption. That’s pretty much turned everything down or turned everything upside down. And now it’s like this moment in our nation’s history that seems pretty unprecedented and not everyone, like there’s no simple answer out there.
There isn’t a simple answer. So on Friday I really felt like there was an opportunity to lead. And so I do want to share some of that, that we as dentists know a lot about infectious disease and sometimes we forget that you know, you, you get panicked and you’re, you’re frightened and you forget that you have all this knowledge and it’s not going anywhere. Nobody can take it away from me. They can take my practice and they can take my money, but they can never take my knowledge. That’s mine. So we have to remember that we have all that knowledge and that other people don’t. And we can share that. It doesn’t mean that we have to, and if you’re not ready to, don’t, Oh my goodness, take care of yourself.
That is the most important thing. You and your family right now. But if you, if you can then start looking, okay, I know stuff lots and I think that’s where we do have planned tomorrow to record an episode that’s all about some real practical things you can do. If that’s what you’re interested in, like check out that episode. It’s going to have some strategy and some tactics and that this episode, we want to kind of acknowledge the craziness of all of this. And if you’re out there right now and whether you have an established practice or whether you have a practice that you, you know, just started in the last two to five years and you’re experiencing any sort of panic because you don’t have a clue what to do, we just want to let you know like that’s okay. Like it’s okay to be panicked.
It’s okay to be freaked out. I mean that’s, that’s what’s going on right now, right? It is. And you know, you see some not so nice things in Facebook and you see people not being very kind to each other. But the reality is, I don’t know what you’re really experiencing. This may be on top of some financial issues or some family issues. So you, you don’t know what other people are walking through. You have to just give them grace and remember that you need to take care of you. What is it that you need?
And that’s one of the encouragements we want to emphasize in this episode is not just to give other people grace, but to give yourself grace. That’s really hard for us. You mean the other day when you were eating ice cream and drinking wine, you probably didn’t feel like you’re at your best at your highest self. No, no, but boy did. It tastes good. But that’s the thing. It’s like we want to give people permission to not be at their best, but also encourage people not to stay there. Like to caution people. Like if you find yourself right now and you’re just in a crazy spiraling state of panic, we want to encourage you to like get back up, look at the horizon. I know it’s scary sometimes to consider the fact that some bad things could happen, but know that you will get through this. If there’s one thing we want to communicate, it’s that you might get knocked down but you’ll get back up. You might have some setbacks, but we know if you’re listening to this podcast and if you’re a dentist, no matter how long you’ve had any sort of success in dentistry, that means you’re resourceful. That means you’re resilient. So our messages, you’re stronger than you know.
It’s true. I mean, we earned that education. It is ours and no one can take it from us. They can take a lot of things, but they can’t ever take it from us. And if you built a practice, even if it’s totally destroyed, you know how to build it again and you can and wow, you won’t make near as many mistakes. I mean, I made a lot of expensive mistakes I’ve talked about. I wouldn’t make those again if I had to rebuild. I’ll rebuild. And the good thing is you’re not alone. There’s an entire community of us. Maybe we’ll all go in together. Who knows, who knows what could happen.
So we’re here and we know it’s so important, like people you went to school with, whether it’s professors, whether it’s someone that you’re on a committee with, it’s like we’re all in this together. And when I think back on our nation’s history and I think of different challenges that we’ve weathered, it’s when we’re United and it’s so easy right now to just consider your own wellbeing and get fearful and kind of shrink back. But sometimes that leads to people making decisions or doing things that’s kind of divisive and we just wanna encourage any way you can release life and encouragement and hope we’re all in this together.
You know, I, I had a moment when I was thinking about my grandmother and when world war II started and her husband was sent off and the fear and unknown, of course I know how it ended because I have history, but she didn’t know how that was going to end at the time. And it’s amazing how when you think about those times in history of how people came together and you hope that that’s, that’s who we are still, that we can come together, even though we don’t know exactly what this is, they didn’t know what was going to happen with world war II. We didn’t know what was gonna happen with the Spanish flu in 1918 people have to come together and we’re going to be okay.
And it’s uncomfortable when you don’t know. I mean, it’s uncomfortable when you look down the road at just the unknown, the unknown in your practice, the unknown in your personal life with friends and family,
Just the unknown. How long is this going to keep going? How long am I going to have to pass on expensive cases because it’s elective. So elective is such a strange word. The ADA has said that no elective surgeries. Well, in dentistry what we do is elective, unless you’re in pain. But the issue is that once, when something starts, it’s not going to go away. So if you have a small cavity, you were still going to have to fill that cavity. Whether it’s today or where it’s three weeks from now, it’s not going away. So you have to remember that. Whereas like the airlines, people may not travel. It’s possible, but people have to have the procedures that we offer because it’s their health and if they put it off too long then we’re going to do even bigger procedures on them and it’s going to be even more expensive.
So we’re elective but we’re not elective. Well, so it sounds like the encouragement there is that what could be elective today is not elective tomorrow. So meaning if things are slowing down today because you have to cancel some procedures, as long as those are still your patients in the future, it should come full circle. That’s what I found during the recession, there was a about six months period where my office was really dead. It was very quiet and it was very scary. But dentistry isn’t something that you can just ignore. So all those patients that didn’t come in and get their teeth cleaned for six months, well, they came in and a lot of them needed scaling and root planing. A lot of them needed bigger procedures. The fillings that I didn’t do all of a sudden became root canals. So at the end of that year, I actually had made the same amount, not in the same way.
It was really stinky to have six months where I did nothing. But it ended up being the same because the procedures were simply bigger and they also had to be done. So if we could encourage people, I don’t want to say it’s prioritization, but similar to what you hear when you’re on an airplane and it’s like to a parent that’s next to a child in the event of turbulence or some, I dunno, emergency put on your mask first. In that similar way. We’re wanting to make sure if you’re getting, I don’t want to say distracted, but just overwhelmed by all the things that you could do, need to do, should be doing whatever it is, make sure you’re still tending to your heart, your emotional health because you just, you need to stay strong, you know as much as you can. So that was my realization with the ice cream and wine that it wasn’t making me feel better.
It was making me feel better in the moment, but it wasn’t making me feel better. So the reality is that I need to take care of myself because that’s if, if I fall apart, everything around me will fall apart. So the next day I ate some vegetables. There were a lot of vegetables left in that. The grocery stores, no canned foods, but lots of vegetables. So I was able to eat some vegetables but not frozen vegetables in and out, but fresh vegetables. And it was a beautiful day here in Arizona. So I went for a walk and that helps clear my head a little bit. So I know that when I sleep and I eat and I exercise and I just put a little bit of care back into myself, I can breathe again. And so that’s where I started today. I don’t know, I’m still trying to take care of my family cause that’s the second thing that’s most important to me. And it has to be me first, even though that’s hard to say. It has to be me first and then it’s my family and then it’s my team and my practice and then it’s my patients and it’s, it has to be in that way in order for me to, to function and to, to be life-giving.
Yeah. And, and I feel like one of the things that might be common for dentists because of the excellence that they know, because they’re typically high achievers. And again, like you said, they, they know the structure of even their routines is it, it might be difficult for them not just not having a set routine right now, but even just coming to the grips that in some areas right now they may feel like they’re not enough. And I know that’s kind of like, some of the difficulties for me is like I want to have answers to stuff that I don’t have answers to right now
Has answers. I mean we love to have the answers but there aren’t any. So we’re going to have to just roll with it
And a lot of us don’t like to roll with it. And that’s the thing. So permission right now to just be okay with this tension right now. Like with not knowing with maybe not being at your best, you know, if you’re eating ice cream at night, like that’s okay. Like we just want you to not feel like you’re strange that not feel like you’re, you’re odd and there’s something wrong with you. This is incredibly difficult and challenging and that’s the lens that we’re just hoping you will see this through so that you can grieve, give grace to everybody. I don’t know if I’ve shared this yet, but like I feel like there are two extremes and one of the extremes for those that are more prone to worrying is again, full blown panic. But those that some people are just prone to optimism and sometimes the way that that comes across in an extreme way is they kind of just mock any kind of cautions.
Oh, it’s not going to happen to me. I’m fine. Like I’m doing great. And both of those extremes aren’t super helpful. But if people are in those extremes, just even giving them grace because that is gonna. I don’t know. It’s just this culture to try to give grace so that there’s life for all of us to just get through this together. Even if it’s messy and it is messy. It is messy. So I like what you were saying, Allison, about first and foremost tending to that kind of inner circle like you, how are you doing? Making sure you’re okay and then after that family
And in my case, yeah, it’s my family, my kids and my husband and making sure that we’re still a family unit. We’re looking out after each other. My kids aren’t really concerned because they’re young and they don’t really understand this is unprecedented, but I still need to to be there for them, which means I have to take care of myself first. If if you’re spinning though, I think one of the biggest things you can do is try and find a routine. You know, our routines had been totally disrupted. I’m used to going to work at a certain time. I come home at a certain time, I work out, we have dinner, and now what? My two kids are home from school and they’re both adults. So it’s from college. It’s a lot of people in my house. A lot of chaos in my house that I’m not used to and trying to find.
Okay, so what is going to be my routine? And I think probably a lot of families are like that right now. Their kids are home. Oh my gosh. If you’re a young parent and like daycare was your kids being at school and now they’re not taking care of them? What does your house look like when you get home? I mean the, the chaos is, it can be overwhelming and that’s what is real is like things have changed and they continue to change. So it’s just like, it just feels very unstable. You know, you’re not used to going to Costco and having to wait in line to get in that. You heard about that? I did hear about that. Only letting 50 at a time or whatever. I don’t know the exact amount, but like I’m just saying, if you’re waiting in line to have access to food subconsciously, that makes you start wondering.
I think that does make you panic. Is there enough for me? So then when you get in and you’re like, man, I gotta make sure I get my, I’m just saying like every aspect of the way that we live day to day isn’t normal anymore. You know, my coworker went to Starbucks today cause supposedly they’re open for the drive through and it was just closed, flat out closed. Starbucks can’t be closed. I didn’t know they could do that. I didn’t either and she didn’t make it. Yeah, I get it. You know, I don’t know how many emails people have gotten from CEOs or founders saying we’re trying to help, and I’m not mocking that. Like I think every person in a position of leadership is doing their best, but I have to say that the information overload is not helping me right now. Okay. It’s, it’s frightening me.
Okay. So I have to, I have to just be careful. I don’t open all of them. You know, I’m opening them from the ADA because I think I need to, and the CDC, but the ones from Starbucks and CycleBar, yeah. I’m not opening those because I can’t, I can’t process that much information. I think that’s good. You know, you have to, you have to close certain doors and try to tame the craziness. It really is like an everyone I know. I think they’re doing their best to try to say, Hey, this is what you can expect if you’re a customer of ours and just know we’re trying. And it’s like, I think that’s the main thing everyone’s trying. But I think we all have different personalities. I’m, some people love information, they just want it all. And some people are like, I’m sticking my head in the sand, just leave me alone. And at this moment in time, I think our personalities are probably all magnified because we’re in the middle of a crisis.
Yeah. And chances are if you’re seeing someone’s posts on Facebook, and if it might not be recognizable to the way they normally post, chances aren’t they’re going through something that is under the surface that we don’t know about. You know? And that’s just where we’re trying to like remind people of the humanity of everybody. And I feel like most things are permissible as long as it doesn’t transgress the dignity of somebody else. So whatever you’re going through under the sun emotionally, you can have your own crazy freak outs at home. Like it’s okay to go through it. Sometimes you need to go through, you can’t go around it. You know, sometimes you need to eat that ice cream and we’re not saying that’s wrong. We’re just encouraging you as much as you can to continue. Just stay in touch with hope and stay in touch with the fact that we will get through this.
And, and that really has to be the message that no matter what happens, we will get through this. We’ve gotten through so many things. HIV world war two, I mean we will rebuild. I can assure you, I don’t know what it’ll look like. I wish I knew. Maybe you should invest in Sharman. I’ve been wondering about that. But I think we just have to know that of course there’s hope this will pass. I don’t know how long, but it will pass and we will be in a new normal.
And guys were the first to acknowledge this isn’t this is a messy road for us. You know, like Dr. House was just sang, she was crying on the way over here. Like this has been difficult for me to understand, Hey, if I serve dental practices and if dental practices are closed for three weeks, chances are they’re not going to need any of the products that I offer. So what does that mean to me and what are the implications for my employees that are looking for security? Like there’s just so many unknowns.
It’s a ripple and, and you can just get stuck with, it’s just my practice, but it isn’t, it’s everyone around us. So we’re all in this together. It’s not helpful for you to hoard the toilet paper. It really isn’t, you know, be kind to each other if you have some extra whatever share.
And that’s the thing. So Allison and I confess that we don’t have all the answers, but we want to be available. Like if feel free, you know message us.
Why don’t you share about what’s on your Facebook page? Oh, well you know, one of the things that this young lady that I had talked to you on the way here that we were both crying was mentioning that she didn’t have a letter and I have a letter on my house dental Facebook page that’s gotten some good reviews. You are welcome to take it, copy, rewrite it how you want it and repost it, send it out to your patients. It doesn’t bother me because I can, we’re all in this together. And if you’re afraid to write something, start with a template. And I realized I just stepped out of line because that probably was one of the tactics we were going to share tomorrow. But this doesn’t need to be perfect either. So to give a little context of what she’s saying, is that one of the things is that that’s a letter.
Is it a, is it a script or is it a letter? Well, I have a letter posted, yes to my patients on house dental, but I also emailed that letter to all my patients. Okay. And if you’re feeling like I need to do something with my patients, take it. So to find your page, would they just type in house dental? Sure. I’m not very good with this. I think if you just type in house then a little come up. But again, feel free. Any questions you guys have for us? We don’t know all the answers, but anything we can help with or point you in the right direction of a professional. Kind of like Denise that we interviewed yesterday. Just we just want to give another thank you to Denise just for being so generous with her time guys right now. That’s just what it’s about.
If there is something you have and there’s a message you have or there’s some resources or tools or anything that you think could bring life. We’re not saying any sheds, you don’t have to do anything. But if you’re able to and you feel inspired to, we just encourage that because I mean our voice may not be strong or influential on its own, but together it can be something that can be a movement for good, for hope and for unity. You know, I do think sometimes we view each other as competition, but the reality is that we all face the same issues. We’re all dentists. We are a community of professionals of very well educated professionals and each one of us have different gifts. We can contribute and so we should, we can work together and maybe maybe we could build something that we really would like. I mean, we didn’t love what we had before. You know what? And in line with that, if there is something that’s actually like a message that you have or something that you feel like would help and you don’t have a platform, we’re not saying we have much of a platform, but feel free like reach out to us and you know, we’d love to start a conversation and see if it would make sense to interview you about a topic that you think could be really helpful right now just to serve dentistry.
So again, tomorrow we’re going to actually share on a lot more of a strategic and tactical level on some practicals of what you can do to really make the most of this time. Because as Allison said yesterday she didn’t realize the time is something that you’ve been given.
Now it’s funny because be careful what you ask for. You might get it. I’ve been praying for more time. Sorry guys. We got it. And now I have three weeks of time and, and I do want to use it in a way that allows me to relax, allows me to rejuvenate. And that means I shouldn’t spend my whole time scared.
Amen. Well, Hey guys, we hope this episode was encouraging and we look forward to catching you in the next one. Thanks,
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