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 🦠😷
Sometimes the most difficult times manifests the opportunity for people to create something
larger than life and to step up and become the hero. You may be afraid to stand up and say
something because of the backlash you could receive. We want to encourage you to get out of
your own way and lead because your knowledge in infectious disease is needed by the general
public and by your patients! It isn’t about dentists setting themselves apart from other dentists,
but instead, using their voices through a collective effort in ways that will reach communities,
cities, and beyond. What if every dentist decided that they were going to be individual leaders
by stepping up to educate their patients, communities, legislature, and their friends and
families? Our hope is we can make a difference together as dentists and when this is over it is
us, the dentists, that people would look to. Dentists can push dentistry forward in such a
Shawn here with Allison again and yesterday we kind of hit you guys with the heavier, more somber message. And today we kinda just feel like releasing more of a message that is inspiring. And the great thing is even getting ready for this Alison and I looked at each other and we’re like, yeah, we’re just, we’re not feeling it. I’m tired. And then we started talking and kind of like inspiring ourselves. And there’s something about being able to stir yourself up to kind of almost like call forth your highest self. That’s just important. But today we want to talk about almost like the challenge or the tension of heroism. You know, and it’s one of the things I grapple with because as a kid growing up, it’s like you have these heroes that you look to and you kind of think, man, someday if my narrative or if my story can get wrapped up in something larger than life, something filled with adventure, something that could be heroic, that would be so awesome.
But the reality is the only way heroes come forth is because of circumstances or I dunno, the opportunity that’s shrouded by, by challenge, by adversity, and oftentimes even tragedy. So when you’re in the midst of it, nobody becomes a hero when everything is perfect, right? But then when the moment comes, it doesn’t look like this. Like people aren’t lining up saying, okay, this is my moment. This is the moment to kind of be a hero and, and I’m ready. It’s like it’s fearful, right? Yes. Like the natural tendency is to shrink back, get into self preservation and think like, Oh my God, I want to survive. And so we were talking and I was thinking, it’s like Lord of the rings, you know, I always think of Frodo and Sam when Gandalf comes to them and tells them about, I actually don’t even know like, Oh that all was in the ring is found again or something like that. And how sour or siren, whatever his name is coming to look for it. And it’s in the Shire. And now Frodo has to be the one that’s responsible for pretty much keeping it safe and trying to destroy it. And I look at that story and I’m like, Oh my gosh, that’s so like, that would be so awesome. But in reality, I love the Shire. I love the predictable, I love the peace, the safety, the fellowshipping with loved ones. Like that’s, that’s a rich and beautiful part of life.
But that’s not the story that we want to watch. That’s not the story that we want to live. Truthfully. I always think about Rocky cause I’m a little bit older and I loved Rocky. So when the first Rocky Rocky was offered the opportunity to fight creed, Apollo creed, and he was the champion, and Rocky was just this unknown. And he was like, why? Why me? I’m I’m no one. And he gets in there and he does everything possible to beat Apollo. And in the first Rocky, he loses at the end. And that’s what made it such an amazing movie because he proved himself, even though he didn’t win, even though he wasn’t the hero at the end, he was because he’d worked so hard. And then of course in the next Rocky he won, which is what makes Rocky the best thing ever.
But basically the story is it takes adversity to be almost like the seed bed for something heroic to grow.
It does it, it takes, you have to say yes even when it doesn’t seem like your moment and it doesn’t seem right. You, you do just have to say yes, like Rocky did. You had a good story about William Wallace though, right?
Oh yeah. Just growing up it’s like Braveheart was just, I wouldn’t say too young cause I don’t want to throw my parents under the bus, but I feel like I probably did watch it as, you know, probably too young. But anyway, it’s just such an inspiring story. And you know, as a, as a male, I always looked up to William Wallace and wanted to be that bold, courageous leader. And yet often I felt more like Robert, the Bruce, the one that was trapped with his insecurities, his fears, almost like even the politics of, well, what if I, you know, what if I lead and people don’t follow me? Just the reality of he didn’t, he didn’t feel like a leader, you know, he didn’t feel like he had what it took, you know, and then here’s William that the only reason why he even ended up liberating the Scottish people was because of the tragedy that he experienced. He wanted a simple life. He just wanted,
There was a love story. He wanted to marry the girl that he loved and live happily ever after. And when that didn’t happen, he had to step up.
Yeah. It thrust him into that position. And all throughout history, there’s so many stories where out of adversity, out of tragedy, out of the most difficult times, it reveals the opportunity for people to almost manifest something that’s larger than life.
And see you said every, every boy has that dream. Every girl has that dream too. Ours is Katniss from the hunger games. You know, she just wanted to marry Gale, live her little life, take care of her mom and her sister. But when her sister was chosen to go to the hunger games, she stepped up and you could see the fear on her face of what she’d done. And yet she knew that this is what she had to do. And it ended up being that she changed everything. Did she do it gracefully? No. Remember she made lots of mistakes, but I loved it that she, she stood up and she did what she felt was right.
And the reason why we’re calling it a challenge and attention is because like inside we all want to say yes and be ready to again live, live, some Epic, adventurous, heroic life. But what does it feel like when the conditions are set for heroism?
So this is what it feels like when the conditions are set for heroism. There’s a global pandemic, there’s a war, there’s something major is happening in the world. And your first reaction is what you just said. Let’s go back to the Shire. It’s warm, it’s comfortable, predictable. It’s predictable loan comfortable. But that’s not where heroes are born.
Yeah. And that’s why, you know, in this podcast we’re wanting to just remind people like, here, ism isn’t about saving the world. You know, in some grandiose way. It’s the little way in which you see beyond your current situation. And I dunno, like do something because of others, you know? And I think it’d be a good time even to share this quote that both Alison and I just absolutely love because right now there’s a lot of people that whether they like it or not, they’re in the arena. They are in a place of leadership, they are stewarding influence and a lot of eyes are on them. And whether that’s you with your team or whether that’s on like a governmental level.
So there’s a lot of criticism for our leaders right now and I think that makes it fearful to stand up and say something. You’re afraid of the haters. But the reality is it wouldn’t be leadership if it was easy. It wouldn’t be a stance if it was easy. The idea that this is difficult is what makes it important. And so I do have to read the man of the arena cause I love it. It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly. Who errs, who comes up short again and again, who spends himself for a worthy cause, who at best in the end triumphs with high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and stim and souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
That’s from theater Roosevelt. So even now hearing that, it’s almost back to the Robert, the Bruce thing. Like I know I’ve been the critic like I’ve been the critic that was afraid to step up and try something meaningful because of fear of people that were critics like me. But don’t you discover that you’re always your biggest critic? Absolutely. It’s really you. Because if it wasn’t, none of this other stuff would bother you. You would just simply do what was right, but it’s, it’s you that often holds you back, that doesn’t let you into the arena to begin with and you feel trapped and you feel trapped because you don’t feel like you’re actually getting to express what was, what, what’s in you, like what you’re made for. And that’s what we’re just wanting to remind people right now. There is greatness inside of you. There’s strength inside of you, there’s resolve that you might not even be identifying with right now.
And we’re just wanting to remind you that like people are trying and they’re giving it their best and there’s a chance that people are going to get it wrong according to what you think or according to what hindsight is going to say. History may show we made mistakes, but we dared greatly and that’s important. So I’m going to bring this back to being a dentist. You know, we, we had this dream, I think most of us, that we were going to help people, that we were gonna make a difference and that that dream hopefully has began a reality. If you’re practicing, you’re making difference in everybody’s lives, but there’s more. This is an opportunity. We know so much about infectious disease. I mean, just think about we live this, we’ve been living it for 35 years since HIV. Do we know all the answers about this? No. And we may make some mistakes. It’s true, but we still know more than almost everyone else with the exception of maybe some of the hospital people or the epidemiologists. So with this, how is it that a dentist right now can step up in their community and lead?
So I think the first thing is to stop spinning and to recognize that you know so much, so much, and the public is desperate for this information. They’re so frightened and yes, you may say something that’s not perfect and it is what it is. I mean, this is what standing on the precipice of leadership is. You make some mistakes, but you do your best. So what could you do? Well, this week I called every single one of my patients, which has taken four days to call every single one. And I asked them how they were doing and I talked to them about their specific medical conditions because I know them and I asked him how they were being safe and what kind of questions they had. And if they thought about a question, call me. I told him the office was open for emergencies, but we weren’t seeing other people.
We weren’t seeing regular appointments and there, the reception I got was so wonderful. My entire team called, like I said, it took four days, but it was leadership and did I give them all perfect answers? I don’t know. I don’t know. I did my best. But at the same time it’s like you’re accomplishing so many things. Not only are you touching base with them and letting them know, Hey, this is how coven 19 is affecting dentistry and as a patient or close except for emergency situations and how you can contact me, but you’re also getting to bring perspective that can calm a lot of fears. Well it was interesting how it was both. So I talked to one lady and she told me she hadn’t seen me in six months because she’d had gastric bypass surgery. And so she lost 60 pounds and I looked at her medical history and she has diabetes, she had heart disease.
And then she just told me she just had this surgery. And so I know that she’s having issues with nutrition and she said, so I’m, I’m working from home. I’m like, that’s great. She says, but I’m going to go out and volunteer today at the zoo. And I was like we should talk about that. And she said, really? You don’t think I should go? And so we had to have a heart to tart that she probably was a little more vulnerable than the average person, but she hadn’t, it hadn’t occurred to her. And she was so grateful that I called and just explain that to her. There were other people that were so terrified. They were just like, I don’t think I can go outside. I just, I don’t know what I’m going to do. And I was like, you’re 25 years old. It’s going to be fine.
Wash your hands, go to the grocery store, step up, help your parents who are 50 it’s, it’s going to be fine. You know? So there’s this balance between, we want people to know who’s vulnerable, that they’re vulnerable and we have that medical information. And we know, do I know perfectly? It could be that this 25 year old gets sick and he dies, and my diabetic heart disease patient never gets sick and she’s fine. But I gave them the information. I did the best I could with the information I have today, but also like the, I’m just saying like I don’t think patients typically have
Access to a medical professional that’s as educated as a dentist to be able to just ask them and talk through some of their fears about what’s happening right now. And for you to be able to provide that perspective is invaluable. You’re just showing like, Hey, you’re a part of our family. We care about you. We just want to check and see how you’re doing.
Yeah, and I think it’ll make a difference in my community because those people will share more by patients. We’ll talk to people who will talk to people just like the virus. It’s just going to go everywhere. But I think, I think I made a difference in my community and that was, that is one thing that we could do as dentists for some leadership. And it’s something that unified your team. It did. They were so about this and I was so proud of them. They called, they stepped up. We all hate to call people. I mean, it’s always hard to cold call somebody to just feel like you’re interrupting. I get it. But with the exception of two people, everyone was grateful that was called. Yeah.
Yeah. And you know what? You didn’t have the assurance when you decided to do this, that it was going to work, that it was going to be good thing you stepped out because you thought for the greater good. You want to just, again, it’s leading. There’s no guarantees when you step up and do what you think is right.
Yeah. So there’s so many things that if you just take a deep breath and recognize that you probably are a hero in your community already, you already hold that spot. All you have to do is take control of it. So that was one thing I did on Friday. I took a bucket of soap bar, soap bleach and some Dawn dish washing detergent to some people in my community, some of the business leaders in my community. And I just sat down and said, these are the things that you actually need. You don’t need to buy toilet paper. That’s not one of the things you need. And it gave me an opportunity to just sit there and talk with them because they’re afraid to, everyone I talked to was afraid. And it doesn’t mean that I’m not afraid, I’m afraid, but I have a much better understanding of what infection control is than the average person.
So you just said you’re afraid. What was that quote? I am pretty sure it was you. You told me a quote yesterday on courage.
Do you remember it was something about like courage isn’t, courage isn’t the absence of fear. Courage is when you see fear and you just keep moving forward.
Like the fact that it’s linked to the presence of fear. Like a lot of us would like to think that those that are just so courageous and bold don’t experience the emotion of fear, but it’s like, no, it’s still present, but yet whatever it is, whether it’s that vision to serve the greater good or that love that possesses them, whatever it is, it causes it to transcend that fear. And we look at that and call that courage. So I see myself as a hero in my community
And I’m also somebody who spent two hours crying yesterday. So, you know, and, and I don’t think those two things are mutually exclusive. I think they, they’re just part of life. And, and when this all is over, I may have made a ton of mistakes, but I’ve dared greatly, I, I’ve made a difference and I think my team at least will remember that I cared about them. And you will have that satisfaction of looking in the mirror and your eyes and just having that gift of self-respect of like, you know what, I, I did something with this mess that was in front of me. And even if it wasn’t perfect, I tried, you know, and I gave it my best. And that brings peace. It does bring peace and it’s messy. We talked about this yesterday. We just, we don’t know other things that could make you a leader that I haven’t necessarily done, but I think about you can call your legislators.
They don’t know either. They don’t understand what being a small business is. They don’t know anything about infection control unless they’re physicians or dentists. So you have an opportunity to educate people that are in leadership right now and they want to hear your voice. They really do. They don’t know what to do. I think there’s also schools. Now, last week I had calling schools, but now they’re closed. But there’s certainly an opportunity when this is all over to go in to your local schools and talk about what is a virus. I mean, I couldn’t believe somebody told me that they would take antibiotics like, no, no, no, no, no. Bacteria is different than viruses. And they didn’t know that. And again, you just, you forget that. Of course we knew that that was second nature to me. But it’s not the general public doesn’t know that.
And that’s the challenge though for dentists is that what you might categorize or file as common sense isn’t common sense, right? So you’re like, well, how can I help? Like what do, what do I know that come on, we all know this. No we don’t. We don’t. And that’s why your perspective and your expertise is so valuable. We have been living in a world where we’re constantly worried about HIV and hepatitis. So the way that we clean, the way that we keep our offices, the way that we sterilize is so far above everyone else because we live in that world. So think about how you know it’s, it’s amazing. And this knowledge is not freely available. So you knew about soap before social media started? Apparently I did. So I don’t mean to be like trite about it, but just some of those meetings are really funny about like, yeah I actually used to wash my hands before.
Like you just, I don’t know, they’re just funny. They are funny. But it was entertaining that everyone bought all of this hand sanitizer and they left the soap. You need the soap. That’s a good point. And you know, the way that we wash our hands, I was taught that you sing the twinkle, twinkle little star song. Well when you wash washed, people watch people wash their hands. It’s like three seconds. That’s not enough. And then their hands smell good because of the scent and the soap. So you kind of think, Oh, if it smells like soap, it’s gotta be disinfected. But all of us have had to take an infection control class where we put that stuff on our hands and we saw all that. So we know, we know. Just because it smells good doesn’t mean it’s just cause it smells good. Doesn’t mean that it’s clean.
But that’s the marketing trick. Do you know what I mean? From the business perspective, it’s like people were like, Oh it smells great. I shouldn’t be kidding. Nope. So this is information we can share and that people need. There’s also been some memes about, you know, this mom who has all of her antibacterial rubbing her hand, which doesn’t work against viruses by the way. And the little baby that’s sitting in her grocery cart that’s licking something. Oh man. And, and it’s true. It’s really true because you know, people are just only know what they’ve been told. Yeah. So you’re right. It’s the little things. It doesn’t take a lot. And that’s where sometimes it’s like definitions of the heroic. They do seem larger than life. And that’s always how like you can leave it up to history, how people remember you, but all you can do right now is be responsible for the opportunity that’s in front of you.
Big or small. Like it’s not about like, Oh, I need to go March on Capitol Hill and influence policy makers. It’s like if that is something you can do and you have influence, go for it. But if the influence that you have right now is to call your patients and just educate them or just be there to talk to them through any of the fears they might be having, that is heroic. And I’m back to my Katniss example. You know, Katniss didn’t do anything extraordinary. She did a lot of small things. She worked hard. She created groups. I mean she wasn’t the extraordinary hero of Hercules, but all the little things she did added up to a whole movement. And that’s, that’s the truth. The little things that you do will make a huge difference and we’ll make you a hero. It doesn’t have to be this grand gesture. I like that. So in closing, I think we just wanted to provide a little bit of encouragement. Again, yesterday’s message was a lot more about the panic and how scary things are. And today we’re wanting to remind you that that you’re strong and that you, you can do this and that there’s little things that you can say yes to that will help not just set you apart in the community, but help spread light in a time where light is needed in a time where positivity
And optimism is needed. And hopefully if you did find yourself in that quote, like I have so many times as the critic, you’ll give yourself some grace and you’ll give those around you that are in the arena grace, because it is a lot for our leaders. You know, I remember in the church that I was part of in New Hampshire, one of the things that they did regularly was just guys, pray for your leaders. You know, it, whether you agree with them or not, that they have wisdom because leadership is exactly like you said, Dr. House. It’s not about good versus bad and these clean cut decisions, it’s really difficult.
And, and they may be wrong, I don’t know, but I decision had to be made and so they made it and history will tell us, but they had to do something. And so they did. There’s not a single leader in history that was beloved by everyone at the time that they were living. I remember that there’s not a single leader now, we may love them all a hundred years from now, but there isn’t anyone that we all loved think about that. And no one wants to be the one that has to make the difficult decisions. No one wants to be the one that makes all those difficult decisions. But that’s, that is leadership is stepping up and making the hard decisions and, and doing what’s right. And so remember I’m just gonna kind of close with this. It really isn’t about us setting ourselves apart from other dentists. What if every dentist in the country decided that we were going to be leaders in our community? What if every dentist in the country decided that we were going to step up, educate our patients, educate our legislators, educate our friends and family when this was over, who would people look to? They would look to the dentists. We could change our entire trajectory just by stepping up at this moment.
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