Do you find the concept of self-compassion difficult or even non-existent in your life?
You’re not alone if you do.
As dentists we are required to practice compassion every day — for the patient in pain, for the patient experiencing fear, for the patient dealing with uncertainty. It is part of the job for us to build a bridge from discomfort to relief, from fear to solace.
But how often do we allow ourselves the same kindness with our own fears, our own uncertainty, our own pain? How often do we allow ourselves to even consider the hard questions about ourselves and our needs?
The answer for many of those in our profession, is not nearly often enough. I know this because I’ve been there — I’ve experienced the pain, the fear and the uncertainty and I’ve felt first-hand how denial, lack of self-compassion and solitude can impact a human life.
Over the past 20 years, I have embarked on a journey that has lead me to an amazing summit of understanding where compassion, comfort and kindness are not only things I give those around me, but gifts I give myself. I have not traveled this path alone; there have been many guides. The most unforgettable one, the guide who has shown me with tenderness, warmth, and empathy how to truly be me— was — and still is — a horse.
Let me explain —
I had a prospering dental practice in a small town in Northern Michigan. I was, by all external measures, a success.
Inside, I was stressed to the max.
For me, being a dentist was filled with anxiety, stress and uncertainty that affected me emotionally, mentally, and physically. You know the drill — anxious patients; an ever-demanding team; being responsible for production, collections, payroll; dealing with personnel and technical issues, insurance companies, long and arduous procedures, and coming home to your family with nothing left to give.
It’s exhausting, right? But you must keep on going for your patients, team, family, the bank. And at 3 a.m. on many a morning you awaken and wonder how it’s possible to get through another day.
I was searching for relief and wanted to leave it all behind, but have never been a quitter. So I hired a coach, and it was the single best decision I have ever made in my career. Within a few years, with the help of this wise mentor, I was able to transform my leadership skills, my team, and all my days as a dentist into an enjoyable, profitable career. It can be done!
Then came the realization that staying in clinical dentistry was no longer my passion; I longed to pass forward the gift of coaching by allowing myself to make a change. Defining my core values, writing a clear vision, and living congruently in order to manifest that vision became my main focus, all while being guided by wise coaches, mentors, and most importantly—my horse.
Horses have always been a part of my life and although I didn’t always know it, the mere presence of a horse is healing for the heart. The eyes of a horse can see into places deep within us, and their hearts can reach places inside us that we ourselves don’t know how to access. They speak to us in many ways, and it has been scientifically proven that horses have a calming effect on humans. They can help us find our way when the path seems unclear.
In 2013, I took the bold step to follow my heart, sold my practice, and completely left clinical dentistry in order to pursue a career in coaching others to a better life. I have no regrets and don’t miss dentistry at all, save for the occasional desire to smell Bond-1, and those few moments when my assistant and I were totally in sync, not needing to speak for hours as we perform a ballet of instrument passing while reaching a common goal.
I have recently completed an intensive certification program which has taught me how to partner with horses to restore the hearts and spirits of those I coach. The wisdom, experience, and clarity I’ve gained through this process has propelled my life forward and I eagerly anticipate having the privilege of passing it on in order to help others who need support.
It is an experience that can impact you far deeper than you ever imagined and carry you further than you have ever dared to dream.
My heart still beats for the profession and it is now my focus in life to reduce stress, tension, and anxiety to help prevent stress-induced physical problems such as heart disease, the #1 killer of dentists.
Equine-assisted coaching is truly life-altering. If you want to continue practicing dentistry, I can give you skills that will help you lower your stress while allowing you to keep sight of that all-important patient — yourself!
If you want to leave dentistry, I can assist you in finding peace with that decision and walk with you as you define your vision of the future. If you’re not sure what you want, well, I will introduce you to a 1200 lb. guide who can help you find the way!
Start by scheduling a free exploratory coaching call with me. We will discuss your goals, challenges, and what’s most important to you now. Based on that information, together we will decide on the next best step to reduce your stress. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Hope to hear from you soon.