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Metamorphosis—Helping Our Dental Team Members Grow Their Wings


Meet your team members where they are to really help them grow and transform. Life, after all, is really about connections, making a difference, being present, and supporting one another in our own unique journeys of transformation



Did you know when a caterpillar constructs its chrysalis or cocoon aspiring to become a beautiful butterfly, it changes into something called, “caterpillar soup?” The insect consumes itself, liquefies into mush and, from that soupy muddle, it’s reconstituted into a miraculous winged creature. Unfortunately, the viability rate of metamorphosis is modest as less than 10% emerge as a butterfly.

The morning of February 7, 2020 will forever be etched in my brain. I received a call that my father had passed away. Initially, I could not comprehend the information I was receiving, then I remember falling to my knees. I could not breathe. I could not speak. My metamorphosis of grief had begun.

Everyone around the world has gone through a metamorphosis over the past couple of years. The pandemic sent our planet into complete chaos, fear, and uncertainty. Dental practices across the country were closed and dentists were unsure what the future held for them, their teams, and patients.

As an executive coach for Fortune Management working with dental practices, I support doctors and teams from both a business and personal approach. Now, please know that I am by no means a therapist and do not ask people to lie down on the sofa to tell me more about their childhood experiences. However, from my experience and supporting doctors and teams in these unprecedented times, I have found it vital to relate on an even more human, emotional level with all team members.

I know my doctors and I know my teams but, more importantly, I know the individuals. As a coach, it’s my job to ask amazing questions. Asking poignant questions helps to peel back the layers of what is truly the source of what is happening in the office. Perhaps I am diagnosing why patients are cancelling or not showing for their appointments, why a doctor’s treatment acceptance percentage has waned, or why a team member is struggling and his or her performance has become subpar.

Team members want to be heard and valued. Dental teams are family units. Consider how much the last 2 years have affected you and your immediate family on a personal level. Now, let’s consider how the pandemic has affected every one of the team members in your dental family.

There is a metaphor which is relevant to my thoughts: “In between being a caterpillar and becoming a butterfly, there is the chrysalis. This is the stage of old things giving way, the stage of goopy mess, of being neither caterpillar nor butterfly.” I have recognized my own metamorphosis over the last 2 years and have become increasingly aware of each team member’s metamorphosis as well. Chrysalises are very vulnerable when they are first created. The beautiful creature developing and growing needs the proper environment to grow and thrive. Much like our team members need to be nurtured and have the proper environment to blossom. It’s our job to help our team members “grow their wings.”

How do we do that? First, we need to give our team members some grace. Many individuals have lost loved ones, their homes, their entire sense of security, struggled with depression, and, quite frankly, lost themselves. As a coach, we talk a lot about communication. Communication is key! We provide our doctors and teams with many tools to incorporate into their “toolboxes.”

Listen to your team members—really listen. Are you taking time to meet with your team members and complete check-ins with them on a regular basis? Perhaps we could call it a “metamorphosis meeting.” This would be your time to get to know your team members on a more personal level and a time for you to help them brainstorm and create both their personal and professional goals. Tony Robbins, who helped found Fortune Management many years ago, has provided us with a plethora of tools for our toolboxes as coaches. One of his key topics is Life Mastery which highlights 6 key areas (Emotions, Physical, Relationships, Spiritual/Contribution, Purpose/Career, and Financial). Goal setting based on the Life Mastery components helps support real transformation and this teaching principle can be presented and applied to our dental teams.

I suppose you are wondering where I am right now in my metamorphosis. Grief, in and of itself, is a process, a transformation. I had wrapped myself in a cocoon. I, in fact, became soup…a mess. My grief soup was heavy, thick of good memories, flashbacks of conversations, regrets, and “I love yous” that were never said. Friends and family surrounded me in my chrysalis and helped protect me in this delicate stage.

I worked on building my wings! Some days, my wings are tired, but I continue to chase my dreams, create happiness, and fly. Whenever a butterfly graces me with its presence, I whisper to it and know my father is listening.

Meet your team members where they are. Help them grow and transform. Help them grow their wings and soar! Life, after all, is really about connections, making a difference, being present, and supporting one another in our own unique journeys of transformation.

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