Why confidence is important in a dental practice


Don't run away from things that scare you. Instead, master them!

How confident are you? Are you afraid that your colleagues or patients will find out that you are a fraud? Would it surprise you that many women feel that way?

Read Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” She talks about how she herself has this fear. If someone as financially successful as she is can be open about this, then we should at least explore if this is an issue for you, too.

I’ll go transparent here and say that I have had that experience. I apply for a position and find I might be out of my league. The dental practice has software that I am not familiar with. I worry about the learning curve and whether I can master it. But, then a funny thing happens. The very thing that causes me great angst becomes the very thing I master. Confidence develops from facing a challenge and overcoming it. I used to say that it develops from our failures. That is true, but only as we overcome and survive them.

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What does this have to do with working in a dental practice? You might have the impression that your dentist has no fears or concerns about running a practice. He or she may not show them to you, but don’t be fooled - they are there. These worries and concerns are underlying most decisions that get made.

For example, if you are the owner of a practice, you are the one who is required to worry about payroll. You have to worry about healthcare costs for your employees’ health insurance, which go up every single year. You worry about whether you are getting enough patients to cover your expenses and to make a living. There is a lot of responsibility running a small business. And guess what? It doesn’t get taught in dental school.

Do you remember the first patient you ever had? What about the first procedure you ever did? The nerves, the adrenaline and how in the end you mastered it. What did that feel like? It felt great! The reality is that you need to take chances. Try new things. Grow. Don’t run away from things that scare you. Instead, master them.

Perhaps it is a conflict you are having with a colleague. You work on it, and you get a resolution you can live with. It eliminated the tension and gave you one more step on your journey to good self-confidence.

It is time to strengthen your self-confidence level. My suggestion: find something that will put you in a leadership role.

  • Join a Toastmasters International group and learn to lead.

  • Join your dental association and become an active member working on a committee or taking on a leadership role.

  • Chair a fundraiser for a charity.

  • Run for office at your kid’s PTO at school.

  • Coach a soccer team.

The point is to find something that will help you to grow. This will help you to overcome fears or stressors by problem solving, which in turn will help you to become more confident. Sheryl Sandberg didn’t allow fear to prevent her from having an incredibly successful career at Facebook and Google. Instead, she reached for every challenge. She probably failed at some, just like the rest of us. But then she made one step after another toward becoming the person that she is today. My call to action to you is to check your confidence level and decide what you can do to become a leader and tap into the talent that you do not even know lies beneath the surface.

Let me know how confident you are and what you are going to do about it. Email me at diana2@discussdirectives.com.

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