When I got into dental school, I was so excited that I jumped up and down (I was 32 at the time, so leaping around my living room was definitely out of character). Being notified that I had gotten in was like a stamp of approval. I was accepted into a small, exclusive club by virtue of my hard work, focus, and smarts, and it felt really good to be on the path to a career where I would be making a tangible difference in people’s lives everyday. My life vision was super clear and like I was in total alignment with what I really wanted.
But the reality of being a dentist and owning my own clinic is very different from what I imagined it would be. In my five years of practicing dentistry, I’ve learned that the technical aspects of being a dentist pale in comparison to the skills I need to help my patients deal with anxiety in the chair, to convince them that having work done or changing their habits is important, and to make small talk in order to help patients feel comfortable (as an introvert, this is definitely not my forte). The vision for my life that was so clear a few years before was starting to fade.
In addition to the work I do as a dentist, I’m also a dental practice owner, and that’s a whole other set of challenges. A lot of my work relates to managing employees, fostering teamwork, doing administrative work (which I hate and procrastinate on – there’s a reason I left accounting), budgeting and analysis, paying bills. The hardest part, in my opinion, is having to do all of these things when my heart isn’t in it and I would rather focus on caring for my patients.
A few years ago, the stress of it all got to be too much. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was anxious and worrying all the time, and I wasn’t enjoying life. All I could envision was turning 80 and looking at my life wondering what had become of it.
I knew I had to make changes so that I could enjoy my kids instead of resenting them. In addition, I wanted to rekindle the spark with my husband instead of having a relationship where we were like roommates who happened to share the same bed. My dream was having the freedom to travel more, to stop stressing about my finances, and to find passion in my everyday life rather than waking up and dreading going to work.
So I threw myself into personal development, working with a few coaches, doing online courses, reading dozens of books, reading blog posts and watching videos, and eventually launching my own blog. My anxiety improved, I felt calmer and yelled at my kids less, and I started taking better care of myself.
I haven’t got it all figured out, but when I look back at all I’ve accomplished since then and how my mindset has shifted, I’m pretty amazed at myself. And I’m proud of how far I’ve come.
Personal Transformation & Being of Service
My personal transformation has sparked me to consider how I can help other women dentists (and other professional women) bring a greater sense of ease to their lives, find more joy every day, and start to live the lives of their dreams instead of settling for the status quo. I want to help them get clarity around their own life visions and take action to move forward.
One of my first steps has been to become a Desire Map facilitator. The Desire Map, which you can read about more here and here and here, is a process I’ve used to get clear on how I want to feel in my life and set goals to get me there. It has been life-changing for me, and becoming a facilitator seemed like a natural choice. Why wouldn’t I want to help other women get clear on what they want in their lives, set meaningful goals that they’re excited to pursue, and make decisions that are aligned with their deepest desires?
Moving Toward Your Life Vision
Recently, I’ve felt drawn to taking my work a step further and move into lifestyle coaching for women, specifically dentists who want more for their lives but aren’t sure what that looks like. I’m currently working on a program that helps women:
- figure out what they want for their lives and how they want to feel
- shift their mindset around money and success
- set goals with meaning for them
- develop their leadership skills
- learn how to create a network of supportive, like-minded women
- put into place foundational habits to increase their calm and happiness
- stop feeling guilty about taking time for themselves
If you’re unsure of how to proceed in your career, I can totally relate. Sometimes the reality of your work is very different from what you imagined it would be.
My question for you is this: are you going to do anything about it?
I’m not suggesting you quit your job tomorrow without a plan. But I do think that it’s important to take action, no matter how small it seem. When you feel stuck, it’s heavy and soul-sucking, and you need to move out of that.
I want more for you, just as I want more for myself. I don’t want you to settle because you don’t know that there’s another way.
There is another way. You just have to find it
Journaling Prompts to Clarify Your Vision
One of my favourite tools to get clarity is to write it out. Need help figuring out what you want your life to look like? Take a fresh piece of paper or your journal and write down your answers to the following prompts:
- If I could do anything and be guaranteed to succeed, what would it be?
- If money were no object, how would I spend my time?
- When I was a little kid, what did I love to do?
Read over your answers. Does anything you’ve written surprise you? Are you living in alignment with your dreams, are is your reality conflicting with your desires? What steps can you take to get you closer to your life vision?
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You can also head on over to my Facebook page and send me a message. I’m on Facebook more than I care to admit and will definitely respond if you shoot me a private message.
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