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25

May

An ambitious dentist may feel like they never have quite enough time, for their vision is vast and time is brief. It’s week 8 of the Covid-19 lockdown and if you’re anything like me you will probably have found yourself, at times, with more time on your hands. I gave a webinar last week on ‘happiness’. One of the pernicious ingredients…

4

May

Anxiety

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I had a conversation last week with a young gentleman. He is working in a mostly private practice and I vaguely know his principal from previous educational events. He wanted to talk about his state of mind as he is – without any warning, and for apparently no reason he could think of – becoming anxious. Worryingly and increasingly so. Perhaps,…

6

Apr

Hamartia

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It has been written before, but the problems you are facing are the same as those faced by every other dentist. You worked hard to get where you are, you passed the exams and you got through the interview. So why, for some, does this feel hard? Why does it feel like the plan hasn’t come together? Why do you feel…

16

Mar

The Power of Stories You may or may not have seen the latest Star Wars movie. Raheel hasn’t seen the first or any of the others. So, excluding him, this was for many the ninth instalment in a saga. Started in 1977 and ending in 2019 – some 42 years later. A saga close to many viewers’ hearts. Now opinion about…

2

Mar

Our work isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s downright hard. But mostly, with experience and skill development and communicative puissance, it can be a wonderful career; and nearly every dentist I know is someone kindhearted, good and diligent. They are honest, clever and trying to make their way in the world like everyone else. Nevertheless, a collective reality check – a parody…

Before working with Raheel, I spent most of my professional career in the company of scared, insecure, aggressive, opinionated men who felt threatened by the challenge of others’ intellectual prowess. They would happily belittle, ignore or even fight back against people who questioned their opinion. I am sure some of you came across tutors like this during your undergraduate career. A…

The alarm clock wakes you up. Its insistence is almost violent. It’s certainly not welcome or nice. Your first thought, your first moment of recognition of your re-emergence into this world from a still incomplete sleep cycle, is a deep internal “Oh no”. You reluctantly remember this noise is a command…and you are compelled to obey. The command is not something…

It has been an incredibly interesting Christmas break for me this year. I managed to have two whole weeks off and spent virtually every moment of it with my family, which, frankly, was wonderful.   Aside from that, I have never, NEVER, had so many contacts from dentists offering positive feedback on their professional and personal development, reporting where their career…

  Think about feelings. Watch others and process their feelings. Begin to be able to feel their feelings Emotional intelligence begins with what is called self and social awareness, the ability to recognise emotions (and their impact) in both yourself and others. This has to start with self-awareness. Are you aware that you point your finger at people when you talk…

Many of our delegates want to talk about money. They, like you and me, often want more.  In fact, on reflection, I have never heard of a dentist complaining because they earn too much. I’m sure I never will. They start one of our diploma courses and, midway through, things are looking brighter. Their schedules go up. Their principals are more…

17

Nov

We say this to our patients every day. But you know, for now, they are ok. It’s you I’m asking. You may be fine. You may not need or want any help. How can someone like me possibly offer help to you? If that’s what you’re thinking, then stop reading, go do your hair, pout and take a selfie. Bye. But…

4

Nov

At the start of each Aspire season we put a lot of effort into getting to know the delegates. Many are shy, some are self-assured, but there are threads of commonality across all. Walking into a room full of relative strangers and talking about dentistry can be slightly uncomfortable for lots of people. It’s actually cathartic when they realise that all…

21

Oct

Many, if not most, important things in life are generated internally and not taken from the external. Things that satisfy your soul. Things that strengthen your family bonds, your community, your inner well being. These are all internally made. When interviewed about how he selects his senior executives, how he found his most successful staff, how he reliably predicts whether start-ups…

30

Jun

You are probably quite bad at setting goals. You probably haven’t thought the subject through and dedicated enough time and discussion to it. I’ll pressure you to come up with some significant and meaningful goals on the count of three: 1,2, 3 GO! Did you mumble vague clichés like ‘be happy’ ‘enjoy life and work’ ‘find love’ – all the gibber-jabber…

I do not know about you, but when I go to work as a GDP, I have goals I work towards. Now, for you, your goals may be slightly different but ultimately, I expect we are all after: 1. Happy and Healthy Patients 2. Successful Clinical Outcomes 3. Adequate Financial Remuneration (adequate will mean different things to different practitioners) 4. Healthy…

20

May

Paragone

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One of the driving forces behind the Italian Renaissance was a belief that to see and thence appreciate art’s real significance, you had to pit one creative talent against another. This idea had its own name: Paragone (painting vs. sculpture vs. architecture). Paragone began with social discussions about pieces of art but developed into open debate, and in the halls of…

10

May

I am a big fan of investing—investing in myself is what I mean. Whether through self-development books, courses or simply buying something that makes my life easier and less stressful is an investment worthwhile. Do you agree? Today I want to talk about dental investing. I attended countless useless lectures and seminars in my vocational training year. However, there was one…

6

May

How do you get a lot of people to read and share your blogs? How do you draw attention to them and get people talking? How to create the ‘buzz’ and media frenzy? The answer hasn’t changed much. If you want to gather people in the town square, put a corrupt politician in the stocks or publicly hang them. If you…

Or perhaps that should read: ‘Hating what you can’t do, but are forced to do if you want to get paid’? It may be a natural foible of the human condition that we dislike taking part in activities where we feel inadequate, weak or less able than our peers. Professional performance that leads to praise, adulation and contemporaries clicking the ‘like’…

21

Apr

We work in a profession, and indeed live in a world, where our flight/fight/fright response is continuously triggered. We are overwhelmed with stress complexity, bathed in neon blue lights, underexposed to the sun (working inside all day), consumers of sugars, carbs, alcohol, fake fats, maddened by our inability to grasp the enormity of an interconnected world (how much time do you…

15

Apr

Success and a perceived advantage will nearly always promote envy. Not from all. But always from some. The person feeling envy can be a friend, a virtual friend (social media only) a colleague or—for the purposes of this blog—a patient. In fact dentistry is rife with enviers. It provides the fuel for so much of the interpersonal acrimony and vociferous negativity…

8

Apr

It’s been interesting to receive feedback during the release of this blog series on ‘difficult personalities’. There has been a lot of gratitude, people recognising certain traits from patients they dread, laughs at the predictable and almost identical behaviour different patients exhibit to different dentists, and for me the most important part is people writing to say the blogs have helped…

The difference between neurotics and psychotics is to be understood by deciphering the picture. Neurotics live on the ground like you and me. But, whilst living alongside you, they can also see the castle in the sky. They also see real life, people, their dentist, their doctor, their Instagram feed, the cat and the dog. They can also see a flying…

25

Mar

The Pampered Prince/Princess: They will draw you in with their regal air. They are calm and ever so slightly imbued with a feeling of superiority. It is pleasant to meet people who appear confident and destined to wear a crown. But beware. They act superior because they consider you staff—hired help to answer their every need. You may have more sympathy…

15

Mar

The second type of potentially difficult person we will explore together is the Drama Magnet (DM). Something is always wrong. Always. And, of course, once a problem is in the past, another one emerges. When discussing their drama, the drama magnet is full of energy and can be initially compelling. However, they only want your sympathy and support – often not…

11

Mar

Their posts allow you to fleetingly marvel at a truly remarkable person. In their photos, they are always smiling and apparently having a fantastic time. They take trips to the most exciting exotic locales. They make a point of always supporting the best and latest causes because ‘it’s important to give back’ (and tell the whole world you are doing it)….

Zeus. King of all the Gods. His wife is a goddess; his many girlfriends are all 10/10s or other goddesses. He lives in a glowing palace on top of a mountain and is King of the Universe. All the other gods bow to him, every creature alive fears and respects him. He is the King. King of the Gods. Interestingly, the…

25

Feb

I was asked to provide some remedial training for a postgraduate student training at a major London teaching hospital around three years ago. He was in the final year of training, and as he approached his final exam to gain an MClinDent in Prosthodontics and get on the specialist list some cracks had started to show. A number of case study…

If you are struggling at work and what you are doing isn’t working, you must accept that you don’t really know what you are doing. This applies to your endodontics, your preparations, your adhesive bridges, your ability to make patients like and trust you, and almost any other aspect of your professional life. The dentists you admire don’t have magic hands….

18

Sep

Failure

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Our perceptions count here. A failure can ruin your month. It’s repercussions can last and last. It can introduce doubt and personal anxiety. It can make a patient’s name on the day list increase your heart rate and dread their arrival. Why did that endo fail? Am I the only one who this happens to? Everyone else just seems to get…