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I admit it. I’ve always been a rule-breaker. From the time I was a child and hated to hear that tired phrase little girls don’t do that, right up to this day, I have believed in breaking rules and asking why. Why does it have to be this way? Why do we have to do it this way? And maybe most important, is there a better way?

Many times, finding a better way involves a lot of experimentation (trial and error), as well as taking the advice and suggestions of others. It takes guts to try and try again and sometimes fail. It also takes courage to consider how suggestions from other people might be incorporated to improve something you consider “your baby.” Will the advice help or hurt?

I have learned these lessons with DentalPost. I never knew when the idea for DentalPost came to me that I’d build it into something far bigger than myself. It has become an amazing dental community. We have true fans who not only have contributed to how we help people find jobs, but also have become a real dental family. We listened to your suggestions and thoughts on how to make the most effective experience for our dental community. We can do huge things together.

And we have. Your suggestions helped build the best dental career community in the United States. It was the beginning of big change for DentalPost. We have evolved from a website to a mobile business, from new options of placing ads and viewing a resume database to matching algorithms. We believe the future of testing with assessments and self-awareness is the key to a happier work eco-system for both sides of dentistry in our careers and workplaces.

Let’s face it: dentistry is moving forward, whether you are keeping up or not. From technology to one-appointment dentistry, to scheduling online, to corporate or multiple structure models. I am excited about what’s to come in the future!

Just don’t let the “f-word” jeopardize your successful future. I mentioned how experimentation can lead to innovation. That’s true, but not if FEAR gets in the way. Fear of failure is overrated as an excuse. Why? Because if you work for someone and you fail, the cost is absorbed by the organization, not by you. We choose not to be remarkable because of criticism, not failure. You have to be bold enough to go through failure to find those amazing new ideas you might never have thought of otherwise.

Fear is an emotion, one of our oldest and most hardwired emotions. On a recent trip to an entrepreneurial event, I learned you can rewire your brain to get rid of negative emotions that are dragging you down. It sounds impossible, but it works. Neuro-Linguistic Programming helps us learn to gain more control over reactions that appear to be automatic, like fear (or anger, or guilt, etc.). In other words  as we heard from someone who has been practicing this for a long time  it is rewiring your brain so that when a situation comes up that would normally trigger a negative attitude, it doesn’t happen. How do you do it? You turn the negativity into a gift. It becomes an opportunity to practice gratitude. First of all, you’re grateful that you can make the conscious decision to be aware of your emotions and push the negativity out. In this case, the fear of failure that is holding you back becomes an opportunity to push through and see new ideas on the other side.

The best part is, you become a happier, more productive person. You’re not quite indestructible, but no one can affect you. You’re happy. In the business world, that translates to being bolder and more successful.

One piece of advice is (and as we consider those New Year’s Resolutions that we may be trying to accomplish, this is a good one): think every day about 10 things you’re grateful for. Write them down. Practicing gratitude like this helps us see even the negative emotions in our lives as gifts we can use to transport us to positive thinking that can make us successful and happy.

I have chosen to represent the dental profession as both a Dental Hygienist and a Dental Career Specialist advocate to help build tools that allow dental teams to thrive. I see what I do in many ways, whether it is helping someone find the right dental family or the right career to feed her family or pay for a family vacation. On the other side, I work to help a dental office deliver high-quality care to patients in pain or give patients a priceless gift of a beautiful smile and confidence. Making a difference is my purpose and when I do this, my heart is full.

Success didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t always easy, and it didn’t happen in a vacuum. Instead, it came through staring down the fear of failure, and realizing that sometimes good ideas come from outside your own head…. from the fantastic community you serve.

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