I initially met Jessica via the Creative Collective, a support group for women in health care. The group meets monthly, where we share our joys and struggles, side hustles and dreams. This inner circle of women has been fundamental to my growth over the past year alone. It is because of this group, that I was inspired to publish my book, go on a retreat with friends, and practice more mindfulness. It has also led me to meet inspiring people like Jessica, who are passionate about what they do.
When I asked Jessica what her greatest message to women in dentistry may be, this is what she said, ”Having treated oncology patients for five years, it has made me question life, work and time. I have a wealth of knowledge on treating oncology patients, but it is the patients who continually taught me, day in and day out, the life lessons that I will continue to unpack throughout my journey.
My 2 pieces of advice include:
1. Other female dentists are NOT your competition. I can’t say this enough. There is more than enough room for all of us to do dentistry and for all of us to do the dentistry we want. We need to continually support our female colleagues and create spaces that are judgement-free and safe so we can share our vulnerabilities including our doubts, fears but also the awesomeness and joy that comes from being a woman in this life and in the dental profession.
2. Stop being your own worst enemy. Your inner critic can be mean, ugly and full of believable lies. Your inner critic can keep you down and keep you small. Here’s the thing: on many levels, women have been conditioned to underestimate their abilities and explain away their successes. By doing this, we think we will avoid the judgement of having an ego, being full of ourselves or even coming across as being intimidating. Life’s too short to constantly be thinking that others are judging you when you’re the only one standing in your way. Instead of tearing yourself down, share your successes, brag about your wins, and be the unapologetic you that YOU want to be. When the end is near, you won’t be thinking about that class 5 shade color that was off slightly. You’ll be thinking, “why didn’t I do that thing I always wanted to do?”
Don’t know about you, but I really needed to read this today. And perhaps every single day when I feel I am not enough. This feeling is perhaps shared by a lot of women, and especially minorities, who always feel the need to integrate, yet remain polite and un bragging. Who are we to rock the boat?
I especially have feelings of self-doubt and anxiety creep up as the launch date for my upcoming book comes closer. It is unsettling because it is a real piece of me going out into the world, and I don’t know what the response will be like, and if it will all be good.
If you’re going through something like this, a big life change, or a goal that you’re trying to accomplish, getting a coach who can guide you and make you feel less alone can be crucial.
Getting a coach to share my struggles with writing and publishing a book was perhaps the most important thing I could do to stay accountable. My coach also continually encouraged me and made me feel like my work was important. Sometimes when your inner critic is too loud, you need a little external validation and support that will keep you on your path.
Dr. Jessica E. Metcalfe is the founder of The Alchemist Dentist, an international speaker, a life coach, a mental health activist and a dentist to oncology patients. She works with professionals to help dismantle impostor phenomenon, perfection and prevent burnout. Dr. Jessica brings a unique perspective challenging your thoughts, emotions and behaviors about success, self-worth and mental well-being.