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I just heard a fascinating discussion last night, lead by friend and role model, Dr. Jessica Metcalfe, on the Impostor Phenomenon. This morning, I was thinking about all of the things she mentioned last night and created the following simple set of reminders for new dentists that struggle with self doubt and anxiety.
Here it is!
Create a trust squad
Think of 2-3 people in your inner circle, who are your strongest supporters, your loudest cheerleaders. Anytime you feel like giving up, or get unsolicited advice from someone, think about one of these people in your squad. If you told them about what happened, how would they react? Chances are they will tell you to not over think it. They believe in you, at times, more than you do. Reference: the Alchemist Dentist and Brene Brown.
Be kind to yourself
Look at how far you’ve come, think of who you were or what you were doing 5 years ago. Aren’t you proud of everything you’ve accomplished? Yes, you have a long way to go from here, but celebrate your present and be gentle on yourself. Show yourself love and appreciate your fortitude. It wasn’t always easy, yet you did it!
Everything happens at its own pace
Do you have financial, professional, spiritual and health goals? Yes, you will conquer them all, but, at your own pace. So, although you can dream big; start small, take breaks and get help from others. Rome wasn’t built in a day! Be patient with the process. Reference: the Alchemist Dentist
Listen to your inner voice
Does your inner voice hold you back, judge and criticize you? If yes, you need to overcome some of those negative thoughts, replacing ‘I can’t, I won’t be able to, I’m not good enough’ to ‘I will, I can and I am more than enough’. This will take time, several weeks or months of re training and re calibrating. However, this is important work, more important than anything else you will ever do in your life. If you don’t have faith in yourself, how will others stand up for you, and why should they? You need to advocate for yourself first. Reference: the Alchemist Dentist
Create a happiness stack
Anytime you receive hard-hitting criticism, before going into full-on judgement mode and feeling badly about it, try to take a moment to reflect on your happiness stack. This is a series of accomplishments in your life that make you feel incredibly proud. For me, it is when I got a gold medal in an international ice-skating competition, was admitted into 3 dental schools after 2 years of rejections, writing not one but two books in a year, and a few more.
Think of all of those incredible things in your life, fill your mind with that imagery and then decide for yourself, the criticism or harsh advice you are getting right now, is it coming from a good place, or can you do without it? Reference: the Alchemist Dentist
Keep creating, whatever it is
Picasso, Mozart, Shakespeare, Maya Angelou, none of them are one shot wonders. They all had one thing in common. They created constantly, even when they didn’t feel like writing or composing music, they did. Having a full length and breadth of work is better than having none. Having a hundred pieces of art is better than having three. So, create, like your life depends on it, practice everyday and find joy while doing so. Reference: Originals by Adam Grant.