That tiny person on stage in purple: yea that’s me.
I received the honor of delivering the Mega Session at RDH Under One Roof last summer in partnership with Dentsply Sirona.
Full disclosure: about 36 hours before I stepped onto stage, I had ended my nearly 9-year relationship with my significant other, packed a bag and hopped on a flight to deliver this program. While I was on stage, speaking at one of the biggest programs of my career, I knew he was back home, separating the things we had built together and packing up his belongings to leave me. I reflect now and acknowledge that the sheer fact that I was able to put on a dress & heels, smear on some lipstick and deliver this program without having a total meltdown was incredible. You see: not everything is puppies and rainbows and glasses of overpriced champagne in the speaking world, and although we strive to show up as our best, sometimes we are smiling through pain as our worlds crumble around us.
As you’d imagine, this program became a huge pivot in my career.
For the first time, I received an incredible dichotomy of mixed course evaluations. Of the, ya know, several thousand hygienists in that room, I know I reached most of them. I received comments like
“this reminded me of the high standards we should all be upholding through the process of care”
“I loved the importance of providing more than a cookie cutter level of service”.
Course evaluations spoke to the appreciation for my content in clinical parameters around the dental hygiene process of care, verbiage tips, and up-to-date, relevant information.
Participants verbosely commented on the quality of my tone, the drive and passion with which I speak from, the inspiration I delivered and ultimately, the deep rooted message I shared about the importance of rising above the “bare minimum”.
However, I also received comments like
“I’ll never attend anything by her again”
“she’s not funny”
as well as the usual
“the room was too cold”.
I was heart broken when I received the breakdown of these course evaluations. You see, as a speaker, I spend countless hours building content, receiving coaching, developing fresh ideas and preparing to deliver these concepts in a unique and impactful way. As a Type-A, workaholic hygienist, however, I seemingly ignore the thousands of glowing & positive reviews and laser-beam focus on the, like, seven people in the room who didn’t like my work.
First: your speaker has no control over the temperature of the room; sorry!
Next: while my ego had been kicked, and my heart hurt, I had to be reminded of my brand.
The Dental WINEgenist motto: “I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m someone’s glass of wine”
Listen: I get it. Not everyone finds me funny; and quite frankly, not everyone is ready to hear that we, as an industry, need to cut the shit and do better. If you’re content and complacent- by all means, do you boo. You’re NOT my tribe, so I’m cool with you never sitting in one of my audiences again. Quite frankly, complacency and general malaise about the overall wellness of a community is NOT my jam-a-lam, and I’m confident that no matter what I said or how I said it, individuals who are comfortable with the “bare minimum” are people I will, put simply, never resonate with.
Here’s the dealio: I’ve decided that I’m cool with that. I’m cool with not being everyone’s cup of weak, caffeine-free tea bag-dipped luke warm water, and I’m ALL FOR being someones dark, robust, flavorful, unique and, perhaps even sparkling glass of wine.
I don’t leave my dogs home with someone else, live out of a suitcase, lose sleep in random hotel beds, curl my hair at the ass crack of down and prance around in heels all day for the fame and glory. I do it because I’m SO tired of us failing, falling short and using excuses to validate our shortcomings as clinicians. I’m tired of the challenges with societal trust; with the community questioning us, and with the climbing incidence of oral disease across the globe. While I stand on stages across the continent educating and empowering, I simply WILL NOT stand for negligence, inadequacy, inattention and oversight.
To be clear: this program was the start of me saying “enough is enough” and “who’s with me?”
Because at the end of the day: patients TRUST us, and I’m exhausted of us squandering that trust because we can’t pick ourselves up by the boot straps and do better.
I fully recognize that message is not a message for everyone, and that the Dental WINEgenist certainly made people feel uncomfortable that day. That’s cool; I get it. But here’s the thing: I’m not here to make dentistry comfortable, I’m here to make it better.
Let’s rise, together.
Who’s with me?