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Dentists Who Invest

Podcast Episode

Dr James: 

Fans of the Dennis who Invest podcast. If you feel like there was one particular episode in the back catalog in the anthology of Dennis who Invest podcast episodes that really, really, really was massively valuable to you, feel free to share that with a fellow dental colleague who’s in a similar position, so their understanding of finance can be elevated and they can hit the next level of financial success in their life. Also, as well as that, if you could take two seconds to rate and review this podcast, it would mean the world. To me, what that would mean is that it drives this podcast further in terms of reach so that more dentists across the world can be able to benefit from the knowledge contained therein. Welcome, welcome to the Dennis who Invest podcast and welcome back everyone to another wonderful podcast with yours truly, james Martin, hosting Dennis who Invest official podcast. We’ve got a wonderful guest with us here this evening. Well, I say evening, but it’s very much morning time where she is, because she’s just got herself out of bed very early just to be up for this podcast. So I feel very, very privileged that she’s went out of a way to do this. I’m also very conscious that I’m burning into her wonderful weekend Sunday time, so I don’t want to be too selfish with that either. I’m sure she’s got better things to do. You may or may not know her. I posted on the group a few days ago. Her name is Laura Brenner Studholm and she helps us dentists dentists who feel a little bit disillusioned with dentistry for whatever reason. They’re not content with it, they’re not happy, they’re thinking about what else can we do with ourselves? What else does the world have to offer? Because when we’re dentists we think in these very binary fashions we either do dentistry or we don’t do dentistry, and we feel very constricted and constrained in our role. Laura’s niche is to help dentists get out of that by seeing that there is a lot more to the world than we would immediately think as dentists, and that’s why I thought I’d get her on the show, because it’s all related to the theme of wealth, health, finance and happiness. Laura, how are you today?

Dr Laura: 

I am great, james, thanks for having me, and there’s nothing I’d rather be doing on a Sunday morning.

Dr James: 

That is wonderful. I hope that wasn’t safe. I’m sure it was. I’m sure it is, it is. It is Good. Good, laura is somebody. I have to say that. Laura is someone that I would never have met if I wouldn’t have started doing this sort of media well, this Facebook group, and kind of putting myself out there. And look at the friends that you make. Laura and I have been chatting for a while. I would say we know each other relatively well. We’ve been chatting on and off for quite a bit. I would like to say that I hope I’m not going too much. I don’t know when I say that we’re friends now, laura.

Dr Laura: 

Yes, you know what I would say. It’s all started out. We became modern day pen pals.

Dr James: 

We did yes. Right yeah literally Literally, and then look at kind of what’s blossomed from there. So I feel very lucky, absolutely Honestly. I feel very lucky in that respect and maybe this is something that’s made me see maybe having a Facebook account, maybe social media and a whole new light, because there is lots of wonderful things that can happen on there and we are all too often exposed to the negative press of it. And there’s 50 50. There is there is eggs in both baskets. You know what I mean. And, as I say, it’s just made me see things in a whole new light and of course, this podcast wouldn’t be happening right now if we wouldn’t have done that. But, as I say, less about me and more about Laura, we have to talk about Laura at some point during this podcast. Of course, laura, we’ve given everybody at home a brief description of what you do, what you do to help us dentists. Can I just throw the mic over to you and can you elaborate a little bit more on your journey into helping us dentists, where it all came from? You’re, of course, a dentist yourself. I’d just like to learn a little bit more about you, and everybody else at home would too, I’m sure.

Dr Laura: 

Yeah. So I graduated from dental school in 2001. And school was fun for me and I think a lot of us were. We like to learn and we like being in school. You know we couldn’t wait to get out into the real world, because there’s a bit of hazing that goes on in dental school, at least here in the US.

Dr James: 

What is?

Dr Laura: 

that Kind of like the oh, you don’t know.

Dr James: 

Yeah, can you just give us a little bit of a description of what, to us British people, what that word means? Maybe it’s just me that hasn’t heard that.

Dr Laura: 

Oh hey, here we go Already. We’re starting early, Okay, so you know, like here in the university system here’s a good way of putting it is, in the university system we have fraternities, Do you guys?

Dr James: 

have fraternities. We don’t have fraternities, but I think we’ve all watched enough American university movies to be familiar with the culture of fraternities. Yeah, alpha, delta, gamma, stuff like that.

Dr Laura: 

Exactly Stuff like that, and so when you’re the new guy and during the fraternity, the older guys make you do things that you probably don’t want to do, like they ‘ll make you drink, or like things that they’re not allowed to tell anyone really bad things a lot of times and it’s actually pretty serious. Some people have died from alcohol poisoning.

Dr James: 

We have an issue, but that is called hazing. Oh, we have that over here. We just never had a word for it.

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, and so when I when I talk about so there are funny stories and there are some really serious stories where you know it’s bad things have happened. But when I talk about hazing in dental school, it’s more like the faculty. The teachers are just kind of mean to students and make them jump through certain hoops sometimes and do stupid things and they’re just not always kind. And I think a lot of dental students just don’t feel respected by the teachers and so they get a little bitter. But I don’t know if you guys have that over there, Do you have that?

Dr James: 

experience. There is this air of superiority, I suppose from some of the tutors that I recall, but I wouldn’t say it’s a widespread issue. It wouldn’t be something that I’ve talked about with other dentists and we all feel we share this bond of commonality between us because, or to use your word, or tutors hazed us so frequently or so commonplace. But I would say that it’s something that does happen to a degree. But if I’m grasping what you’re saying correctly, you would say that this is a common issue or it’s something that affects the quality of education of a lot of dental students in America.

Dr Laura: 

I think I don’t know how much it affects the quality of the education. I see maybe that was wrong or removed from it but it really affects the mental, emotional status. And I think a lot of dental when I touch a lot of dentists they make comments like oh well, medical students are so much more respected when they’re in school and I don’t know if that’s true. But you know a lot of dentists feel like it’s just common, yeah, so anyway. So I liked school. A lot of us like school because we like to learn and we like that environment. And then I got out into the real world and at first I was pretty eager. I was excited to make money, I was excited to not have to study for tests every single night, I was excited to be on my own and not have to jump through a lot of the dental school hoops, and so I was pretty open to trying new things and using my skills. And about three years in, something happened and I think I had seen enough failures or enough patient complaints or consequences and I started to become very afraid of what was going to happen with my outcomes. So I worried all the time. I was so stressed, whereas, like earlier, I was like, yeah, I’m excited to be a dentist and there’s so many possibilities for my future. Three years in it was like, okay, I’m afraid I’m going to get sued. And I actually think we kind of mentioned at one point, I think, in our emails about the differences between the NHS and dentistry in the UK and in the US is, well, one thing is, we’re both. I think we all feel demonized by the public at some times.

Dr James: 

Not all the time, not just the public man, like there’s a lot of people who’ve got something against dentists, I feel. Anyway. I mean the media, for example, our regulatory body in the UK. A lot of dentists over here are common complainers that we feel persecuted by them. But anyway, not to not to butt in.

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, I think it’s worse in the UK than it is here in the US.

Dr James: 

I think a lot of people who listen in would definitely agree.

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, but it’s probably not the way we are either. It’s just another stressful. You know, I do think from that standpoint, dentistry in the US it’s a little more. We have a little more freedom because we’re not as regulated by the body of the NHS that you guys have. But there are some similarities in practice and stuff like that. But anyway, you know, about three years in I was like I’m afraid I’m going to get sued. All the time I was seeing 30 patients a day. I was stressed, I was tired, I was completely burned out. I was. I felt like all of my work needed to be perfect, because the more perfect it was then the fewer consequences that I would have. And you know, perfection is just not real, it’s not attainable in dentistry. And so it just created this huge weight on my shoulders. And three years in I was like I just don’t, I’m not having fun. Like this is not the fun I thought dentistry would be and really was just a lot of stress and anxiety. And so at that point I wanted to quit. But the economy wasn’t so great and I told myself that I should feel lucky to have a job and I should be feel lucky to have a house and a career and all this stuff and maybe I needed a new job. So I found a job that was at the opposite style of practice Like this practice is probably more what you would compare to an NHS public practice. That you guys would have the second practice would be more like a private where I could see. You know our fees were much higher. I could have a job, fewer patients a day, so I could focus on patient relationships and the stuff that I really liked. That was part of the problem in my first job was the pace of it was so hard. I mean there were days I, as you would say, couldn’t even go to the loo, which is not something we say over here. The loo really Go to the loo, not really. There you go.

Dr James: 

There, you go.

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, there you go. Cultural boundaries. One word we’re getting there. Exactly I did not know that.

Dr James: 

I thought the loo was international common lexicon for the toilet. There we go. I’ve learned something.

Dr Laura: 

It is, we just don’t use it, you know, I see, so it’s recognized at least. Yeah, we know it. Yeah, exactly Gotcha, Gotcha. But it’s not like a common common, everyday, common parlance Common parlance Exactly, common parlance, exactly. So, yeah, so I went to this new job and then there it was private practice and I was like, okay, everything’s going to be better. And I mean really, to make a long story short I thought five years is going to be my mark. When I hit five years, I’m going to really get all of this. It’s going to be so much more straightforward. I won’t deal with the same problems. I won’t feel like I’m getting worried about getting sued anymore, and that didn’t happen. I invested a lot of time and money in something called the Panky Institute, which is in Florida. It’s a you heard of it.

Dr James: 

Yeah, it’s all about Actually wait. I’ve read his book. The guy, what’s his name? The Peter Dawson. He runs the Panky Institute.

Dr Laura: 

Oh, Dawson. Yeah, so he does Dawson, but I think they used to be partnered. I don’t even remember that much about it anymore. Dawson, if you work together now, there’s Dawson and Panky.

Dr James: 

Oh, I see they’re two separate.

Dr Laura: 

Separate, but they were aligned. So you’re onto something. Yeah, and that’s all about aligning your personal life and really caring for people, not just teeth, oh I see, it’s actually more about the beyond the mouth.

Dr James: 

It’s more about your wider relationships with patients. Is the Panky Institute.

Dr Laura: 

Yes, so it includes all oh the DOS. Yeah, it includes all that Dawson stuff, which Dawson may do, that other personal stuff as well. But yeah, it includes all of that. But a lot of people go there. We had two people from the UK there back in my class one time trying to get out of the NHL group into private and it’s. I mean that was like a big effort on my part to try to save my career and I loved the classes. I loved Again, I loved the learning, I loved the social aspects of it. But when I get back into the dental office I was like this, this isn’t any better and so ended up at a third practice. By the way, that second practice I made about a third of my original income. So I was one of those dentists who wasn’t even. I mean, I couldn’t. Some months I couldn’t pay my car payment just because it was slow.

Dr James: 

We have an expression over here it’s called bash the Nash, bash the NHS, because you can. If you work really really, really hard, efficiently but you’re, the quality of your dentistry somewhat suffers. You can actually earn comparable to. You can earn quite a bit and maybe if you shift into private, that your earnings versus what you earned on the NHS, if you work to that level, there may be a mismatch, at least at the very beginning, until you become more proficient in it. So it’s kind of counterintuitive in that sense that you can do a lower quality standard of quality of dentistry, however, get paid more, and it sounds like maybe that parallel runs with what you’re describing.

Dr Laura: 

Yes, exactly, absolutely so, yeah. So I felt like I tried all different kinds of practices and it just wasn’t helping. And so in year seven, I was at a third practice, which was also a very much designated Panky practice, and so I tried that Year seven. I was like I got to get out and I didn’t know what to do and it took me three years to leave dentistry and so it was this. It’s been a process at the time. Okay, so this was 2008,. Let’s say, yeah, 2008, 2009. No one was talking about being unhappy in dentistry no one. No one was talking about burnout and healthcare, and I was so burned out that I just thought it meant I hated my career. I didn’t know what it was. So it was a really interesting journey to get out and I did it. I had to do it alone because there was really no one to talk to about it.

Dr James: 

Wow, Real quick guys. I put together a special report for Dentist entitled the Seven Costs and Potentially Disasters Mistakes the Dentist Make Whenever it Comes to their Finances. Most of the time, dentists are going through these issues and they don’t even necessarily realize that they’re happening until they have their eyes opened, and that is the purpose of this report. You can go ahead and receive your free report by heading on over to wwwdentistuneinvestcom forward slash podcast report or, alternatively, you can download it using the link in the description. This report details the seven most common issues. However, most importantly, it also shows you how to fix them Really, looking forward to hearing your thoughts, because nowadays it’s not uncommon to find other dentists on Facebook who are voicing this sentiment. You’d agree with that, would you?

Dr Laura: 

Absolutely what I’ve seen.

Dr James: 

I mean, yeah, it’s not far from unheard of and bordering on common, but not the case.

Dr Laura: 

Exactly so I started my blog. I mean, we can take this discussion wherever you want, but I started my blog in 2011, I believe, and it was so when I, at year seven, when I was like I need to get out, I was like I don’t know how to do this. All I know is dentistry. Our skill set so specific that I have no other skills, and we all think that at some point, if we wanna change careers which is actually not true, I just have to say for the record, but that’s what a lot of us think and that’s what keeps us stuck and so I was just grasping at straws. I didn’t know what to do, and one of the things that well, so let me put it this way I was complaining and complaining a lot, and one day, my husband, I think I came home another day crying from the office and my husband was like you need to sort this out. Like it was an ultimatum, basically, but not really. It was like, if you don’t sort this out, I don’t know what’s gonna happen in our future. So what do we need to do? Do we need to move and sell this house? Do we need to like you need to get, you need to find a way to be happy because this isn’t gonna work and I do joke that it was an ultimatum, because but it really wasn’t it was really permission for me to start exploring Right, Because we have this is a terminal career, this is a career we get into and we think, if I don’t, if I, you know, I’m in, I’m a lifer, I’m in this for a life. And then you get here and it’s not what you expected it to be. Oh, and, by the way, it’s one of the only careers that you can’t ever know what it’s gonna be like until you invest all the time and money to doing, to getting in right. And so then you, yeah, you get here and you’re like, wait, this isn’t what I thought it would be. So you know, there’s a lot, a lot of investment that keeps us feeling like we can’t walk away. Understandably. So I was there, but getting that permission from the one person I needed Well, one of the other one person that I needed it from would be myself, but getting it from my partner was really what I needed. And so then, you know, I explored and did really silly stupid. I say stupid, they weren’t stupid things, but they were not things that I necessarily wanted to do, but it was part of my process of exploring and being curious. So, for example, we made gluten-free beer, so that was one of my things. It was like right, when the gluten-free was getting in, you know, in vogue hey.

Dr James: 

They were just saying that at the same time.

Speaker 2: 

No way, yes, I was like there we go.

Dr James: 

Quite an obscure adjective as well.

Dr Laura: 

Exactly there we go. So, yeah, when the whole gluten-free thing was happening it was just getting started I was into nutrition and we had gone gluten-free. So we were like maybe we could make a gluten-free beer. I mean, there’s an opportunity for that. So we practiced with that and the reason I say that stupid is because I’m not a big beer drinker. My husband is, but I was sort of like attaching to him for my way out. You know, like, maybe you can help me because I couldn’t do it alone, which I think is a great tactic if anyone ever feels like, you know, like, do some hobbies with someone else or, you know, link up with other people if you are feeling like you just don’t have the drive to do it yourself. So yeah, we make gluten-free beer. I toyed with making gluten-free cookies and I learned a lot. I learned that, you know, making beer is a lot more cleanup than I want. You know, I don’t know if you’ve ever made beer, brewed beer, but I haven’t.

Dr James: 

It’s a really I’m gonna say there’s a vessel that you brew the beer in the hops. They’re quite frothy. Afterwards you have to clean those out. Then when you drink the beer, you’ve got the bottles, I’m guessing.

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, I mean it’s this whole process, but you have to make sure everything is completely, perfectly sanitized.

Dr James: 

Yeah, of course.

Dr Laura: 

And it’s a total pain in the booty. So I’m censoring my language, because I usually don’t.

Dr James: 

I don’t always I like that word Booty.

Dr Laura: 

Okay, yeah, that’s kind of my clean way of saying it.

Dr James: 

Let’s keep it PG on this bottle.

Dr Laura: 

So yeah.

Dr James: 

You don’t have PG over there, you’ve got. Yeah, we do. Oh do you oh, I thought it was like bar and airman stuff anyway.

Dr Laura: 

Well, we even have PG-13, but that’s a side note.

Dr James: 

I see, I see.

Dr Laura: 

Do you have that? You don’t have PG-13?.

Dr James: 

We keep it simple over here we have PG.

Dr Laura: 

Okay, we have 15 and 18, I believe. Okay, got it, we’re going on a massive tangent here anyway, big tangent.

Dr James: 

so.

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, so All right. So I Are you hearing those dings, by the way? Good, okay, good, okay, good, no, no, thanks, I’m getting these like things, that these notifications, and I don’t know how to turn them off. It’s all right. So as long as you’re not hearing them, that’s great. I can ignore them, we’re all good, so, yeah, so you know, I learned a lot with these doing silly things that just I didn’t know where they were going to go. I learned gluten-free cookies. It was like I don’t, I actually care about nutrition. I don’t want to make a product that’s going to not necessarily be that good for people’s health. So you learn about yourself. Like what do you like, what don’t you like, what are your values, what’s important to you? And. But I was just still not finding anything that could make money. And so one day my husband said he was reading the newspaper and he was like, hey, look, here’s this contest in the paper where you can submit a one minute video and it’s a travel show. If you win, you can be this travel show host for this online travel company. And I was like no, there’s no way I can do that. Like, I’m not good on camera and I’m not creative enough. I’m not funny, like there’s just no way. So long story less long. I ended up doing it just saying you know what? I need to shift my energy. My energy is so stuck I’m just swirling in this. I’m is like I’m in a hole and I can’t see the light above me because all yeah, like all I’m seeing is just that I can’t do anything. And so I really needed to shift that energy and kind of put it out there into the universe that I want to do something else. So I made this video. It was really funny. I don’t know if you saw it. I posted it in my group. I did.

Dr James: 

Yeah, I liked it. Yeah, it was. You were a dentist, but simultaneously a travel ambassador for a company, and yeah, yeah, yeah, you were.

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, it was.

Dr James: 

There was like a beach that you were encouraging people to go to, but you were giving them the hard sell, despite the fact that there was an oil spill on it, something of that nature.

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, yeah, so actually it was the I think it was the in the. In the Gulf we had a huge oil spill about gosh. When was that? Around that time, maybe over 10 years ago? It was a cry. It was a terrible thing, yeah, and it was a very yeah, yeah, I think so, I think. Anyway. Yeah, and it was terrible, but it was a very funny video. But you know, I didn’t win the contest. I’m not a travel show host and some people who entered were very professional and I didn’t win. But I was like you know, when it was going on, I had to push myself first by making the video. I started your videos. That’s a big push out of your comfort zone. So had to do that. This contest. I had to ask all my friends to vote for me every day, so I had to be that annoying person I was in. I was so desperate, james, so desperate to change, to get out of dentistry, that I actually stooped to emailing everyone every day and posting on Facebook every day, and people probably hated me.

Speaker 2: 

But I didn’t care.

Dr Laura: 

You know what I mean. If you want something so badly, you’ll do it. So yeah, so it was fun. It gave me some hope. You know, when we’re struggling, when we have hope for something, it can make life a lot more fun. And yeah, actually, well, I won’t even go there, but yeah, so I did this contest. I lost. I was totally gutted. That’s for you. I said that for you.

Dr James: 

Yes, more language. Gutted is not an American word for anybody listening who didn’t know that. I’ve just learned that today.

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, we don’t typically use that. We get it, we know it kind of like the loo, we feel it and go to it, but we don’t use the word so much. But it’s a great word. It’s a great word. I think we should use it more often actually.

Dr James: 

Yeah, it’s very visceral, you know. It’s one of those words you almost know what it means just by the sound or the. It’s like onomatopoeic, I think. Anyway, anyway.

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, absolutely yeah. So, yeah, I was really. I was really gutted that I didn’t win this thing, even though I knew I wouldn’t. So when I came out of that little mini sadness, I decided I need to do something with this. And if I can’t be a travel show host and escape my life, then at least I can blog. So I started a blog where I blogged about food and travel two things that I love and no one read my blog. Yeah, so I was blogging, no one read it. And then one day I saw this blog post titled 10 Reasons I Hate the Dentist and I was like, oh my gosh, you suck. Here’s 10 reasons your dentist probably hates you too. And overnight it went viral, literally, and there’s a lot behind that story. But that is writing my blog. There’s a lot of reasons that I didn’t share changed my process. Like getting into a creative process is what helped me shift out of dentistry ultimately and then write this blog post. That then actually just helped me find what I’m doing now.

Dr James: 

So Interesting to hear you speak about that, Laura, because it’s the doors that open from places that you wouldn’t necessarily expect them.

Dr Laura: 

Absolutely, and you have to look for the doors.

Dr James: 

Definitely. You know, yeah, like you can’t just let them find you Open the doors, find the doors, go out there, put yourself out there, something that you’re into and not to pull the conversation back to me, but that was the genesis of my group as well, because I’ve had an interest in finance and cryptocurrency for quite a while, and it was through making those videos that I didn’t really necessarily think were linked. I mean, I didn’t even really initially start out making videos on finance. I started making them on mental health and wellbeing in the dentistry community and it spawned from there interestingly. So hopefully that analogy draws a parallel with what you’re talking about too, and it’s interesting that when you do begin to go down that path, where you might end up is not necessarily where you started, and that’s the fun part, and it’s also the part that can lead to these potential alternate career paths.

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, absolutely, and you know, I did not know that that that’s how you started your videos. I don’t think I knew that. And that’s a perfect example, because you know that’s like me blogging about food and travel. So just do something, and something that doesn’t take a lot of like money and effort, but just put yourself out there.

Dr James: 

Totally totally.

Dr Laura: 

Yeah. So when my blog post went viral, I started getting emails from people from all over the world that were saying you know, I feel the same way you do in dentistry. I mean people in Egypt and Chile, like all over places where you would think we’re so different, but as dentists we’re all the same. And so I was getting these emails that were like how did you leave? What did you do? And so, for one thing, it was great because I really thought I was the only person who was experiencing my burnout and my dissatisfaction with this career, and suddenly I realized that there’s this entire world out there. So when people started asking me questions, I would talk about it with them and try to inspire and motivate them, and they eventually asked me enough questions that I was like I’m gonna blog about this. So I started blogging about my journey into and out of dentistry and it was great. I found this really niche, like teeny tiny niche following of dentists that just felt the same way, and they would read my blog and say that they could totally relate to the like get out of my head type of thing. And so that’s ultimately. I did that for about six years, just blogging and emailing with people until I ultimately said this is what I wanna do. I love doing this. This brings me so much joy and satisfaction that now I know what my career, what I want my next career to be, and I think that’s important, because sometimes we need to just take a leap of faith and do now. By the way, during this time, I posted this 10 reasons post after I had quit dentistry, so the blogging about food and travel really started opening my awareness and I just started noticing opportunities that were coming my way. And I found this weight loss business that I was able to get to start. So I started a weight loss coaching business that I did part time while I was practicing dentistry so like two or three days a week of each thing and so I was out right. So I call that my bridge career, and what I like to share with people is that your next career does not have to be your perfect career, because we can grow and change. We’re you’re just in a place now in dentistry where we think there are no other options, but sometimes we just need to get out to something that’s gonna be a lot better, but it might not be your forever. So that’s kind of an interesting point I like to share with people about if they’re looking to change careers Don’t. If you try to make it perfect, you’re never gonna move, You’re never gonna take a step, because there is no way of finding that out.

Dr James: 

Your point is that people tend to think that if you take a new plunge you have to go all in. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Dr Laura: 

Right, right, like. I have to like. I made this mistake once, right, I got into a career that wasn’t right for me, so this next time I have to make sure it’s the right career. So what you do is you look at all your options and nothing’s good enough. You poo poo everything and so because you’re so scared of making the same mistake. But part of this process is really trying things and there are ways we can explore without jumping off a cliff.

Dr James: 

Maybe we have we all have that mentality because we automatically associate that Well, we tend to think in our head that that’s what a career is because we did it before, but it isn’t always the case. Do you ever look back and do you ever think, actually, I regret leaving Dentistry. Is there any part of you even like 1%?

Dr Laura: 

Do you remember the answer when you asked me this on email one time? Do you remember?

Dr James: 

I do, but I love the audience to hear what’s going on.

Dr Laura: 

I know, I just was checking so for the audience. James messaged me one day as we were chatting back and forth. He said do you ever regret it? And I was like not one teeny, tiny itty bit of me ever regrets it. He’s like don’t sugarcoat it, honey, you know so. No, I do not regret it. It’s like it’s the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. I know that’s another fear that people have is will I regret it? And I always ask like well, I mean, how are you feeling right now? If you’re pretty anxious and stressed and or if you’re saying the really extreme things, like it’s crushing my soul or I’m dying inside, I’d say can it like would you ever regret walking away from something that’s soul-crushing or making you die inside? You know, I mean we try to convince ourselves that there’s nothing better out there, but if this isn’t right for you, life is better on the other side.

Dr James: 

It’s not really one of the reasons. You tend to hear people say that they regret something, that it crushed them inside before they left. So you have a point on that one. I think that if you have the money and money’s not an issue then there’s definitely at least leeway there to perhaps do less dentistry and see if you can conjure up something on the side that you enjoy as well. Money comes into it. If you have enough, then that is an obstacle that you’ve already removed and therefore you can well you can use some of that time At least. If you’re not gonna go, you know, take the plunge straight off into the deep end. Then I suppose there’s scope there for anybody who’s listening and anybody who feels that way. And that was something that I learned and I’d never really thought about it before. I just I thought it was all about just working as hard as you can and kind of earning as much money as I possibly could. But you know, that mentality to me now is so strange and I wish someone would maybe have sat me down and told me that earlier. But I’m just saying to anybody else who feels the way that Laura spoke there a minute ago about it. That’s another way of looking at it that may help. Do you think that there’s anything that we could do, either within the profession or from the point of view of building up some positive PR For us dentists? Do you think that there’s anything that can or should be done by a certain individual or a body that may help a dentist to have a more enjoyable career, or do you think it’s too far gone and the whole system is just a mess and what’s on the mirror.

Dr Laura: 

That’s an interesting you know. I think what’s important is that we change the mentality as a whole that we have in the dental culture, and the mentality is that you know, if you’re not in private practice or if you’re not, I don’t know if, like NHS dentists feel like they’re less than compared to private practice. But maybe sometimes there’s a little bit of that. But whatever your gauge is, you know I’m just using that as an example. You know, like we have this perception if I’m not like you know, you interviewed or she interviewed you on her podcast, and her podcast is all for associate dentists, because associates feel like if they’re not owners, they’re not really as valuable or they’re not. That’s what she felt, that they’re not. So this perception that there’s only one way to be a dentist, that’s what I think culturally we need to change, because there are other things that dentists can do and I think we’re just at a place of really discovering that now. But even you mentioned the money the money. I’ve worked with people who have plenty of money and they could totally walk away, but there’s now yes, I agree, that’s usually the one thing, but sometimes there’s something more than that and it’s the identity and the respect and the fear of what others will think, the fear of being a failure, all those things that come into play as well. So, as far as a governing body, I mean it’d be cool if you know like the American Dental Association wanted to work with me on creating something that would help dentists who know they don’t want to. That’s my plug to the universe, right, yeah, just starting listening right now. Yeah, right, you know. Yes, I think we just need more education on this, because it’s just why. Why is it such a stigma? Why is it so bad to get into this career? And you know, we’re not just talking about quitting. What if we’re talking about working, practicing two days a week and then, on the side, investing? That should be totally celebrated, because, why not? Why not?

Dr James: 

I think it’s a lot more in the common, commonly acknowledged or commonly accepted amongst dentists now that certainly that a side gig or a something else that you do in addition to dentistry should be something that we’re encouraged to think about. I think COVID has shifted that conversation along a little bit and has introduced that more into our common mindsets. That’s just my perception of it, though it’s very difficult to say what everybody else now thinks of it. We need to do some sort of survey, which would be very difficult to pull off. But that’s how I felt about it and that’s certainly. The opinions of my peers seem to have shifted somewhat. Again, as to any substantial proof as to whether or not that’s been a common shift amongst other dentists, that would be difficult to say, but personally, from my point of view, that seems to have made what you’re talking about, laura, a lot more accepted amongst the profession. Would you agree?

Dr Laura: 

I would 100% agree yes, and that’s been my experience too with COVID that a lot of dentists had the time at home to reflect. They realized that they could live on less money. They realized how much happier they were and how much less stress.

Dr James: 

They speak in my language. She speak in my language, yeah.

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, and that’s a sacrifice I had to make too. Making this, or making this shift, however it looks for you, doesn’t come without sacrifices, but that’s okay.

Dr James: 

Totally, laura. When you mentioned earlier about us dentists having transferable skills that we might necessarily recognize, we sort of skirted over it a little. That was something that intrigued me to hear you talk about, because that’s very much the common perception that dentistry is such a niche thing that we can’t really go off and do other things, for example, my friend. Well, we’ve all got friends who are good with computers. That is something that’s so transferable to so many companies, because so many companies use computers and the way the world is going, information technology is going to be growing and growing and growing for the foreseeable future. When you spoke about the transferable skills us dentists have, what were you referring to, or did you have any particular skills in mind? I think this needs to be pointed out to people.

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, I do have particular skills in mind. Well, a lot of us are entrepreneurs. We don’t give ourselves the credit that we’re business owners. If you’re managing a business right there, what are all the things you do to manage a business? So, even if you’re not, okay, so take a step back. Those are your transferable skills as business owners. But even if you’re not an owner and you’re an associate, you’re leading a team. You have communication skills, you have organizational skills. You might have the computer savvy skills that you just mentioned. We have a lot that we can do. And really what got me out of that thinking was taking the pressure off of, like I mentioned earlier, my next gig doesn’t have to be the perfect gig. So once I took the pressure off and I literally said to myself I can have fun doing this. Why do I have to make this so serious? Let’s just start having fun. And when I did that, then I was able to say, okay, dentistry is really hard, right? Most of the people in the world cannot do what we do.

Dr James: 

Preach, preach on the hard part, man. It’s a different job.

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, and we all learn to do this, and if I can do this, I can do anything. And that really shifts your mindset into that’s flipping it on his head.

Dr James: 

I love that, it’s true.

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, and it always seems so logical to me, but it’s hard to think of that when you’re in that moment. But really that shifts you into this action mindset and then it’s not a matter of like, oh, I can’t do anything. Now, it’s a matter of, okay, I can do anything. What is it that I want to do? What am I going to like most?

Dr James: 

I really, really like that. That’s literally turning it on his head and, as I said, it’s just about finding that thing. I suppose for anybody who did want to get out I think that anybody out there who has a hobby you’ve already got a possible business there in itself, because you have a body of knowledge that others might not necessarily know about, and you have to remember that, even though you might feel like you know very much about one particular thing, you’re already further along that journey of learning about that thing than somebody else who hasn’t started and you appear like the sort of the fountain of all knowledge to those people and there’s something in there that you can potentially monetize that you might necessarily recognize. I actually think that most people have something in their heads that they can share with the rest of the world and someone else will pay for. Most of us don’t recognize it, though. That’s the trouble. When you spoke earlier about taking the plunge and leaving Dentistry, maybe that took a lot of willpower. Well, for you, really, it was more. It was that you just had enough, really, hadn’t you? But say, there’s anybody out there who’s listening and they’re umin and an, or they’ve really, really, really fed up and they’ve had enough. What is the first thing that you would say to them to maybe encourage them to look at other things?

Dr Laura: 

Yeah. So I’m glad you asked that, because the other thing that I always like to make clear with people is that my job I’m not here to make sure everyone quits Dentistry I think Dentistry is a great profession and we need people who like it and there are people who love it. So you know, on the one hand, I think it’s worthwhile exploring what you can do to make it better and a lot of the burnout and the stress that’s happening to us. We’re actually creating ourselves, and we’re creating it by being people pleasers and worrying, you know, taking the responsibility of all of our patients on our shoulders, and it’s like we don’t have these boundaries to protect ourselves. So if you can work on those things and stay in, great. If you can shift and do something a little more creative where you’re practicing part time and doing something else part time, that’s great too. And now I don’t really remember the rest of what was your question, James?

Dr James: 

It was just about what would you say to someone who was thinking about taking the plunge. Oh, and so it was. You just covered the people that were Omen and Ayn, or they weren’t wholly committed to getting out, or perhaps they didn’t want to fully get out. So where I guess you were going with that was you’re now going to speak about the people who do want to get out, and what would you say to them?

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, I would say, go for it. Be a part of a community that’s going to help you. There are several. There are several Facebook communities out there that help build that camaraderie and help people. Really, I think the key is knowing that you’re not alone. You can do this and just start getting creative and reach out there. Open those doors. You don’t have to stay in clinical practice, and we talked about business ownership. There are jobs out there. I have a friend who she quit dentistry to raise her kids and then had a divorce and so she had to go back to work. After 10 years out of practice she went back into clinic, hated it. She was like she had her easy out the first time with having kids, right, and then when she went back and really needed to make the income, she was still unhappy. She went and got a job with a really reputable insurance company not dental insurance, but just working in customer service here in the US and that may or may not be her forever career, but she’s, it’s a way in and what she would tell you is that she’s a lot happier and a lot less stressed. So you know there are jobs and we can do anything. So there’s reach out to someone. Just don’t stay stuck either. It’s like a yes or a no, right Like get off the fence either and make it work. What’s?

Dr James: 

there. In reaching out to someone, I mean, even if you aren’t committed, just hear what they have to say. I’m glad that you said that, because that’s a good point. What have you got to lose by doing that? At the very least, absolutely.

Dr Laura: 

I talk to people all the time because I do consults like free consults with my work, and I talk to people all the time who just they want to talk. We do one consult and we don’t end up working together, but they always say they feel so much better after that call, whether they work with me or not.

Dr James: 

Totally, totally. What’s the harm in having a conversation?

Dr Laura: 

Yeah.

Dr James: 

Laura, you’ve given us some wonderful answers to those questions and certainly I think anybody who is on the fence about dentistry or really, really, really doesn’t like what they’re doing will find that helpful. If you had to succinctly give us some top tips, Laura’s top tips to getting out of dentistry We’ve already covered a few, but just so we can have them on a succinct form at the end for anybody who’s listening, what would you say?

Dr Laura: 

those are let’s start with creativity. It’s not a direct path there, but get creative. A lot of us get into dentistry and we disconnect from our creativity and that really prevents us from seeing what’s out there. So if you can tap into creativity in any way like for me it was blogging, james, for you it’s been these YouTube videos and podcasts, and for some people maybe it’s photography or cooking something to just get you connected with some joy again, because it’s really hard to change when you feel bad, because you just don’t feel like you have options. So I’d say a couple succinct tips Start with creativity. The second one is, like I said earlier talk to people, ask questions, do research, look at what’s out there. You can join these groups. There are these Facebook groups. I have one, there’s another one that’s really great. That’s UK based. You can join both of them. But get post things in there. Ask questions. You know, the other day I posted about a dentist who’s an interior designer now and what a cool job transition that is. So the more ideas you can get, the better equipped you’ll be. Like James sort of hinted a couple of seconds ago about what he looked into. Finances is find something that you really like and it doesn’t have to become your career, but just you’ll learn about yourself. Like with my cookies, I learned I don’t want to feed people sugar. That’s important to me, and so then I could learn. You know this is how, and the humor of that, as I ended up going and being a weight loss coach, you know. So that helped me probably decide that. So I’d say be curious, ditch finding a passion. You know people are like. They always say you just find your passion. If you have your, if you have your passion, then you won’t feel like you’re working. Well, what are the people who don’t have a passion do?

Dr James: 

That’s true, yeah, when people say that they make it so simple.

Dr Laura: 

So simple. I didn’t have a passion. I have a passion now. My passion now is I want to like, really revolutionize the mentality and the culture of our dental community in this way. I want to take away the shame from this and so. But I didn’t find that. I didn’t have it immediately. I had to go through my process. So getting curious and exploring will eventually help you, hopefully, find your passion. And if you don’t, I mean that’s what’s great about curiosity is it’s like no strings attached, you just pivot, find a new curiosity.

Dr James: 

You know I love that. No strings attached NSA yeah, you can be single, ready to mingle on that front?

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, you know I always yeah, always equate. That’s a great. I’m so glad you said that I always equate. Looking for a new career like dating, date your career. You know you didn’t just get married for the first time without dating people Right.

Dr James: 

I do love that, something we can relate to really.

Dr Laura: 

We all can.

Dr James: 

On the subject of your business, which is helping us dentists to try to get into other careers or to at least a branch out, how is it that you help dentists or how can they connect with you so that you can have a conversation with them along that process?

Dr Laura: 

Yeah, so there’s two. There are a couple of things. The bulk of my work, you know, day in, day out, is I do private one on one, coaching to help people really make these decisions and get into action, because that action is important, because I spent, I know, because I spent years just talking and that is not going to always get us. It’s not going to get us anywhere really. So I help people get into action with accountability and really make intentional decisions and hopefully remove as much of the unknowns and fear as we can and know that you’ve got a partner like someone helping you do this, who’s done it themselves. So that’s one thing. The other thing I do is I have a career conference for dentists that I have twice a year. Our next one is coming up in March and it’s an amazing full day conference where I have a partner who’s a physician. We share our tips and teach people how to do career change or, you know, not even just career change, but even career modification, getting into more alternative types of dental careers, which is a thing. So helping people do that. And we have guest speakers who have done it themselves and they share what they do, what they did, how they did it, how you can do it, and they share resources to help you start your process. So those are the two main programs I have, and I blog all the time, so if people want to read my blog, that’s a great way to connect. And I have a Facebook group called Dentist Sidegigs. That is just a welcome place for people to talk openly about this stuff and connect with like-minded people like you.

Dr James: 

Awesome. So if anybody listening does feel like anything that we said tonight spoke to them in any way. Laura is, of course, on my group as well. Laura Brenner Stud Home is her full name. Lovely name, by the way. Is it that Brenner or Stud Home was your maiden name and then the other one was your husband’s name, or is that his name, brenner Stud Home?

Dr Laura: 

So I’m Brenner, got you, he’s Stud Home and I never changed my name, got you. Got you, because I was too lazy, but I did add it on Facebook, so it’s like we’re married on Facebook.

Dr James: 

Oh, it was just interesting Because double barrel names. They can be created in that fashion or they can obviously be handed down. I was just curious, yeah, to reach out Laura Brenner, Stud Home. She is, of course, on my group and she does have another group which might be of interest to everybody, which is Dentist Side Gigs, as Laura has just said. So it’s for us dentists who have other interests outside of dentistry, where we want to network and meet other like-minded dentists. Even if it isn’t because you want to leave or you’ve had enough or you’re fed up, it’s always nice to network. The more you know, the more well. The more doors and avenues that are open to you, the more people that you can connect with. And, aside from anything else, do you know what it’s fun? Just meet other people and chat and have conversations and feel like you formed relationships. So if anybody’s interested you know the name of the group feel free to hit it up. Laura, we’re going to wrap up now. Is there anything that you’d like to say in conclusion? Or you’re quite happy?

Dr Laura: 

I’m quite happy. It’s been a pleasure. It’s been a pleasure to connect with you. You too, laura, I’m happy to be conversing.

Dr James: 

I’m coming on the podcast and, as I say, this is something a little bit beyond what we do normally, beyond finance, but I think a lot of people who are listening will probably find value from listening to this and, further to that, what more pertinent time to speak on this matter than the way things are at the minute with COVID and coronavirus and nobody quite knows, even though we’ve got this vaccine, how long do we are able to stop wearing that bloody PPE? The level of PPE it is horrible. I hate it. That is something that affects the quality, how much we enjoy our job quite significantly, or at least for me it is. So in the meantime, maybe this is giving you some food for thought.

Speaker 2: 

Laura, I’m going to let you get off now.

Dr James: 

Thank you so much for coming on the show.

Dr Laura: 

Thank you so much for having me, James.

Dr James: 

Absolute pleasure, laura, anytime. Hopefully we’ll speak again very soon, but until that time I’m going to let you get off and enjoy your Sunday Pleasure, you too. See you later.

Dr Laura: 

Bye, bye.

Speaker 2: 

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