Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What I Am Not

Hey all,

I hope things well with you. Things are going pretty well here. I love what I am doing. I just have to tell you that I love doing dentistry. I know that I sometimes I can get on a negative streak, but I love what I do for a living. I still get up and get excited about going to work.

I saw a couple of movies this week. The kids were off this Monday, so I took them to the dollar theater and to see “Zookeeper.” It was pretty good; I think the talking animal thing has already been played out and so has that storyline, but Kevin James is just funny.

I also watched and old movie with John Travolta and Robin Williams, “Old Dogs.” In the middle of the movie, I said to my daughter, "I think this is one of the worst movies I have ever seen." Maybe I was exaggerating a bit, but it was so bad.

I met with the graphic artist again yesterday. We put the finishing touches to the tri-fold packaging that is going to hold the DVD. I am so excited about it. The lecture thing is again what I want to talk about. I think about it all the time. I think about what I want to say. I think about the outline.

But last week, I started doubting myself. I was beginning to think that I don’t have what it takes. I know that it is not true, but when I start thinking about myself in front of other dentists and them talking, I start to think like my worst critics. “He is not smart enough.” “He doesn't know enough about all the products.” Stuff like that.

Look, you and I have been to tons of lectures and half of them really stink. I am just trying to give a lecture that doesn't stink and is entertaining. I want to be entertaining enough that people to look up and say, "Hey, that is good stuff.” And, as I told you, I love doing this and maybe my lecture would help some others love it too.

Anyway, while I was thinking I am not good enough that I don't know enough, I decided to add that to the lecture. At the beginning of the lecture, I have a section that describes who I am; I am a dad, husband, coach, sports fan.

But I think I will talk about who I am not. Does that make sense? I started thinking... Who am I not? I am not a lot of things, and I think my audience should know that. I can tell them right away that I am just a dentist, a dentist that works in the office 45 hours and has limitations as an expert.

I am not Gordon Christensen. I am not a guy who runs a multi-million dollar business that researches products. I don't have a PhD in biomaterials. I am not a prosthodontist.

I am not John Kanka. I am not a guy creates products. I don't have any relationships with companies that let me go to their labs and work with their experts to change the makeup to create higher bond strength. (I can't even get a company to call me back.)

I am not John Burgess. I am not the head of a biomaterials department of a major dental school. In fact, I don't even know what the particle size is in a nanohybrid. I don't read any biomaterials journals. I wouldn't even know what they were saying if I did read them.

I don't know all the bonding agents out there (did you know there are over 100 bonding agents?) I don't know all the composites (there are a bunch out there). And of course, I don't know all the properties of all the composites.

Does that disqualify me from doing what I am going to do? All my research is in the chair; that is as close as I get to a lab. I read dental journals but forget most of the stuff I read in about 5 minutes. The only relationships I have with companies involve me calling to ask questions. I call my biomaterials teacher from dental school who loves to talk about things like elastic properties.

See why I doubt myself? I am not an expert on anything. I know I am not going to be able to field all their questions about this flowable composite or the polishability of that resin. I don't know the C-factor is or why it is important to us. I don't know the best way to incrementally fill a large composite (and neither do the experts).

Does all this disqualify me from lecturing? I sure hope not. But I think my strong point is I think I am just like you guys. I probably do more fillings than most of the guys that I mentioned above. I do the best I can, and I am passionate. I love doing it and I think I do a pretty good job at it.

Does that qualify me to do this? Well, we are sure going to find out?

Let me know your thoughts.



Anonymous said...

John you could always talk and that is all you need to do for your lectures. Just don't cuss on stage and you will be ok. LOL. For those that don't know you, your blog is the way you talk and it is entertaining (to me anyway). As long as you get your point across that is all that matters.

Anonymous said...

Laughed at your critical self talk. There is a saying that is so true "Sometimes when we go into our own minds, we are in enemy territory". I used to go there all the time until I changed my self talk to "Well, hang on for the ride and see where this journey takes me!" Incidentally, this curiosity about the experience has made me so much more relaxed. So John, enjoy the journey and if anyone asks a tricky question just say "I don't know but I'll bet there is someone in the audience who does!" then call on the audience's collective wisdom for input. Doing this also shows your respect for your audience.

Kallie said...

Love the John Burgess reference. No, not being super fancy/research doesn't disqualify you from being someone who can speak well from their own clinical experience.

Sue Souza said...

If your lectures are as interesting as your blog, you'll be great. Just read your post on suicide and dentistry. As a hygienist, I feel that maybe dentistry attracts perfectionists and when things don't go the way we'd like them to, we are too hard on ourselves. Just a thought. Best of luck with your lecture.

Cosmetic Dentists Melbourne said...

I am amazed at how you can keep your posts so interesting.. and always :)

healthysmiles said...

This is a very interesting post and its very helpful for all of us. Thanks for sharing this information. Best of luck.


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