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What Are Your Fears?

I recently attended a women’s business conference and we spent about an hour on the topic of fear.  The take away message was –  just do it, even if you are afraid.  After a few days, I began to think more and more about fear.  Specifically reflecting on what I was afraid of when it comes to my practice.  As I pondered this question, I realized there was quite a bit.  There isn’t enough time to jump into the depths of my consciousness and evaluate all of my fears, so here are three that I think many women orthodontists share:

Fear of perception

This is one I have suffered from since childhood.  Why do I care what people think so much?  I waste countless hours of my time worrying about how I will be perceived.  The worst part of this affliction is that most of the people I worry about are not my friends and family.  I don’t know them, and sometimes I don’t care to know them.  I don’t like this part of me and I’ve been trying to improve.  I’m particularly inspired by my daughter and husband who have never cared what others thought and are much happier for it.

Now obviously, I want my business to have a positive public perception.  But, my decisions need to be made thinking about the community and not just what a few people think.  If the decision is better for the business and the community, who cares if a few people don’t like what I am doing?

Fear of standing out

It’s so much easier to blend in with the crowd in life and in business.  As orthodontists, we tend to run our businesses like all the other orthodontists.  We use the same marketing strategies and post the same stuff on Facebook.  Some offices actually actively look to copy one another.  But I hear all the time that we want to stand out from the others.  So why don’t we?  I think we may also fear that if the spotlight shines on us, negative things will come with that attention.  Criticism and jealously are rampant in our profession, especially with those who are doing things differently than ourselves.  I would suggest that we learn to stand proudly in the spotlight.  Ignore the chatter from the peanut gallery.  Who cares if a competitor doesn’t like what we are doing?  When was the last time they referred you any business?

Fear of failure

What if the decision I make doesn’t work out?  What if I lose money?  And once again – how will that make me look?  There are articles galore about how modern children are less prepared for life because we don’t allow them to fail.  But, we don’t want to fail either.  It sucks, plain and simple.  But, there is so much to gain from failure.  I’ve experienced failures where I thought the world would end.  It was painful and scary.  But, I survived and learned incredible lessons in the process.  Your business will not grow if you don’t take risks and sometimes you will fail.  Get comfortable with the idea and know that even the best fail some of the time.  I am confident that if you’ve never failed, you’ve never taken a risk that can make you great.

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