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AUDIO - DUwHF #297 - Bethany Piziks
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VIDEO - DUwHF #297 - Bethany Piziks
In this episode, learn about Dr. Bethany Piziks’ unique method of using horses for team-building and promoting emotional wellness at dental practices.
One of the most difficult and courageous decisions Dr. Bethany Piziks ever made was to leave a very successful career in dentistry during peak years, and it didn’t happen overnight. However, being a visionary who follows her heart, it became clear that she had to do whatever it took to be free and follow her passions of helping others and being outside with her horses. Defining core values, writing a clear vision, and living congruently in order to manifest that vision became her highest priorities. After 20 years as a dentist she sold her practice, became a Life Coach in 2011, and a Certified Equine Gestalt Coach in 2015. She is now deeply committed, through facilitating impactful retreats in partnership with horses, to inspiring dentists in achieving balance, peace, and prosperity within the chaos of working in a dental practice. She is now restoring hearts & spirits instead of teeth!
Howard: It is a huge honor today to be interviewing an incredible dentist, Bethany Piziks. It's physics with a p. You pronounce it Piziks, right?
Howard: You were telling me it's a Lativia name. Your dad was from Lativia?
Bethany: From Latvia.
Howard: Or Latvia. The three, what is it? Latvia, Lithuania?
Bethany: Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia. The baltic states. Yup.
Howard: Yeah. Estonia. I love those. I saw them all on a cruise one time. Amazing. I'm really excited to podcast with you. I contacted you because a couple of our listeners asked me to. I checked into you and it's amazing. Basically, you're a certified EGC method coach, one of the most difficult and courageous decisions Dr. Bethany ever made was to leave a very successful career in dentistry during peak years and it didn't happen overnight. However, being a visionary who follows her heart, it became clear that she had to do whatever it took to follow her passions of coaching others to a better life and being with horses. After 20 years as a dentist, she sold her practice and became a life coach in 2011 and a certified Equine Gastalt coach in 2015. She's now deeply committed to helping dentists who are struggling with stress, anxiety and other challenges of the profession to enjoy their life and work. She does this through individual coaching and impactful retreats that include horses. Bethany is now restoring hearts and spirits instead of teeth. I want to tell you when I was reading your website which is braveheartequinecoaching? How do you say that word?
Howard: You know what's funny is I live in equestrian estates and this whole area was based on this whole horse equestrian thing and it's funny because I've lived here forever and the only people, my friends who get horses, it's always for a daughter, not a son and the minute she gets her first car, she's done with the horse. It's basically a woman thing only before I get my car keys. The reason I wanted to get you on this is I live in Phoenix and I've been here since '87, 28 years and every year one, two or three dentists kill themselves. I'm talking about the whole metro. I'm talking Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert and it's one of those things where dentists can't say they have the highest suicide rate because obviously our great thinkers of the Pentagon have permanently changed that. Army, Navy, those guys kill themselves hourly but stress is a huge deal.
Bethany: We're still up there. I think we're second or third on the list still and that's a huge problem. I have personally lost friends and colleagues to suicide. A young woman 35 years old, she had two kids, a dentist, never would have thought anything was wrong and she committed suicide so I'm really passionate about this. That's my mission. At braveheartequinecoaching, it is our mission and purpose and my deep passion because I've been there to greatly reduce stress and anxiety and tension in the office or the dentist. You know how challenging our profession can be. We have to deal with things we were never taught about in dental school. We have to wear so many hats and over time, unchecked stress leads to physical problems like ulcers, hypertension, depression, alcoholism, heart disease. The number one killer of dentists is stress related cardiovascular disease right now. That's as bad as it gets. Suicide, cardiovascular, dying young. It's my mission to help dentists stay out of that dark place before it's too late.
Howard: What is the mission or purpose of braveheartequinecoaching? Am I saying that right?
Bethany: That is it. To reduce the stress and anxiety and tension in the dental office because I do, it is my deep passion to help dentists stay out of that place of heart disease, stress, strokes, stress related ulcers, colitis, and ultimately suicide. I've been there and I understand that and I know. I worked my way out of that place with a great coach so it's become my passion to help others to enjoy life again. Being a dentist, or getting out of dentistry, whichever way is best for them is where I want to help.
Howard: 99% of all minors are men. I never read anything about having a suicide rate there but in dentistry, 99% of all employees are women. Do you think that's the cause? I'm just kidding. Good joke though. I used that on my stand up routine I go on set up. 99% of all employees in dentistry are women. Dentists have the highest suicide rate.
Bethany: It was my intention to have all man staff and I think that would have been easier, actually. I wanted to be the dentist and have all man as my employees. It didn't work out. I had one. Actually, I had two. Anyway.
Howard: You weren't sure about the other one?
Bethany: I wasn't sure.
Howard: How do horses work into this? What's the role of horses? How did that become therapeutic in your journey?
Bethany: I'm a lifelong horse woman. I've always been passionate about their sweet spirits and their nature. Horses are, how can I even start? Let me tell you why they're so good at this work because over thousands of years, I'll go way back. Over thousands of years, horses have had to survive. They're prey animals. They're towards the bottom of the food chain. There are animals out there that need to eat them, that want to eat them. Over time, they have developed an extremely acute sixth sense. A sense of knowing what's going on around them without seeing, hearing or smelling. They know the predator's in the bush without the main senses and they run. They become these extremely sensitive creatures that understand what's going on around them without seeing, hearing or smelling them. You transfer this into the coaching arena and they know what's going on within a person. If there's incongruence, say you're thinking one thing and feeling another, they give you immediate feedback about that. They're equidetectors. They have a crap detector on they're head. They know and don't let you get away with it. What it does is it reflects back to the client whether or not they're in the truth. Does that make sense at all?
Howard: It does. It makes a lot of sense.
Bethany: Do you want me to give you an example?
Bethany: How that would work? Okay. I do retreats for dentists. My major modes of helping dentists are individual coaching, everybody needs a coach. I really believe everyone needs a coach. I've had a coach. I am a triathlete and if I didn't have a coach, I wouldn't have been training this morning at 7:30.
Howard: Same here. Every day at 5am. I'm a three time iron man. I get it.
Bethany: You've done an iron man?
Howard: Three times.
Bethany: Congrats. That's amazing. I've done a half but I haven't done an iron man.
Howard: You wouldn't do it without a coach though, there's too many days. This morning I got up it was 40 degrees outside. My alarm goes off at 4:30 and the only reason I didn't roll over and go back to bed is I knew one of my two coaches would be knocking on my front door at exactly 5:00. Bang, bang, bang.
Bethany: It's about accountability and authenticity and doing what you say you're going to do. Coaching is a big mode of how I help dentists. Individual coaching. I've been a life coach since 2011 and I did coaching while I was still practicing. Now I forgot the original question. What were we talking about?
Howard: Examples of how you use horses on your retreats.
Bethany: Coaching is a main way but the other way is through retreats that are whole immersion retreats. I do three and a half day experience for dentists. I also do individual team retreats for one team. In this example it was a dentist retreat. It was all dentists. It was given just south of Denver. I have areas of the country. I go all over the country and do this. I have one in Denver, Cave Creek, Arizona so I'm in your neighborhood.
Howard: Wow. That's where my sister lives.
Howard: How often do you go to Cave Creek?
Bethany: Every winter. I go February and March.
Howard: Are you doing a dental retreat in February or March?
Bethany: I have two individual team retreats open in February in Cave Creek, yeah.
Howard: How long is a team retreat?
Bethany: Usually two days.
Howard: Two days? Wow.
Bethany: They're shorter than the dentist retreats but they're very impactful. I'll have to get a hold of you on one. This one was just south of Denver. It was all dentists. Let me set the setting a little bit. We're in an indoor arena so it's a covered arena. It's about the size of half a football field, sand floor and there's a round pen inside the arena about 60 feet across, a round metal heated pen where the horse is. The people are outside, they start out outside the round pen. It's all covered. It's in a beautiful working ranch, the facilities I use are in working ranches around the nation. Depending on the weather, I don't like that because I don't stay in Michigan in the winter. I go south and then in the summer when it's beautiful here I do them in Filer City, Michigan.
This particular challenge was a team that came ... Their chief complaint, I like to use dental terms, their chief complaint was dissidence and tension within the team, how common is that. The backbiting, the tension, the undermining someone else's efforts and the dentist was not leading and when she did try to lead she wasn't being respectful. Their patient acceptance, their treatment acceptance was going down, they were having all kinds of challenges that were pretty common.
What I did was set up an experience for them that was a leadership and a team challenge. The horse in the round pen I told them represented a new patient in their practice. Here's this horse in the round pen and outside the round pen I set up five different obstacles. There were holes to step over, there was a jump, there was a tarp, some plastic chairs and a tunnel. Things that horses don't like necessarily. I told them their challenge was to get the horse out of the round pen and their patient out of the round pen, through the obstacle course and back into the round pen. Here's the stipulations: no talking, the dentist is the only one who can talk. No ropes, no touching the horse, no bribing the horse, no scaring the horse. The only thing they can use, in this case I happen to have a hula hoop but you can't hit the horse with the hula hoop.
How are we going to get this horse to go through the obstacles with just a hula hoop? They get it out of the round pen, it can go wherever it wants. Does this set it up pretty good so far?
Bethany: The team is freaking out and the dentist is the only one who can talk. By the way, this dentist was an introvert so she wasn't real keen on the only one that can talk. I think a lot of dentists are introverts. I think that's our general typology. I let them have a three minute meeting and I let them go to work. What happened was the team immediately went into their normal dysfunctional roles. You know how it is, there's the front desk person who's bossy and the hygienist who think she knows the best way to do everything and there's the assistant who stands back and watches. They immediately went into their dysfunctional roles. One lady went and she tried to get the horse out and nobody else is helping and the dentist is giving instruction and no one is listening. It's pretty much chaos.
They opened the pen and they have this hula hoop around the horse's neck which was allowed, they just couldn't yank on the horse or hit the horse. They can have it around his neck. They get the horse out of the round pen and they try to get him to the first obstacle and the horse takes off. There goes their new patient running away. We debrief. I stop. I say, "Time out. Let's stop and debrief. What's coming up for you guys right now? Is this familiar?" It came out and I'm not surprised. Their new patient retention rate was very low. This horse, let's go back to what horses do. They sense the dissonance, remember about the predator in the bushes? They sense incongruence. The one lady's smiling like everything's okay, but her stomach is tense. Everyone's anxious. No one's working together. The horse is out of there. It's not a safe environment. The horse senses that and it shows them what they're doing. They had an immediate experience, immediate feedback on how their behavior is affecting their new patients. It's accurate. Their new patients aren't sticking around. Does that make sense?
Howard: It does.
Bethany: He was so sensitive to it. What I did, I said, "okay, let's try this again." I let them talk again for a couple minutes and let's try this again. They changed the rules. They asked me, it's okay. It's your experience. They wanted to be able to talk but they can only talk to the dentist and only respectfully. The dentist could still talk and give instruction. The second time it went a little bit better. They got around one obstacle and the horse took off. I think we went through this like five times. Let me tell you what happened at the end.
The result was they figured out that each obstacle would represent one department in the office. One was front desk and hygiene and the assisting department, the dentist, checkout and as they went through each department, the head of the department actually took control of the horse. They would take the hula hoop which they didn't even need by then because that horse was sensing the congruence in the team. They were working together, the dentist was giving instructions, people were listening. Everyone was working together. When horses are around energy like that that's so congealed and working together, they don't want to go away. They stay. They followed this team all the way around these obstacles and they put this horse back in the round pen. Wow. What a difference.
They got to experience this physically how it felt to work together and actually have a victory with the horse, which is their new patient. The horse gave them immediate feedback on the difference and it was very successful. They took this back to their practice and they remembered what it was like to work together and they could tell when they weren't and they got immediate feedback from their patients because their treatment acceptance would start to slide and they would have a meeting and talk about remember with the horse and they got back to where they needed to be.
Howard: That sounds a lot better than what I do to my staff. I take them all out and we go parachuting in [Eway 00:16:35] but we're just one parachute short. I get to watch them all fight over that last parachute.
Bethany: Who gets the parachute?
Howard: That is amazing. Do you like to work with dentists as an individual or is it more effective the whole team. Do you think the team is causing the stress externally or do you think it's internally all in his head.
Bethany: I don't think it's in anyone's head. I work individually with dentists. That's part of the protocol. I like to work best with dentists in a coaching package. We do individual sessions every six months. It's just like an emotional x-ray. They come back and spend a day with me on a horse.
Howard: Just by themselves?
Bethany: Just by themselves so they can work on personal things they don't want to talk about when their team is around. Then I suggest they come to a certain retreat with all dentists and they don't know anybody so it's easy to work on personal issues. As far as where the anxiety comes from, let's talk about that. I think the main issue with anxiety, there's so many of them in dentistry but think about working in such close proximity to an anxious patient who tells you verbally and I know you've heard it, they'd rather be in labor than be in your chair or passing a kidney stone. Nothing personal but I hate the dentist. Their head is right in your lap for how long, an hour or two. It's been shown that the dentist physiology mimics the patients who are anxious.
Bethany: Time, the limbic system is open. The emotions are an open system. It's not like you need to put a needle in your vein to get to your cardiovascular system. This is an open system, emotions are contagious. We take that in because we are very caring people. Dentists are caring people. It matters. We're dealing with that all day long and we're perfectionists and we're working in a confined space and it's frustrating. I think all those factors, we have to deal with insurances, and then you put team leadership on top of that and you have to keep track of numbers and schedules. I've been there and I totally understand how that can affect a person.
Howard: A dentist that's stressed out, you have individual sessions and you have groups of individual dentists that come alone and then you have team exercises.
Bethany: Team retreats like annual team retreats.
Howard: Someone who is stressed out, what's the best way to contact you? Bethany@braveheartequinecoaching.com.
Bethany: That's my email address or you can go to my website braveheartequinecoaching.com and there's a place you can sign up for a 30 minute exploratory session. What we do is decide what's your biggest challenges? Where do you need to start? I do an individual coaching package based on the person's challenges and stresses. Always start with the chief complaint. That's what I do. I put the fires out. If somebody's in crisis, you deal with that and then you go and deal with the life balance. I'm big into life balance, physical health, nutrition, exercise, sleep, deep breathing. All those things they all matter. I guess I can say I deal with the soft side of the stress management. There's so many practice management consultants that deal with numbers and scheduling and all the things you can concretely put your finger on. What about the heart of the dentist? Physically, the health of the heart and emotionally the spirit, you can't be a good dentist and go home and your family is in chaos or you go home an empty shell and you have nothing to give to your family. It's about life balance. That's a big, big thing.
Howard: Whenever you talk to a retiring consultant in dentistry or someone who's been in the field for 30, 40 years and is up in their 60's or 70's, they always say, looking back, when they got trained for their job, they would have become a shrink, they would have become a psychologist. They always say the problem is usually in between the dentist's ears is how they see everything, how they think, how they perceive.
Bethany: I don't think so.
Howard: You don't think so?
Bethany: I think there's a lot to do with personality. The type of personality that goes into dentistry, we're perfectionists, and trying to do perfection in a human mouth, trying to get something dry that's not dry, you can't see, so maybe there's an element of that. There's a certain type of person that goes into dentistry. There's always the question, people who get stressed out easily go into dentistry? I don't know. I know it's a problem.
Howard: They attract the weirdest people in all of college. If you went to college, you're well rounded, and had a girlfriend and joined a frat and went out a couple nights a week and played a lot of sports. You wouldn't have made straight A's and got into med school, dental school, or law school. It was the people, I sat with, there were 88 guys on my floor, 4 of us sat in the library every night until midnight when they closed the library. We were the 4 that went to dental school. All the normal happy go lucky people, none of them are dentists. I think it's the dental schools that say we want a 4.0. You have to blow away the DAT. You have to do all these things and then you get this not well-rounded person.
Bethany: That takes a certain personality type to be a dentist for sure because of all the studies you have to do. Which came first? The chicken or the egg? It's a hard question. I do think that we need to balance it though and figure out how to stop all these physical problems from happening at such a young age. You can tolerate all the stress when you're young. I was a dentist for 20 years.
Howard: In Cadillac, Michigan?
Bethany: In Cadillac, Michigan. I started my own practice right out of school. Well, I was an associate for two years and then I started a practice from scratch. I had two charts in the drawer. One of them was my mother. It's not an easy road, from zero up. I had a ton of debt. Here's what I did, five years later I was very successful. I built this huge building, beautiful brick high tech, indirect lighting, all the toys, cameras everything. As soon as I got that built I thought it would solve all my problems because I was in this basement before and there were mice and snakes and whatever.
As soon as I got into this building, all of a sudden I had this huge burden of debt and now I feel like oh my god, if I fail, I'm letting everybody down. My team, their families depend on me for their paycheck, all of a sudden, I'm not kidding, I lost it. I was in a dark place and I didn't want to get up to go to work. I would cry at three in the morning. I was beside myself. I wanted to drive away and never look back. What I did instead because I'm just not, it's not in my personality type to just give up. I've never been a person to walk away so I didn't.
I hired a coach. I hired Dr. Bob Frazer. I'm sure you've heard of him. What he did for me is show me how to be a dentist and be happy again. He helped me with that. I transformed my practice into a top 5%. We were non par. Our collections were 99.5% which is awesome. I worked three days a week. I increased my production by 30% and what happened was I decided that dentistry is not my passion. My passion is helping others to a better life like Dr. Bob helped me. I had to follow my passion. I left a very successful career at the peak of my years. I left two years ago. It is my deepest passion to help others out of that dark place because I walked that road and I know that you can get out of it without committing suicide or having a heart attack or losing your family or whatever else happens.
Howard: When you say that they come in, you go to diagnose a chief complaint, you're talking to thousands of individual dentists commuting to work, go through the list, what are the most common chief complaints?
Bethany: Well, wow. There's so many. The most common ones are how do I deal with my team. The team is a huge sort of, I know you were joking with the women but it's not just about the women, it's how to be a leader. How do I manage my team, how do I lead my team? I have this one employee who's driving me crazy and what do I do? Or, I'm on the edge of divorce and my practice isn't doing well and my children don't even know who I am and I don't feel good. Where do I start? A lot of times, that's what it is.
I remember when I called Dr. Bob, this sounds kind of crazy. I remember what he said to me. He said to me, I was beside myself. I was really in a bad place. What he said to me was, "This is what you do. Number one is I want you to start to do something you love every single day. Even if it's for 15 minutes." I said, "No, you don't get it. Doing something I love isn't going to stop my clinical notes from piling on my desk or pay my bills or take care of team problems." I didn't do it for a long time but now I understand the wisdom of that because doing something you love for 15 minutes a day, that is one of my tips for dentist by the way. I have top 5 tips for dentists on my website. If you go there, you can download them for free. It's do something you love for at least 15 minutes. It makes a huge difference. It transforms everything. It changes the energy, it shifts everything, it makes things more tolerable, it fills you up emotionally.
Howard: It would fill me up because mine would be eating the entire chocolate cake and that would be about 15 minutes so that would fill me up. What percent of your clients over the years would say dealing with staff is the number one issue of stress and anxiety?
Bethany: Probably 70-75%.
Howard: Do you think that's the staff or that's the dentist in their head?
Bethany: This is what I found and this is what my experience was. One of the things that I help dentists to learn is how to respond instead of react. When I was a dentist, if I would have had this program, it would have helped a lot because I was reacting all over the place. Reacting means when you see something, your first initial reaction is to go off. Let me give you an example. When I was in practice, we had a lab, everybody has a lab. I was walking by one time and my assistant walked in and slammed the door. It wasn't an easy day. It was one of those days we're just on the edge of each other's nerves and nothing's going really well and it's the end of the day. She slammed the door in my face and I immediately reacted. I walked into the lab and said, you know what, I've had a a hard day too. What is up with you slamming the door right? She turned around and she looked really apologetic and she said, I'm sorry, Dr. Piziks. The window is open and when I walked in, the wind slammed the door. Here I am with foot in mouth looking like a tyrant and apologizing. She was mad at me for three days after that. I was reacting, reacting. In this work that I've done with my mentor Melissa Pearce, she's the one that teaches the equinecoaching method.
Howard: What is her name?
Bethany: Her name is Melissa Pearce. It's Touched By a Horse is the program that I was in. It's a two year certification program to learn the equinecoaching method.
Howard: That is so amazing. What if someone is listening to this and they're saying, quite frankly, I'm afraid of horses. I don't want to climb up on some star wars animal without a light saber and be thrown off. Maybe someone listening is a naysayer as in Neigh. What would you say to them? Do you need to like horses to do this program? What if you're afraid of horses?
Bethany: If you're afraid of horses, in my mind, all the more reason to do this work because every single day of our professional lives, we are asking our patients to face one of our greatest fears of sitting in a dental chair and trusting their care to us. The reason we ask them to do that is we know there's a gift behind the fear, the gift of a healthy mouth, the gateway to a healthy body, a beautiful smile. There's also a gift behind the fear of a horse. The horse has a message for everyone. A message that's individualized and depends on the person, what's going on. Behind the fear is the gift of transformation, of clarity, of whatever joyful message the horse has for the person. And we keep everyone safe. There's no riding in these retreats. Sometimes we'll have someone sit on the horse but there's someone on each side. Safety is always number one. That's important.
Howard: Are these special horses? When you use different facilities, can you use any horse or are these special horses?
Bethany: Any horse is able to do this work. I believe that horses essential gift to us is healing of our hearts and spirits. They've fought our wars, they have carried us on our back and plod our fields. Their gift to us is for healing and elevating our spirit. Any horse is able to do this. Some horses aren't willing to do this. They'll let you know. Sometimes I just ask a horse, would you be willing to do the work to help humans and I will help translate your essential gift to humankind. I had one mare, mares are kind of testy but she actually stomped her foot and turned her butt towards me to tell me no, she was not going to do the work but most horses will answer by lowering their head or they'll wrap their neck around me or they'll bring their heart to me. It's amazing what they do. They'll let us know and if you pick a horse that's not willing to do it, they just not do it. They just stand there. I do go to other facilities. Usually I bring my own horse, when I got to Cave Creek I bring my own horses and there are other horses I can use. I can use any horse.
Howard: You live in Cadillac Michigan?
Bethany: Cadillac Michigan.
Howard: You pull your own horse to Cave Creek from Cadillac Michigan?
Howard: How long of a drive is that? Two days? Three days?
Bethany: It's 24 hours depending on how many hours I drive a day. Usually it takes me four days because I stop every night. I like to let the horses rest.
Howard: I love those long drives. I think the most beautiful drive in the world is straight up Phoenix around the Grand Canyon, through Utah, through Montana and all the way up to Calgary. That's I think 1200 miles. Explain what an equine Gastalt coach. Equine means horse, what's Gastalt mean?
Bethany: In an equine Gastalt method, there are two coaches. The equine and the Gastalt which is me. We're both active partners in this process. The horses aren't props or mirrors. They participate actively in this coaching process. Gastalt is a philosophy of coaching. It's a German word for wholeness.
Bethany: Wholeness, yeah. Based on being on the present moment. It's such an odd state for us to be actually present and noticing what's going on, not noticing about tomorrow, not thinking about what's going on, not thinking about yesterday wondering who's still mad at you. To be in contact with the environment, the horse, the coach and to actually be noticing what's going on in the environment. The second component is you're aware of your body, the semantics of your body. What's happening? Do you have a lump in your throat, do you have a knot in your stomach? What is that telling you about the process? The semantics of the body is important. You can't know that unless you're in the present moment. The third component which I think is most important is experiential. You're not sitting listening to a lecture. All of us have sat in the Holiday Inn with the white tablecloths and the candy dish and the guy at the front with the power point talking. That's great and it can be inspirational but two days later you're back to where you were before. This is experiential. You're up and your participating in the process and you feel the difference in the body and the results so you can take it back to your practice and it's much more transforming. It's memorable. Is there a cat or something?
Howard: That's my Mimi. I have two cats. She's the only woman who will live with me.
Bethany: That is awesome. It looked like a fake duster or something.
Howard: I want to get back to stress. I'm not an expert in stress or anything. It seems like when you look at the questions and the email I get and the threads on dental town, these young kids are so stressed about this number they're going to have when they graduate of debt. This $350,000 and some of these kids it's $400,000 on. Then when they come out, the whole marketing/advertising world is telling them you've got to buy a $150,000 cad cam machine and you've got to buy $100,000 3D CBCT machine and you've got to get a $75,000 laser and then boom, three moves later they've double their student loan debt so now they've gone from $350,000 to $700,000 and then as soon as they get a divorce after five years of dental school, that's going to be another $700,000. They're sitting there 35 years old a million and a half under. My question to you is how much factor does debt and being a sole owner and you're talking about living in the present. How hard is it to live in the present when you have mortgage payments for seven years.
Bethany: It is tough. That's what I'm talking about. They start out at a disadvantage. I really feel like that's a disadvantage. The biggest advantage they have is they're young and they don't even know what they're in for. Sorry, all the young dentists out there. I love your bright eyed and bushy tail. I wish I were still like that when it comes to dentistry and life sometimes. That's they're biggest advantage. As far as the stress, you have to have a plan. You have to have a financial plan. I was really good with money. I was over a million dollars in debt when I told you I first built my building and I bought all the equipment and all the sudden I'm a million dollars in debt and I'm responsible for all these paychecks and all of a sudden everything seemed so much more daunting and that's when life balance comes into play. You've got to have good nutrition, you've got to have exercise, sleep, you have to do things you love. There's all kinds of things you can do to make your day better. One thing I always did, I brought my favorite snacks so I could look forward to what I got to eat between patients. I always had a snack at about 10:00. I have to eat every three hours otherwise I'm just no good.
Howard: What is your favorite snack?
Bethany: I use to bring oatmeal. I would bake it all night long with apples and raisins. It was just like apple pie but it was nutritious. I would eat that. I love that. How about you, what's yours? Besides chocolate cake?
Howard: Oh, my god. I would say my favorite is nuts. Probably nuts.
Bethany: Nuts, yeah. You eat too many of those and they're a little fattening but gosh their good, aren't they?
Howard: Dentists they're dealing with their staff, that stresses them, they're not a leader. Then the financial debt, they're wearing many hats. They're trained as a dentist but they got to be an accounting and marketing and finance and insurance. It just never stops. Do you think you're born a leader? Do you think you can be coached into becoming a leader? You've got this introvert dentist, he's not leading, she's not leading five or more people. Are there books you read? How do you become a leader? Are you born that way or can you become that way?
Bethany: You can absolutely become that way. It may not be natural but you can learn. It's like emotional intelligence. You can learn it. You can't change your IQ but you can change your EQ. You can learn leadership. Dr. Bob helped me with that and he helped me learn how to teach it. Horses will teach you how to be a leader. Let me give you another quick example. I had a woman dentist who was an associate. You know what it's like as an associate. You're not the owner, you're not signing the paychecks so how much can you make requests and be a leader. She felt awkward about it. She didn't feel confident. She wasn't leading her team so there was a lot of problems with that.
She came and what I did was I set up a leadership challenge. I put her in the round pen. It's a sixty foot round pen. The horse was in there on free liberty, no ropes, no nothing. I put her in the middle. First, I demonstrated how you round pen a horse. I got the horse to go around, stop, turn, go the other way whatever speed I wanted. I showed her that and then put her in the round pen and I asked her to get the horse to move the same way. She did exactly how she leads her team. She slumped over and kind of looked down and awkward and said, "Walk." What do you think the horse did? I don't think so, I'm not feeling it. There was no assertiveness, there was no focus, it wasn't enough to get that horse to move.
I coached her through her body posture. I told her to sit up, put her chin up, focus from your solar plexes, change your tone of voice and mean it when you say it. Say, "Walk!" Aim your request right at the horse's rear end and he starts walking. It took a while. This was a long process. She's probably at it about an hour. She was frustrated. She got to the point where she was angry, begging the horse. This horse was immediate feedback to her leadership process. At the end she was able to move that horse at any direction, any speed. She felt the difference in her body. Do you see how that would be powerful? She goes back to her team and if she starts slumping and saying making requests weakly, she can say, oh my god, this is what I'm doing. Sit up and make the request. Make eye contact, have good tone in your voice. You don't have to be mean just precise and assertive.
That horse showed her how to do that. Leadership can be learned and it is really impactful when you're in the present moment because there's something about horses open a sacred space for transformation. They help you to be present and to take things in and to remember because you're in the present moment. When you're thinking about other things, you're not in the present moment and you're not remembering. It's experiential and you just remember.
Howard: I want to ask you a question that I have no credibility in answering. I'm in Arizona and the Arizona state dental association just had a woman in dentistry conference saying and I'm reading "the vision behind developing women in dentistry." They don't have those conferences to develop bald men in dentistry or develop fat men in dentistry. The fact that I keep seeing American Dental Association, I keep seeing all these meetings and conferences dealing with women and special issues. What type of special issue does a woman have that a short, fat, bald, man dentist doesn't have in Phoenix? If I came off as a man, and said we need to have a conference about women, some women find that offensive. You remember when that women's dental journal came out? It's called women in dentistry?
Bethany: Yeah. I remember that journal.
Howard: It only lasted about a year because the women went ballistic. They were posting on dental town what are the articles going to be? How to pull wisdom teeth when you don't have testicles? How can you do a root canal if you don't have a weiner to hang on to? They go really mad. They're having these conferences and they're having great attendance. I'm a man dentist and you're a woman dentist. Are there different issues for me and you just because you're a girl and I'm a guy?
Bethany: I think so. I think what it is is that women, there's still that societal you have to be superwoman. Women are still mostly responsible for the kids, the housework, the cooking, sorry, that's just the way it is. If I'm a dentist and I'm married, and my husband is working full-time and I'm working full-time, who does the responsibility fall on for the kids and the laundry and all the housework, this and that unless you have an exceptional husband that gets it. The women feel very pressured. It's a lot more balancing and we're sucked dry. That's what happened to me. It was just too much. People say, oh, you're a dentist, you only work four days a week. I'm like four days? I have four days of housework to do. There's a lot more pressure to keep things perfect. It has to look perfect. A lot of times dentists have perfect lives from the outside. My friend who committed suicide, I would have never known that she was in that position. She never even told me. That was about ten years ago. We were both in our mid thirties. I think there's a lot more pressure that way. I think men that are dentists can unplug and say, I'm a dentist and I'm going to go home and put my feet up and the women, they don't have that time to regenerate.
Howard: The problem is if your husband was really good about cooking and cleaning and helping you around the house, he'd be gay so he wouldn't marry you. Is that what you're saying that women dentists should marry gay male men?
Howard: I see the personal life issues. I see that because they're multi-tasking. I raised four boys and for a decade, I never slept longer than three hours at one time because every three hours, somebody, out of four boys, I had four boys in 60 months so there was a ten year period where I never slept eight hours in a row. It was always something. I remember one time my youngest got me up and it was Zach and he was at the kitchen table and he wanted Cheerios at like four in the morning. He starts eating them one at a time. I'm just looking at this kid eating a bowl of Cheerios trying to calculate approximately how long, then he got like two-thirds done and threw the bowl on the floor and said, I'm done. I'm like, you've got to be kidding me. You're recommending a vasectomy during dental school, during your first [epidolic 00:46:19] procedure, would you do the vasectomy on yourself or can women do a tubal ligation through their naval during a root canal lab? You've got the home stress things.
What about this you hear, I hear this a lot. "I'm Bethany. I'm a woman. I work for old man McGregor and this is how we talk to the staff and we all jumped and did it and I bought the practice from him for half a million dollars. I say the exact same thing and the staff don't jump." Do you hear that?
Bethany: I have heard that. What they need to do is get in the round pen with the horse. That's not the only way to learn leadership. There's books, there's seminars. Until you're experiencing the difference, I guarantee you put that woman in a round pen with the horse and the horse is going to stand there. She's not going to get it until she experiences the difference. That's why horses are such great partners, they're coaches. They get it and they know. When she means it, they'll move.
Howard: What about from the consumer. Do you think the consumer prefers woman dentists? I don't want to be biased to my own opinion. I know through trial and error I have all women physicians. My dermatologist is a woman, my endocrinologist is a woman, because they just seem like, do you think when you set up as a woman, did you see equal males time and place? Did you grow faster? It just seems like if you're afraid of the dentist, you're afraid to get shot, that if you were afraid, wouldn't a woman be more nurturing? I noticed when my four boys, when we were in the back yard, all playing having a blast, everything was good but the minute someone fell down and got an owie and started crying, they'd run completely around me to go find mom. I always thought, what am I, chopped liver? Do you think women have an advantage with the consumer market? Do you think more people will seek out a dentist specifically because you're a girl and I'm a boy?
Bethany: It's possible. It depends on the person. I had many of my patients when I was leaving the practice and a colleague of mine who was male bought my practice and they just said, where am I going to go? I love you and I want you but I want a woman. I think that's a big deal. I think that's one of the problems with women as dentists too because they give so much emotionally to their patients that men don't necessarily give that women do that they get burned out faster. Plus, the have to go home and give all that to their patients. What about her, what about filling up. I do think that's true, not for everyone.
Howard: You and I have seen our lifetime we've been around the block a few decades. When I was little, all the OB/GYNS were boys, now they're all girls and we're seeing the same thing in pediatric dentistry. That is moving faster toward an all girl profession than anything I've seen in my lifetime other than OB/GYNS. Obviously, the mom taking her kids wants a woman. There's no doubt about that.
Bethany: I think that you're going to see women working part-time more. I worked two days a week for three and a half years after I sold my practice. I worked two days a week in the practice and for a while it was heaven on earth. I could work two days and go home and I had five days to myself and my family. I think you're going to see a lot more of that. To be honest, women are more attracted to this work with the horses than men. I think it's softer, it's about being emotional, it's about filling yourself back up. Most of my clients are women. I'm not adverse to dealing with men, that's for sure but I see mostly women because I think men can turn that emotional part off more than women.
Howard: We see all kind of studies where economists say boys say 2000 words a day, women say almost 6000. Anthropologists say anytime an ape or monkey interacts, a boy interacts, a woman will interact with five. They're obviously more social creatures. You know what your best marketing would be? Your best marketing, the whole time I'm listening, I would love to see it, I'd love to see what you're talking about, the pen. The only scene I can remember of a horse and a 60 foot pen was in the Pattens movie when Patten's on his horse riding his white horse around the pen talking to the journalist and he got in trouble for that quote. You should create an online CE course on dental town. We put up 300 different courses. They've been viewed over half a million times. I could just see so many dentists watching this film in this horse pen and running out to their staff saying come here Jen, you've got to check this out. This woman consults with horses. I think it's a visual thing. Horses are big huge beautiful animals and you should do an online CE course.
Bethany: I am going to do that. I fully intend on doing that. Right now on my website, there's videos of the retreats, testimonials, you can see some of the work.
Howard: Spell out your website slowly because that's a tough one. Braveheart B-R-A-V-E-H-E-A-R-T like the movie. Who was the Australian in Braveheart?
Bethany: Mel Gibson.
Howard: You should have Mel Gibson riding that horse with a dental drill in his hand. Then equine, did I say it right?
Howard: E-Q-U-I-N-E and then coaching. Braveheart, Mel Gibson, equine means horse, coaching.com.
Bethany: It's all one word.
Howard: There's videos on there?
Bethany: There's videos and there's testimonials. Right now I'm working on getting a video up from my retreat. I don't think it's up yet but it will be within a week or two. By the time this airs it will be up.
Howard: This is dentistry and sons, I know the dentists will be asking. Let's get to the chase. What does this cost? What does it cost for a dentist individually? Do they bring their spouse? What does it cost to bring the whole team? Talk math.
Bethany: It depends on how many people there are. If a lot of people, I might need a co-facilitator and it might take longer so it's all individualized. It depends on what's in your package for your coaching. It depends on all those things. For example, I'm doing a retreat in Virginia in Amherst. The fixed cost for that is $3495. That's three and a half days. That's one of the things that's fixed. That's including lodging, breakfast and lunch. Dinners are on their own. It's in this beautiful colonial area of Virginia. It's Amherst. It's this beautiful working ranch, a colleague of mine. I'm co-facilitating it with two other people. We're going to be doing some meditation with the horses and that's going to be at the end of April. That's on my website under upcoming events. Check that out. As far as cost for other things, it's so individualized. The individual team retreats can go from $2500 to $7000 depending on how many people. It really varies.
Howard: That is amazing. You obviously are getting success with this. You've got a lot of word of mouth referrals, you're growing, you're doing well with this.
Bethany: Still accepting new clients for sure. We're not full and I have other colleagues that I work with so it's definitely growing. I think it's going to be a lot bigger than it is now because it's such an under addressed area in dentistry. It's stress and the soft aspects of dentistry.
Howard: Do you only do dentists? Is that your total focus is dentists or do you do non-dentists?
Bethany: For retreats and things I do dentists and coaching but I have local events that I have a women's connection group. Last night I did a looking back, looking forward 2015 and create a vision for 2016 and that's a workshop. I do individual clients that aren't dentists. Dentists are my niche and focus because I've been there and I get it and I resonate with dentists. My heart beats for dentistry and dentists but I am open. I've had chiropractors ask me for retreats and I will do that locally.
Howard: Have you ever consulted with a dentist and you had to treat the dentist like a horse and put him down?
Howard: I'm sorry dude, you're too broken. I'm going to have to take you out in the back and put you down.
Bethany: Not yet, Howard but I don't know. I'll let you know if that happens.
Howard: That would be epic. I went to an equine center and they put me down. That is amazing. Again, I think this is so visual. Anther thing is people overestimate video production. They don't realize that an iPhone camera is better than anything you could have bought in Hollywood in the 80's. They're saying these iPhones are better than $250,000 cameras in 1980 that Hollywood use. I think it's a very visual thing. I take stress extremely serious. About every 3 years dental town magazine we always try to do something on substance abuse. They say the numbers I read somewhere between 14 and 18% of all dentists during their lifetime as a licensed dentist will have to go to inpatient substance abuse. 85% alcohol, 15% narcotics. That's actually the same rate as the general public. What's crazy is the anesthesiologists, they're about 38% because they're always carrying around a bag filled with all the narcotics.
Bethany: For this work in every profession, especially the medical profession. I don't see anybody doing this. I'm the only one in the world right now that does Equine Gastalt coaching for dentists. People do it for women and their daughters, grief counseling, PTSD, but I've taken it to dentistry because it is my gift to the profession. It's a passion for me. I'm so happy to help in any way I can. You're welcome to come to Cave Creek and watch one of those.
Howard: I want to come see you in Cave Creek. It's where my sister [Shar 00:56:43] lives, it's about 40 minutes north of me. Do you ever go up by Four Peaks?
Bethany: I don't know where that is.
Howard: Do you know where Fountain Hills is?
Howard: Have you actually seen the fountain?
Bethany: I rode my bike down there a lot.
Howard: From my house to the fountain and back is exactly 90 miles. I do that bike ride once a month during the summer at least.
Bethany: I've seen Fountain Hills because I've rode my bike to Fountain Hills and back and that was about 50 miles I think, 25 each way.
Howard: It's a beautiful ride. I go up the B line highway. Hey, I just wanted to tell you seriously. I take stress serious. I think it's a game changer. If the dentist is getting beat up on all angles they just start drowning and suffocating like say I'm here in Phoenix, I see them kill themselves. The substance abuse is heavy. It can all be overcome. They've got to watch the debt. They've got to be transparent. They've got to be humble with the staff.
Bethany: Leadership. If I did it anyone can do it. I got out of the stress and created a successful practice. I've been down that road and it's possible.
Howard: It is possible. Hey, Bethany, I thank you so much for spending an hour with me today. I'll buy you a lunch when you come to Cave Creek, Arizona. I know this place that sells horse burgers right there in North Scottsdale with a glass of red wine. Just kidding. I'm just kidding.
Bethany: I'll look for you for lunch.
Howard: When you come down just email me. I'm firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell me the dates or whatever and we'll do lunch.
Bethany: Okay. Awesome.
Howard: All right.
Bethany: Thank you so much for having me.
Howard: Thank you, thank you. Like I said, you were referred. Any other listeners you're listening to someone and you say I wish Howard would interview this guy, let me know. We're booked out about six months but we'll eventually get to them.
Bethany: I know you are. Awesome.
Howard: Okay. Have a rocking hot day.
Bethany: You too. Thank you.
Howard: Bye bye.