"There is no surer road to breakdown than working with people who do not share your values." ~ Dr Barry Polansky
I have run practices, written books and become a public speaker. It is said that short of death, public speaking comes pretty close to the number one fear and stress in an individuals life. So why become a speaker when as a dentist I can instill fear in people on a daily basis?
Itís all about values. When I joined the noble profession of dentistry in 1973 I thought that I would spend my life drilling and filling. It wasnít long before I realised that there is much more to dentistry and life than is taught at dental school. All the time we worked on models of teeth in a phantom head, people didnít get in the way! The teeth didnít moan, didnít groan, didnít ask questions they just sat there ďfat, dumb and happy!Ē Then I qualified and realised that life happens. Textbooks are a guide, seminars signposts but life is the real teacher. As patient after patient, person after person defied the textbooks I came to realise that I needed my own set of values, understanding of situations and treatment modalities in order to survive in dentistry and life. I had to treat the whole person.
I was working in an environment with people who didnít share my values, didnít see it my way and werenít really interested anyway! People who just didnít see the connection between the teeth and the rest of the body. People who would laugh at the thought of me stopping to help victims of a road accident. ďWhat did you do, look at their teeth? Ha, Ha!Ē Well hello, those teeth were attached to a body, to a person, to a living human being with thoughts, feeling, friends and loved ones. A person who had laughed, cried, hurt and been hurt, a fellow human being on a journey through life just like me. Of course I stopped.
Teeth, the mouth and supporting structures are a part of the whole. Not an unrelated entity that can be mistreated, abused and left to fend for itself. Abuse the mouth, you abuse the body. Mistreat the mouth, you mistreat the body. Have sickness in your mouth, you have sickness in your body. This was the message that I wanted to get across hence the public speaking,
So why a speaker? To give hope to the hopeless, educate, inform, have a laugh and share values. To open up the mind to the endless possibilities for good health by awakening in the individual the idea that health is multifactorial and this includes the mouth.
My aim is to work with people and audiences who share my values, who are seekers after the truth, who want their hopes to be built by faith and see the results. Oh and have laughter on the way.