We finally made it to 2021. While many may take this time to reflect on the last year, I am more than ready to look forward and focus on what is ahead of me.
I want to start the year off with talking about my new ventures. I start school in two weeks! I am so excited to be going back to school. I am getting my undergraduate in Food and Nutrition, and my master’s in Human Nutrition. I have been thinking about going back to school for years, and have always wanted to, but I always find excuses to not pursue this option. What changed my mind?
While I do not want to spend much time focusing on the past (aka 2020), I do want to take the time to explain what brought me to this new chapter in my life. In the spring of last year, the combination of losing one of my dogs and the COVID-19 shut down sent me in to a depressive spiral. Had you asked me at the time, I would have said that I was fine. I thought that I was fine, but looking back, I realize how not okay I was. I suddenly had to put my oldest dog down and then I found myself out of work, watching the world spiral out of control. I will not go into the details about why I am not completely fulfilled by working clinically as a dental hygienist, but I want more from my life and my career.
Last January, at a dental convention, I went to a continuing education course on “Burnout in Dentistry”. For those of you not in the dental field, I will simply say that dentistry has an EXTREMELY high burnout rate. I went to this course and the speaker, more or less, opened by saying that she was a dentist for 10 years and she hated being a dentist. I thought to myself “Well, that is my kind of girl!”. She had the gumption to get up in front of a room full of dental professionals and say that she hated doing it. She instantly gained my respect. Turns out that she was a dentist turned career coach. Now she coaches dental professionals to avoid burnout, or transition to a more appropriate career for them.
Check out Lolabees Career Coaching here. She also has a great blog!
Come April, when I had zero motivation (which for me, is rare) and I was absolutely terrified to go back to cleaning teeth during a global pandemic, I reached out to this career coach. I was scared and I was angry about going back to work. I was angry that I was in this position, I was angry that there were not more answers, I was angry at my career choice… I was angry about everything. And I will probably forever be resentful of the lack of leadership during the pandemic that forced us into this situation. Anyways, back to my point, I hired a career coach.
We worked together for 3 months and she gave me the little nudge that I needed. She helped me create actionable steps that I could focus on. I focused on building my business, and I also stopped focusing on my anger. I got back to my groove. I went back to working clinical dental hygiene 1-2 days a week… I know, I pretty much semi-retired, but it was a needed change of pace. I spent my other days focusing on my business.
While this new routine was great for me, it made me realize a few things. I want more out of my life and career. I love being a nutrition coach, but I am so much more than that. I am already highly trained healthcare professional. That makes me more qualified than half of the nutrition coaches out there. But I still wanted more. I want to grow my knowledge in the field, and I am tired of weekend certifications that anybody can take. I want to base my information and recommendations off science, not some fad that some influencer on Instagram is posting about, and not from some book that was written by somebody with no qualifications or education in the field of nutrition. I also want to help the world get good answers. I want to bridge the gap between nutrition, oral health, and systemic health. It is all connected, and I want to do more to help the general public understand this. So, it is time for me to really commit to this. No more wondering, “Is it worth my time or money?”, it is just time to do it.
And that is what led me to this new chapter of my life. I am beyond excited about this journey and what it will bring. While 2020 was a hell of a year, it gave me the clarity to do what I really want to do. I do not have many expectations and I have no clear end point… but that is the beauty of it all. The only thing I know for certain is that there will be many frustrations along the way, many hoops to jump through, and probably lots of seemingly stupid crap I must do to get where I am going. I am ready for the challenge though and I will strive to face it with patience.
Stay tuned to hear about my new journey!