Monday, March 16, 2015

I suck at pottery

I feel bad for my family and friends because I’ve been a heap of whines and rants. My ROI on patient recruiting has been dismal. But last week, talking to M encouraged me to see it as a fun challenge. We brainstormed all the silly ways I could recruit patients in Philly and I felt much better after laughing so much.

At pottery class this weekend, I trimmed the bottom too close and my cup was turning into a cylinder. Seeing my mild panic my friend suggested I turn it into a plant pot- perfect! At the wheel, we are both humbled. We're both: “I don’t know what I’m making!” then out emerges a pot, or a bowl, or a mystery lump going back to clay mode.

My instructor uses a lot of dental instruments to carve pottery! Dental hygienist or ceramicist?

But I don’t feel so bad when I suck at pottery. So what if my instructor throws a beautiful convex bowl in two minutes? (I'm developing an eye for beautiful convex lines. That's what my friend and I coo all the time: "it's so beautifully convex!!!") My instructor's been at it since before 1989. I'm humbled and motivated when I see his gorgeous bowls.

I've come to ask myself this: how this is different from prepping a tooth for amalgam the first time? Or taking impressions on your first real person (with a gag reflex) ? Beginning is the hardest and if you can get over the embarrassment/frustration of repeated failures, you’ll only get better. That’s a big realization I had as the wheels were turning (ahem).

Sometimes I mix up pottery and dental school. 

Knowing what my weaknesses are also inspires me to own up to my strengths. I'm a good writer. Yes, I am a good painter. I have an eye for esthetics & am good with small animals. If I’m bad at some things, I get to be great at other things. And I’m not being modest about pottery- because have you seen my twitter?

Things I find difficult: talking to patients about no-show’s, asking friends and family to pass on my business cards, telling patients to pay for expensive treatments, and calling patients about insurance disputes. Things I am good at: encouraging patients to pick up flossing, explaining dental procedures in easy terms, integrating classroom knowledge into what I see in clinic. Another thing I suck at: making snowmen, walking on ice.

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