PRESENTER ROBB ZBIERSKI knows that to become a better dentist, you’ve got to train your brain to expect the positive — and then seek it out as diligently as you can.

Talk a little bit about what you’ll be discussing at The Lucy Hobbs

Celebration in Dallas.
The title of the program I’ll be doing is “The Proper Care and Feeding of Your Attitude.” First, it entails managing your mind and thoughts to get the best results possible. Second, it’s about understanding the role that your attitude plays in everything you do. We share “mindset-management tools”: things people already have that cost no money. Different ways to think to help ensure success.

Such as?
One of the big ideas is that you see what you look for — that is, the things that show up in your life are the things you condition yourself to see. If you want to see adversity, you’ll find it. If you want to see opportunity, you’ll find it. The more time you can spend in a “growth mindset” versus a “fixed mindset,” the better off you’ll be.

What sort of application does this have for dentists, whether they’re female or male?
What’s interesting to me about the dental world is that it’s very technical and clinical. But when you ask dentists what sets them apart, they usually don’t say, “I pioneered this procedure” or “I’m fantastic at polishing the chewing surface.” They talk about how well they get along with their patients. Yet dental schools offer very few classes on bedside manner. Dentists are intelligent people; not many of them are against the idea of approaching their job with a better attitude.

How does the spirit of Lucy Hobbs influence the ways in which dentists can take control of their thoughts and actions?

Lucy Hobbs chose not to participate in the existing mindset and skepticism. There’s a lot of value in being mindful that the brain’s natural tendency is to look at the negative and get sucked in. Choosing not to participate in that is a big deal. It’s as if Lucy Hobbs said, “I’m all out of damns to give.” And that stems from having clarity about what your goals are. That’s your compass. When you have that clarity, it’s like paddling a canoe downstream versus upstream. Things just become easier.

ROBB ZBIERKSI is an instructor at Freedom Personal Development, a Madison, Wisconsin–based career-
development consultancy. He frequently speaks to dental-industry groups, Seattle Study Club chapters and individual dental practices nationwide.