Hey there Toothlife.Irene fellow RDH here.
"I've been quietly following your journey for quite some time now, even since my school days, and it's been four years since I graduated. I must say, you appear to have your $%&# together all the time, and I can't help but wonder how you've managed to maintain such a strong focus and passion on your career for so long. Like I don’t know anyone else who does as much as you do and has an office as an RDH.
I'm reaching out because, to be honest, I often feel like I'm nowhere near having my own career sorted out. Most days, I find myself questioning my own skills and comparing myself to others who seem to be accomplishing so much more, like you. It's overwhelming, and it really gets to me.
I love seeing your content, it inspires me to try new things and I get a surge of energy but then reality sinks back in and it’s this cycle. I was wondering if you might have any advice or insights to share?
Thanks for your question, it’s a big one and I’m sorry in advance, I’m going to burst your bubble.
I totally understand where you're coming from, and it's something many of us go through. First and foremost, it's crucial to remember that what we see on social media often isn't an accurate representation of real life. It's like looking at a highlight reel, and people tend to showcase their successes while concealing their struggles. So, don't be too hard on yourself for not feeling as productive or passionate every day as it might seem others are. We're all liars in one way or another.
Balancing personal and professional life, especially when you're running multiple businesses, can indeed be challenging. It's a constant juggling act, and more balls fall on the ground than I catch most days. There's no one-size-fits-all solution despite what all the gurus lead you to believe online; they too struggle with imposter syndrome and the feeling of mediocrity.
The house is always on fire in one way or another.
What I've found helpful in my own journey is recognizing that life tends to move in cycles, and understanding these patterns can make a big difference in how you react to resolve problems.
On social media, I used to feel shame if I unfollowed someone, but now I’ve learned that the unfollow, block and mute is a sign of strength. Realizing that content can make you feel a certain way, you take the first step to remove it from your foreground, hopefully eliminating the trigger. Filtering by keywords or taking a break by deactivating your account is also a powerful thing that triggers will always be there for you when you decide to come back.
Personal and Professional Development
Reading is an excellent way to gain perspective and insight. I often have two books going, one for my heart and one for my brain.
Books for the brain include: The First 90 Days, Tools of Titans, Train Like an Olympian, and The Practice Launchpad. These books help keep my business senses sharp and I’m always looking for new ways to optimize and problem-solve.
Books for the heart include: Fault Lines, Luckiest Girl Alive and my most recent obsession with "The Midnight Library.”
I have a few folders in an amazon storefront with folders of books I recommend --> Amazon Link Here
These books help with my creativity and disconnect me from work to help reengage my creative and personal side. Weird dynamic, but it works. The Midnight Library has a really interesting plot that I connected with immediately. This odd concept of a "book of regrets" a book that includes every decision the main character made that led to her regrets. What decisions could she have made differently that would have led to a different outcome, life or reaction? I’ve thought about this a lot lately and now have chosen to make decisions differently to not add a “Regret” to my future book of regrets. Future Irene might thank me for this.
We have a lot more in common than you think. Interestingly, we share a similar turning point around year five in our careers. It's a time when many of us reassess our paths and dare to dream bigger or question how everyone else does it. I felt that around the same time, and here you are… history does have a way of repeating itself, doesn't it?
I shared my story on my podcast in a two-part series if you want more details. You can listen to these episodes on any platform for podcasts. Beware, Part 2 was the hardest episode I ever had to record; I spoke truths about the price I paid to get here. The success tax is expensive.
The feelings you're experiencing are entirely valid and all-consuming at times, and sadly you're not alone in them. We all have moments of self-doubt and challenges, even if they're not always visible on social media. So, embrace those moments. This week I ordered fried chicken and watched Aladdin on Amazon Prime while snuggled by my poodle on an evening I felt particularly defeated both personally and professionally. It’s OK, we’re allowed. It's all part of the journey, and authenticity is something to be celebrated.
You’re right where you’re supposed to be, asking all the right questions.
Insert epic Eleanor Roosevelt quote here. My favourite one:
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.”